By Di, Feb 9 2016 03:32PM
Since Christmas I have committed a significant amount of time towards the completion of my fully hand tailored jacket.
When I started I wasn't sure that I would use all of the hand stitched techniques, use them for essential elements and machine the rest. It seems that many Savile Row tailors now undertake much of the construction by machine. However, the more involved I became, the more I was determined to do it properly.
I realise now that I don't have any photos of how the chest canvas was pad stitched. It soon became apparent that the construction methods and the order of the processes were going to be completely different to those I have grown familiar with.
The pointed part of the front darts were machined, Then, along with the front seam, came my first experience of stab stitching seams and I found it really satisfying.
The dart and front seam matched well, thanks to the time given to planning the cutting out.
The interfacing, chest canvas and Domette, that have already been pad stitched, now needed to be shaped to allow for the chest and to give space for the chest pockets and anything that might be put into them. There is no pattern for the canvas and position of the darts, so I needed to follow the video carefully. Once finished there can be no bulk or ridges that could leave an impression on the outer fabric. So the darts are made edge to edge and covered with strips of lining that are cross stitched in place.
Many rows of basting were used to attach the body canvas to the main fabric. As I stitched I had to persuade the main fabric to take shape, keeping the stripes running straight. Sometimes the fabric was stretched slightly and at other places I had to build in ease.
I decided to make three outer pockets, two with flaps and one has an inside card pocket in the pocket bag. This photo shows the breast pocket during construction, matching the stripes! You can also see some of the basting that holds the body canvas in place.
The finished pocket, I was dissappointed that the hand stitching made a ridge at one side. So onto the lower pockets.
With the pockets finished I moved on to the lapels. These needed the roll line supported by a strip of fabric cut on the straight grain. As well as stopping the fold from stretching it also eases in the centre section to stop the lapels gaping. The pad stitching on the lapels creates the roll of the lapel. You need to work with the fabric rolling over your fingers so that the main fabric will be shorter than the interfacing.
This photo shows the interfaced side of one lapel and the fabric side of the other. It includes the pad stitching and the finished edge.
It took 8 hours to complete the edge of both fronts! The interfacing is cut 6mm inside the seam line. Then bias tape is cross stitched to the interfacing enclosing the edge. Many rows of basting later, having folded in the fabric edge and mitring the corner another row of cross stitch meant the front was ready for the front facing to be added. This process is designed so there is no ridge round the outer edge of the jacket. The turned edges fit snugly into the space between the interfacing and the edge.
This is the underside of the lapel, pad stitched and the edge finished.
There are three inside pockets to complete. Two breast pockets and one lower security/phone pocket. Although the pockets are made using linen and lining, they are put into the facing fabric. This means that the weight of anything in the pockets is fully supported by the jacket and not just the lining.
The left front facing is now firmly basted in place. It will be one of the last things to be stitched permanently. The photo shows the pocket bag of the lower pocket with it's smaller card pocket. They are cross stitched to gain support from the intefarcing, but also moving freely in the lower part. Something I had not done before was to make a tuck across the pocket bag so it can expand when used. The upper pocket in this photo is the inside one made in the facing.
The previous photo also gives some clues about the inner construction of the canvas and domette. There are a few more rows of basting keeping the roll of the lapel in place.
Now that the facing and all seven pockets were finished it was time to add the lining to the fronts.
The linings were cut using the main body cloth as patterns, with extra fabric added where necessary for providing ease. The front and side front lining sections were stitched by machine and pressed to make a very small tuck. Rather than a dart there is a tuck in the front lining.
At this stage the lining covers up the inner pockets. You can just see one of them in the photo. Again there are quite a few rows of basting holding the lining to the body of the jacket. Once the line where the edge of the lining will be is drawn, the excess lining is trimmed off, the edges turned under and basted.
The hem was finished before adding the lining. I'll explain this when I write about the back of the jacket as I have more photos. The lining is basted in place so that when finished there will be enough wearing ease along the bottom edge.
I have no idea how many hours went into completing the fronts, but it was a lot .......................
In Part 3 I'll discuss the back, as well as shaping and attaching the collar.