Nancy’s Jacket Alterations

This alteration comes with a disclaimer…this does not come from a textbook, it is just my way of cheating on paper to add much needed height to a sleeve cap with drag lines.

Normally, I measure the armhole and the sleeve to see how much ease the designer has given me…this time I forgot. IF I had measured, I would have seen that the sleeve was 1/2 inch smaller than the armhole instead of having ANY ease. If this was a knit, you could call it negative ease. Bummer.

I cut the sleeve using the last bit of fabric so there was no chance of adding up top. You all could see the drag lines in the last blog and here are the sad numbers.

By adding an additional inch to the sleeve head, I gained one inch in ease but there was a trade-off…more on that later.

First, trace the original sleeve cap, then slide the pattern down 1 inch or more. Using a curved ruler, blend the new curve back into the sleeve.


Lay the new pattern on the already cut fabric sleeves.


Here is the downside to this…that new inch has to come from somewhere, and it shortens the hem by inch. Nancy wanted the hem shorter anyway and I offered to make a solid blue band to tie all the fabrics together so this will not be a big deal. You can add a band to any sleeve and call it “artist’s prerogative” instead of a mistake.

Trim away the excess fabric and go back and pin it to the jacket…smile at your success.









What about that weird vertical tab thing on the center front since the pattern only allows for the front edges to “kiss” and not lap…how do we make that puppy? First, draw two parallel lines the width of your seam allowance, I chose 1/2 inch. Pin the test tab on paper and sort of trace around with a pencil.

Remove the test tab and draw the final edges plus seam allowances, this time it was 3/8 because the curved ruler is 3/8 inch wide.

The top portion has a more rounded curve just because it looked better on Nancy while the lower edge just angles back to center front. Can we change this later…sure.

Cut out the tab from leftover fabric in solid blue.

Smile, you have just created a custom feature for your client

New sleeves and tab basted in place. No drag lines on the sleeves and Nancy wants snaps under the tab to keep the jacket closed. I will embroider leaves and stems on the solid tab to make it blend in with the rest of the bodice and finish all the trimmings.

The lining is polyester bridal satin but I used the dull side inside the skirt section but will use the shiny side for lining the sleeves. I also cut the lining the exact dimensions of the denim skirt since they have to hang together and will be attached with french tacks at the side seams. It is still a mystery why the designer would make the lining so much smaller than that the outer fabric of the skirt…bizarre… and others who have made this have complained at how it grabs the body instead of flowing flat.

I don’t know if anyone else who has made this jacket found this but the facing piece that attaches to the skirt was twice the needed width once it was attached to the denim skirt.

On all the seams I have used a top stitch on my Elna but you probably have the same stitch. It takes two stitches forward and a one back and then continues like -=-=-=-. Here is the back side of the front curve:

And the right side of the front curve:

All the seams have been top stitched 1/4 inch on both side of the seams for the shoulder and side seams:

I interfaced the front bodice with fusible tricot and pinked all the edges. The underneath seam of the skirt was clipped almost every 1/4 inch just to get it to lay flat and down.

Sleeves have been lined with shiny side out and the 1/2 inch solid binding has been added.

While the new panel looked OK, just OK, I decided to trace off some lines and leaves to make it blend in with the other denim.

Using that same stitch as before, it now looks like maybe that was the plan all along.












Snaps have been added in a zigzag pattern to keep the tab shut flat.

Hems in denim and satin lining are done and the sleeves have been added. French tacks have attached the lining to the denim. Snaps are also added to the covered shoulder pads so they can be removed before dry cleaning.

Now,  Nancy can wear the jacket as a coat or as a tunic depending on what she chooses to wear under it. Today, she wore a thick knit sweater (poor choice!) for the final try-on instead of her usual tank top so it looks tight.

We had a lovely lunch to celebrate the final fitting and have more sewing projects planned.

Happy sewing everyone! Next time…brides with issues!

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12 Responses to Nancy’s Jacket Alterations

  1. Laura Jansen says:

    And there’s the magic. Not that you have the abilities and talent to make the changes necessary, you have PATIENCE to do it!!!

  2. Sandi Benfield says:

    Very lovely Mrs. Mole!

  3. Fabrickated says:

    Thanks for such a lot of detail on a complex project. I loved reading it all. And such great pics and diagrams. The tab needed that bit of embroidery which was a brilliant florish. The sleeves fit well and the addition to the sleeve head was very clever. Just a great piece of work and I imagine Nancy is thrilled to bits.

    • mrsmole says:

      Nancy will be twirling in her new jacket and her friends will be envious…that makes me smile. Thank you, Kate, love the work you are doing on your photographing!

  4. Tia Dia says:

    Wonderful sleeve fix. I love all the construction details. Nancy must be very pleased!

  5. sewruth says:

    I think we all have our own little cheats to make things fit, although most of mine are simple and possibly just ‘wrong’, not like your meticulous attention to detail to achieve the perfect fit.Lovely. I bet Nancy is overjoyed.

  6. Sharon P says:

    Awesome job on Nancy’s tunic/jacket. Carrying the leaf design over into the solid makes it truly custom made.
    Thanks for the reminder that there is always a trade off when altering a pattern. I refer to that as the Ying & Yang technique.
    Next time … Brides with issues !
    Mrs. Mole, you crack me up ! Don’t ALL brides have issues ???

  7. mrsmole says:

    You know it, Sharon…what would sewing for brides be without issues and drama and bigger bust pads??? Just plain boring I think!

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