Jackie: Proportions

A lot has been written about proportions for sewists.

Jackie is semi-fitted. This means there is room to wear layers underneath so the key fitting area is at the shoulders and neckline. 
Threads has a good article about adjusting patterns for your size. It’s a tried and tested article.

BurdaStyle has a good post about petite adjustments
Craftsy writer Julia posted some details about petite pattern sizing
Bunny at LaSewist petites her patterns from the word go.

Personally I’ll check a few points on the pattern and see if they match with my proportions
– shoulder to bust; shoulder to waist, 
– neck to shoulder
– shoulder to hips
– pocket placement.

One thing to keep in mind, these are not rules. If you love jackets with amazing features, factor these features in. I did a Google search on ‘oversize badly made jackets’ and frankly they all looked great to me.

Jackie can be your statement jacket of the season if you use oversized collars and pockets.

BurdaStyle has a post about shortening and lengthening patterns.
Adjusting patterns for tall people isn’t my area of expertise but there are lots of sewing bloggers who are.

Lena has already covered the basics for adding and removing length to your pattern.

Pattern changes to balance this jacket for your shape is what I focus on. 

Bust darts
All I’m going to say here is wear the right support. Check where your bust sits and then adjust the dart for your reality. I reduced the dart by 2.5cm.

A standard pocket can be too deep for small hands. A standard pocket might not be big enough for your needs ie, wallet, phone, organiser, wads of cash.

And standard pocket placement can be lower or higher than your arm’s reach.

On skirts and pants, I shorten my pockets. Basic pocket patterns tend to end at mid-thigh on me, when they should end at the top of your thigh. So I tend to cut them back so they can at least fit a credit card in my pocket ie. no longer than 6cm or 2 1/2″ if the pocket starts at my waist.


The pocket bag is a bit deep for me so I’ve skimmed 2.5cm off the pocket base. When I make Jackie again, I’ll place the pocket 2.5cm towards the side seams.

Again, you might have a Cleopatra neckline so your collar needs to be wider.


I tend to slim back my collars so they don’t cut into my chin ie, lack of neck:)

I lowered the collar 1cm from the top so that it covers my neck in the cold but not feel like I’m being strangled. However I took another 0.5cm off the collar when I sewed the facing to the collar. 

Note: I dropped the buttonhole on the collar by 1cm so it would still sit centred on the slimmed collar. This is a decision you can either make or disregard.

Sleeve cuff
This is another proportion decision you might consider.

You can make your sleeve cuff wider for a feature or slim it back. The choice is yours. I kept the sleeve cuff and kept it wide. This doesn’t affect how I wear Jackie and the sleeve cuff is part of it’s style.

Too much to take in?If this is all too much information to digest, make a test version out of calico and see how the test jacket fits on you. This approach is the safest method and you can practice those bound buttonholes and welt pockets with less stress.

If you have very little spare time to test the pattern, measure the widths and length of your suggested size minus the seam allowance and check those measurements on you. This takes a whole lot less time to achieve than making a test version. This is a risky approach, so take all the measurements twice!

Jackie: Does size matter?

If you’ve printed your pattern and are trying to figure out what size to choose, there are a couple of reality check things you can do before you decide to pick your size.

1. Do you have a jacket that you love? 
Yes: Grab your measuring tape and check the dimensions on this jacket.
No: Go to your nearest mall and find a jacket that has the dimensions that you are comfortable with. Then check the dimensions of this jacket. How you do this is up to you…

2. What would you realistically wear under your jacket?
One layer: Go for good fit across your shoulders, high bust and back width. Maybe even slim down the sleeve width.
Two layers: Go for a relaxed fit across your shoulders, high bust and back width. Check the sleeve fullness over the type of layers you would wear under your Jackie coat.

I have to admit, my maths is fairly basic so I’ll always check what my size is at the time of making each project, even when I’ve made the pattern before.

What’s your size?
Iconic patterns lists their sizes here.

The beauty of Jackie is it’s a warm layer and as the jacket is a-line, the main fitting focus is at the bust and shoulders. You know your shape.

Threads has a good article about picking your size.

Grading across patterns
Jackie is a multi size pattern. This gives you the lines you need to grade your sizes. This gives you and easy way to grade your jacket to fit you – ‘grading 101’ if you like.

This is all the grading I needed. Size 8 at bust and size 10 at hips.

What size do you think you’ll need?

Jackie: printing your pattern

If you already know how to print pdf patterns, ignore this post.
The jacket construction posts are next so stay tuned.

Did I hear you say ‘I don’t use pdf patterns’?
If you did, this post might help you realise pdf pattern are a fast way of getting the pattern you love right now.
You know you want to. But you may have had a bad experience. Am I right?

Iconic pdf facts
Here are three pdf pattern facts about Iconic patterns.

  • If you decide to use the print shop version, Iconic Patterns can be printed on 36″ (91 cm) wide paper.
  • You can use A4 or US Letter size paper to print your Iconic Pattern at home.
  • The sewing instructions are part of the pdf and there are additional instructions on the Iconic Pattern website.

PDF patterns will have a test square for you to check your printer settings are correct.

Lena has already written a neat post about printing pdf patterns.

Check the version
If you decide to print this pattern at home, make sure it’s the latest version. So if you have a pdf pattern in your pattern stash and you’re not sure it’s the latest version, check with the pattern designer. Send them an email. Am I right Gabrielle?

Print the pages with no scaling
Tiled patterns are printed with either ‘no scaling’ or at ‘100%’. I always choose ‘no scaling’ when I print so I know the version I printed pattern is not changed.

Don’t print from the skydrive or cloud
That’s what I did thinking this would be faster than downloading the pdf file to the computer and than printing it using Adobe Reader. 
When I printed the pdf pattern from the sky drive, the pages didn’t print off correctly. Bits were missing. The pattern tiles were not complete or to scale.

This was printed from the sky drive – wrong.

Then I tried again by printing the pdf using Adobe Reader. The pages were perfect.

Leave the borders on your pattern pieces.
Iconic patterns line up nicely with the border lines left on each piece.
To keep your master pattern firm, have at least one side overlap so the paper pieces are stable to use again and again.

I cut the border off the pattern pieces in sets of 5 and they looked too small. That was a disaster waiting to happen. There are no tile matching notches on Iconic patterns so you’ll need to leave the page borders on each page to make sure each tile lines up correctly.

Read this if this is your first crack at pattern downloads using a pdf file

Grab Adobe Reader for free to download your pattern and find the test page. Adjust some of the print settings in the Adobe Reader Print dialog.

Try this:
1. Open the PDF file.
If you can’t find the pdf you downloaded, check your hard drive ‘downloads’ drive.
Still can’t find it?  Search ‘1501’ in your file search field. 1501 is the name in all three pdfs for Jackie.

2. Page through until you are viewing page 12 with the test square. 

Print this page off first and check the test square dimensions. If they are wrong, try changing the printer setting page settings to ‘none’. 

3. Start the printing process by pressing Control +P or go to File, then select print. 

4. To print only the test page, in the Print Range box, click the radio button to select Current Page (the page you are currently viewing). Note that you can use various settings in the Print Range box to control which pages to print.

5. In the Page Handling box, use the Page Scaling drop-down list and select None. (In my experience, this is usually the correct Page Handling setting for printing PDF patterns.)

6. Click the OK button to print the test page.

7. Measure the test box on the printed test page. If it’s the right size, then use None as the Page Handling setting when you print the entire PDF file. .

Others who have good printing pdf patterns posts are: 

Burda Style
Christine Johnson
Lekala patterns

Cutting Tips

  • Choose your size based on the pattern measurements.
  • Cut out each piece along the corresponding lines but leave the borders.
  • Keep your tape handy in case you need to make the paper a little more secure.



All the posts relating to the Jackie Coat Sewalong will be updated on this initial post.
And don’t forget to post your pics to the Flickr Group.

Janelle and I love Iconic Patterns and we agreed to host a Jackie Coat sewalong so anyone who has Jackie in their pattern stash, will always be able to refer to these posts. Lena has Jackie on special at the moment so you can buy your Jackie at a discount (score) as we sewalong.

Here is the fabric and buttons or Plan A
Blog Posts

As each post goes a link will be added.  Got any suggestions on a topic not listed that you would like to see covered? Leave a comment on any of the sewalong posts.

Janelle’s Jackie Coat Variation Ideas 

Maria – Choosing size and grading between sizes
Maria – Adjusting the pattern for proportion changes.  
Janelle – Pattern hacks!
Flickr Group – Making a muslin for those who would like to check the fit and any resulting pattern adjustments.
2. Getting started

Janelle – Cutting out pattern, fabric and lining
Janelle – Matching interfacing to your fabric.

Janelle – Fusing interfacing and doing any needed staystitching
3. Detailing

Janelle – Bound buttonholes 

Maria – Welt pockets
4. Basic construction

Janelle – Sleeve shoulder darts – adjusting for narrow rounded shoulders and sleeves to jacket front/back

Maria – Collar (under collar to jacket, upper collar to facings, etc) and facings
5. Lining

Maria – Bagging the lining and finishing hem

6. Buttons and closures
Janelle – Buttons and some tips about buttons on coats

7. FINISHED COAT LINK PARTY and PRIZE GIVEAWAY for one fabulous sewalong participant.

Flickr Group for Photo Sharing

Join the Flickr Group here.

A sense of Spring – Vogue 8732

July’s Minerva Crafts UK make is Vogue 8732 – part of Claire Shaeffer’s custom couture collection. 

I can’t believe it. I made a couture jacket. Hence my excitement.

I’m not big on unlined jackets so the prettiness inside this jacket makes up for it.
The bias binding was all me-made.
The facing and hem seams edges are bound and I flat felled the side seams.
I cut the sleeve cuffs and pocket flaps separately to match the print. You can just see the buttons Vicki at Minerva Craft UK chose for me. Thanks again Vicki!
I love the shaping this jacket has.
Vogue 8732 is an impressive jacket. I wanted a petite version of this so I tested it and no shortening was needed.
I love trying on RTW jackets with lots of detailing and then realise the work that goes into this type of jacket. This time I thought to myself, “I deserve a jacket with lots of detailing”. 

And I promptly made sure I ordered a dark denim print to go with my black jeans Vogue 8774. This kit is still available at Minerva Crafts. 
This jacket is now another piece in my Minerva collection 🙂 This jacket has a wing collar (retro-ish) and the pockets are a bit 70s safari jacket style. Dad loved wearing safari jackets. ‘Look at the pockets‘ he’d say. I think he loved clothes and sometimes I think I take after him and his cheeky nature.
Testing this jacket was very helpful to get the shoulder fit right. The test jacket also gave me the opportunity to also see how well the pattern instructions helped me make this jacket successfully.
Placing the pocket welt onto the jacket front.
There are lots of guides and notches on this pattern to make sure you get the pocket detailing right. The more notches the better.

Claire Shaeffer’s hints are printed throughout the instructions. I read each step as I went. There was a lot to take in. So I read them a few times, just to get it right.
Sewing the pocket bag on the pocket. The pocket flap was already sewn on the pocket opening.
Having good marking tools and using a slightly different colour thread for the seams helped too. I unpick my work a fair bit and a different coloured thread helps me when I sew at night.
Here’s how the print worked out on the back.
I cut out each piece one at a time. When I cut out the body pieces, I made sure the print across the body was consistent across the front and back. 
A closer look at the back yoke and pad stitching on the under collar. All done by machine.

Then I cut the back yolk so the flowers were centered and balanced on my shoulders. I check my work as I sew.
WIP of the collar.

The top collar piece was cut so I had a flower was at the point of each collar point. All this cutting took time and a few sleeps in between sewing sessions.

Burrito view of the back yoke.
Here’s where I tried the burrito method to finish the back yolk. I had to unpick some of the centre back stitching so I could pull the jacket through. No dramas. I had my unpicker handy. We’re good mates.

– Forward shoulder adjustment on the front yoke, back yoke and sleeve head.

– Dropped the armhole base by 1.5cm. The sleeve base sat right into my armpit so it had to be dropped.

– Took out 8cm from the centre back pleat using a 4cm simple fold.

– Shortened the belt length so I didn’t use the full extended belt piece.

Did I follow Claire Shaeffer’s couture techniques?
I do love to speed through my sewing projects. Give me an industry time-saving technique any day.
Yet one of the best things about sewing is learning new skills so I did use a lot of Clare’s couture techniques.
I didn’t hand sew the button holes or hand sew the pad stitching. I used the machine to pad stitch and make the button holes.

Would I make this again?
You betcha.

Go to Minerva Crafts

The fabric and notions are all from Minerva Crafts – fabric, interfacing, belt buckle and buttons. All you need to make this jacket if you don’t already have this pattern in your pattern stash. You can get this pattern from Minerva Crafts. And instead of making your own bias binding, order some to suit your taste.

The fabric was lovely to sew and it’s a great layer.


Two years ago I developed a bunch of Trench coat sewalong posts for McCalls 5525 

I still wear my trench and it’s also a PR favouriteSo now I’m working on a couple of coats/jackets for a change. Not quick to make but rewarding to have as warm layers in the winter. Our winter lasts for all of ‘5 minutes’ so I have to make these fast.

Jackie is one of them – and it’s on sale now. 


Jackie has classic lines and is semi-fitted. It’s a cool throw-over layer and has some detailing that can be achieved if you want to add to your sewing skills. Just think of this as a ‘bit more straight stitching’.

The other jacket I’m making is Vogue 8732 by the talented Claire Shaeffer as my next Minerva make. 


Claire’s jacket is unlined and the pocket construction has a lot of detailing. But see the forgiving back pleat and front pleats. 


  • tested the jacket pleats and taken out some of the centre back fullness 
  • adjusted the shoulder line and done the roll-shoulder adjustments to the yoke pieces. 
  • left the jacket length as is to beat the cold. 
  • decided to not add the top pockets because I don’t need pockets on my chest
  • checked the sleeves and lowered the sleeve base curve by 1.5cm. You can see the pulling of the sleeve base on the picture above at the back. But it’s a very simple curve change, so I’ll show you that in the construction post.
  • kept the pockets on my hips. 
Here’s a WIP peek at the jacket. Fabric available at Minerva Crafts UK.

I’m also binded the seam finishes on the front facing and hem. Yes. I’ve been using a lot of bias binding at Chez Velosewer. It’s been a bias binding making hive all year really.