Emerald Cotton Riding Jacket

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-1

We all have a list. Whether you’ve collected it into a spreadsheet or Pinterest board, whether it’s posted above your sewing machine or lodges only in your mind, amorphous and ever-changing, every sewist has one. The list of dream projects. Mine is filled with all sorts of garments, from swirling velvet cloaks to exact replicas of every costume from Thoroughly Modern Millie. It’s rare that I actually sew something off this list, because how often do I need a floor length lavender silk gown with a bateau neckline? Sometimes, though, real world needs and dream projects collide.

Such was the case with this month’s project, a riding jacket. I’ve always loved the mix of military detailing and precise tailoring that such garments provide. Wearing one makes me feel deliciously feminine and ready to kick butt, all at the same time. However, I never found a pattern that met the vision in my head–a piece with both tailoring and a bit of drama. Finally, I came across this pattern from the November 2015 issue of Knipmode Magazine and was smitten. With its dipping circular skirt, stand funnel collar, and princess seams, this jacket was straight out of my dreams. Sub out the zippers for more classic frogging, remove the shoulder panels for a slightly puffed Victorian sleeve, and voila! My ideal riding jacket.

2016-03-30

Better yet, around this same time, Mood Fabrics also posted my ideal fabric for such a garment. Kismet! This dark emerald combed cotton was briefly on the website, last fall, and I snagged three yards of it. It actually sold out so quickly, that I had to settle for two smaller lengths, however there are still plenty of great jacket options at Mood. Personally, I love the rich caramel color of this stretch velveteen, which would be an elegant and comfortable option for such a project. My own fabric doesn’t have such stretch, sadly, but it is the loveliest dark bottle green and has a short, soft pile on its right side. It’s a true medium-weight cotton, which worked perfectly for my purposes, since I wanted the jacket’s skirt to go unlined.

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-16

When sewing with fabrics that have a nap, caution should be taken. Sturdy combed cottons, like this one, are easier to work with than slippery silk velvets, but still need some special techniques to prevent crushing that pile. To cut out my pattern, I traced the pieces onto the wrong side of the fabric (a plain woven face) with chalk, then cut them out in a single layer with sharp dressmaking shears. All pieces were traced going the same direction, to prevent obvious changes in nap, when the light hit the jacket. To press the garment, I used my regular ironing board covered with a towel, then added a layer of safety with a press cloth made from scrap velvet. Whenever a seam needed pressing, I put the velvet cloth face down on the combed side of the cotton, so that the piles met. A light hand, loads of steam, and this technique meant the fabric stayed nice and soft.

Before touching that cotton, though, I made two muslins of this jacket. Once a seam has been sewn on velvet or napped cotton, it’s almost impossible to get those seamlines to disappear, if they have to be adjusted. The fit had to be perfect, before starting with my real fabric. My measurements lined up pretty well with a blend of Knipmode sizes 46 and 48, but I added a Full Bust Adjustment to the princess seams and narrowed the shoulders a good bit. Additionally, I subbed out that original zipper for black frogging details, which meant drafting a larger facing underneath. After the first muslin, I also switched the collar from a large funnel neck to a shorter stand collar, since it was really overwhelming to the silhouette.

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-7

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-8

I’ll post tons of construction and process notes tomorrow, on Idle Fancy, but there are some highlights to cover now. I haven’t made many jackets and was flying blind with my poorly translated instructions, so I cobbled together techniques from a few resource books instead. To that end, I used sew-in interfacing to stabilize the cuffs, collar, facings, and front of the jacket, though I do wish I’d underlined the whole thing in silk organza, as well. The final result could use just a hair more structure, but alas. Inside, the bodice is lined with bee-print white rayon crepe, from my stash, which is a nice counterweight to the heavy cotton outer shell. Both the facing edges and the skirt seams are bound in black rayon seam binding, to prevent fraying and give a clean finish. For the closures, 3″ black rayon frogs are used, in a classic, simple design.

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-22

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-23

This jacket is completely inappropriate for all the spring weather we’re having now, but it doesn’t matter. I love it! This garment was a true labor of love, taking six weeks of work and tons of patience, but it turned out brilliantly. There are a few things I would improve, here or there, but for a first tailored jacket project, I’m beyond happy. With its swirling skirt and gorgeous detailing, it’s exactly the dramatic military-style jacket of my dreams.

It looks great open over a blouse, closed over a fitted dress, and–perhaps my favorite–partially closed over skinny jeans and a tank top, as below. There’s something about that fitted bodice and swooping hem that screams steampunk superheroine, don’t you think? Well, a girl can dream anyway.

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-21

Knipmode Riding Jacket (11-2015) - Mood Fabrics Combed Cotton - Idle Fancy-10

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Comments


  • Erica Bunker
    March 30, 2016

    I LOVE a riding jacket! Especially one with a bustle. This is so gorgeous and you look fabulous in it!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you so much, Erika! I have to admit, your Vogue riding jacket was a huge inspiration for actually tackling this project. It’s such a chic piece!

  • Linda Oldham Burns
    March 30, 2016

    What a great movie – Thoroughly Modern Millie!! And great job on the jacket!!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you, Linda! Isn’t it such a fantastic film? I actually wore out our family’s VHS of it, as a child, because I watched it too many times!

  • Manju
    March 30, 2016

    Lovely silhouette on you mary. Beautiful work.

  • Chris Griffin
    March 30, 2016

    Awesome!! This is gorgeous! Find buildings with AC and prance around in it!!!!!!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Ha! Chris, I love that idea. Warm weather can’t keep this jacket down. Thanks!

  • Lisa
    March 31, 2016

    Love it! You did an amazing job (and you do look like a super hero), and it looks great on you. I like it when dream clothes work in the real world. 🙂

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you so much, Lisa! I’m still walking on air, knowing that this is an actual garment hanging in my closet now. Dream superhero jackets are the best!

  • Sallieoh
    March 31, 2016

    Yes!!! Mary, this is truly a dream jacket! Talk about living out your fantasies!! You absolutely look the part of a Victorian heroine! Beautiful job on all aspects of this jacket. It’s perfection!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you, Sallie! That may be the best compliment ever–Victorian heroine is absolutely my dream style look. I’ve actually been wishing we had something like Dickens on the Strand, up here in Waco, so I too could have an excuse to make a full Victorian costume! I’m looking forward to living vicariously through your adventures!

  • Kelly Mannino
    March 31, 2016

    OMG I love this! I wish I had the patience to do something like this. I mean exactly like this. The most I stretch to is a fitted dress; my magpie like sewing mind moves on to the next new shiny, getting bored with long projects. It’s why I can’t knit. But THIS COAT! I may have to do something to get over it just one time for this

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you so, so much, Kelly! I totally understand what you mean about tackling long projects. In order to keep myself sane on this one, I had to set it down a few times and work on other, quicker garments. You should ABSOLUTELY make one yourself, though! All that time is worth getting to wear such a fun, dramatic jacket out and about.

  • Bethany
    March 31, 2016

    I’m not a big blog commenter but I just had to say that I love this! You look absolutely stunning in it.

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you so much, Bethany! I’m so happy that you left a comment on this one. 😀

  • Wanett
    March 31, 2016

    BABBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBBEEEEEEEEEE!!! This jacket looks AMAZING on you! I love the color and the style!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      I’m totally blushing, over here. Thanks so much, Wanett!

  • Kimberly
    March 31, 2016

    This is quite beautiful.

  • Sarah Gunn
    March 31, 2016

    Your fab jacket will go with lots of things. Meticulous work and lovely result !!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you, Sarah! That means a lot coming from you. 🙂

  • Amanda S.
    April 1, 2016

    What drama! It’s a perfect fit and the green is a lovely color. And WHERE did that bee print you used for the lining come from?!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thanks so much, Amanda! Isn’t that bee print awesome? I actually got it years ago, but I just found the same print elsewhere. I’ll put a link to it in my IF post!

  • Tina Olsson
    April 3, 2016

    Wow, what a jacket!!!

  • Lori
    April 4, 2016

    This is one of the most amazing jackets I have seen, beautiful job.

  • Amy
    April 4, 2016

    I am loving your adventures into Knipmode patterns. What a jacket! Bravo!

    • Mary Danielson
      April 5, 2016

      Thank you, Amy! I have really, really enjoyed exploring Knipmode patterns. It’s been such fun to get the magazine in my mailbox each month, then let my creativity run wild. Though, I think my next KM project will have to be much simpler than this one!

  • Fiona
    April 15, 2016

    Yummy! Ooo that peplum hem is a stunner! This is a great look for you and I love the deep green