Men’s Organic Cotton Work Jacket


What can you make with two and a half yards of organic cotton twill?  Read on!

Last year I’d purchased this red cotton twill in a shade Mood calls “tomato.”   It’s available not only in tomato (here), but also in a great many other beautiful colors (here).  It’s the perfect weight for jeans or a casual jacket and very easy to sew with.  It also has no spandex, which is my preference for cotton fabrics.

For my project, I turned to the recently published Japanese pattern book, “Men’s Clothes For All Seasons,” which I’d picked up at the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya in Manhattan. It includes patterns for 22 different men’s garments in 5 different sizes.  The design that immediately caught my eye was the cotton work jacket (alternatively called a chore jacket) featured on the front cover.  I knew the red twill I had in my stash would be perfect for it.


The patterns must be traced by hand and, since seam allowances aren’t included, they must be added.  (The tracing was the hardest part of this project.)  The jacket itself is unlined, has four front patch pockets, and a center back vent.


Even though I don’t read Japanese, I found the detailed photos and illustrations easy to follow. There were a few things I’d have done in a different order, but otherwise there were no snags.  Happily, the jacket came out exactly like the one on the book cover. It’s perfect for early fall and the color is definitely eye-catching. You won’t get lost in a crowd in tomato red!






I sewed a size Medium, though I’m generally a size Small in American patterns. The one adjustment I might have made would have been to lengthen the sleeves roughly an inch and a half, as there wasn’t enough sleeve length (for my arms) for a deep hem.  Instead, I added a bias facing (below), which worked well since it also added extra heft to the edge of my sleeves.


I could have done my buttonholes myself and usually do, but I treated myself to professionally made ones from Jonathan Embroidery.  They are perfect.


As you can see, I opted for red buttons for a monochromatic look.


This chore jacket is going to get lots of wear this season: it’s perfect for layering over a sweater or for wearing alone.  I’m excited about making more of the patterns from “Men’s Clothes For All Seasons” — and about sewing with more of this organic cotton twill — it’s truly versatile and comes in great colors.

Now I must get started on my chores (he he).

See you next month!






  • Beth Conkwright
    September 19, 2016

    You’re jacket looks wonderful.

  • Erica Bunker
    September 19, 2016

    Peter, this jacket is so amazing. And I am so jealous that you can just run out and have buttonholes made!

  • Lori
    September 19, 2016

    This is the best looking “chore” jacket I have ever seen. Great job.

  • Annushka
    September 19, 2016

    Really nice fabric and resulting jacket. Wish I still lived in Brooklyn instead of 50 miles from one fabric store!

  • Mainelydad
    September 19, 2016

    Total Fall jacket envy here. I love all the details, and your topstitching is immaculate as usual.

  • Cherie
    September 19, 2016

    Peter, wonderful job with this jacket. Love all the details, and I would love one of these jackets! Buttonholes, oh my, would love to have that service available in Phoenix!

  • Lenore Cilmi
    September 20, 2016

    Peter! I love your jacket! You both are awesome!

  • Martin
    September 20, 2016

    Great work of sewing! and a compliment to the photographer, too.

  • Fiona
    September 20, 2016

    Best project ever – I absolutely love how this looks on you. Great style, just enough of a nod to history without being in any way costumey. Great colour. Just all round great and a very useful jacket. What a triumph – congratulations!

  • Fiona
    September 20, 2016

    Do you mind if I ask how you get the topstitching so straight and perfect? I often sew on an older machine as well but I struggle to keep the stitching this straight. I’d love to know if you have any pointers (or perhaps you’ve posted about this previously?)

    • Male Pattern Boldness
      September 20, 2016

      Here’s how I do it.

      For one thing, I never use a special foot, I use my eye, so I’ve had lots of practice! If I’m using a straight stitch machine, I first use the outer edge of the right side of the straight stitch foot as my guide and edgestitch at approximately 1/16th. Next, I use the INNER edge of the same foot to topstitch approximately 1/4″ from the first stitch line. Does that make sense?

      If I’m using a zigzag foot (and on some machines, like my Hello Kitty Janome, I do) I do basically the same thing. First I use the outside right edge as my guide, then I use the inside right edge as my guide. You can follow the first stitch line as you do the second line or, if it’s easier, use the seam itself.

      I go slowly — that’s a big help too! And naturally, if you’re topstitching with matching thread, as I did on my jacket, nobody can see your inaccuracies! LOL

  • Lisa
    September 20, 2016

    Your jacket looks so good!

  • Deborah
    September 20, 2016

    That jacket is awesome! I hope we see more of this in menswear, well done!

  • barbara
    September 21, 2016

    a perfect job as usual. how do you find time to get so much finicky sewing done?

  • Amanda S.
    September 21, 2016

    I love everything about this jacket!