Tailoring Part 2: Pattern Prep, Interfacing, Pockets, and Darts

Okay, hello everybody, I am back to share more tailoring escapades of my son's suit.  Of course, I will admit this will not get done by tomorrow.  I slowed down a little bit because I made some really silly mistakes, maybe because I was sidetracked, or just maybe because I was tired, either way it is getting done.  I would rather it be done right then it to be done fast and wrong.  So keep reading if you want to find the mistakes I made.  I know you want to...we all have it in us to see what someone else did wrong.  Be my guest, I'll even help you.  
There's my handsome baby boy fitting the shell of his new suit.  Doesn't he look excited?

Here are the things I've gotten done so far.  Some of the techniques and changes I made are from various sources, but the main one I use for tailoring is my book, Classic tailoring techniques, a Construction Guide for menswear, by Robert Cabrera and Patricia Flaherty Meyers
For you techie folks: here are the details about the pattern adjustments that I made before cutting the fabric.

  1. Altered the roll line on the jacket front to be 5/8 inch above the first button and then I made sure that it ended at least 3/8 inch out from the neck cutting line at the top
  2. Changed the back shoulder seems to be at least 1/2 inch longer than the front shoulder
  3. The center back vent was changed to 2 inches wide near the top and graded it to 3 inches at the hem.
  4. The front facing straight of grain orientation straightened to line up with the center front and the size was increased to 2" inches wide at the shoulder,  3 inches wide from the midpoint of the roll line and 5 1/2 inches wide at the hem. 

Before I laid out and cut the fabric, I made sure the grain was straight.   The pictures above just show you a few steps that I took to make sure the grain was completely straight.

Interfacing: Before I installed the pockets and sewed the darts, I underlined the entire jacket with fusible weft interfacing cut on the same grain as the jacket.  It is a Rayon/polyester medium weight weft interfacing called "Perfect Fuse" from Palmer/Pletsch.
Stabilizing:  The jacket was steam pressed by hand to cause as much shrinking as possible beforehand.  This is not the only interfacing we'll be using for this jacket, horse hair braid and canvas will be used to further stabilize only the jacket front, should/breast and upper back and sleeve cap.  

Marking each piece was done after all underlining/interfacing was completed by placing the pattern tissue back on the fabric to check for any distortion and make sure the size was okay. then using tailor tacks or tailors chalk to mark placement lines, etc.  (With the interfacing in place, I was free to mark as needed without worry of show through.)
OOOPs!!!  Yeah!  I ran out of fabric, so this became a real Tim Gunn "Make it work." moment.  You will find out some of the places I actually made it work as the construction moves forward.
 Here you see I hand basted the chest pocket placement lines on the left front panel.
The single welt pocket was finished and hand stitched along the sides to secure the welt.  The pocket isn't shining, I think its the camera angle.  Do you see the dart under the pocket? 
Looking inside the chest pocket: you can see I have the base shell fabric on the bottom towards the body and the lining is actually on the top facing the jacket, but hidden from view when worn.
Stylish design lines: The picture above is of the jacket front.  The entire jacket is designed with upper and lower parts, which can be color blocked if desired.
Lower Pocket:  You see in this picture (which is upside down) the flaps have been sewn and placed and now it is time to sew the inseam pockets that are actually part of the waist seam.  The flap was cut with the none public side 1/8" smaller on each end to cause the seam to roll to the inside when turned.

 OOOOPs!!...do you see that??:  
More sleepy sewing.  I put the pockets off towards the back too much.  EEEkkk!!!  Wake up Andrea!!!
OKAY!! That it, I'm done!....Now I have gone and done it!  I put the pocket inside out!  Time to take a break and get back to this later.

Stay tuned in for the fitting and more "Make it work." moments.


  1. Tiredness will get you EVERY TIME. I swear it never fails. I'm so excited to keep following along. At the end of the day (read: years from now when I want to sew for money) I want to do menswear so this is very interesting :-)

    1. For sure...I sometimes wonder why I even use matching thread for the many times I have to rip seams because I can't see due to weariness. Oh, I am so glad you are enjoying my play-by-play. So glad its helpful.

  2. This is very interesting for me as I woud love to tailor a coat but am a bit hesitant on starting something that will take up so much hand stitching. Your suit is looking great. I love the pattern for this and think it will be very flattering when it is completed.

    1. You will get so much satisfaction out of suit making...even if you only make one maybe once per year or more, as in my case This pattern is a nice change..I was going to using color blocking, but that was something he wanted.


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