Tuesday, August 2, 2011

McCalls 6294 - Black Jacket

More pics

I've been needing (and wanting) a black jacket for years. (A black coat too, for that matter, but it must wait for another day.) But I keep making outerwear that is more "visually interesting." I love my unique jackets and coats, but sometimes you just need black.

In fact, I wanted to use this pattern for my fall 6-pack but before I cut into my special Emma One Sock fabric, I tested it out in this black, novelty J.N.Y. (Jones New York) fabric from FabricMart. (As of this writing, they have another 10 yards.)

This novelty fabric, an acrylic wool blend, is very unusual. The right side is almost a textural plaid, where the plaid is formed by smooth and fuzzy areas. The reverse side is shiny. I am not a fan of shiny, so I used the right side. When you cut it, it sheds fluff. It looks something like a boucle, but it is not. It behaves as if it is primarily a metallic fiber. It is not a particularly soft fabric, especially the shiny side, so it's a good candidate for a lined garment. It's weird, but I like weird.

The fabric is somewhat sheer. Because I did not want the polka dot lining to show through, I fused the entire jacket with black Angel Weft interfacing from Apple Annie's. I really love Angel Weft and must thank Kathryn of I Made This! for the recommendation. Angel Weft retains the hand of the fabric - it does not make the fabric stiff when fused. (If you don't know Kathryn's blog, you should. Everything she makes is utterly impeccable.)


  • J.N.Y. Novelty weave, wool blend from FabricMart: 32% Acrylic, 32% wool, 37% nylon, 9% polyester. (812735)
  • Lining: Black and white, rayon twill polka dot border print from Gorgeous Fabrics. A more wiggly, ravelly fabric has not been known to man. But it was polka dots!
  • Angel Weft interfacing, in black, from Apple Annie's.
  • Hook closure from Britex.

Alterations and Modifications:

  • 3" Princess seam FBA in the side front.
  • Narrowed the shoulder by 3/4".
  • Removed the hip shaping making it more rectangular - more like me.
  • Nipped the side seams and front princess seams in 1/4" at the waist to give it a tiny bit of shaping. This little tweak created a more flattering, less boxy, silhouette.
  • Shortened the sleeve by 3/4". (I first shortened the sleevy by 1-1/2", but it was too short and I had to back it off by 3/4".)

Construction Notes:

  • When I did the FBA, I goofed. When performing an FBA, after altering the side front pattern piece, it becomes longer. You then have to lengthen the center front pattern piece by the same amount so the pieces will fit together. I accidentally lengthened the side front instead - so the side fronts were too long and the center fronts were too short. I had cut out the entire body of the jacket and fused each piece with interfacing before I realized my mistake. Because I had enough leftover fabric, I re-cut the front pieces to the correct length, and I cut the pockets out of the former front pieces. I also shortened the side fronts to the proper length. Rather than re-cut the front facings, I pieced them to the correct length. It was merely an annoying mistake and not a disastrous one.
  • As directed, the pockets are not lined. I lined them.

    Lined pockets. These pockets are sewn into the front princess seam, so the inner edges are left raw.

  • The collar was too wide. I narrowed it at the points by approx 1.5".

    Amount I cut away from the collar points

  • This pattern is designed not to close. I believe this jacket is inspired by a very popular Givenchy jacket from 2008. The Givenchy jacket uses a hook closure at the bust and I also used a single closure at the bust line.

    Auditioning closures

  • Final closure


I was considering this jacket for my Fall 6-pack. Now that I've tested it out in this fabric, I think I will find another pattern for that project. It's fine and I will use it, but it's not quite what I had in mind. Also, this jacket is a bit snug through the back. I started with my usual size 18, and tried on the pattern tissue and the in-process jacket many times, but once I put the sleeves on, it was too snug. If I use this pattern again, I need to do a narrow back adjustment, which is unusual for me.


Worn closed

Worn open

Polka-dot lining peeping out

I lightened the photo a tad so you can see the interesting seaming at the back.


  1. You look great in your new jacket. I think the style really suits you even if it isn't what you had in mind for your wardrobe plan. Thanks for providing all the details. I enjoy your blog.

  2. I love those closures!

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  3. Great jacket, Sharon...love the fabric. I, too am a secret polkadot freak...I'm wearing b/w polkadot pants this summer and, even as we speak, I am using the same fabric to do Hong Kong finish on the jacket I'm making. It's kinda like wearing red underwear...nobody knows it's there but me!

  4. That is smart. I love the back seaming, the closures and the lining, and the shape is really good on you. How does the fabric feel? It looks really interesting, but sounds a bit unforgiving to wear.

  5. Kbenco, The fabric is ok to wear. Not particularly soft, but it's fine. (The right side of the fabric is definitely softer than the wrong side.) The lining is nice to the touch. :)

  6. This pattern arrived in my mailbox earlier this wweek so it's great to see your version. Nice job.

  7. Great job! I love polka dots almost as much as I love animal prints. :) I'll be attempting my first jacket sometime soon. I just need to find the fabric first.

  8. Your jacket is wonderful, Shams. I love the seaming details and that rocking polkadot lining. And thank you so much for the shout out about my 'blog and lovely compliments on my sewing. I'm blushing mightily! :)

  9. Gorgeous! Sharon you never disappoint... when you say "black jacket" one pictures something utilitarian and boring, but this is anything but! I love the plaid, and it is a perfect print to showcase that interesting triangular feature at the back. And the lining is very fun. I would be wanting to flip it open every now and again to show it off...

  10. Looks good Shams -- I love that lining! And, the interesting point in the back -- nice use of fabric positioning.

  11. Very interesting jacket, both the fabric and the design lines of the pattern. I am glad you brought the lapels down in size, I like your version much better. You did your usual wonderful execution and it looks great on you (granted not as funky as your usual), but very versatile style.

  12. So this is your "black jacket?" Hmmm, I was anticipating something corporate and boring like I used to wear back in the day. This is wonderful! Love the seaming with the fabric you selected. I'm going to have to reconsider this pattern.

  13. Sharon, another winner in the jacket column. I love the seams in the back. I too love weird fabric.

  14. Love this jacket on you, and the pattern shows such interesting seaming details that I've added it to the list I'm making for the Stitchers' Guild 6-PAC :-)

  15. That jacket is amazing! I love the fabric, the cut, everything. Although it may FEEL too snug, this isn't showing up in the photos. It looks great on you. Bravo!

  16. As usual you've taken a very distinct fabric and made it your own. I never looked twice at that fabric on FMs site and yet you've made a stunning jacket from it. And I have a couple of yards of that black and stripe fabric...bought it to line a fall/winter dress.

  17. What a great recovery from a serious cutting mishap. The fit is amazing -- very impressive! You've got me rethinking the whole concept of "black jacket" -- this interesting result is *not* what comes first to mind!

  18. Thanks for all the details. I am in love with the back details and the fabric. What a great jacket!

  19. Great jacket. I love the polkadot lining!

  20. I love, love, love this. Your version is sooo much cooler and more interesting than the pattern envelope. Good eye you have to see it and see it better. Love your wardrobe.

  21. Cool! I like this a lot! It fits you wonderfully, and is so flattering! I hope you get a lot of wear out of this.

  22. Love the closure you picked -- I would have picked that one myself -- and the one on the far left hand side of the picture of the "audition". Hmmmmm, I may need to locate some of those, assuming they are still available. :)

  23. That's a lovely jacket = very interesting details - love the lining and the closure!

  24. Looks great on you! I love your unique fabric choices. You wear them all so well. The closure is dynomite!

  25. Absolutely love this jacket! I have the pattern and am now inspired to USE it!