Saturday, February 12, 2011

Vogue 1198 - Sandra Betzina Motorcyle-Style Jacket

You might remember back in November I won some beautiful boiled wool in Sandra Betzina's coat/jacket contest. The fabric, donated by Stone Mountain and Daughter, is a hard-to-describe royal blue/periwinkle color. (I first referred to it as purple, but it really is more of a royal blue.)

I decided it was fitting to make this fabric up using a Sandra Betzina pattern. I chose Vogue 1198, View B, which I'd been wanting to make since the motorcycle-inspired jacket pattern came out last fall. I also felt it was fitting to purchase the notions from Stone Mountain, who donated the fabric, so I headed off on New Year's Day to buy zippers, thread, and maybe a piece fabric, or two. ;)

I recently reviewed the Palmer/Pletsch DVD, "Full Busted?," and I applied techniques from the DVD to this pattern.


One of the biggest tricks I learned from the DVD is how to prepare a tissue pattern so you can use it as a fitting tool. I usually do a rough fitting using the tissue pattern, and then do a final fitting in a test fabric. Previously, I found it difficult to get a good fit in tissue without ripping it to shreds. The Palmer/Pletsch technique worked fairly well. I did spend much longer than usual fitting the final jacket, but I saved the muslin stage, so it was worthwhile. I certainly knew that the final jacket would be large enough to make fitting possible and that is critical.

Supplies and Notions:

  • Royal blue boiled wool from Stone Mountain and Daughter
  • Royal blue pebbled Vera Wang silk from FabricMart for the lining. (Purchased last June, originally for another project. I bought this Vera Wang fabric in both pebbled and non-pebbled versions, but the pebbled was closer when I grabbed for it. :) )
  • Black, lightweight fusible interfacing
  • Scrap of cotton/rayon fabric for interfacing the hem.
  • 24" YKK zipper - "Brastique" in black. (The pattern calls for a 20" zipper, but I knew I would be lengthening the jacket as part of the FBA process.)
  • Two 7" YKK zippers - "Brastique" in black
  • 1/4" Wonder Tape
  • Black wool batt from Living Felt.
  • Needle felting tools (needles, foam, Janome FM725 felting machine)

Alterations and Modifications:

  • Lowered the bust fullness 4.5". (Which was a bit too much, but I was able to fix this when fitting the final fabric version.)
  • 3" Princess seam FBA.
  • After fine tuning the fit, I decided to omit the gathered back belt.
  • Narrowed the cuff 1".
  • Removed fullness at the side hip.
  • In the final fitting, I removed some of the fullness from under the bust, down to the hip, at the front princess and side seams. On the princess seam, I removed fullness from the side panel only because the bottom of the left front was already quite narrow and I didn't want to interfere with the line.
  • Though I am a huge fan of topstitching, I didn't want it for this project. The zipper pockets are supposed to secure the zipper using topstitching, but I hand picked both zippers. This also avoided any risk of needle breakage on the brass teeth of these substantial zippers.
  • At the very end, I shaved off 1/2" from each shoulder, before attaching the sleeves.
  • The first time I hemmed the jacket, I was not happy with it. It was too unsupported, so, inspired by Ann Rowley, I frogged the hem and made a proper, interfaced hem. The result is so much nicer. :)

    Interfaced hem, in progress

More Needle Felting!

Tszuj it up!

As I was working on this jacket, I had the nagging feeling that I needed to tszug it up a bit. I was pondering over various techniques when Annette, one of my favorite reviewers on Pattern Review, and who is participating in the "12 Jackets in 12 Months" sew-along on Stitcher's Guild, became inspired by my needle felted jacket.

The concept of dry felting was new to Annette, but she eagerly jumped into it with both feet, and I advised her on her first order of supplies. She was then gifted with a needle felting machine and, within a week or two, she had completed a new coat, which featured a needle felted collar. I loved the camouflage-style design she created. (The clever girl couldn't wait for her wool roving order to arrive for the coat, so she felted the collar using dryer lint created when she machine washed/dryed the brown Shetland wool.)

She gave me ideas. :)

I immediately ordered the same needle felting machine she was using, a 5-needle Janome FM725, which is for sale on many sites at a clearance price (they have to make way for newer models). I bought mine from, so shipping was free.

While waiting for the machine to arrive, I wanted to get started with the needle felting on my collar and cuffs. I used the black wool batt I bought from Living Felt for my last project. (It as part of their monochrome set, but one of the only colors I did not use for that project.) I played with a free-form technique using both a single needle and the 4-needle tool that I purchased after completing my last project.

I made several samples before I was ready to start on the actual garment pieces. The samples were critical to the process, because I really didn't know what I was doing, but I liked how the samples were turning out, so I felt ready to attack the actual pieces. To prepare the final collar and cuff pieces, I fused interfacing to the back and then proceeded to apply the batt in the "squiggle" free form design that I had practiced.

See? I can do things besides circles. :)

The collar and two cuffs took me an evening to felt. At the end of the evening, I had broken several needles, but the swirls of black batting were fairly securely tacked. The wool was not as "melded" into the fabric as I wanted, but I knew I could accomplish that pretty easily once the felting machine arrived.

You've heard how long it took for the felting machine to arrive, so the project languished a bit. Once it came, I was delighted how quickly I was able to meld the black fibers thoroughly into the collar and cuffs. It's such a satisfying process.

Cuff on top was hand felted. Cuff on bottom after machine felting. I really wanted to meld the fiber into the fabric and was able to accomplish that with the machine.

Finally, the jacket could be finished. But wait, work intruded with an all-weekend emergency. As soon as I delivered my part of that project, I immediately came down with some form of plague and sewing was out of the question. I am still not over it, but am functioning, thank goodness.

So I persevered and it's done! WOOT! Jacket #2 is complete, at last. :D

Wearing the collar open

OK, I've bathed, put on make up, but I still look sick. At least I hope that's my sick look. ;)


  1. I LOVE that!!! I just love moto style jackets. I am planning to make one, but I am afraid it will already be too warm here to wear it by the time I get it finished.

  2. This fits you so perfectly. And the felting is the perfect touch to give the jacket your personal touch. I'm excited to get my machine out and try it on some beautiful purple boiled wool found at FabriX Wednesday. Wish you could have been there with us!

  3. Beautiful jacket and love the felting. Almost makes me want to get one of those felting machines.

  4. Your version ROCKS!!!! And looks fabulous on you. I cannot resist a fun new technique; now you've got me hooked on the need to explore FELTING! I am so weak..... So much to do, to learn......

  5. I am with Jilly Be, fabulous and a great color for you. I too am getting weaker. Typically I procrastinate about a 'trendy' thing til it is just passed the peak and then I jump in, only to be a day late and a dollar short. So I am going to resist, yes I am! I do not have one more inch of space in my sewing room

  6. Lovely jacket, shams! I bought the DVD as well and have been applying some of the techniques to my sewing too. Thanks for the recommendation.

    I'm glad you're feeling better. I'm sure the big work project didn't help at all. Get some rest this weekend and you'll be good as new soon.

  7. Wow!!! Your needle-felting is awesome, as is the sewing on this gorgeous jacket!

  8. Shams, your jacket with the felted collar is just amazing. That is really one of the most stylish jackets I have seen. You and Annette are both my mentors-in-cyberspace.

    Karen aka Karendee

  9. How great is that? I love this jacket and now i want one, too. Maybe it will be one of my twelve jackets in 2011. I was inspired by your review of the P/P DVD so I got the Fit For Real People Basics DVD. It was really helpful to see the concepts demonstrated.

  10. Very cool jacket! The felting really makes it special. Great job on this!

  11. Great fitting and looking jacket. Nice touch with the feling. I have had my machine forever and really need to pull it out and play some more with it. Your previous coat and this jacket are inspiring me to try it again.

  12. Great jacket. Your fit process is perfect - your jacket fits you like a good, fast motorcycle! I am still 'stuck' in the muslin phase of sewing, but so glad to hear of success with just the tissue fitting. Looking forward to whatever other beautiful creations you sew. Also, glad you are feeling better - no body likes to be sick.

  13. That's another great jacket. Love the felting on the jacket cuff and collar!

  14. Kathleen O'Brien (klauren designs)February 13, 2011 at 8:33 PM

    What a great jacket - perfect on you - the color WOW! That needle felting machine is an object of jealousy - how do I talk the dh into another machine?? Keep up the amazing work - looking forward to more great jackets.

  15. Your felting just makes this jacket! (Though the fit and color are nothing to complain about, either!) I'm resisting the temptation to take the grocery money and get your amazing (if wander-prone) machine . . .

  16. Gorgeous! The felting is an inspired touch... and looking forward to your next amazing jacket!

  17. the felting rocks. You were wise to restrain yourself. Just perfect.

  18. The felting is so special, like others said, it makes the jacket. wonderful work.

  19. Wonderful jacket. Great fit, beautiful color and unique felted embellishment. I think I like the pattern made up in boiled wool better than the recommended traditional fabrics.

  20. Just discovered your blog. The jacket is lovely and very flattering.

  21. Beautiful felting,love the neat look and the fit is great!

  22. As usual, I am so impressed with everything you sew! I don't know if you go back and look at these older posts, but if you do, can you tell me what pattern you used for the pants you are using in these photos? I love them! (I already have the jacket pattern, but now it looks like I need the pants pattern, too!)

  23. Thanks, Janet! I believe those are pants I bought in an Israeli boutique. But I made a very similar pair from a Burda pattern. You can see my Burda 7344 here: