Monday, January 27, 2014

Barn Jacket finished!

This weekend I was in Winchester, VA, at a sewing retreat organized by the Northern Virginia Chapter of the American Sewing Guild (ASG). I've been on these retreats before, most recently last January, and really enjoy them for the burst of inspiration and productivity I get. More about the retreat itself in another post; right now I want to share one of the projects I made on the retreat: my Barn Jacket.
I had intended to make a muslin before leaving on the retreat, to save time, but a nasty head cold sapped my energy in the week prior, so I ended up doing the whole thing at the retreat. And I'm actually pretty glad I did, because it gave me the opportunity to tap some really smart brains (thanks, Monica!!) to analyze the muslin and help me improve the fit.
There were three issues with the muslin:
  • The sleeves were too tight at the bicep
  • The armhole was too high
  • It was too tight across the upper back
Now, if I were home with access to the computer and my printer, I would have just pressed a few buttons, made the adjustments, and printed out a new pattern. But that wasn't an option, so I had to figure out how to do it manually. Monica was a tremendous help, suggesting how to make the changes to the sleeves and bodice. Then I started cutting and assembling. I got most of it done by Saturday night, and on Sunday finished inserting the lining and adding the snaps.

Yeah, I was happy to get it done. Now that I'm home, I was able to take some more pictures and show some details.

There's only a bust dart in the front bodice, and a shoulder dart in the back.

The pockets. These were copied from inspired by the Green Pepper Frenchglen Barn Jacket, and someone with the pattern was kind enough to tell me how they were assembled. And it turned out to be very simple.

I love the "handwarmer" pocket feature. I used polar fleece on the back side of the pocket, so this makes the pockets extra cozy. Both front pockets have this feature.

The back of the jacket. See the ridge along the center back seam? That's where I made the adjustment for extra room across the back. The original pattern had a straight back, cut on the fold. Instead, I made it a shaped back seam, with a little more room right between the arms, where I needed it.

Here's the pattern piece, showing how I added the curved seam, along with about 1/2" more the rest of the way down. The neckline stayed the same. You can also see where I dropped the armhole about an inch. I made the changes because I was going to be using a quilted lining, and the added bulk would have pinched the arms and armhole otherwise.

The interior is a pre-quilted polyester fabric. I used the same fabric to make pockets for both inside flaps: open ones at the top, and zippered ones at the bottom.

For the collar, I used fleece for the upper rather than canvas, to keep it more comfortable around my neck. I didn't use any interfacing in the collar at all.

The best part about the coat is that it was all done at the machine, even inserting the lining. The lining was attached at the neck edge first, then at the hem. The sleeves were pulled out through the front openings and machine-stitched (it still feels like I'm sewing a Kline bottle when I do this... it all aligns properly but it always feels like magic!). Then the front edges were stitched (you can see the stitching line in the last picture).

All in all, I am extremely happy with how the coat turned out. It's my first official "Make a Garment a Month Challenge" garment, and I'm happy that I knocked it out of the park. Of course, the only issue is that now Bob wants one as well. But now that I've made one, I'm more confident making one for him.

For the PatternMaster crowd, here are the settings I used:
  • Classic jacket
  • Button placket
  • Jewel neck
  • Fitted side seam
  • Straight back
  • Straight hem
  • Armhole depth 1 (manually lowered to 2)
  • Set-in sleeve
  • Tapered
  • Pleated cuff
  • Convertible collar, 2.5 inch width
  • Ease: Chest 5, waist 2, hip 5


  1. Your jacket looks great! Thank you for the detailed pictures and descriptions.

  2. I'll bet the polar fleece collar is softer on you neck than one made out of the outer fabric would be. Lovely job! It looks wonderful

  3. Fabulous! Your attention to detail really paid off in a spectacular garment.

  4. Fabulous! That is my kind of jacket. I am an ASG member too in Idaho. :) Love ASG! ~Teri

  5. Wonderful jacket and wonderful time together. I am already anticipating the next retreat.

  6. Beautiful, love your work! Very well done.

  7. LOVE your barn jacket! Your attention to all the details makes for a perfect barn jacket, not only in 'looks', but in comfort. Very nice.

  8. What a fabulous jacket (and it's green; how could it be anything but fabulous!). I couldn't truthfully say it's inspired me to make one of my own because it's probably not something I would use a lot, but the tips and tricks you have outlined are very useful and I'm sure could be adapted for all sorts of things. So thank you very much for sharing.


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