Things I’d Do For Love

When my husband asked me for a boy version of my WW2 Jacket, I immediately said “Of course, no problem, anything you want.”  That’s a way I show love.  Through hard work and bluster.  I’m not always good at the affection stuff, but I’ll work my ass off to show I care when given the chance.

Well.  Turns out drafting a block for his body was a little trickier than anticipated, because Maria Martin’s template is calibrated to accommodate female geometry (boobs).  For added fun, I decided to put his block together the morning before he left to go on a ten-day ecological field excursion up north.

On the whole, I considered it good enough to work with for a semi-fitted casual jacket.  My hurried sewing caused the funny business at the front sleeve.  The drafter worked perfectly on his hard to fit back.  I used a well-loved shirt pattern to get an idea for the front.  It’s enough to work with, though the lack of a front dart does bother me slightly.

Then I thought I’d tweak the front pieces a little, make a new sleeve and get started.

Not so fast….

I took the “muslin” apart, traced the edges, and squared off the bottom edge at the length we decided on.  Then I marked things like the waistline, etc.

Here’s the back, with the exterior and lining seamlines sketched out.  The back was easy.  I traced off each pre-marked section, added pleats where desired, and drew in the seamlines.

I pinned the new back pattern pieces and compared them to each other and to the “block.”  No problems.

Lila was unusually tolerant of my drafting activities, content to scribble on a copy of the pattern pieces I printed so I could write notes and keep track of the 47-odd pieces that make up the jacket.

The sleeve was similarly straight-forward.  I threw my own sleeve pattern on top to get an idea of dart placement.  I know this isn’t the best way to make it, but I think it should work fine.

The front gave me a little grief.  His chest is flatter than mine, with a less defined waist and taller shoulders.  Men have such simpler geometry.  I wasn’t sure if I marked the front lapel nicely, but the more I played with the CF, the overlap, the roll line and the lapel, the more confident I felt.  My “muslin” had no waist seam, and I very nearly made it straight.  Then I remembered the Parthenon- it appears to have straight lines though it’s made of curves.  So I curved the front waistline much like this diagram:

Then I lost the plot while trying to create a new collar.  I knew my collar won’t work on his jacket for two reasons- 1) Bigger neckline and 2) The lapels are proportionately larger on his jacket than mine.  Just a bit, but they are and if I just lengthened the original collar piece, it would look goofy.

Dear me.  I’ll sleep on it, often problems resolve themselves while I sleep.  Sometimes that’s from my own brain, and often it’s because a pattern junkie has read my post and replied to it while I’m snoozing.  Let me know if you can see what I’m doing wrong.  I dug around and found plenty of confusing websites devoted to collar drafting, and followed my Harriet Pepin.  I used the collar page.

I’ll use the same pocket and flap pieces from my jacket pattern, but that’s it.  I ended up re-drawing everything else.

I used Sherry’s instructions for prepping the shell, the facings and lining.  Her instructions for the pattern are amazing, I figure doing them twice in succession will help cement it in my mind.  I’d like to have the exterior, the lining, and the pockets assembled by the time he gets home.  I dare not go further.  Placement for the breast pockets will be a shot in the dark at best without him, and the body may need tweaking.

Now I beg for your expert opinions.  I like the camo lining; it’s not really on display in the finished jacket.  I think husband found it a little flashy and kitsch and longingly asked if I could use a plain.  I could, and use the camo for piping and pocket lining.  Of course it’s kitsch.  I don’t dispute that.  It’s also kind of funny, but it’s his jacket after all.  Should I use a plain lining?

Do you like the buttons?  They’re brass, shanked, and pretty cool.  The only slight problem is they’re 3/4″ and I preferred 1″.  Beggars can’t be choosers, but do you think that’s too small?  What if I used another button or two on the front closure?

I promise no more jacket posts for a few days at least.

Finally, what ridiculously nutty things have you done to impress a boy you like?


  1. Wow! That is indeed a lucky boy you have. I would go with his choice of lining, I fear, though I agree with you that the camo is way more fun. I like the buttons, too, but I feel you on the size. Although maybe the different look between the two jackets would be a good thing…My boy's family has some of the oddest ways of showing affection, including stealing each others' pepsi (yes, this shows affection) and badgering you into making them toast. I end up making a lot of toast. I also clean the house out of love… I can happily persist indefinitely in my own mess (not filth, mind you, just clutter) but it drives him nuts.I've tried sewing out of love, but while it works fairly well for the kids, not so much for the man…

  2. fabulous post…I'm really interested how the drafting is coming along! My boy wants a brown coat (a la Firefly)…so that should be fun as well!

  3. Oh, and re. your comment on my blog, I do too!As to the jackets, really it's a matter of the categories being too broad. Obviously you win in the "military-inspired vintage look" jacket category, while I win in the "excessively cute whimsical" category. Well, unless one of our kids gets to enter. They'd have me beat hands down.

  4. Boy, he'd better drop to his knees for this one :)I'd go with his choice for the plain lining – it's his coat, after all, right? He'll see it every day, so it would be a nice gesture to make it according to his taste.I once made pj's for my husband, and some shorts with lots and lots of pockets – unfortunately I put in the zipper on the wrong side (as for women's trousers). It must be love, he still wears them constantly ;) … and is probably reminded of me in more situations than he ever expected to ;)

  5. Umm, nothing that dramatic. But I do all sorts of ridiculous alterations and patching. I add pockets to coats, and pocket knife pockets to pants and turn trousers into bike pants and make baggy shirts slim. ( He used to drive a woman who did alterations for him absolutely batty.)

  6. I don't know… uprooting my life 8 years ago and traveling half way around the world to be his wife was probably the nuttiest thing. I figure that gives me at least another decade before I owe him any sewing. ;)

  7. I also show love by doing things for people….sadly, this does not extend to sewing. I'm still working out the kinks in sewing for myself! I'd have to agree with putting in the solid lining (men are just more comfortable with plain and boring) but I wanted to reassure you on the buttons. I think 3/4" buttons are fine and many suit jackets don't have large buttons in any case. I would compare the size to other jackets he has and use that to help make your decision.

  8. Wow! He must be something fabulous! That looks like a ton of work. I love the idea of the camo lining. (I think my husband would be all over it. He loves camo.) It is his jacket, so I say go with the plain lining but see if you can bug him into letting you use the camo for piping and pocket lining. The style of the jacket, the olive green and the brass buttons are probably enough military for most people.Can't wait to see how it turns out!

  9. Tanit-Isis- I definitely had a "huh" moment about Robin's reply. I get the toast and stealing thing, it's like "Here I am, pay attention to me!!"Cat- I pull that card sometimes, too. Like "I don't want to make dinner tonight, remember how I immigrated and bore you a beautiful child? " Heh heh… Then he'll make the dinner and say "Now we're even." You guys are right about the plain lining… I'll go get some. Once I get this blockfused and cut, the sewing should be a breeze. I just made one of these with all kinds of darts and tucks, this just has two darts.

  10. You're very sweet, to be making this jacket for your boy. :) I've never really made anything for any boyfriends, although I sort of want to make my brother a jacket. Don't know if he'd wear it, though. Need to (subtly) find out. It'd be nice to make him one out of our family tartan, but that might be a bit much. I hope this works out, despite the lack of Boy. I really like those buttons. I hope the smaller size works, because I think they'd look lovely with the green cord.

  11. What a wonderful gift to give your husband!I'm with Tanit-Isis on using plain lining. It will make him happy :) As for buttons, I was going to suggest putting them a little closer together. Then I reread your post and you've already thought of that! Maybe lay the buttons on the jacket front to test, before working buttonholes.When you draft the collar you could pad your dressform to hub's size (put a sweatshirt on it?) and drape the pieces on there to check proportions.

  12. Lucky him! I second the solid lining. D likes prints as long as they are some kind of peeping accent, not the whole kaboodle. …I don't naturally show love by serving/doing/making stuff but he loves when I sew for him, as he's a fashion nerd as much as I am. He keeps showing me things, going 'could you make this?!' and even though it's often way beyond the scope of my ability I dive right in. I love the buttons!

  13. Crazy thing to impress a man? Smoke, you hate smokers, no I don't smoke (but I did and I quit on the spot, ok well I had been trying to work up the will power for a year) but I never did smoke again. And the boy well he didn't last 3 months what a flake, haha. He really wasn't worth the sacrifice but I was!!!! For you, you husband better really appreciate this one.

  14. Well, you are sweet as well as talented! Lucky man. I agree about going with the plain lining he'll like, although I'd have more fun sewing a jacket with the camo lining too

  15. Nice project. Thanks for inviting us along! I love both jackets; and for lining, I'd go for a small plaid. It will show fewer stains but give you more interest. My husband loves the shirts and jackets I've made him–even a tailored suit once, that he wore to job interviews! It was a work of poverty. Nothing else would have motivated me, but it was interesting and I loved the wool tweed fabric. Good fabric covers all sins. My funniest boyfriend project was the first man's shirt I'd made. I couldn't believe that his arms were 33 inches long from the shoulder, so I shorted the sleeves. They ended at his elbows! Men's shirt sleeves measure from the nape of the neck! Oops. We laughed until we both cried, but I was able to take the cuffs off so he got a short sleeve shirt. All's well that ends well… Kristina in Ohio

  16. If you really pine for 1" buttons you could glue a brass washer to the backs of the buttons to make them wider.I can't wait to see the finished project!

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