Jacket: Butterick B6256

Skirt: McCalls M7279

Fabric: Wool blend tweed from Denver Fabrics; original silk charmeuse lining from Thai Silks; replacement lining from Susan Khalje. 

I bought this beautiful tweed fabric years ago - shortly after I made my first two classic French jackets. In my heart of hearts, I knew that this fabric required the softness and flexibility that comes from the classic French technique of quilting the lining directly onto the back of the fashion fabric. I also knew that the classic French technique takes many, many hours of work, so I left the fabric to age in my stash.

When Butterick B6256 was released in 2015, I fell in love with the jacket. I tissue fit the pattern, then fit it again in muslin. The multiple pieces in the yoke were not conducive to the classic French technique (or, so I thought!) Instead, I followed classic “soft tailored” couture techniques by sewing the jacket with underlining and lining.

I hated it. The jacket was stiff, and the portrait collar was so confining I couldn’t drive in it.

I had just enough fabric left for a skirt, but not enough for the 7-panel princess seamed skirt included in the B6256 pattern. Instead, I used the straight skirt pattern from McCall's M7279 (now sold as Butterick B6849.) This time, I quilted the lining and made a petersham-faced waistband. I loved the skirt, but the jacket languished in my closet.

This year, I’ve been culling from my closet items that I no longer wear. Those pieces whose fabric I love, I have been upcycling into new clothing. Therefore, I reached for my seam ripper and got to work on the jacket. I took the jacket completely apart, steamed the old tweed pieces and started over. I also re-fit the jacket muslin (I’d lost weight). The classic French jacket technique requires very larger – 1” -2” seam allowances. While I had – barely – enough seam allowance in the tweed (in some places, as small as ⅝”), the lining pieces were too small for the quilting technique. I purchased new lining and started quilting. Admittedly, it was a bit fussy to assemble --- many of the pieces in the yoke area only had one small line of quilting --- but patience won the day.

The finished jacket is every bit as soft and flexible as it should be. I love it – the only problem is that I’ll have to wait until next winter before it is cold enough to wear it!  

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