How I Created The Madeline Jacket {The Flora Modiste Sewing Projects}

The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Featured Image

Alas, we have a brand new sewing project! And, as always, we have a brand new sewing tutorial coming your way too. (Stay tuned next week, I will be teaching you how to sew a sleeve. Properly, of course--Because it's not as easy as it sounds.) But for now--I am SO proud to introduce our newest sewing project: The Madeline Jacket!

This velvet beauty has been on my mind for a while now. I inherited this majestic (too much? I think not) burgundy velvet a few years back, and have been holding on to it for something special. And then earlier this fall it hit me.

I was wearing this cropped waxed canvas jacket I have worn religiously for YEARS.. And it just looked so worn. But not in a cool way. And then my next thought: CROPPED VELVET JACKET.

While it might be unimaginable for many of you to wear a lightweight cropped jacket at the beginning of March.. It is seriously the perfect time for it here in San Diego. Our "cold" months have passed, but the rain hasn't yet started. We have this perfect little 2 month period where it's cool enough to wear a jacket, but it isn't rainy enough to ruin said velvet jacket.

So in comes the Madeline.

The design of the jacket itself is pretty minimal. It's basically just a cropped jacket with a notched collar, princess seams, and welt pockets. And I added in an exposed zipper for closure, although I don't expect to ever really use it.

The jacket is lined (of course!) with a woven striped hemp/organic cotton blend for some additional structure as well. (If you remember, you've seen this fabric before..)

There isn't anything particularly unique about the design of the Madeline, but that's kind of the beauty of it.

It's functional. I can throw it on and just go. And having a minimal design allows the beautiful velvet to really, really shine. The velvet fabric basically IS the design.

(Ready to learn how to sew a sleeve? It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Download our step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve today--With tips & tricks on how to properly fit a sleeve included!) The Madeline Jacket: Learn How To Sew A Sleeve + Fitting Tips & Tricks The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Full Front View

The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Construction Details

But don't get me wrong--Just because the design is basic, doesn't mean it was easy to put together. There is A LOT that goes into a jacket.

If you're wearing a lined jacket or coat right now, take a moment. Look down at the coat, gently place your hands on the fabric, and repeat after me: "I know A LOT of time and effort went into making you. To the seamstress who put you together, thank you."

When sewing up a lined jacket, you are basically sewing up TWO jackets: The outer self and the inner lining. And not only are you sewing up two jackets, you then have to sew the two together properly.

It's not an easy task.

Oh--And all properly sewn jackets and coats have interfacing too, to help hold the shape of the jacket. So not only are you essentially sewing two different jackets, you're cutting the pattern out three different times: The outer self, the inner lining, and the fusible interfacing.

It's not uncommon for a single jacket or coat to have up to 50 individual pattern pieces. (For reference, the Madeline has 42 pattern pieces!) So yah.

This is why The Madeline is only the second outerwear project we have ever done here on TFM. There is a lot that goes into it. Which is also why I LOVE outerwear--It's actually what I emphasized in my final collections at FIDM. And why I went to work at an outerwear company when I lived in NYC.

(Ready to learn how to sew a sleeve? It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Download our step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve today--With tips & tricks on how to properly fit a sleeve included!) The Madeline Jacket: Learn How To Sew A Sleeve + Fitting Tips & Tricks The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Full Side View

Jackets and coats are unique because of how much work goes into them. But they are also unique in that they are worn more than any other piece in your closet.

Think about it--While you mix and match your outfits each day, you usually grab the same coat. (Or potentially mix it up between a few.)

But outerwear gets SO much more use than any other garment in your closet, truly.

Which makes all the work that goes into them actually worth it. (Or if you're more of a RTW girl, it makes how much you pay for them worth it. Because I guarantee it's probably going to be a lot.) All of this leads me to my next point:

Sewing & drafting the Madeline wasn't easy.

But for basically my first shot at the pattern (the final velvet Madeline is MUCH different than the initial muslin sample I sewed up) I think it looks pretty good.

If I were to do one final version of the Madeline I would probably do a few things differently. I would make it a teeny tiny bit longer (only an inch or two) to give the inseam welt pockets a little more space. The notched collar might be a little smaller.

But other than those small adjustments.. I love everything about the jacket. I love the contrast of the burgundy velvet with the unique striped lining--It's kind of perfect. The jacket is lightweight without being bulky. And it's definitely going to be an eye catcher.

(Ready to learn how to sew a sleeve? It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Download our step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve today--With tips & tricks on how to properly fit a sleeve included!) The Madeline Jacket: Learn How To Sew A Sleeve + Fitting Tips & Tricks The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Cropped Close Up

The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve): What Goes Into A Coat?

Which leads me to.. That beautiful velvet. While the finished product is absolutely beautiful.. The fabric was so difficult to work with.

It would slip with every single movement, and stretched out so incredibly easily. (Which resulted in a slightly misshapen notched collar.. If you look closely. But don't.)

The stretching of the velvet was probably the most difficult issue, which I definitely did not foresee or prepare for. And since the lining I chose (that hemp & organic cotton blend) is a woven--You guessed it:

The lining fabric didn't stretch at all.

So making up the difference between the two was a bit of a challenge. And if I had to sew the project up again, I would definitely account for some sort of stretch allowance.

Which is just a good thing to keep in mind in general really, when combining knit and woven fabrics in a jacket. The stretch of the knit NEEDS to be accounted for!

So while this project was definitely one of the more challenging ones we have done here at TFM, and had its variety of problems to solve.. I still absolutely love how it turned out.

(Ready to learn how to sew a sleeve? It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Download our step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve today--With tips & tricks on how to properly fit a sleeve included!)The Madeline Jacket: Learn How To Sew A Sleeve + Fitting Tips & Tricks The Madeline Jacket Sewing Project (How To Sew A Sleeve) Side View

And finally, the namesake for the Madeline.

If you have been following TFM for any length of time, you know I am a BIG reader. A lot of our projects are named after authors and my favorite characters from novels. (Say hi to The Dany, The Clark Crop Pant, & The Tartt Racerback--Just to name a few.)

The Madeline is no exception to this theme, and is named for the author Madeline Miller.

Madeline Miller is a new(ish) author, most notably known for her historical fantasy novel Circe. I absolutely fell in love with this novel, it was just phenomenal. After reading up Circe, I picked up another of her popular novels, The Song of Achilles.

And was, yet again, absolutely blown away.

Miller has this unique style of writing, of telling stories that we all know, in only the way she can. We all know how the story of Achilles ends.. Yet I couldn't stop reading her telling of his story. And it was the same way with Circe.

I think there is something so beautiful in recreating something in your own image. In telling the story we have heard a thousand times before, but in a way so captivating that it feels brand new.

Kind of like the Madeline Jacket--A design that has been seen a hundred times before.. But this velvet beauty is all her own.

If you have yet to read either of these novels by Madeline Miller, I encourage you to run to your local bookstore now and pick them both up. Now. And stay tuned--A brand new sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve is coming next week!

(Ready to learn how to sew a sleeve? It's not as easy as it sounds, trust me. Download our step-by-step sewing tutorial on how to sew a sleeve today--With tips & tricks on how to properly fit a sleeve included!)The Madeline Jacket: Learn How To Sew A Sleeve + Fitting Tips & Tricks

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