Late Summer Jacket – finding a suitable pattern!

It’s nice to be sewing again. I enjoy the whole process – the planning, the selection of materials, altering patterns, getting a good fit, and the sewing process, although my construction skills are a bit mediocre I must admit. But most of all I like “designing” a look – taking inspiration from fashion history or great designers and literature and art – and putting my own spin on it.

Coco Chanel white inspiration jacket

So I decided I wanted a summer jacket in a light colour, preferably pink, with darker buttons (more than one). Ideally in linen and with a soft, relaxed feel while also being fitted in the waist. I did actually start with ready to wear as if I can find what I want I will usually buy off the shelf. Also if you have an idea, even if you intend to make it yourself, trying on something similar can help you work out what you want. This Joules jacket was quite nice and I got them to order it in, in s6 (really I am size 8 or 10 in a jacket but the 8 was quite big, especially the sleeves). Initially it was a ridiculous price – around £150 but I knew it would go down in the sale, and eventually it was available for about £55, but it wasn’t exactly what I wanted. I found the real life pink a bit too deep (the swatch is more what I had in mind), the fabric was linen/cotton mix and I had this idea of five buttons not just one. So I passed.

I asked for pattern suggestions.

Sue N suggested the Gertie/Butterick 5962 pattern, allegedly based on the Bar jacket. In fact on her own blog Gerite writes:

I’ve spent many an hour on the internet looking for a pattern that would replicate the structure of the Bar Suit, to no avail. So I decided it would be the perfect starting point for one of my Butterick patterns!

My view is that it looks a bit like the Bar in the first photograph but I am not impressed with the technical drawing. The shaping in the front appears to be made by some nasty long darts that finish before the hem. The short sleeves make it look a bit like an overall.


Here are some of the other kind suggestions made by readers.  I love the cuffs on the Maia but otherwise the convertible collar is not what I want. I discounted the Simplicity 8461 as it didn’t have a collar.

I prefer the first three all have something going for them, and any would allow me to make a few alterations to make it resemble the Chanel jacket.

I have searched for all V 8087 and V1721 but they are out of print and while I could probably get a second hand copy from the US I guess I already own the V8333 and have been meaning to make it up for years.  Ruth suggested this would be a good basic design. In fact I have been meaning to make up this jacket ever since i bought it (about three years ago!) but didn’t know what fabric to make it up in.  I am so influenced by pattern envelope photographs that I  could only envisage this in a dark neutral! But I have some beigey yellow fabric that I could use for this jacket – as a wearable muslin just as it is. Then if it works well in terms of fit I could try again with some design variation.

Now the second idea is to use a 1997 Ungaro pattern. Ungaro worked for both Cristobal Balenciaga and André Courrèges before setting up his own house in 1965. He provided patterns for Vogue from the 1960s to the 1990s, and I have one that I rather like. The styling is certainly a bit dated, but I think I bought this because the jacket is cream!  I don’t like the sweetie pie, ice-cream look, especially against a pink background, but this jacket with a darker skirt or trousers maybe the one. You can see the context for this look, with many versions of the jacket, on a nice video of the SS 1997 Ungaro collection available on You Tube. 

Vogue 1977 Ungaro
1997 Vogue 1977 Ungaro


So here is what I am planning to do.

Idea One

Make up the Schaeffer in a light colour.

Vogue 8333 is not exactly the right design in that it is a more formal and structured than I had planned. But the lapels are wide, the front curves attractively (and this shape is flattering for women with curves) and I really love the little pocket pleat detail). It has three buttons but could be adapted for four.  I already have a dirty yellow-beige in my collection that includes linen – perhaps with silk or wool or both – that I bought when I was planning a light coloured jacket for my son Gus (the terrible, unfinished SWAP of 2017). I have a toning piece of yellowy linen that I thought would make good summer trousers or shorts (which he didn’t veto – “I would wear shorts in any colour”). Anyway it is lovely fabric if slightly greyed off for me – but not a warm shade of yellow so it should suit me too (although I suit brighter shades than my muted son Gus). I am going to toile the Schaffer jacket in this fabric. Just cut out my size, without alterations and sew it up fairly fast. Usually I prefer a proper tailored jacket, but I am going to try a quicker construction with fusibles etc. Maybe I can do bound seams rather than lining it – I will think about this. If it fits well I may make it up properly as a tailored work jacket with matching skirt or trousers for the autumn. I just want to check the style so I plan a quick soft-tailoring construction approach. But it might satisfy my craving for a 1940s Coco.

Idea Two

Adapt the Ungaro to make it more Chanel like.

  • shorten the jacket by about 3″, from thigh length to hip length,
  • slim over the waist on the front, back and side pieces
  • develop the cuff
  • create four rather than three button holes
  • change the outline shape of the collar
  • ignore decorative top stitching
  • change the shape and placement of pockets
  • add two breast pockets
  • add dark buttons

By then I may have sourced some appropriate linen fabric!

33 Responses

  1. Karen Kayes

    Love this post and all your research, those jacket patterns are lovely and both of your choices are good. I’ve made the V8333 myself, twice, in fact and it’s a great design but more boxy than the picture shows. Also the pockets might need a sturdy fabric to work best. Hope that helps.

  2. Joan

    I am rather taken with the jacket worn by Claudia Cardinale in Visconti’s film Sandra It’s not a film I have seen but the trailer has been doing the rounds as it has recently been shown at some London art house cinemas. The designer was Bice Brichetto who I have never come across before but the web site devoted to her shows her to have been an interesting woman with fingers in many artistic pies and many interesting friends including Susan Sontag and Franco Zeffirelli. One of the photos of her in later life shows her wearing rather extravagant Balenciaga I second the Merchant and Mills suggestion for pink linen. I also aways find Macculloch and Wallis good for linen but don’t know if they have any pink.

  3. eimear

    wonderful- its actually nearly like the jacket I want to make (and didnt realise until I read your post) – I used get jackets similar to this in charity shops in the 80s (where are they now) and I do reminisce on the fit (they were a 40s and 50s style)….. Looking forward to your progress (I think mine will be trawling online at jacket patterns for today!)

    • fabrickated

      I used to get 1920s flapper dresses in charity shops in the early 1970s and a few silk afternoon dresses from the 1930s and evening dresses. Then in the 1980s lots of war time dresses and then 1950s cotton floral full skirted numbers and some lovely 1960s dresses during the 1980s. But now the old things in charity shops just seem sad to me. Maybe its my age.

  4. Linda

    Meant to suggest a pattern for your consideration but didn’t get round to it; its Vogue2312 a Betty Jackson made in 2 lengths and you would have to convert from short to long sleeves. Love reading about all your research and am so pleased to hear that you are using the new sewing room x

    • fabrickated

      I like the look of that – but I think the shoulders would be a bit too prominent and would need altering Linda. During the 1980s they just extended the shoulder line too much compared to the 1930s, in my view.

  5. Rowena

    I’m hoping to do V8333 in the next couple of months as well – I’ve got a lovely bright navy wool sitting on my sewing desk. It would be an inspiration if you started on it!

  6. mrsmole

    Whatever you end up with it will be totally you! I like the fact that you start with the shape and drawings and then go hunting for the fabric instead of the other way around. Looking forward to seeing the muslin/toile and all the alterations your make…or hopefully not have to make too many! Just got back from a whirlwind tour of N. England and Wales and can finally get caught up on blogs that inspire like yours, Kate!

  7. Michelle

    Looking forward to following your progress on this new project. Hope you’re successful in sourcing just the right fabric.

  8. SewingTidbits

    I couldn’t resist and went to buy V1721 before I even finished reading your post. I would love to use it as a base to sew something similar to the opening look of the latest Dior Couture Fall, which is of course a reinterpretation of the Bar suit.
    I think you are going in the right direction with the Ungaro pattern if you want something similar to the one worn by Coco Chanel. It’s my understanding than the Bar was actually heavily structured and it doesn’t to be what you are trying to do!

  9. SJ Kurtz

    This reminds me that I do have the LaFred Maia jacket pattern, and maybe it’s time to start muslining it. It won’t do the nipped waist effect, it’s more the idea of the princess seam continuing down the front (I saw the original sample). Still a lovely make in a heavy raw silk weave.

  10. Annie

    Isn’t it good to have others’ opinions, there are some good suggestions here and they have helped to clarify your thoughts. It’s an interesting project and I look forward to following your progress.

    • fabrickated

      It is interesting to see what others see in a pattern. I am always strongly influenced by the envelope art/photographs, and then the period. I was also interested in how many people seem to have bought the V8333 (but not yet made it!)

  11. Karen of Fifty Dresses

    Your ideas for the Ungaro jacket seem completely reasonable and will update the design in positive ways. I agree that it is sometimes difficult to look past the pattern art/photos, but that pattern should make up beautifully for your purposes. Looking forward to seeing your decision!

  12. Sue

    This is quite a journey and I am very much looking forward to seeing what you decide. I love jackets and feel a bit sad that they no longer fit my lifestyle so I am going to live vicariously through you.

  13. jay

    I’m seeing the Chanel jacket as fairly unstructured. There’s shaping, but it doesn’t read as having the typical array of inner canvas pieces. My favourite features in it are the pockets (quite soft, bluffed on), the high buttoning with rounded revers and collar, and waist shaping. I’m looking forward to seeing how close you get with the Vogue – if a close version is what you’re going for that is.

    • fabrickated

      Thanks Jay. I agree with your analysis. What does bluffed on mean please? I am aiming to get a close copy but I shall have to model the collar I think. And at the moment I am not going to do much with the sleeves as they may be quite nice as they are, especially if they come up a bit long and I can just push them up or fold them over.

      • jay

        Bluffed on is just the way of stitching patch pockets from inside the pocket, but now I think about it Chanel probably handsewed them on – either way without top stitching. Isn’t the top pocket interesting, both for position and shape?

        • fabrickated

          Yes I thought it was interesting too – as you say artfully placed and a bit unexpected. I am keen to have nice pockets and always struggle with patch pockets but hand sewn is probably best for accuracy.

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