Saturday, June 23, 2012

Starting at the Beginning: The Bonnie Prince Charlie Jacket

I've been a busy bee sewing up a storm over here at My Happy Sewing Place.  You may recall that I set out at the beginning of June to make the Big 4.  I hope you're not too disappointed that this became more realistically paired down to the Big 2 including the Bonnie Prince Charlie Kilt Jacket and the white tie waistcoat.  I know you're probably bummed that I didn't have time to make up my Gilda gown or garden party dress but I know you're a resilient bunch.  Plus, given that I already have two gowns in my wardrobe and quite a few dresses (and hats) that could pass for a garden party, I figured it was best to focus my attention on the man who would be crossing the graduation stage!

So let's start at the beginning...

This was entirely a joint sewing project with David (and of course help from our esteemed sewing assistant, Echo).  David cut out all the fabric for both the muslin and the final jacket and waistcoat.  The Bonnie Prince Charlie Jacket has a lot of pieces including jacket, lining and interfacing pieces.

Echo was the perfect pattern weight.  Any time we laid out the fabric she was on it in 5 seconds flat!  We used a nice mohair/wool blend for the muslin (which we will revisit to make another Bonnie Prince Charlie jacket) and 100% British wool for the final jacket.

You can sort of see from the photo that the British Wool is a delicious midnight blue colour and we used black duchess satin for the lapel.  I am super excited because David's going to do a guest post tomorrow about the whole process of sewing up the jacket, waistcoat and bowtie together.  It's a fantastic story filled with highs and lows, tears, sheer will, late nights, seam rippers and silly photos.  There were no divorce papers--on the contrary, doing what I call high-stakes sewing (i.e. big events like graduation, weddings, etc.) has been an amazing experience albeit one that we'll probably only do once (teehee).  But I'll let David tell you all about that story....


  1. I love that. You and your David are a real team, letting diversity draw you together not apart. A great inspiration to us all!

  2. HouseofpinheiroJune 23, 2012 9:52 PM

    How sweet . I loved how your love for sewing is shared with the love of your life. Looking foward to tomorrows post

  3. How exciting!  I love that you guys sewed together!  Looking forward to David's post!

  4. Oh I can't wait for David's guest post tomorrow! It's so lovely that he has embraced your passion for sewing guys make an unbeatable team!

  5. Lovely. Very nice of David. Not a lot of men can do what he is doing. I encourage mine to join me in the design process which he does sometimes.

  6. Rachel ProffittJune 24, 2012 3:27 AM

    Now I can't wait to hear about it!
    And it is lovely to see a couple work together- something I think doesn't happy nearly enough ;)
    And I love the pattern weight.  The only problem with pattern weights like that, is that they usually do not want to go where you need them ;)  She's very cute though :)

  7. Wow, he's brave!  I don't see Trent cutting out the pattern pieces, even if it were for a garment for him!  He'd be happy to contribute to the process though by making plenty of coffee and cooking yummy meals though!  Can't wait to see the progress, and Hi to Echo!

  8. Katrina BlanchalleJune 25, 2012 6:28 PM

    Oh, there are soooo many pattern pieces! It is scary! Lucky thing you have Echo to help.

  9. I'm having trouble finding the rest of the story. I'd love to hear how the sewing went for David. I made one jacket and need advice for lengthening the pattern for a 2nd jacket (I can't find adjustment lines to cut the pattern...)

  10. Hi Don! Here's the link to the rest of the story: It turned out well. there were a few hiccups along the way (in the form of pesky sleevecaps and collar corners) but overall we were very happy with the way the jacket turned out. I want to make another one as well. Your question about where to lengthen the pattern is a good one as it's such a tricky design! We ended up lengthening about 1 inch and I ended up lengthening the bottom part of the upper jacket (i.e. right about where the vent opens) before it attached to the lower flaps as David has a bit of a long waist and that was where most of the length was needed. How was your experience of sewing the first jacket?

  11. WOW! He did a great job. The length hits him perfectly. I wish I would have added length to my jacket. I spent a lot of time on the collar and sleeve caps too. Yes, my sleeve caps are a little peaky. I pulled out the stitching probably 5 times. I did make epaulets (I've done a lot of knot tying). The epaulets made the sleeve caps more difficult - I could have used thinner roping. The material was worsted wool from Trimfabrics - I wish I could have found a heavier interfacing. I ordered pewter buttons from online and was very happy with them. Also made the bowtie from a pattern on-line. And made both sporrans. I spent last Saturday extending the pattern to a 52 for Dad. He's 6'3" so I'm guessing I'll add 1.5-2" to the length - I'm waiting for that measurement. Waistcoats for both will be after the jacket. By the way David's white waistcoat looks great. Besides making Pjs for the kids this was my first project.


I read each and every comment--thank you so much!

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