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Conversational Threads

5 Rect Jacket as Creative springboard

Tnuctip | Posted in Talk With Us on

I’ve been reading so many negative comments about this jacket but I must disagree. The jacket DOES look shapeless and clumsy on your model, and as a UK size 20 sewer hardly any summer wear is flattering.

But I buy Threads for inspiration, not patterns, and I found this jacket a perfect ‘springboard’ into fabric manipulation, draping and sewing without instructions, all of which have been featured in the magazine.

I used inexpensive seersucker fabric and then

1)  Lengthened the pattern, mitred all corners and used flat fell seams throughout the body. (Those articles were perfectly placed for this project)

2)  Made double layered sleeves – longer for turn back cuff option. I moved the sleeve seam to the shoulder and hand stitched it closed.

3)  Shaped the back waist with inverted pleats to back and secured with a top stitched band with buttons

4)  Zig Zag folded top of front opening into an asymmetrical lapel secured with button ( which looks great on the striped fabric)

5)  Added matching folds to and buttons to patch pockets.

The finished item took much longer than I expected, but I enjoyed every minute of its construction. It is unusual, flattering and smart/casual enough for summer day-wear. I know it is going to be a permanent part of my summer wardrobe.

I combined many sewing techniques and ideas into my jacket and will probably make another one soon for the challenge of using a totally different set of skills, and ‘left over’ ideas from this one.

Thanks for a perfect idea for creative fabric play.

I am also working on the 2 tunic dresses, one in asymmetrical over sized rainbow print, with centre front seam added to display fabric better, and other from a square panel print silk jersey. 



  1. AmberE | | #1

    Yes, as a matter of fact Linda Lee and Louise Cuttting are creating a pattern line called Squares. We also had a garment from the PACC contest that was a black square and stunning. Would love to see pics of your garment :-)

  2. GailAnn | | #2

    That is Brilliant!!  Gail

  3. rekha | | #3

    5 Rect Jacket

    Pardon  my ignorance but what is this jacket?

    1. Tnuctip | | #4

      Its the pattern free summer sewing from May/June issue, sewing without a pattern


      1. rekha | | #5

        Have you a picture of it?

        1. Tnuctip | | #6

          you can find the pictures on http://www.myspace.com/tnuctip

          1. User avater
            JunkQueen | | #7

            It may just be me, but I couldn't see your pictures.

          2. Tnuctip | | #9

            You need to go to the link and then click on 'Pics' under the South Park Debbie (me) image. Not sure why they came out so many times, If you still cant see them send me an email and I'll send pics directly to you

          3. rekha | | #11

            As rodezzy has suggested why don't you upload the picture to this forum so all the interested people can see

          4. Josefly | | #31

            Thanks so much for sharing your photos with us. I love the way you manipulated the stripes for the lapels and pocket flap. Very nice. Just goes to show how something that looks only so-so (the jacket in the article) can be a jumping-off place for you. Congratulations on making a successful adaption using the instructions. I had spent an hour or so trying to work through the instructions for this jacket, and couldn't make the measurements for the sleeve match the measurements for the bodice-sleeve opening. I'm not sure I would've actually tried to make the jacket, since the photos showed that the hemline hiked up in the center back - a look not so good for me - but it appears you've corrected that problem nicely.

          5. rodezzy | | #10

            I clicked on pics and didn't see any pictures of what you are describing either.  You can up load pictures right within your messages here for everyone.  Or in the Photo thread.

            Edited 6/2/2008 4:46 pm ET by rodezzy

          6. rekha | | #8

            Just went on a wild goose chase. The link for pics takes me to the main site

          7. Cherrypops | | #13

            Hi Tnuctip,

            Not all the ladies here have, need or want an account with MySpace, so therefore are unable to see the photos of your jacket.

            I can see your photos on MySpace, and do suggest you upload them to this forum to share with everyone.

            I have not read the latest posts in "Photo" discussions yet. so if you have posted them in there already I will get to them. You can post pics in this topic also as a follow up to your initial post.

            Will you wear the jacket in the photo?


            Cp ( sydney australia )


          8. Tnuctip | | #14

            Thanks to you all for your interest in my Jacket.

            I'm sorry about the My Space fiasco - I didn't have a subscription to it myself until my husband set it up for the sole purpose of sending you my pictures. For those of you who did look though, the South Park Debbie avatar in the straight jacket is a very good likeness!

            I have had so much trouble trying to upload the pictures that I had to forward them directly to Amber instead.

             I hope you won't be too disappointed when you finally see my efforts. This was only intended to be a wardrobe filler for my coming holiday before I began to see potential in the sheer lack of detail of the original.  I actually had more hopes of the tunic dresses (2 in progress) but they will have to wait until I get home.

            I will be in Greece for the next couple of weeks, but I will try to drop in to the Gatherings while I am away.



          9. MargieT | | #18

            Love your jacket.

          10. Cherrypops | | #19

            thank you !

          11. User avater
            maer | | #24

            I like that jacket!

        2. amm | | #15

          Tnuctip had difficulty loading her photos, and she asked us to load them for her after sending them to Threads via email.  The pics are attached for her creative jacket.

          1. rekha | | #16

            Thank you APRIL4462.

          2. rodezzy | | #17

            Wow, she took that rectangle to a grand level.  Great job.  I like the fabric too.

          3. GailAnn | | #20

            EXCELLENT!  Love the back!  Gail

          4. MaryinColorado | | #27

            Thanks for the photos!  Wow!  You really went to town on this!  No one would ever guess it all started with geometry!  It looks very tailored too.  So many creative improvizations.  Love it!  What an accomplishment and inspiration.  Thanks so much for sharing.  Mary

      2. rekha | | #23

        I think to assess pattern-free accomplishment you have to first ask what prior experience in sewing you have. Can you enlighten us on that?

        Now that we have seen the jacket can you tell us how you went about designing, cutting and constructing it?

        1. Tnuctip | | #32

          Hi and thanks for your interest. You asked about the design process - it wasn't a method - just a series of opportunities to solve problems I hadn't forseen.

          I liked the idea of a quick make for my holiday, and started with 2 metres x 45" or 115cm  (metric is the only way you can buy fabric here). I just sketched out the cutting layout from the article and found my extra inches to divide between the bodice lengths. The fabric did look a little flimsy so I doubled the sleeve thickness for warmth, and to help control the shoulder. (My shoulders are real ski slopes, and everthing loose slides to the back.) There were still useful rectangles of fabric left to make button band and patch pockets (made double as I intended to use the pockets for keys etc).

          All the other features were improvised on the dress stand. As you have seen it is a hand made (paper tape) form moulded on my body. I would not have considered making this jacket from flat pattern manipulation, as it needed to be seen in motion to assess don't you think?

          OK, you asked for this remember? The design process. The pockets came first (to get a feel for the fabric and practice my edge stitching. The folding happened when I un-pinned the top corner from the jacket to try a lower pocket position, and the flap fell forward, and looked good, so I mirrored it and added button, done.

          Lapels - same process, but with CF pinned where it wanted to drape, and playing with the double fold to get the proportions of stipes similar to the pockets.

          Button band - I liked the white coat in the same issue of Threads, and I suppose  thats where the idea of the button came from. I roughly folded a strip of fabric to find a well defined stripe for the long sides, and centred it at back waist line.  The back hem was arching and the side seams were falling over the pocket detail so I pinned sides to dress form and smoothed fabric towards CB from both sides and pinned band (ends only) over excess fabric. Hem had levelled and shoulders smoothed out.  I measured new back waist length and made band length proportional. I tested pleats, tucks, gathers and pintucks (with scrap fabric cut to the width and depth of the back surplus width to hem) pinned onto the (detached) finished button band - really easy on stripes. I just copied the version I liked  onto the back panels, machine basted around outside of final band position, then zigzag stiched across all creased edges (that would be covered up) before topstitching band in place. I want to try eyelets and lacing on the next one I make.

          The sleeves were doubled and top stitched when I made the pockets (a carry-over from my pre-electronic sewing days when it was hard to get exact matches on stitch length and width after adjustments) I fitted them aroud the armhole as if for a waist band. Where the side flat fell seams met the armhole I eased apart the stitching so the seam allowance thickness was lessened, and the armhole slightly curved and widened then supported the new raw edge with Seams Great (bias tricot seam binding) before wrapping sleeve round.

          The top and bottom corners of the jacket were mitred exactly as the article in the same issue, as were the flat fell seams (the cream coloured method - bit of maths but again the stripes helped).

          Ask me anything else you want,  but verbosity is practically my middle name.


          1. rekha | | #33

            I am impressed.

            The fabric didn't look very drapey in the photos but you managed to sculpt the jacket on the dress form.

            Now that you have fully accomplished a faultless jacket would you make and design more clothes in a similar manner?

            Thank you for the details. That much writing would take me two days!!

            Edited 6/23/2008 7:42 am ET by rekha

          2. Tnuctip | | #34

            I've always got some project on the go, but I do a bit of everthing. I have been knitting for 2 new babies until I went away. I also do Tatting - handmade knotted lace, and would like to make a collar or insert for a garment soon. I am trying out some new Japanese crochet patterns called Amigurumi for mini beasts as gifts.

            I've always sewn thanks to my mum. I made net veils with her on her machine, for her mums funeral when I was 8. My first V neck jumper was knitted at 9. Then all my own fashion clothes as a teen. Mostly successful due to good figure rather than fit, and made on the day it was worn mainly. 

            Generally I just did household sewing with occasional day courses (lingerie and seasonal stuff) til I stopped work 8 years ago.  Since then I've taken some part time courses in general sewing - way too basic, but I enjoyed the company - Lingerie - really good fun, particularly the bra making! The best eye-opener was Pattern Cutting. I made my personal Block (not sure how this translates) patterns and Dressform. Moving darts and cutting and spreading pattern pieces is so obvious when you see it done - and all the other manipulations are so simple when you know the methods.

            The jacket is the first time I've really used my dressform for a project from scratch as after making the mannequin I lost 30 lbs weight. Unfortunately, I found it again, but it has helped me meet you all, to prove that every cloud ....

            I've made a fashion corset from a tight fitting sleeveless top pattern, traced sewn and fitted onto muslin (calico) then style lines added with Style/Fashion tape (adhesive and marked 1cm black and white stripes). I cut up the new shapes and copied onto Swedish Tracing Paper (a strong sewable non stretch non woven fabric, tissue thin and gridmarked that can be tried on and reused). With seam allowances added of course. Its good for positioning of motifs on the fabric too. (We dont all want bullseye targets on our bra cups do we?)

            As soon as my dogs forgive me for leaving them for my hols I will be getting back to finish my tunic dresses. And my box of back issues is still waiting for me to indulge in.

            And who knows what the  next Threads will inspire?

          3. rekha | | #35

            That's incredible experience of dipping in all sorts of crafts. Kudos to you.

            Perhaps you will be able to help another lady in the forum who is having a difficult time at translating the tutor's instructions http://forums.taunton.com/tp-gatherings/messages?msg=8402.1

  4. AmberE | | #12

    I would love to do a Reader's Closet article on this--if we can get several of you to participate we can publish it in this dept. How's that for a challenge? You'll need to send hi-res images to us, of you in your garment....

  5. MaryinColorado | | #21

    Thanks for sharing your successful ways of reinterpreting these type of patterns.  They are all great ideas, especially #3.  I also love learning new skill sets.  For me it all started with Kayla Kennington's patterns.  I may not be able to draft my own patterns, but with these, I can create truly unique outfits that are just right for me!  Mary

  6. sewelegant | | #22

    I had all the frustration the others had trying to see your jacket!  But it was worth the wait.  You are definitely an accomplished seamstress if you can produce all that without a pattern.  Makes me want to run out and buy some stripes!  (But, I am a definite pattern follower)    Thank you for sharing and for the inspiration.

  7. Gloriasews | | #25

    Now that your photos are posted here, the jacket is lovely - I especially like the collar treatment - very creative.

    We look forward to seeing your 2 tunic dresses, too.


    1. AmberE | | #26

      If we can get a few more to participate in this challenge, we'll have enough for a Reader's Closet. Let me know if you are interested!

      1. katina | | #28

        Hi Amber

        Will you need the jacket to be sent to you if we participate? Would pictures be enough?

        Thanks - Katina

        1. AmberE | | #29

          Pictures are fine! They do need to be hi-res, digital, if possible

          1. katina | | #30


  8. Cherrypops | | #36


    The article "Fashion Squared" by Linda Lee ( #137 ) includes instructions for the Five-Rectangle Jacket and other items of clothing using a rectangular pattern piece.

    How pleasing to find these basic instructions in the magazine. I can play with these ideas before purchasing similar patterns from SewingWorkshop - Linda Lee and Louise Cutting http://www.sewingworkshop.com/

    Is this the new trend? I haven't come across these styles instore here in Australia.

    Your thoughts please.......

    1. katina | | #37

      Hi down there, Cherrypops, in your lovely cool weather

      By new trend, you mean this style of clothing? If so, no, not new. There have long been fabulous indie designers in US, who are well supported by sewers (clothing makers?!)who like to express their creativity and individuality. The lively discussion earlier this week on blouses highlighted the difference in clothing styles from country to country. Sewing and fashion are vibrantly alive in America!

      And yes, basic instructions like these are very welcome in Threads. I believe they serve most, if not all of us, very well - from the newbie to those ladies in our midst who are very talented and accomplished. I had commented to Amber that the 5-rectangle jacket did nothing for me, but have since revised my opinion. Considerably. It's an excellent springboard for endless tweaking, as one member has shown us with her striped jacket. It's worth noting that ethnic clothing is composed of rectangles - this is because cloth is woven in straight pieces and can't be shaped on the loom. Here's where each society's individuality came in, with every form of embellishment and surface design imaginable. BTW, there are many fabulous books on these subjects.

      Anyway, I've probably waffled on - hope I've answered your question.



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