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Machine sewing vents

smasusco | Posted in General Sewing Info on

I posed a question about sewing vents in jackets (such as in blazers) when you “bag” the lining that was published in the last issue of Threads. Not only did I not understand the directions, but it did not answer my question about doing it entirely by machine. I am convinced there is a way to completely machine sew a lining with functional vents (that is with buttons that open and close within the lined vent) in the sleeves plus any in the center back because I have seen it in high quality bought jackets. I don’t knock the benefits of hand stitching, but I want my jackets to look as professional and be sewn as efficiently as possible. Anyone know?


  1. jjgg | | #1

    the best way to learn is to find a jacket that has the sleeve vent and take it apart to see how it was done.btw, the VERY high end stuff has lots of hand stitching.

  2. Teaf5 | | #2

    It's possible that the hem edge in those jackets is sewn completely by machine, but the handstitching is elsewhere, such as at the joining of the sleeve and shoulder, under the upper arm, or in the middle of the side seam or center back seam.

    Completely bagging a jacket or vest can be a logistical nightmare that leads to contortions of the fabric that can result in lumpy seams and twisted linings.  The properties of the garment and lining fabrics are so different that you really can't get them exactly perfect, so the final handstitching allows you some leeway while sewing and some extra ease for wearing.

    I machine stitch the bottom and sleeve hems and along the center front--anyplace that might be seen--while leaving a generous opening somewhere else to ease the process.  The few minutes of hand sewing I need to finish that slot more than pays off in the time I save in not having to wrestle so much with the fabric and lining!

    1. CoxCouture | | #3

      Teaf5, that helps. I had concluded there was another opening to be hand sewn somewhere, but I figured it was not at the hem and I don't want to do it at the hem. What stumps me is the machine sewing to be done on the vent. Can you please describe to me your process in more detail? I can't figure out those corners from close examination. Thanks!

      1. starzoe | | #4

        One of the Threads magazines some time ago had an article on "bagging" a jacket. I tried it, just for the novelty but Teaf is right, it is not the easiest or the neatest technique, I'm not about to do it again!I can't remember if the article dealt with sleeve vents.

      2. Teaf5 | | #5

        It's been a long while...if you post a photo or sketch of a lined vent, I might be able to be more specific.

        Whenever I'm trying something new and different, I use paper toweling to cut a sample of the problematic area and its lining, which I mark with colored pencils.  Then I try sewing it according to whatever directions I have or whatever seems most logical.  If it doesn't work, I use the paper toweling to dust my sewing room, take a break and then try again.  When I get close to a solution, I use fabric scraps as a final test.

        On a vent, with two inside corners and two outside corners, the biggest issue is clipping to the seamline on the inside corners and a v-slash to the seamline on the outside corners.  One option for simplifying the process is to not cut the lining fabric until after stitching that area; that way, you don't have the lining corners shifting away from the ones on the garment fabric, and you can trim the seams and do the slashes all in one operation.

        Another option is to sew the lower corners first, as those are the ones that will affect the hemline, and then turn the garment and press under the remaining edges to fit.  Turn the garment inside out again, and now the seam lines are ironed creases that are easy to see and to match up.  On a vent, I would be most likely to leave the top edge for handstitching, since it is usually hidden by the outer fabric.

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