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Tailoring a Man’s jacket

Ghillie_C. | Posted in Equipment and Supplies on

I have done a little tailoring before, and I am now bravely trying to make a lightweight jacket for my husband – notched collar, welt pockets and all.

My main worry is the pockets – and the amount that gets stuffed in them – especially the inside pocket which will have to carry a wallet over full of everything except money. How can I at least try to stop it sagging? Would stays work? stays attached to what?

Don’t suggest cargo pockets, its got to look right and conventional or it will not get worn (and it will not fit me either).

Advice appreciated!


  1. thimble_ | | #1

    dear ghillie....here is a tip for you that works.

    In real tailored jackets the entire front is interlined with hair canvas....the facings, pockets armohole ...everything that "floats" is sewn securely into the canvas. Making a jacket of that magnitude is a labour of love. Instead today we use fusibles, and a chest piece...although the look is very different the jacket can be finished in a couple of days!
    Now first you will need some pocketing...I use poly cotton broadcloth, whatever it is it cannot have any stretch to it at all!!! What you want to do is anchor the pocket to the armhole using a strip of the pocketing...when sewing in the welts just catch a strip of pocketing in the stitching....lead the strip up to the armhole, in a straight wrinkle free line...tack it into place and when you are taping the armhole, make sure you secure the strip of pocketing. One thing I do for perfect armholes is tape them using either silk or rayon ribbeon...1/4"wide, this is because it is easier to sew and thinner than cotton tape. Try it!

    As for the inside pocket, there is no way to anchor the pocket but what I do is add a 1" pleat above the pocket...about4" above the breast, which runs horizontally from the facing to the armholewhat this does is relieve the stress on the pocket...when the pocket is used the pleat opens, and the stress is relieved from the seams of the jacket shoulder....!
    Now if your hubbie stuffs tonnes of crap in his pockets nothing will save his coat...it will always look "bulgy!

    please let me know if you need any advice for the rest of the jacket...you can email me directly....

    Gooood luck and let us know how you are progressing!


    1. Jeffery_Diduch | | #2

      *Actually, inside pockets are always tacked (anchored) to the jacket. In factories, they are done using a blind-stitch machine, but at home you can catch the seam allowance of the pocket to the facing seam allowance by hand or by machine. Next, lay the front flat, with the right side down. Push a little bubble of extra facing over the lapel so it will roll freely, and then baste through all layers along the seam where the facing joins the lining. Turn your lining so that you can now cross-stitch the facing seam allowance to the jacket interfacing. In the factories, this is also done with a blindstitch machine. If your pocket is big enough, you can also catch the other side in the armhole- baste it into the armhole seam allowance when the sleeve has been set. Your pocket will no longer move. If you need more help, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]

      1. Ghillie_C. | | #3

        *Thank you for all your advice - I will be trying it out in due course.I am a complete, unashamed amateur sewer, so I can indulge in techniques that I enjoy but are wildly uneconomic. I don't much like slaving over an ironing board, steam everywhere, pretending to be an industrial appliance but I am quite happy to spend an evening quietly handsewing. I did a short course in Savile Row techniques and love their gentle timeless quality but we did not manage to cover everything.I have tailored for myself before, but my decision to try a man's jacket came from a rash boast that I could do better after a rtw jacket returned from the cleaners woefully bubbled. Middle aged English men carry everything in their jacket pockets - handkerchief, wallet, cash, phone, glasses, passport and ID cards for a start - so they effortlessly assume the droopy Hugh Grant look. This cannot be helped so I am into damage limitation. I may be an amateur but this does not permit bad workmanship or cheats, so leaving pockets sewn up (as several people have suggested) is definitely out. Sorry I posted the original message in the wrong place.Ghillie

        1. thimble_ | | #4

          *hello,good luck ghillie. it sounds like you are well determined to do a damn good job...and it is true, sewn up pockets are unacceptable!!!thank you jeffrey for clarifying the whole pocket facing thing. I guess i have never been able to tack the pockets into the facing because I always place my jacket pocket two inches lower than the armhole and about 3 inches back of the facing. I do this because I hate the feeling of something in my breast pocket rubbing against my chest.so I place the pocket in the hollow beneath it. it sounds like you have a lot of experience with men's tailored wear. Are you a tailor?. I would like to talk to you some more, may I email you privately?have a nice day all!thimble!

          1. Jeffery_Diduch | | #5

            *Thimble, if you want to do pockets the way you described them, just use a very large piece of pocketing, that can extend to the facing. Pockets are usually 2 inches from the armhole anyways, but they are made so that passports and tickets have room ABOVE the opening as well. You can therefore catch it in the armhole. Just use big pieces of pocketing and sew your pocket to whatever size you want. Just remember that in a well tailored garment, EVERYTHING is nailed down; outer pockets and darts and seams are tacked to the canvas, the inner pocket is tacked to the facing which is tacked to the chest piece (part of the canvas) and everything is secured firmly in the armohle. The less things that move around, the longer the jacket will last!Try it next time you make something, even casual garments!J

          2. thimble_ | | #6

            *Thank you Jefferey...I will definitely be trying that out soon!

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