Bomber Jacket Sew-Along: Adding a Lining

McCall Pattern Company blog: Bomber Jacket Sew-AlongWe’ve already discussed some ways to make the inside of your bomber jacket look nice, but we haven’t yet addressed how to add a full lining. There are several reasons you might want to do this: to add warmth, to make the jacket smoother to put on, to add a fun contrasting fabric, or to avoid having to clean-finish the seam allowances. Adding the lining is actually pretty simple, and you can do it at the very end of the project after finishing everything else. So even if you weren’t planning on it originally, you can still change your mind!

For the most part the the lining pieces are cut the same as the outer jacket, but at center front you’ll need to trim away the width of the front facing. Do this by laying the facing piece on top of the jacket front, and drawing in the line where the facing ends. Then, move the line 1 1/4″ (3.2cm) closer to the front to allow for a seam allowance on both lining and facing.

Assemble the lining fronts, back, and sleeves, and (if using M7100) sew the sleeve dart. You will need to leave an opening somewhere to turn the jacket right side out; if you prefer to sew it closed by machine it’s best to leave the opening in the sleeve seam where it will not be visible. Leave about a 6″ (15cm) gap to make it easy to turn the jacket through the hole.

Sew the jacket lining to the shell and ribbing at the neck and lower edge

Flip the ribbing toward the inside of the jacket and sew the lining to the seam allowances at neckline and hem, right sides together and making sure all the layers match up at the seams and center back. (The ribbing will be sandwiched between the jacket shell and lining.) Stitch from the jacket side so you can sew right on top of your previous stitching, and stretch the ribbing slightly so the jacket and lining are smooth. Stop and backtack just before the seam allowance at each end so it will be free to sew the facing edges.

Leave a six inch opening in the lining to turn it out

Sew the lining to the two front facings. This gets a tiny bit tricky at the top and bottom of the zipper, so pin carefully to make sure everything stays smooth and there are no tucks or wrinkles. If you haven’t left an opening in the sleeve to turn the jacket, leave a 6″ (15cm) gap in the middle of one of the facing seams.

turn the jacket right side out through the opening

Turn the jacket right side out through the opening. Next we need to pull the lining sleeves through the jacket sleeves and attach them at the wrist.

fold the sleeve seam allowances down at the wrist

Turn the sleeve seam allowances to the inside at the wrist and match up the seams. Reach through the opening in the lining, between the jacket and lining layers, to pinch the seam allowances of both jacket and lining at the wrist (again, the ribbing will be sandwiched between the jacket and lining). Grip the layers firmly right next to the seam so that you’ll be able to see how they match up on the inside. Pull both layers out through the lining opening.

sew the lining to the cuff

Making sure the seam allowances on jacket, cuff, and lining are still lined up and that the lining isn’t twisted, pin or hand baste the layers together around the circumference of the cuff. Sew from the jacket side, right on top of the previous stitching, stretching slightly so it lies flat and being careful not to catch any extra layers in the stitching.

fell stitch the lining closed

Turn the sleeves right side out and close up the lining, either with an invisible hand stitch or by folding the two sides of the opening together and edgestitching. Finish any topstitching on the outside of the jacket.

the finished bomber jacket lining

The jacket lining is done! Tune in next week for the big reveal, and don’t forget you can share your own progress in the sew-along facebook group.

Finished: McCall’s M6885 Shirtdress and Beach Coverup

McCall's M6885 shirtdress and beach coverup as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

We New Yorkers love to dress in black all year-round, but when it comes to beach coverups we break out the bright prints. I snatched up this floral cotton voile (from Mood Fabrics, no longer available) with the sole purpose of making it into a shirtdress-slash-coverup using McCall’s M6885.

McCall's M6885 shirtdress and beach coverup as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

This is now the second time I’ve made this pattern, and I’m still really pleased with it. I like the fact that it’s a pullover, and I like the tab-placket feature.

McCall's M6885 shirtdress and beach coverup as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

A couple of notes:

  • I sewed View B, adding the sleeves from View D.
  • This pattern has a center front pleat that starts just below the tab. For me, I felt this pleat gave the dress a smidge more fullness than I was comfortable with. So I pressed the pleat and just stitched it in place. This eliminated the extra fullness and visually broke up the print, which I think makes the front of the dress more interesting. The next time I sew this pattern I’ll probably omit the pleat.
  • I skipped the sleeve tabs, mostly out of laziness, but I’m not really a sleeve-tab person anyway.
  • I edge-stitched rather than topstitched. And edge-stitching is so much easier than topstitching anyway.
  • Some people who’ve made this pattern have noted that the sleeves are a bit on the narrow side, and I think they’re probably right, though I’m fine with the sleeves as is. If you think you might have trouble in this area, just measure the sleeves (width) of a shirt that fits and compare that measurement with the pattern piece’s width.
  • A tutorial on how to sew the placket in this pattern can be found here.
  • It might have been fun to play around with contrasting collar and placket—maybe a small black gingham, for example.
  • I added a back facing, which I drafted using the back pattern piece. This facing adds support to the neckline area; plus, I just like the way it looks, inside and out. (photo below)

McCall's M6885 shirtdress and beach coverup as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

McCall's M6885 shirtdress and beach coverup as made by Meg Carter of McCall Pattern Company

Bottom line: Surf’s up! I want to sew this pattern again for the fall, maybe in silk like this dress. How are you coming with your shirtdresses? #shirtdresssewalong

Tutorial: Sewing the Placket on McCall’s M6885 Shirtdress

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern. On the McCall Pattern Company blog

Today I’m sharing tips on how to sew the placket on one of our most popular shirtdress patterns, McCall’s M6885. Members of our Shirtdress Sew-Along Facebook group have commented that parts of the placket’s construction are confusing, so let’s see if I can help clear things up. (I’ve made this pattern twice now and I’ve got plans to sew it again soon, that’s how much I love it.)

The front placket takes up steps 2-17 in our instructions. Let’s go through them step by step:

Step 2. Reinforce the dress front. Follow as directed but let’s take it a step further: Stitch a 5/8 Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing patternseam line all the way around the placket opening, reducing the stitch length to 1.5 to 2.0 at the corners and across the bottom edge of the placket opening. [Fig. 1] Double-check that your stitching is 5/8 from the opening all the way around. Clip to the corners (circles on the pattern tissue) but not through the stitching; just right up to the stitching. Note: Stitching around the placket opening isn’t necessary but it will help you stitch accurate seams in this area. Just remove any stitching that shows through after the placket is attached.

Step 3. Press seam allowance. Follow as directed but first stitch a 5/8 seam line along the edge you’re going to fold and press. Let your machine do the measuring for you—it’s fast, accurate and easier than eyeballing things. Stitch the 5/8 seam line, then fold and press along the seam line so it’s not visible. Trim the seam.

Steps 4-7. Attaching the left front placket. Follow these steps exactly as directed.

Step 8. Reinforce right placket as directed. Make small stitches (1.5-2.0)  at the 5/8 seam line through the circles, then clip just to the stitching but not through it.

Steps 9-10. Follow as directed but make sure you’ve stitched a neat, symmetrical point here before you trim and turn out.

Step 11. Press under edge as directed, but as in step 3, take steps to ensure your edge is pressed under an even 5/8.Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern

Steps 12-14. Follow these steps exactly as directed.

Steps 15-17. These final steps I think are where some of the confusion may result. So let’s break it down. Step 15: Make the pleat as directed and baste. Baste the pleat in place, extending down at least three inches to really hold it in place. Baste across the upper edge to secure this part and make it behave when you stitch the placket in place. [Fig. 2]

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing patternAt step 16 you are lapping the right band over the left, matching the top edges and the circles. Where our directions get a little vague is what to do with this little triangle-piece of seam allowance [Fig. 3]. What I recommend is that you sandwich this little seam allowance between the two placket pieces. Baste the plackets in place in this area before you stitch.

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern
Here’s how I sandwiched, or placed, the pleat seam allowance in between the plackets before I stitched the box in Step 17.

For step 17, stitch as we direct. You will be making a box that looks like the photo below (I added the X part to my box):

When you’ve finished your box stitching, then you can open the placket wide and trim off that little seam allowance triangle that’s poking up. Be very careful here—cut slowly and watch that you don’t cut into the plackets.Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern

The piece of the placket shown in Fig. 4 is a tab and isn’t meant to be stitched in place, but this is strictly a matter of personal preference. Stitch it down if you like.

Tutorial: How to sew the placket on McCall's M6885 shirtdress sewing pattern
The finished tab to my version of M6885. I added the X in the middle for a decorative touch.

That’s basically it for making this placket. It’s not hard at all, especially if you are working with nicely-behaving, lightweight wovens. Just remember to

  • take your time
  • be as precise as possible in your stitching (set your machine speed to slow here)
  • avoid using eyeballing as an accurate method of measuring anything

You will be so pleased with your finished placket that you’ll be posting tributes to it on Instagram. I promise! Now get out there and sew some shirtdresses! #shirtdresssewalong