James Fisherman Sailor Jacket Tutorial

James Fisherman Sailor Jacket

Are you ready to sew? Why yes I am! And another great style from READY TO SEW. Let me introduce the James Fisherman Sailor Jacket. The James is a great version of a work smock that sailors used to keep their uniforms clean and dry. It is a wonderful design that uses french seams to hide raw edges giving strength to the construction which will last wash after wash. You choose the type of front pocket you desire, whether it’s a kangaroo or a single side pocket. Speaking of pockets, there is a cool little top breast pocket that is hidden inside the smock. Top stitching is not only fashionable, but it helps keep the facings in place to add to the strength of the construction. Sleeves are extra long so you can roll them up to your desired length. Ready to Sew suggests using a medium to heavy weight woven fabric. Made with a cotton canvas, my version is so soft and comfortable. I made a size 44 to give me a little wiggle room to wear another shirt or sweater underneath if desired.

Sew… here we go! First and foremost, prewash your fabric and ensure you have enough to cut out all the pattern pieces and two bias strips (about 160cm) for the hem. Bias strips will need to be 1″ or 2.5cm wide. Keep a piece of scrap fabric to the side to make your button loop too! Then get a new needle in your machine that is appropriate for the fabric you chose, and clean the bobbin area. Do a test sew on a scrap so you know the tension is good. Read through the directions so you have an idea how the garment is constructed. It’s not a hard pattern if you take it step by step and don’t get ahead of yourself.

Step one: Cut out your pieces. I didn’t use any interfacing on my make. Mark all your notches and dots. Oh… by the way… get a magnifying glass to see the dots for placing your pockets. I kid you not they are really hard to identify as DOTS.

Find the DOTS

Seam allowances will change depending on what your sewing. Double check to make sure you’re using the correct allowance as we go along. I’ll try to keep you on the straight and narrow. Mark the center front and the front facing where the slit will be.

I chose the kangaroo pocket for my make. Take your pocket piece, fold and press the raw edges 5mm down. Press the top and bottom sides first, then the sides. Fold and press again, this time 1cm over doing the top and bottom first and the sides last. Top stitch the sides where your paws will go in. I did a double row of stitching cause it looks good and it gives it more strength. Do not sew the top and bottom yet. We will do that when we attach it to the front of the shirt.

Place your pocket on the front piece, line up the pocket with the dots, and stitch in place on the top and bottom. Double row the topstitch and sew a small tight zigzag tack stitch in the corners for strength.

Next is the small hidden breast pocket. I cut my pocket piece larger than the pattern piece just because I wanted more utility out of the pocket. Fold and press the top and sides and bottom. Stitch the top of the pocket so the fold doesn’t come loose. Line the pocket piece up with the markings on the WRONG SIDE of the front bodice and sew in place using two rows of topstitching. Now the topstitching will show on the right side of the garment so do a pretty job!

Sew the shoulder seams of the front and back facings together using a 1cm seam allowance. I finished the seams of this piece with an overlock stitch prior to stitching the seam. Press the seams open. Serge, or overlock or zigzag the raw outside edges of the facing to finish it so it doesn’t ravel.

For the main front and back, sew the shoulder seams using a 1cm seam allowance. Finish the seams and Press. Top stitch the shoulders.

Take the collar pieces, with right sides together, sew them along the 3 edges that do not have markings using a 1cm seam allowance. Clip the corners, trim the seam and turn right side out. Press and sew a double row of topstitching around the edges nice and neat. Pin the collar piece to the main body, matching notches. The collar should come to 1cm away from the center front on each corner. (See below) BASTE in place using a 7mm seam allowance. Yes this is LARGE but it’s just to hold it in place until we attach the facing.

Time to make the button loop. Cut a piece of fabric from your scraps 6.5cm x 2.5cm. Fold the edges over to meet in the middle, press, and then fold in half, press. Take it to the sewing machine and sew a double row of stitching just like the below photo.

Baste the button loop to the center front where you have the marking for placement along the center front line. Baste in place.

Take the neck facing and place it rights sides together on your main bodice, matching shoulder seams, and center markings. Pin in place. Stitch the facing in place using a 1cm seam allowance around the neckline. Taper the allowance from the 1cm neck down the slit front to 3mm at the tip center chest marking. The button loop should have been caught in this stitch line. Reenforce the tip with a few extra stitches across the bottom. Cut open, trim corners and curves, grade seam, turn and press.

Top stitch the facing to the front along the neck edge and center front. Top stitch the edges of the facing to the main body now too. I used a double row of stitching for decoration as this will show on the outside. (See below)

On the side seams we will use a french seam. To do this, place your front and back together WRONG SIDES TOGETHER. Sew a scan 1/4″ (4mm) seam from the sleeve to the dot. Press open, then press it again with right sides together to get a nice edge. With RIGHT SIDES TOGETHER, sew another seam using a 7mm seam allowance down to the dot. This seam is strong and hides all the ravelly raw edges. Do the same thing with the sleeves.

Finish the slit at the bottom of your side seams by folding the edge twice and do a nice top stitch. Reenforce the top so it protects it from ripping.

Top stitch your sleeve seams. I make a little tunnel in my sleeve to help me sew a couple inches at a time because space is tight!

Attach your sleeves using a french seam. Top stitch. Fold the cuff area of your sleeves over twice at 1cm increments, press and stitch in place using a double row of stitching to make it pretty. The sleeves are long for a reason. It allows you to fold the cuffs up to your desired length and it’s fashionable.

Depending on the size of smock you chose, you will need to cut two pieces of bias fabric for the hem. Here is the guide that Ready to Sew gives:

Since I made a size 44, I cut two pieces of 1″ bias (2.5cm) that I cut from my fabric to 70cm length. Place the strip of bias on the front and back lower hem edges and pin in place ensuring you overlay 1cm on each end. (see below) You will need to stretch your fabric to fit. This will help it curve when you turn it for hemming.

Sew in place using a 1/4″ seam. Turn and press. Under-stitch the bias in place close to the seam. This also helps it turn properly. (see below)

On the raw edge of bias, press 1/4″ over. Fold bias to the wrong side and topstitch in place, folding the ends by the slit over into the fold.

Sew your button into place and you are done! Such a cute top. I wore mine just as it is; however, I can see in the colder months wearing a turtleneck shirt under it. LOVE IT! Hope you do too!

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