Yanaka Jacket

Oliver + S and Liesl + Co is a great indie pattern company that has many interesting designs. This one especially caught my eye; the Yanaka Jacket. This super cute short open front jacket is perfectly paired with almost anything. Liesl + Co gave this pattern a unique styling with a stand-up collar and sleeve gussets. Very unique I might say and fairly easy to sew. With a simple open front, there are no closure buttons or zips to worry about in this make. Fabric suggestions include a medium to heavy weight woven such as denims, jacquard/brocades, wools, and canvas. Keep in mind this is not a lined jacket. Your seam allowances will show on the inside so make a decision on how you want to finish your seams. I chose to do a Hong Kong wrap of the raw edges (more to come further down in the tutorial). I made my own bias tape out of some quilting cotton I had in my stash.

Sew… Here we go!

Seam allowances for this pattern are 1/2 inch. I chose to make a size 12. I also added a couple inches to the length of the pattern which now in hind sight wish I hadn’t. I ventured out of the box and bought 3 yards of home dec fabric that I assume was intended for upholstering. It’s a cotton, polyester blend that ravels like the dickens, but has a buttery feel to the touch. I tossed it in the washer and dryer a couple times to see how it would hold up. If it made it through my rigged wash/dry cycles, it would hold up to my wearing it. Surprise! It still feels super buttery soft. YAAH! Now I also figured out real fast that each piece I cut would need to have a overlock stitch all the way around to keep it from raveling.

Now this jacket has a couple pieces that need some interfacing. I came across this wonderful product that is perfect for jackets. Palmer / Pletsch Perfect Fuse Tailor ultra. It has the perfect weight and movement for jackets and coats. I have fallen in love with this interfacing. So I fused this to my front facings and the bottom hem facings.

Naturally you will want to stay stitch your neckline along the back AND because my fabric was unruly with the raveling, I had to reinforce the corners super duper heavy duty like. Also, if you chose a C or D cup, sew your darts.

Before we go any further, if you have also decided to go along with me and do the Hong Kong finish and want to make your own bias binding, here is how you do it. I cut 1 1/4 inch strips on the bias of some quilting cotton I had and used a bias fold tool you can get at a fabric store or on-line. Now you don’t need this tool to get this job done. All you need to do is fold your fabric over to the half way point and press.

How to make bias tape
How to make bias tape

Time to SEW! I sewed the sleeve gusset to the back piece first. The corner under the armpit is a bit unique. Match your dots and notches closely. I started sewing at the armpit dot and went down the sleeve. I then returned to the dot and sewed down the side back. This way I knew my dots matched perfectly and I was able to move the fabric around easier that way at the pivot point.

Even though the instructions tell you that you don’t have to finish your seams YET, I wanted to see how the Hong Kong finish would work before I got too involved. It’s a process where you bind the raw edges of each of your seam allowances with your bias tape. You start by sewing your bias tape on to the edge of your seam allowance 1/4″ from edge, then turn the bias tape over the allowance and sew it down. Super easy peasy, but time consuming.

Hong Kong seam binding
Hong Kong seam binding.

Now sew the front bodice pieces to the sleeve gusset. Sew the back seam from the neck down to the dot where the “V” split begins. Bind your seams or finish them in your preferred method.

Since this pattern is quite uniquely designed, the back collar jets out from the front bodice collar area. We need to sew that seam. They call it the “center-back edge”. SEW… with right sides together, sew a 1/2 inch seam. Remember, I finished all my edges prior to sewing anything. You may or may not want to finish your edges, but I highly recommend it.

Center-back edge of collar

Now we are going to sew the front to the back neck line and all up and down the sleeves. Match those DOTS. I started sewing at the dots and went down the one sleeve. Started back up at the dot and sewed to the center back. I did the same for the other sleeve too. This way I knew the dots were perfectly alligned. CLIP those corners to the dot without going through your stitching. This well help the collar lay properly.

Align the dots along the neck edge

If you haven’t already done it, fuse your interfacing to your facings. Grab your front facings and sew the center collar seam together with right sides together and give it a good press. Finish the edge of the facing that will not be a seam. I used my Hong Kong finish on this too. Sew your hem facings together and finish that top edge too.

We are almost to the finish line folks. Sew the front facing to the bodice matching all your dots and notches.

Then sew the bottom hem facing on matching all the dots, notches and the “V”. The bottom facing should overlap the front facing about 1/2″ or so on the ends. When you sew the bottom hem facing, sew each side up to about 1″ away from the “V”. Now, fold your seam allowance over to one side so you can see your V dots. Set your needle in the top dot and sew down the V, pivot and sew to where you originally stopped your seam. Do the same thing for the other side of the V.

Now this is a neat little trick to keep your facings from rolling out. UNDERSTITCH the facing to the seam allowances. Trim your corners, clip into the V, turn right side out and get those corners nice and sharply pushed out.


Blind stitch the facings in place. Hem your sleeves and WHAAA. LAAAAHH! A cute little jacket for many occasions.

Yanaka Jacket

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