Simplicity 2443 Jacket

Back at the start of January, I asked for opinions on some black linen with a silver pin stripe. It was pretty opaque and I wanted to know if you thought it could work with the Simplicity 2443 jacket.

Many people made comments and I came to the conclusion that this linen would be too fragile for the jacket and that its opaque quality would be a nightmare to work with.

Then I changed my mind. Why?

Just being around this fabric for a few weeks showed me that it has really – well, weird – qualities. You can see how translucent its capable of being, as above. But place it next to another fabric or even next to the skin and it became immediately solid. You can’t even see the colour of other fabrics sitting beneath it. This felt like a challenge waiting to be met. Could I turn this strange, springy, sometimes opaque, sometimes solid linen into a workable jacket? I think the answer is ‘yes’!

So, this is my make of the Simplicity 2443 jacket. It wasn’t a straightforward construction because:

  • I chose to line it with turquoise muslin. (A big thumbs up.)


  • I chose to sew one of the arms the wrong way round and had to start again. (A big thumbs up to ordering that extra half a metre of fabric, just to be on the safe side.)
  • I chose to mess up the plackets approximately one million times.
  • I chose to work in black. (See Tilly’s recent comments about working in black.)
  • I chose to make the inside as neat and tidy as I possibly could. I spent most of this make imagining myself walking into a hip and happening bar and carelessly throwing the jacket over the back of a chair. I didn’t want the bar manager to laugh at my seams or for the bouncer on the door to sneer at my hand stitching. (Those bouncers. They think they know it all about slip stitch.)

Very neat sleeve seams – woohoo!

What are my conclusions?

Hell, thy name is placket. If you make this jacket, do NOT follow the placket instructions in the pattern. There’s one part of the instruction that basically says, ‘Shove this bit out of the way and don’t sew over it.’ Frigging nightmare and blatantly misleading. It’s just Impossible, but it took me about four attempts to realise that this was the fault of instructions, not of my work. Eventually, I turned to The New Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing and used their alternative method of construction. My plackets are still pretty ropey, but at least they’re done. This is the first time in my sewing career that this reference book has really come into its own. (It’s a good book, but I tend to scurry to the Internet when I need help with something.)

Modifications?

I added about 1.5 inches to the depth of the jacket.

I didn’t use D rings on the sleeves.

No Do ring. No button yet, either!

I didn’t use the silly rag things that you’re meant to have instead of buttons. Interestingly, most other people have left these off and – like myself – most other bloggers have felt no need to add buttons instead. This is because a) the jacket works well as casual and b) buttons don’t actually work well in the room left by the patch pockets. Everything starts to look a bit crowded.

Bizarrely, I enjoyed the challenge of lining up the stripes on my patch pockets with the pin stripe on the main shell. I also found the lining highly satisfying:

Muslin – £1.25 a metre

I bought this muslin from – you guessed it – Saeed Fabrics. It comes in a range of really strong colours. It’s extremely light, but could make great summer clothing as long as you had layers beneath. Scruffy Badger bought some when she joined The Walthamstow Shopping Frenzy!

I think this is the type of linen that will just look better and better the more it creases. The worn in look will help add more of a casual element to the silver pin stripe. On a brave day, I would happily wear this as day wear with jeans. On a more insecure day, I might hesitate. What do you think? It goes really well with my grey wool scarf lined with metal sequins:

But isn’t it amazing? Not a hint of that strong turquoise lining showing through the linen.

Right, I’ve saved the best for last:

SECRET SEWING TIP REVELATION WONDROSITY!

As Tilly recently commented, black can be a nightmare to sew with. Especially when you’re ripping out a dodgy plackett for the enth time. Then, inspiration! I remembered the head torch my sister had recently bought me as a birthday gift. Its intended use had been for night runs in Epping Forest. (Ahem, I haven’t actually had one yet.) Little did she know that her present would become a sewing lifesaver. Put this baby on, adjust the angle of the lamp, and those tiny black stitches are fully illuminated beneath the blade of a seam ripper. Success!*

* Sadly, my blogging camera crashed and lost all evidence of me sewing in my pyjamas whilst wearing a headtorch.

So that’s the Simplicity 2443 jacket. Done! I can’t decide whether or not the dress would suit me. That jersey might be a bit unforgiving on my paunch. But I’m tempted to try it at some point in something cheap and cheerful. I had a jersey dress as a teenager that I was extremely fond of. Perhaps it could work. Who knows.

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47 Responses to Simplicity 2443 Jacket

  1. Kayla says:

    The jacket turned out wonderfully! You did an awesome job, very inspiring for me =)
    –Kayla

  2. Rachel says:

    I love it! It looks fantastic in the linen. I desperately want a black-silvery one too now. Gorgeous!

  3. Roobeedoo says:

    That looks really expensive! And I would definitely wear it with dark denim.
    I hadn’t noticed you had no buttons, but now that you’ve pointed it out, I wonder whether self-covered ones would “blend in” but give you the option of closing the front?
    Great job!

  4. Ooh, self-covered buttons! There’s a thought…

  5. Clare says:

    I love it too! It looks really well-made and fits beautifully.

  6. Roobeedoo says:

    P.S. Not sure I would advise night running in Epping Forest. I used to work at Waltham Forest Magistrates Court. Just saying…
    Although if you like being chased by police helicopters with their searchlights on, it might be fun!

  7. Jeni says:

    Beautiful! So glad you decided to make it from that fabric – it makes it look so unusual and expensive. And the lining is gorgeous.

  8. Steph says:

    Jacket looks really good, no need to worry about mocking bar staff in that!

    Personally jersey and a gathered skirt on me is a big no no. Maybe jersey full stop. But I’d be interested to see how it turns out. x

  9. stitchywitch says:

    Lovely – the metallic black gives it a really different look! I never added buttons to mine, and I don’t miss them. I’m making the dress again right now in ponte knit (it’s not too clingy in the ponte… and it doesn’t need any interfacing that way.) I love the pattern, but sewing on the straps is a nightmare – I have no idea how anyone manages without any puckers!

  10. orange says:

    De-lurking to say, gorgeous jacket! Nice work, it does look very glam. I can’t believe the lining doesn’t show through at all!
    (and I also am a little concerned at night runs through the forest!)

  11. Thank you all for your lovely comments. Just to put your minds to rest: the night runs are planned group excursions with a running club, so I would be about as safe as I could be. Also, it is highly unlikely I’ll ever get off my lardy arse to actually join one!

  12. Erika says:

    Great job on the jacket! It turned out lovely, I’m sure you’ll get a lot of use of it.

    Thank you so much on the head light tip! I’ve been struggling with not getting anything done when it’s dark outside (and I live in northern Sweden… it’s always dark in winter!) since no amount of indoor lighting seems to be enough. Now I’ll have to try this one! =)

  13. Kerry says:

    The jacket looks great! I’m so impressed that you made the effort to make it so neat inside too – I’ve yet to do that for a project! Good tip on the headtorch too 🙂

  14. Clare says:

    What a lovely jacket! The fabric really suits it; glam casual (is there such a genre of dressing? there is now!)

    Good work on the head torch – I’ve never used mine for sewing but I often use it for knitting in bed!

  15. I love it! it’s fantastic within the linen. I desperately need a black-silvery one too currently. Gorgeous!

  16. Bold Sewist says:

    That is gorgeous. I love the silver of the stripe – I think it would look great with jeans. And the lining is so NEAT! and fab colour. Well done! Look forward to seeing it in real life!

  17. Katie says:

    Fabulous!!! I know this has been a popular pattern, but I just couldn’t see it – until now!! I love it in this fabric, it looks effortlessly cool and I can imagine it worn so many ways. Yes to the sequin scarf, yes to the jeans, YES YES YES! Also, the turquoise lining is brilliant.

  18. Colette says:

    that jacket is wonderful, looking at the fabric held up in the light you would believe it! What an interesting cloth! I’d be proud to throw that jacket over a chair in a bar, but some one may nick off with it, it’s that good!!!!
    fabulous work!

  19. Colette says:

    I meant to type….that jacket is wonderful, looking at the fabric held up in the light you wouldn’t believe it!….

  20. Lysy says:

    It looks fab – I bet you’re pleased you stuck with it through all those annoying challenges now! And the lining – no bouncer would even think to challenge you on it 🙂

  21. melissa says:

    I love love love this jacket and will happily steal it from the back of your chair in a hip and happening bar. So watch out! bwahahah

  22. Adrienne says:

    This is gorgeous Karen! I’m so impressed by your project!

  23. Amy says:

    Lol, I bet you sewing while wearing a headtorch would’ve been a brilliant photo! What a loss to blog-readers that the evidence was lost 😉
    The jacket looks fab, you could definitely pull it off with jeans.

  24. lizajane says:

    Gorgeous jacket! I love the metallic stripe. I’ve often thought about wearing a head lamp while sewing. Too bad you lost the pics!

  25. Jane says:

    Oooh Karen it looks SSSOOOO expensive. Wow. Please fling it in the direction of the next bouncer you see, just to see the respect in his eyes when he sees your slip stitch. Thanks for the tip on the head torch, my son has a dinosaur reading light which I’m going to steal, I think it might roar periodically though (!) Great job.
    PS. Glad you omitted the rags. x

  26. Roisin says:

    It looks aces, seriously. I love the turquoise lining especially, it makes it look really luxurious and expensive. My dad has one of those head torches – he bought his with the intention of exploring a mysterious tunnel he and my uncle found. Thankfully he never got around to doing that (goodness knows what is in there) so now he mainly puts it on when he’s going outside at night to feed the dogs. That’s glamour, right there.
    I’d say give the dress a go. It might not be that flattering – jersey can be a bit tricky that way, I think – but if it isn’t you’ve got yourself something comfortable for around the house etc. I tend to think it will be good on you, though. For one thing, rumours of this supposed paunch have been VASTLY exaggerated, and for another I think the skirt falls in a tummy-concealing way anyway.

  27. Wow, that jacket looks awesome!!! I’d be so proud to wear that anywhere! Its so neat and well made. I’d be running around telling everyone I made it and watching their jaws drop! YAY!

    I’m thinking I like your head torch idea. I might have to have a lookie for one around the place! Hee hee hee!

  28. Janice says:

    Well done! Your jacket looks amazing!

  29. Elizabeth says:

    OMG! This jacket is soooo beautiful. I am coveting it. It looks so professional. Well done. You must wear it when I come to London! 🙂

  30. Fab jacket Karen! It’d look cool in a lightweight white linen, or a soft chambray blue on you too 🙂

  31. Tilly says:

    Karen, you’ve done such a good job on that jacket! And great choice on the lining fabric.

    Loving the head torch. A friend of mine recently suggested head torches so we could take our embroidery to Drink Shop Do (it’s quite dimly lit, isn’t it?). Will have to tell her about this…

  32. Betty says:

    Love your jacket! The fabric definitely makes it and it looks great with the scarf too. Definitely wear it! Oh, and maybe David Page Coffin’s shirtmaking book may be of interest for future placket attempts. I recently tried a few different methods for a sleeve placket on a shirt most of which were pretty hideous but this one worked really well. (You can have a look at the method on google books, just google ‘david coffin sleeve placket’ and it should come up.) It was a bit fiddly but worth it!

  33. SewOm says:

    Yay! You finished it – and its gorgeous! I’m so happy for you. And its so cool to see a project go from concept to excellent execution. Thanks for blogging about it. I’m sure when you wear it, those who aren’t blog savvy will ask you where you bought it, not did you make that.

  34. Carly says:

    Oh it’s just brilliant Karen, I’m glad you took the plunge and used that material, it’s definitely worked out well! The turquoise lining is gorgeous and I agree it would work well dressed up or dressed down with a plain t-shirt and jeans.x

  35. montanachic says:

    Super cute jacket and you have a fun blog to read, I will for sure be back. I have to agree with you on jacket lining instructions, I have yet to make a jacket with good lining instructions no matter the pattern company.

  36. Very interesting and unusual fabric you have there… Your jacket looks really great – I hope you love it too, and that unlikely bar managers notice the details sewn carefully. That idea of the mini torch on the head is a good one. I do a lot of late night sewing and lately it’s been black things – very hard to unpick black thread in black fabric at night!

  37. Zoe says:

    Totally gorgeous! You rock that jacket hard! It looks really well made and the fabric choice was quite frankly inspired. Well done for your perseverence xxx

  38. Hatty says:

    That’s the best version I’ve seen so far. I might take a look at that pattern! I love your blog posts. I moved away from London about six years ago, and the two things I miss are the parks and the wry/ironic /self-deprecating humour. Keep it coming!

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  40. Clever blonde Donna G says:

    Your jacket looks so much better than the diagrams on the packet. You have come a long way in your sewing career. I’m loving your blog and gaining lots of head knowledge that I’m going test out one of these days…

  41. KathleenS says:

    I do not think opaque means what you think it means. Nice jacket though.

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