Friday, 12 December 2014

Harrington in detail part 3

The last part for sure, because I've finished it now. Probably could have done it in one day if all things had gone smoothly, or maybe I'm just being stupid.

Before we start

Attach the lining to the self under both arms, joining the seam allowances (will not show). The other places we join the lining to the self are the cuffs, the bottom and the zipper.


This is the hardest thing to find these days. Not sure why but if you plan to make an English style bomber jacket, the ribbing for the cuffs and bottom must be a very close match to the self. It's not expensive, just not around a lot.
2 x cuff at 15cm h x 18cm w
1 x hem at 15cm h x 73cm w
The cuffs must be closed, i.e. stitch the ends so you have two 15cm high cylinders.
Now, put the cuff over the self so the rib looks like a sock. To make sure it is even, you will have to mark 1/4 way around each and match the marks. A basting thread (small stitches) will help it to stay there as you sew, or you can pin the quarters and stretch the cuff carefully as you sew. If you pull the fabric as it's being sewed you'll bend the needle so it will break onto the needle plate (so don't). Sewing stretchy things onto unstretchy things is something you work out after a few mistakes.
Now sew the other right side onto the lining. It's been a couple of days since I did this so I can't recall exactly how I did it, but I recall having to poke the ribbing inside what I was about to sew, so there was an exposed seam. This was the only way I could to make a really neat job. There was also a lot of pulling things inside out.
After you've done this, it will look like this:

Can you see where I pushed the ribbing in to be able to stitch?
After stitching, we pull the self from the lining and have them obviously joined by the cuff.
Looks like a mess, but...
 Now, pull them the right way.
Finished cuff
Now you need to join the self to the lining. Topstitch around where the cuff joins the self. If you didn't do this, the lining would be free to slip around and you'd end up with a varying size cuff.
Do the other side now.
The bottom rib needs to be joined to the small pieces of self we interfaced.
Might need a ball point needle
Now turn the garment inside out through the zipper space. You should see that we're running out of places to turn it inside out, and our aim is to sew the zipper in last of all.
Mark the rib and self into halves then quarters (ignoring the interfaced piece).
Stitch the end pieces (the interfaced pieces) one side to the self and the other side to the lining so the self and lining aren't joined (if you join the lining and self at this place you won't be able to insert the zipper). Now join the ribbing piece to both the lining and the self (all four layers together), matching up the quarters.
Always pin then baste before sewing.
Turn the garment the right way, and inspect your good work.
Not quite done yet. You need to baste then top stitch down the join of the interfaced self and the ribbing.

The Zipper

Zippers aren't that hard. Just make sure the first half you sew on is on flat, then don't position the other half unless the zipper is closed. It's a real pain undoing a well sewn in zipper so make sure you're careful.
The logic of getting this one in is simple because it's reversible. Both the lining and the self must be folded and the zipper will sit on top. We can also use still being able to access the inside to make a very neat job. The lining and self are firstly folded and this is pressed into shape. Pin one half of the zipper into position on the folded part (the placket), making sure it's not too long (hard to correct for). Baste and remove the pins.
Never just pin a zipper, or it will end in tears
Once you've made sure you have only sewn it to the folded part, check it for straightness. Once you're happy with it, sew into position using a zipper foot. Don't try and reverse over the stitch with this foot on (it usually doesn't work), instead pulling both sides of the thread to the wrong side and tying them together.
Now it's in place on the self, bring the lining fold into position on the other side of the zipper. Pin and baste it, then top stitch neatly through all three layers.
Put the other half of the zipper on now and fasten it. Now you can position the other half on the other self fold. Pin it, baste it then test it. If you miss very slightly with the first half of the zipper you can make up for it by positioning the other half accordingly. Make sure it's in the right position. If not, re-pin and re-baste and try again. This is like pockets, in that it'll look bad if it isn't right.
Once you're happy with it, unzip and stitch it to the placket fold. Pin the lining in to hold it and try the jacket on. If the zipper is perfect, pin then baste the lining on, try it on again and when you're happy, top stitch through all layers again.
Cut that thread before anyone sees it

The two rows is sub optimal, visually

The mannequin likes it
Didn't complain about the back either
Reversed it looks a little unusual, but if your personality is unusual, a tartan jacket might tick all the boxes.
Even has an external pocket

This garment was sewn on my 1959 Singer 320K.


  1. I stumbled in here from Dragon Poodle, and am so very glad I did. This is a great tutorial on ribbing. I will give all credit when I do this later this year. Thanks!

    1. Thanks for the compliment and I'm glad you could use it.

  2. I just came across this blog thru the reader above from malepatternboldness. I really like your series on the bomber jacket construction. I also like your posts on vintage sewing machines. I was also surprised to see someone finally say, man is it hard to find good ribbing. Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and Happy Holidays

    1. Thanks Corey. I'm not sure why the ribbing is so hard to find (I can't be the only person making jackets) but the ladies in the shops just shake their heads. I have a knitting machine and am thinking about trying to make my own.
      I love vintage machines: They're a lot easier to understand than putting a garment together!
      Have a great holiday yourself. It's already Christmas day here.

    2. Your post on semi-industrial sewing machine - there is no such thing, either domestic or industrial of which vintage is built to last, easy to maintain and for garment construction really all you need is straight stitch, maybe zigzag and a good buttonholer. (and of course now, a great overlocker). The bernina you pictured looks like a vintage home sewing machine. Bernina did make the 950 industrial which uses a clutch or you can put on a servo motor. When you can use a servo motor, then you know you are using an industrial sewing machine with high stitching speeds and great piercing power.

    3. Yes I'm aware of that and you're quite right. I was using the term commonly in use today to refer to a machine designated as for home manufacturing, such as the Singer 103K (see ISMACS for which Singer machines are in this category).
      Such machines typically have rotary bobbins, knee lifters, are straight stitch only, are built into tables and are fitted with a large external motor. You're right that the Bernina 642-1 doesn't qualify because it comes with a motor that's mounted onto the machine.
      I was using the more common term rather than the technically correct one, and it doesn't apply to the 642-1.
      Incidentally, my 206K10 (industrial) came with a large universal motor (of 1/4HP) which was the same one as the 103K ((home manufacturing). When I say large, I mean very large and extremely heavy. I'm toying with the idea of mounting it on the 642-1, which I think could handle the power.

  3. I have a singer 201K. Its a great machine, and it is the only machine that I have that could handle a servo motor. Vintage Pfaff 230/260 could handle a servo motor as well. What I have done with vintage machines is upgraded the motor to 1.5 amp. It gives some good speed and power to punch thru denim, leather, home dec fabric, canvas, outdoor fabric .. pretty much anything you put under the foot. I have a Pfaff 332 which can sew thru anything st8, zigzag and 80 embroidery stitches. It is quite the machine. I would like to have a bernina 950 but i don't think they make them anymore, Even an older Pfaff Industrial machine with st8 and zigzag. I do like your singer 320K looks awesome and you get zigzag and some other stitches with it. I'm jealous. Merry Christmas Mike

    1. I'm pretty late with this one, sorry Corey. There's an industrial version of the 201, and I think the only discernible difference is a knee lift. It's model number is 1200. Never seen one but how much stronger could it be than a 201 really?
      I saw a Pfaff 260 on eBay a week or so back and it had been in an industrial bench from new. I think the Euro manufacturers did this: Bernina's 'Favorit' is also an industrial machine with decorative stitches too.
      I'm going to have my 'spare' industrial bench modified to take several different machines, including different sized industrials. I'll write about this adventure if it comes to anything.