Style Arc Janet Jacket

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The Style Arc Janet Jacket has shoulder princess seams, two-piece sleeves, a slightly raised neckline, and front close with either a hook and eye or toggle/frog.

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The line drawing has a few inaccuracies:

  • The front hem is curved rather than straight. I think this looks more elegant than the squared-off edges.
  • At 22″ from center back neck to hem I also think it will hit the mid-hip rather than lower hip level on most women. Maybe it is just me but I think it looks longer in the line drawing and fashion illustration than it does in real life.
  • I also thought the collar didn’t jut in so much, instead it was more or less a continuous straight line from the front fastenings to the collar.
  • At first I thought the sleeves were one piece. They are actually two piece.

My fashion fabric was a blue-toned charcoal gray stretch tropical wool suiting:

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I lined it with a light blue Vera Wang acetate from Fabric Mart. For the front closure I used regular black hooks and eyes.

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All of my interfacing was from Fashion Sewing Supply. I interfaced:

  • The center front using Pro-Weft.
  • The entire center back, side back and front, hems, outer back collar, and front facing using Pro-Sheer Elegance.
  • The inner back collar using Pro-Tailor fusible hair canvas. I also interfaced the collar/neckline section of the inside front facing using a piece of bias-cut Pro-Tailor hair canvas.  Cutting it on the bias gives a bit more flexibility for comfort, but still allows enough stiffness so the collar keeps its shape.

For the shoulder pads I used the Armani-style shoulder pads from Apple Annie Fabrics. They have the sleeve header built in so you get a nice, structured shoulder line. I softened the eased fabric of the sleevehead by padding it out with a strip of  bias-cut lambswool folded in half and slipstitched to the seam allowance, just past the stitching line.

I started off with my usual fitting adjustments, which were:

  • 3/8″ broad back adjustment
  • Added 3/4″ width to the sleeves
  • Lengthened the sleeves 7/8″ (a bit shorter than my usual 1-1.5″ adjustment)
  • Added 1/2″ width to the side hip, and an additional 1/2″ width to the side back hip
  • Nipped in the center back seam at the waist (3/4″)
  • Took a tuck in the upper chest area, a total of 3/4″ at the center front, tapering to nothing at the armhole. (Often Style Arc V-neck patterns are too long in the upper chest for me.)

Of course, seeing as how I thought this jacket was going to be an easy sew, I had some additional fitting issues which were rather significant and resulted in the creation of three muslins.

One other adjustment I did – which, as a B cup pretty much my entire adult life I never needed to do before – was a full bust adjustment. I had a difficult time meeting the center fronts together, my bust was squished, and when I hooked them together there was a lot of pulling and gaping along the entire front neckline as well as across and below the bust. And this was while I was wearing a thin tee under it! The entire side front just felt way too small from the bust all the way to the hem. So while wearing the muslin I slashed and spread the entire front princess seam, starting a few inches above the bust, and measured the spread. It was 3/4″, so that was the amount I decided to base my full bust adjustment on. I used this tutorial from Sewaholic on  how to do a princess seam FBA.  Below you can see the end result. The pattern piece on the left is the altered side front, and the pattern piece on the right is the unaltered side front lining. I thought there was the perfect amount of room below the bust as well as over it after I did this adjustment.

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ETA, 2/14/14: Style Arc let me know they made some adjustments to the Janet pattern:

Hi Anne, just letting you know that we have altered the Janet jacket pattern, we have added more curve over the bust line continuing down to the hemline, a total circumference of 2.5cm over the bust to 4cm over the hip. Now more suitable for layering.

Hopefully this will make fitting the bust more predictable for some of you!

Like Kristin I had issues with a fold at the center back neck. At first my thought was square shoulders, but I wasn’t seeing how adjusting the shoulder slope would improve it. Using close-ups of similar designer RTW jackets I came to the conclusion that the problem was that Style Arc drafted it as an extension of the center back, and didn’t do it as a separate collar piece. As a result there is too much length at the center back, and folds are created. It is almost as if I did a high round back adjustment I didn’t need. So I did some research online to find similar style RTW jackets and see how they handled the back neckline. All of them had a separate collar piece for the back.

Here are the RTW examples:

So here’s how I went about fixing it:

  • Instead of being a back facing, that pattern piece was going to do double duty as a collar and back facing. I overlayed the center back panel over the facing piece, traced the stitching line of the facing, and added a 3/8″ seam allowance. I then trimmed the excess off.
  • I took a Lekala pattern I had printed out and compared it to my new center back panel pattern piece. Sure enough, the Lekala pattern had the center back neckline 1/2″ lower than the Style Arc pattern, which happened to be the width of the fold I was getting.
  • I redrew the center back neckline so it began 1/2″ lower than previously. Since scooping out the neckline is going to make the length of the curve longer I took out the extra length at the shoulder. I also nipped in the center back seam 1/8″.
  • I found the back was still pushing in too much at the top, which meant the top length was too narrow. So I cut it in the middle and spread it 3/8″ at the top seam allowance, tapering to nothing at the bottom. Then I reshaped it so it looked like a proper collar again, chopping off the “hump” this adjustment created at the top center back and adding that width back to the bottom center front.

Obviously you will need to mock up a muslin to make sure the curve is correct for you.

I am happy with this jacket. When I was trying it on last night after finishing it I was surprised at how versatile it is. It looked fantastic over my black wool sateen Style Arc Heather, and even worked with one of my collared shirts (Vogue 8747).

This project reminded me once again that it really is worth putting in the time and effort to make my own jackets, even though they are time-consuming to make when compared to other wardrobe items. Aside from things like sweaters or down coats, I almost never buy RTW anymore. I went shopping last weekend at a local thrift store that specializes in mid to higher end RTW and designer clothing (think Banana Republic and Ann Taylor, along with some Hermes, Prada, and Chanel). I walked out with a blush pink leather blazer that fit me ok and will go with a ton of pieces in my wardrobe, but otherwise I was really disappointed.  Most of what is out there has too short and tight sleeves, is too short waisted (length is ok, but the waist shaping is at least 1″ too high for my figure), and too boxy through the torso. Surprisingly one of my better fitting RTW blazers is a RPL one from H&M. But when I put it on my mom says “it is ok, but doesn’t look as nice as yours do.” The sleeves don’t quite hang right and the back vent spreads open a little bit more than it should. So I will continue to sew,  even if it ends up costing me more money at the end of the day.

14 thoughts on “Style Arc Janet Jacket”

  1. It’s a lovely jacket and looks great on you. I have to agree that the proportions on the drawing look different than your jacket. 22″ would fall at my high hip not low hip and I am 5’5″ tall, so average.

  2. Great job! It looks fantastic. Thanks for your detailed notes. I’d be tempted to move the closures down an inch on you as it seems to close a little bit higher than your natural waistline…. what do you think? Oh, and a blush pink leather blazer from the thrift store – drool!

    1. I think it is supposed to close between the bust and natural waist – that’s what the drawing shows, and that’s how it seemed on the pattern. The first hook is where it is slightly shaped.

  3. I agree that the pattern drawing looks lower than it turned out. Looks good! No, sewing is not cheaper than RTW but it comes out so much nicer!

  4. This jacket looks beautiful on you. I think it is totally worth making your own. Yours looks significantly nicer than the illustration, imo. It seems there are a few issues with the fit if this one that may affect other people too. I’d be interested to hear which jacket patterns have worked best for you (in terms of fewest adjustments that aren’t standard for you, not necessarily final result). I love the colour of this. Gorgeous.

  5. You look AWESOME in this jacket. It really is worth the time you took with it because it looks beautiful and fits beautifully. I’ve listened to your alterations (and saved your email) and, when my new pattern arrives (hopefully it’ll take a few weeks :-)), I’ll start again.

  6. Oh it’s such a gorgeous jacket! And it comes up beautifully in the light with the snow in the background – a lovely colour combination against your hair, too. Interesting about the collar though, and glad you could come up with a fix for it – it certainly paid off. Looking back at the line drawing after you mentioned it – it seems immediately obvious that the collar needs to be separate to get a smooth line through there. Love your sleeve caps :)

  7. I have an RTW cocktail jacket in a similar silhouette which has the one-piece extension back collar, as you described on this pattern. The one piece effect contributes I think to the dressy look. As far as I know (honestly, I can’t afford to look that closely, lol) there is no excess fabric at the top. Differences from this pattern: there are two angled darts facing toward the top CB in addition to the princess seaming, and also, the jacket is not meant to fully close, but stays partly open as in photo #2, held lightly by ribbon ties which you make into a bow. So glad I found your blog!

  8. You made a very thoughtful jacket, Anne. In addition, your clarifications of the misimpressions generated by the line drawing are very helpful. I so enjoy seeing your work and this jacket did not disappoint.

  9. Hi Anne, I’m fairly new to your blog and I’m really impressed! Not just with your finished garments, which are uniformly beautifully executed, but also with the care you take in documenting your production. So helpful to other people! I am sure it must take a lot of time so I hope you get a lot of joy from knowing how inspirational you are to others. I will be recommending your blog far and wide – thank you!

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