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Paco Peralta’s Chinese Jacket

October 13, 2012

Not too long ago, Paco Peralta was having a sale on his patterns (Paco’s patterns are sold through his Etsy shop). Last year I made the T coat and was so in love with the pattern, vowing to make it half-a-dozen different ways. I haven’t done that yet. But I remember what a joy the pattern was to work with, and the sale gave me the push to try another that I’ve had my eye on, the Chinese “Coolie” Jacket.

The original was made in silk dupioni, lined, bound buttonholes, and the edges were piped. Buttons were made from narrow bias strips of the fashion fabric.  Two main pattern pieces, front & back. The 3/4 dolman sleeves are cut on. In the pattern envelope, there was also a pattern piece for facings, pockets, and separate lining pattern pieces. The lower edge has subtle shaping, so there are also facing pieces for the hem. It isn’t straight across.

Paco has provided a pictorial step-by-step on his blog, including instructions for making the self buttons.

I had something similar in mind as the ultimate incarnation for the pattern, but decided to test it out quickie-style (no lining, machine buttonholes, etc.)  in another fabric first in case some tweaking was needed. There was some cotton upholstery-weight fabric stashed long ago that never got made up because every time I visualized myself wearing something made from it, I looked like a sofa. I even dyed it at one point to see if that would take the home-dec look out of it. Still couldn’t bring myself to make anything out of it. But the chinoiserie-type print made it just right for a test version of this jacket.

I love my Chinese jacket! I think I’ll wear it mostly as a top. The fabric, while still fairly beefy, is very soft and comfortable after washing. It doesn’t bind or cling anywhere, and there is good range of motion with the sleeves.

I made this straight up, with no alterations at all except that I did not line….note to self, if you do this again without lining, make it even easier on yourself and make the pockets cut-on instead of separate. Since no alterations were made, I expected that I’d be making myself some notes about what to change next time, like a forward shoulder adjustment, or add extra at the hip, or cut the underarm a little higher. But NO NONE NADA  changes are needed. Thank you, Paco. I’ve had trouble in the past with very simple patterns that don’t sit right on the shoulders, slip and slide around, and have excess unwanted fabric draping. This garment has none of those problems and that, to me, is the sign of some nice drafting. Maybe it’s because of the way Paco works. His prototypes are draped rather than drawn.

So I do still want to make my luxury version. Right after finishing this, I was watching the movie Dark Passage with Humphry Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Ms. Bacall was wearing a beautifully simple silk satin pajama outfit in one scene that looked like it could have been made from this pattern. I searched the web for a photo, but came up with nothing. Satin, velveteen, or dupioni will be the material for the next one.

Now for some additional photos:

This is the original coloration of the fabric. I overdyed with a turquoise color…now I’m not sure I did the right thing. But it will be interesting to see what wear and washing do to the fabric.

Side view – gives an idea of the pretty shaped hem.

I thought a button with another Chinese-like pattern would look good. This shows the colors accurately after dyeing.

Shot in another bathroom mirror.

43 Comments leave one →
  1. October 13, 2012 8:57 pm

    I love this top, Robyn! I love how the back is longer than the front. I love the fabric and buttons. It’s an all around lovely top. Nice work!

    • October 14, 2012 12:52 pm

      Thanks, Janis! I expected this to be a nice pattern – it was even nicer than expected.

  2. October 13, 2012 9:01 pm

    Very pretty top/jacket, and it looks great on you!

  3. October 13, 2012 9:09 pm

    This jacket is wonderful! I love the fabric. Looks great on you

  4. Anonymous permalink
    October 13, 2012 9:09 pm

    Stunning! How did I miss ‘that’ pattern. I did purchase the Tcoat and the draped top but oh do I “need” this pattern. The fabric you’ve chosen is wonderful. Very nice.

    • October 14, 2012 12:54 pm

      Marcia, did I read on SG that you’ve already ordered? I hope you like it as much as I do.

  5. Peggy L permalink
    October 14, 2012 12:10 am

    Love this!! Amazing that you didn’t have to make any alterations. Is this the one I missed seeing?

  6. October 14, 2012 12:12 am

    This is great! Over dyeing with the turquoise gave a wonderful result.

    • October 14, 2012 12:56 pm

      Thanks for the thumbs-up on the dyeing, Bunny. When you’re making all the decisions yourself, it’s easy to go on second-guessing forever.

  7. stacey permalink
    October 14, 2012 12:13 am

    You did a beautiful job!

    • October 14, 2012 12:58 pm

      Thanks, Stacey. Without the lining and all, it was really quick, too.

  8. October 14, 2012 2:43 am

    Absolutely lovely! Karen

  9. October 14, 2012 2:53 am

    Couldn’t do better for something that was only supposed to be a “test”. Nice work, it looks lovely on you.

  10. October 14, 2012 3:10 am

    So flat out pretty on you, Robyn!

  11. MarcyF permalink
    October 14, 2012 4:03 am

    This looks lovely on you. Love the fabric–and your skill in matching the print across the front is truly impressive!!

    • October 14, 2012 1:01 pm

      How good of you to notice! I had to work at the pattern matching…takes brains….

  12. prttynpnk permalink
    October 14, 2012 9:39 am

    This is lovely, i love your change to the fabric.

  13. October 14, 2012 1:55 pm

    Your jacket is beyond fabulous!! And you wear it so well. I’m sure paco is beaming.

  14. October 14, 2012 2:10 pm

    Looks great on you! Nice job – I love the idea of making a wearable muslin test garment, too.

    • October 14, 2012 11:23 pm

      It’s really nice when the “wearable” part works out.

  15. October 14, 2012 2:32 pm

    What a classic, simple style. I love the idea of a shirt jacket as a simple, essential multi-tasker. You look wonderful.

  16. October 14, 2012 2:58 pm

    Robyn….wow! I mean WOW! I just love this, the fit is perfect and you look fabulous!

    • October 14, 2012 11:28 pm

      Your interfacing is playing a supporting role!

  17. October 14, 2012 5:51 pm

    Beautiful! That looks just like the type of top an illustrator would wear and produce exquisite drawings – comfortable, inspiring and unique!

    • October 14, 2012 11:28 pm

      Under a smock, of course. I am a messy painter. Thanks for stopping by!

  18. October 14, 2012 9:47 pm

    Your sewing always looks so beautiful and impeccable. You are an inspiration to me.

    • October 14, 2012 11:30 pm

      Wow. That is so nice of you to say. I better be sure to share my next wadder!

  19. Martha permalink
    October 14, 2012 10:40 pm

    Just wonderful, Robyn. I especially like the overdyed effect.

    • October 16, 2012 12:55 am

      Thanks, Martha – I really respect your opinion!

  20. October 15, 2012 1:04 am

    what a winner!! It looks so good on you and your craftsmanship is a delight to examine. Enjoy!

    • October 16, 2012 12:56 am

      Thank you, Robin. I’ve enjoyed it so much that it is now in the laundry basket. Will have to postpone more enjoyment until after washing.

  21. Joy permalink
    October 15, 2012 3:36 am

    Just lovely .. like it a lot. It really does make a great topper, and your version came out beautifully.. He must be a master drafter .. every pattern of his I’ve seen made is just lovely. I’m a sleuth at heart .. 😉 is this the top you recall from Dark Passage? Except for the front vents, it sure has a similar look to Peralta’s, doesn’t it?.

    ~Joy~ (from SG)

    • October 16, 2012 12:54 am

      Joy, you are a good sleuth – that’s really close! I think she wore something similar in The Big Sleep, too.

  22. October 30, 2012 10:53 pm

    How beautiful – and how I wish he did plus size patterns. I would love to wear that. The fabric you chose is exquisite. I cannot find his blog, however. Perhaps it is accessible only to those who have purchased his patterns.

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