Saturday, December 28, 2013

Sewing Workshop Era Jacket

Below is my version of the Sewing Workshop's Era Jacket pattern.  This is made out of a thick striped cotton that I can't remember where I purchased it from.  The idea for the "Bias Buttons" down the front came from a trip to Seattle several years ago.  I saw the idea in the window of a very expensive boutique and snapped a photo so I would remember it.  Further below is a small tutorial on how to make the "Bias Buttons".

Jacket Front
Just a few photos I snapped in the backyard.....
Jacket back
Jacket side with large angled vents

Ok, onto the technical stuff.  Here's the jacket on my dressform.  It's a loose fitting, below waist jacket with a high turned down collar with mitered corners.  The wrong side of the fabric will show on the collar - just keep that in mind if you decide to make your own.   The pattern only calls for two buttons on the front, but I just couldn't resist doing three! 

Underneath the "Bias Buttons" are snaps to hold the jacket closed.  Of course, after I finished sewing all of the snaps on and the bias buttons on, I realized that I had sewed them to the wrong sides!  A women's jacket should lap right over left, not left over right!  Oh well!  I wasn't about to rip everything off and sew it the "correct" way.  And you know what - to this day, I have never had a person stop me on the street and say "Hey, did you know your jacket buttons are on the wrong side?".

You can see here where the wrong side of the fabric would show.  My fabric was the same on both sides so it wasn't an issue for me.

Here's a view of the very angled side vents.  The top of the vent hits me just at the waistline.

A closer shot of the "Bias Buttons" down the front.

Close up of an individual "Bias Button".

For this jacket, I had enough material left over to make a matching hanger cover as well.  I try to make these for all of my garments to help keep dust off of them in the closet.

Soooo, just how do you make those bias buttons?  I'm glad you asked!  The instructions are below. 

Please excuse the different material used for the example.  I made this jacket so long ago, that I no longer have the scraps so I substituted a similar weight material.  My original material was a thick cotton - similar to a home dec weight.  If you want to use a quilting weight cotton, I suggest that you iron interfacing to the back to give it a little more thickness before cutting out the bias strips.  (And excuse my stained ironing board cover as well please!)

First, cut your fabric into 1 inch bias strips.  For this example, I'm using a short piece of bias.  The finished buttons on the jacket were made from about a one yard long piece of bias.

Using a 1/2 bias tape maker, run your material thru the bias tape maker pressing as you go.

Here's the wrong side of the finished bias tape.

And here's the right side of the finished bias tape.

Cut the end of the bias tape so it's straight.

Start by tightly rolling the end and sewing as you roll.  Sew thru all thicknesses from one end of the roll to the other.

Here's another view.  Just keep rolling and sewing, rolling and sewing.  Occasionally try to sew straight thru as many layers as you can (across the diameter of the circle).  This will help the circle keep it's shape and not turn into a cone as it gets bigger.

More rolling and sewing, rolling and sewing, until you arrive at a size you like.  Once there, turn under the end of the bias tape and sew down.  The total width of my finished buttons are 2 1/4 inches.   To sew the finished button onto the jacket - just sew the outside edges of the finished button directly onto the jacket. These will not be used as conventional buttons so you don't need to make buttonholes.  Instead, you will sew snaps underneath them and on the other jacket front piece to hold the jacket closed.

I hope you enjoy this technique and use it on some of your own garments in the future.

Happy Sewing!


  1. What a great jacket! I have this pattern and have never made it up. And I looooove your bias buttons!!

  2. Star, you are so talented and creative. I love looking through your blog. Thanks for sharing.