Today I’m bringing you a pretty popular pattern (and some alliteration, all for free!). Simplicity 9388, a unisex shirt jacket in three lengths, has been well-received in the sewing community since its release.
I like making button up shirts and jackets that aren’t too tricky, so this was on my radar. When I got some Shetland Flannel Speckle in the “Steel” color by Robert Kaufman, it seemed like an ideal match.
Fabric & Notions
This flannel is 95% cotton and 5% polyester. It’s 44″ wide and 6.4 oz/square yard. It’s listed on Robert Kaufman’s site as being 2-ply and therefore “stronger and loftier”. It really is a nice flannel, as all the flannels I have ever used from Robert Kaufman have been. It fluffs up a bit in the wash and, my favorite part, contains little flecks of colors–green, blue, pink, orange, and white.
Mine was a Christmas gift from my husband and came from Amazon. He bought me four yards, and after making this shirt jacket, I have 16″ full width left, plus some odd-shaped extra bits.
You only need a tiny bit of lining for the inside of the yoke, so I looked in my stash and chose a bit of gray cotton lawn by Cotton + Steel. I can’t remember for sure, but I probably bought it at Pintuck & Purl several years ago.
Other than that, I found thread, interfacing, and buttons at Joann’s. I really thought hard on the buttons, spending a lot of time online looking at options, but in the end, Joann’s had just what I wanted. While I had thought something neon or bright would be the ticket, it was this medium pink that looked the best.
My favorite detail on this shirt is the “L” patch from Wildflower and Company on Etsy.
This was also a gift, and went great with the shirt. It was easy to iron on and instructions were included to ensure success. After adhering it, I stitched around the outside with regular thread in my bobbin and clear nylon thread in my needle. If you haven’t used nylon thread before, it looks a lot like lightweight fishing line, but comes on a spool. I have a really old spool that was given to me by a friend. This stuff pretty much lasts forever, and is great extra insurance on something like this embroidered patch that will definitely go through the laundry on a regular basis.
I did have one tool failure–and this is something I have seen in several cases, unfortunately. Using a yellow Chaco liner on white/light material is probably a gamble that won’t end well.
I don’t know if this happens with all the Chaco liner colors, but I have used the yellow on cream fabric and it has never washed out. I helped with a class once where someone made white jeans and couldn’t get it out. Now I notice that I can still see my marks even on this medium gray, even though I have washed it since making it. I absolutely love my yellow Chaco liner for its ease of use, and I really don’t have problems with it on darker colors, but it just doesn’t seem to come out of lighter colors.
I chose to make View B in a large for the bust/chest and waist and an extra large for the hips.
I thought about trying the shortest view (View C), but I really wanted hip pockets, and View C omits those.
This pattern was nice to sew without any real surprises, and it felt like it came together fairly quickly. I like the front chest and hip pockets and love how the lining on the inside of the yoke looks.
One of the few things I didn’t like is that, at this length, the hip pockets finish just above the hem, so if you put your hands or something heavy in the pockets, they will hang down beneath the edge of the jacket. To fix that, I topstitched my pockets to the front, following the seam line from the inside. They aren’t perfectly even, but it’s not noticeable unless you are trying to notice it. While I prefer the look of the jacket without this topstitching, it doesn’t look bad and it completely solves the problem.
One thing that was a little different from a lot of shirts that I sew is that this pattern has a one-piece collar and the button plackets extend past the edge of the collar. It give the shirt jacket a slightly different look from a regular shirt. I also like the seam line over the chest pockets. It’s a good detail.
This shirt jacket has, in my opinion, the perfect amount of ease to wear over other shirts or a light sweater, and I could see making this in other cotton flannels or, even better, in wool.
If you look around on the internet, you can see a lot of versions of this pattern, including an amazing version in red faux fur by Yoga Byrd over on the Minerva.com website (hopefully that link works).
While I started this in the winter (And maybe finished it in the winter? I can’t remember…), it’s a great transitional piece for spring. I have worn it a lot, and am so glad I made it.
There’s nothing like a garment you have made yourself when it comes to the ideal fit. And if you find fitting difficult, persevere! You’ll get there! With practice, even if we can’t make everything fit perfectly, we can usually get things closer to what we want than store-bought clothes.