Arlen's Handmade Suit: Part 5 - Assembling the Lining

Arlen's Handmade Suit: Part 5 - Assembling the Lining

Honestly, this post is a bit more than just assembling the lining of Arlen's jacket. As I was going through the process of attaching the lining, I realized that I has skipped over a TON of random little things throughout the sewing process of Arlen's jacket that I had hoped to share with you here. I am so sorry about that.

I am willing to bet my scattered approach to Arlen's jacket (and thus my scattered approach at documenting it) has come from a) the stress I have felt while sewing this very new thing that I have next to no clue about and b) the fact that I have been doing all my sewing of his jacket at night which is the worst time to take detailed photographs. I will probably still wind up missing something in this post, but it my hope that I am able to show you a bit more of the work that has gone in to sewing this jacket.


I realized that I had completely brushed over the sewing of Arlen's sleeves in pretty much all of my posts, but especially from Part 3: Inside the Jacket. Basically, once I had gotten through all of the hand sewing of the main front interfacing panels, I set about setting in Arlen's sleeves.

Now, I tend to avoid sewing in sleeves set in the round. I find them more challenging than they are worth and often opt to set in all my sleeves flat. However, jacket sleeves are one of those things where you absolutely have to set them in the round primarily because they are a two piece sleeve and the under sleeve doesn't always line up perfectly with a side seam.

Setting in these sleeves wasn't too challenging. There was a bit more ease than I think I needed because I had adjusted the sleeve opening and I am still learning how to get those just right when it comes to adjusting the sleeve cap. Since I had to hand baste the sleeve in, though, it went in quite smoothly with minimal puckering.

I made sure to have Arlen try on the jacket with the basted sleeves to ensure the fit wasn't too tight/ loose. He mentioned that it was a bit high, but we decided not to lower it any further because we both felt it would limit his arm mobility and range of movement. Plus, he isn't used to wearing clothing that is quite so well fitted, so I think that was something he was trying to get used to :) .

We opted not to add any shoulder padding since Arlen's shoulders are already quite broad. Instead, I simply added a bias cut sleeve head. I actually got the fabric for this from the interfacing of a thrifted tie! Pretty nifty, eh?


As many of  you all know, I LOVE reusing my muslin scraps as sew in interfacing. I think it's a great way to reuse something that we as sewists typically don't have another use for. What was so amazing was that the tailoring book I have been using throughout this entire process actually recommended that I use muslin to interface certain parts of Arlen's jacket!

*Faints a little*

When I read that section, I felt completely vindicated for all of my life's choices regarding interfacings! So instead of throwing out Arlen's toile, I ripped it apart and used it in various places as the tailoring book called for.

Something about having the original muslin, with all it's markings and notes, permanently adhered to the inner working of the final jacket feels really poetic. Is that too dramatic?


And then we come to the lining. I must say, sewing the lining itself was quite painless, though the process felt long and confusing. Let me explain.

Since I have been working with a tailoring book separate to my paper pattern, I have been flitting back and forth between the two. Up until a certain point in the process, both sets of instructions flowed quite naturally with one another. But once I hit attaching the facings and linings, all hell broke loose! Ok, that was definitely a bit dramatic...

Things did get very confusing, though, because both sets of instructions began to feel as if they were in opposition to one another. It took quite a bit of time (spent away from my machine lest I muck something up) before working out how I would be able to move forward. It wasn't as complex as I had made it out to seem in my head. Perhaps I was just overly stressed at the time? Who knows!

Once everything was figured out, things went by really smoothly. I attached the lining to the facing, added some decorative stitching as per the book's request, and then attached everything to the outer layer of the jacket!

There was a lot of trimming and more hand sewing involved which I found very cathartic. Surprisingly, I rather looked forward to the times I needed to trim and hand sew more than the moments I was using my machine.

You might think that hand sewing would add to my stresses of this big, massive, overwhelming project because it can be so. slow. But it actually provided me with some relief. It was a welcome break and cool down that I looked forward to each time it was requested by my instructions.

Once the lining was officially in, with the final stitches hand sewn into place, I had to take a moment to admire all that I had done with this jacket. I honestly couldn't believe I had made this jacket and actually *finished* it on time! Even writing this sentence has me a bit surprised.

Now all that is left is to add the buttons and some button holes. And figure out when I am allowed to take out all the visible basting stitches. Day of the wedding, perhaps? Or maybe I'll just keep those in. That'd make quite a statement, don't you think? :)

I also can't believe that there are only two more posts left for me to write for this series. It feels as if Arlen's suit has been with me for nearly 2 years (it has) and I am unsure what I might work on after such a large project. For now, I am looking towards sewing up a pair of trousers for him in Part 6! Fingers crossed I have enough fabric because time is running out and I am not sure I have a plan B!

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Hi Linnie!

Oh that makes me so happy to hear! I am really glad you are enjoying this series! As for the back jacket, I did sew in one piece of interfacing along the top based on what my book recommended that I do. I will send you an image via email of what it looked like from the instructions. Overall, though, the back didn’t require much. Just enough to keep it smooth and from stretching over time!

Brittani (Pattern Maker)

This is wonderful! I am enjoying this series so much! How did you assemble the back? Is the back of the jacket made of only the outer shell fabric, or is there any interfacing, interlining..? I am also in the process of making a blazer for my husband and I am a bit lost. Thank you! And congratulations on this piece of art!!


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