Didn’t make it to Chinatown, but I got the jacket!

One sight I missed on my recent trip to Los Angeles was Chinatown. We just ran out of time. But when I got home, I did remake the drapes in my office/sewing room in this colorful pagoda print!


I’ve always loved Chinoiserie in all its forms – art, pottery, chopsticks, umbrellas… and of course dishes (otherwise known as china!).


I’m sure I learned to appreciate this style from my mother, along with the love of sewing. And tea. Cheers, mom!

My sisters also love Asian art. I think every room needs a touch. Next, maybe some pillows…

As you see, I have plenty of inspiration around me, even without Chinatown and its rare finds and amazing bargains… So I managed to make this trench-style jacket out of some fabric my friend Irma had found for me in LA’s fabric district!

It’s a quilting weight cotton, with subtle gold accents sparkling on dragons, birds and roses! I wasn’t sure what to do with it… A dress? A skirt and top? In the end I could see it going with so many other things in my closet that I decided on a mid length jacket, ideal for our mild spring here. Thank you, Irma! I’m wearing it Tennessee-style, with cowboy boots, of course.

The lining is really red, not pink. The sun faded it out in this picture. I found this lovely silk at Textile Fabrics in Nashville and used Simplicity 1168, sans pockets. I love a pocket of course, but didn’t want to break up the print with big patch style pockets. Why I didn’t think to add some in-seam pockets I don’t know but I may go back and do it.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESIt’s a loose fitting design – kind of dressy the way Simplicity shows it – with side panels that wrap front to back in a modified princess seam, rather than side seams. It’s fully lined but is supposed to be faced with the outer fabric on the front. I chose to continue the silk lining on the front panels, because I just love to see the red peeking out!


Speaking of the lining. It goes in easily – you just make it like another jacket and sew them together up one side of the front opening, around the neckline and down the other side. It looks odd, like you made a very bad mistake, when you turn it right side out, until you stuff the sleeve lining into the sleeves!


The sleeves have deep cuffs, with the lining attached with a slip stitch at the top of the cuff, allowing a little slack for comfort.

I interfaced the front and used the cotton for the back yoke for stability, as the pattern suggested, but I realized later that if I’d stuck with the silk, it would have been reversible!

A little under stitching to keep the lining from rolling and few hand stitches at the armholes to hold the lining in place when you pull it off and on, and it’s ready to hem and wear!

What have I learned from this project? Well, it’s not exactly news but it’s so true it bears emphasizing: the fabric is the key! If you love it, you’ll love what you make. Oh, and take your time, so you don’t forget the pockets! Next time, I’d also add tiny piping for structure and detail. Maybe in a contrast, like black. Bye now, y’all!


4 thoughts on “Didn’t make it to Chinatown, but I got the jacket!

  1. Fabulous coat, and great advice! I struggle with not racing to the finish line when I’m sewing, but I’m (usually) always successful when I take my time!

    1. Me too! I’m reminding myself of that again today! Stop and think! What’s the best way to finish this dress?! Any ideas of the right fabric to line a gauze dress? It’s so see through that china silk is too sheer, but cotton lawn might cling to the gauze. I need something light but opaque!

    1. That’s the hardest part, isn’t it? Finding the right fabric for a project, or the right pattern for a specific fabric? So many times it just doesn’t work out quite this well. Thanks for your kind words!

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