I’ve always thought there was a lot of mileage in just chopping a dress up the front to wear it as a jacket – what could be simpler? Well, actually it wasn’t quite that simple, but I have ironed out all the problems along the way and am bringing you a brand new pattern hack – the Everyday Chic Jacket. It is essentially the Everyday Chic Dress slashed up the front with some extra pieces to use as facing and an added collar.

Initially, I cheerfully set about making this jacket straight into the best fabric because it is a tried and tested pattern, (so I thought,) so no need for a toile. How wrong I was, because although the shape works fine as a dress, without the front to hold it together, the raglan sleeves just slip off the shoulders. I first tried a little stand up collar to pull it in a bit, which worked OK but was just way too wide to feel right. 

Having meticulously unpicked it, I set about drafting an inset collar/neckline to pull it higher up over the shoulders. It worked a treat and here is the finished result. I am so pleased with it and it works really in this lovely 11oz indigo denim (this is actually the reverse side of the fabric). And there, at the pocket, is just a little flash of pzazz – my favourite silk / wool polka dot furnishing fabric that I have used in so many other garments. The coat would work really well in any heavy fabric and I can imagine it looking great in corduroy or velvet.

It is worth noting that, as it is shown here, there are no fastening on the coat and it sits open, which is how I like to wear it. It will pull closed and could work well with a large hook and eye at the bust seam to pull it together if you wanted to do that. However, if you wanted to put buttons on it you would need to add width to the front to accommodate them.

How to do it:

I’m assuming you’ve already used your pattern to make the dress so are familiar with the usual instructions, so I will focus on the differences here.

First cut the SKIRT FRONT & BACK, POCKET FRONT & BACK, BODICE FRONT & BACK as you normally would. No need to cut the FRONT or BACK FACING. We will need to add some length onto the sleeves which I will talk you through in a minute. You are also going to create 2 extra pattern pieces – a new facing for the front and the inset collar.

You can download the collar from here and print it at home. Just click and print onto A4 paper. Cut 2 of the inset collar.

To create the facing, fold your SKIRT FRONT pattern piece 12cm in from the centre line so it looks like this picture on the left. Use this as the pattern to cut 2 pieces which will be the FRONT FACINGS. Cut 2 mirror images of the facing as shown.

To extend the sleeves, add extra length of 30cm. You will need the width at the cuff to be 18cm for a size 12, 19.5cm for a 16, 22cm for a 20 and 24cm for a size 24. (You can estimate the amounts in between.) This includes the 1.5cm seam allowance. Here is a diagram of the original sleeve with the extra extension.

Make your dress up as you would normally, without any hemming or the facings. You will need to cut your FRONT in half up the fold so that the coat opens. (If you put it on now you will see how the neck pull open and sits too wide on the shoulders.)

With right sides together sew the facings to the front opening. Cut your facings an inch shorter than the length of the coat so that you can hem it with out the facing getting in the way. Fold the facing inside and press in place.

With right sides together tack one of the inset collars into the neckline. Then, with right sides together, pin the other collar onto it and stitch together along the inside curve and the short ends. I prefer to do it when its already in place like this so you an exactly align the edge of the collar with the edge of the coat front. It needs to line up properly to look good. After tacking you can stitch properly in place. Clip the seam allowance around the the inside curve to allow it to lay flat.

Turn the collar the right way out and press. Tuck the loose tops of the front facing in between the 2 layers of collar. You can then“stitch in the ditch” on the top of the collar to hold the collar inner in place.

You can hold the middle of the facing in place with a few hand stitches at the waist line. The bottom of the facing can be held in place as you turn up the bottom hem.