Butterick 8188 – A Bed Jacket as Outerwear

Whilst some articles of clothing seem to have waned in popularity in recent years, this doesn’t mean that the style of garment may never be worn again. In this post, I explore using a vintage bed jacket pattern from the late 1930s, to make an outerwear jacket that can withstand the recent dropping temperatures!

Since completing my wedding dress, I have entered a rather productive sewing phase. As most of the year was devoted to the design and construction of said dress, once the wedding was over it suddenly hit me – that yes! Now I can focus on making other things! So that is precisely what I have been doing.

Not one to shy away from a challenge, I decided that my next big sewing project using a vintage sewing pattern would be a cosy outerwear jacket. Initially; I thought about using a denim jacket style pattern (I have this one by Gertie, but am yet to use it). But then I remembered I had Butterick 8188 – an original vintage pattern dated from 1939. The pattern is actually for a set of bed jackets, but view B is absolutely perfect for a standard outerwear jacket.

Almost 2 years ago, I actually made-up view B (see the original post here). On reflection, I think I used the wrong weight of fabric for the jacket, and I wasn’t too thrilled with how I lined the hood either. However, at the time I liked it, and I don’t mind looking back on some of my makes realising  what I would do differently next time – after all, we are all learning and growing on our own individual sewing paths.

For this version of my hooded jacket, I wanted it to be:

  • Warm – I really feel the cold, so if I taking the time to make a jacket, it has to be warm.
  • Pockets – the pattern doesn’t have any, so I added some hidden pockets into the side seams. One thing I didn’t take into account was how far back the side seams sit on this particular pattern. This does mean I have to contort my body somewhat in order to actually get my hands into the pockets, but at least I do have pockets to tuck my hands into.
  • To sit on my natural waist, or slightly below. One thing I didn’t want was an odd gap between the hem of my jacket and the waistband of my trousers/skirt.

Changes and Alterations I made to the Pattern

  • Lengthened the body – to ensure the jacket waistband would sit slightly below my natural waist
  • Added pockets – as described above
  • Increased the depth of the waistband, and backed it with lining fabric rather than the wool fabric
  • Inserted channels of elastic casing into the back waistband to ensure the jacket didn’t ride up at the back if I wore the jacket whilst cycling
  • Created a lap-over button closure at the centre front waistband, rather than a tie closure as featured on the pattern. The wool fabric would have been too bulky for a bow, and I wanted a more functional/practical fastening anyway.
  • Inserted elastic casings into the cuffs.

I also decided to interline the entire jacket with weft insertion, using herringbone stitch to then secure the seam allowances of each seam flat to the insertion. Karen wrote a great post here about her beautiful Cocktail Hour Sewalong coat, in which she also interlined her jacket.

I love the hood on this pattern, the back has a series of darts to add shape, which I think looks really visually pleasing. It took me a little while to decide on what colour of lining to use. I was going to try and find a similar shade of green, but then realised that would be near impossible. Instead, I chose to go for a contrasting russet orange, which I think works really well.

The jacket did take a couple of weeks to make. Adding to this time was the fact that the whole thing was put on hold, during my search for a pair of buttons for the centre front band. I actually wanted to use cover buttons from the wool fabric, but I found it was just too dense for me to secure the button backings in place. Instead, I sourced this set of square buttons in a very similar shade to the lining I had chosen, and thought they suited the jacket nicely.

Links & Supplies

 I am really pleased with the finished jacket, I just love the muted warm green shade. Whilst Kieren and I were taking these pictures, I had a little realisation – that I was shooting pictures of a garment I had made that was actually cosy and warm! I can’t tell you how many times I have shot pictures of garments that have me freezing cold, posing for the pictures! But to get to the stage where I am making (and wearing) outerwear – well, I feel a little twang of pride in myself 🙂

And who would have guessed that the original purpose of this pattern was intended as nightwear!?

Until next time dears!


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