Make the Perfect Jacket: How to Sew Lapels

A great-looking jacket is a wonderful addition to any wardrobe. There are so many jacket styles and beautiful fabrics. You really have an unlimited opportunity for sewing creativity. Although a lined, tailored jacket is a big project, tackling it in sections and taking your time can make it much more manageable. This means taking the time to sew each piece perfectly, including the lapel. Let’s go over a few steps to help you learn how to sew a lapel for the perfect jacket!

How to Sew Lapels on

Photo via the Craftsy class Classic Tailoring: The Jacket

Follow these steps for sewing lapels to help make a beautifully tailored jacket!

Steps 1: Determine you tailoring technique.

Decide if you are going to use traditional tailoring techniques or would prefer to use fusible interfacing. Traditional tailoring techniques involve lots of hand-stitching and pad stitching to build structure and shape into a garment. Modern tailors, on the other hand, frequently opt for the faster method and softer structure gained by using fusible interfacing.

Traditional interfacing choices for the lapel area often include hair canvas, while a knit or weft insertion interfacing are used for the fusible method.

Step 2: Attach interfacing.

Apply interfacing to the jacket front using your preferred method. To provide the proper structure and increase the longevity of your jacket, interface the entire jacket front. If you are using hair canvas, you may want to leave a narrow section along the side seam without interfacing.

Step 3: Mark the roll line.

The roll line for your lapel should be marked on the front pattern piece. Mark the roll line on the interfacing so that you can then attach stay tape along this line either with hand stitches or by using your iron to fuse a narrow strip of interfacing in place. In either case, be sure to cut the stay tape slightly shorter than the actual length of the roll line – usually 1/4″ less is sufficient.
Since the roll line of the jacket is on the bias grain, drawing up the jacket front onto the shorter stay tape will help prevent the jacket front from stretching and bagging during wear. After applying the front facing, clip into the seam allowance at the bottom of the roll line, so the lapel can fold onto the jacket front properly.

Step 4: Minimize bulk.

Grade all of the seam allowances to help reduce bulk. Unless your fabric is loosely woven, you can trim the jacket seam allowance to approximately 1/8″, and the facing seam allowance to 1/4″. Also be sure to trim excess fabric out of the lapel and collar points.

Step 5: Baste and press.

Turn the jacket right-side out, and use a point presser or threaded needle to help pull out the corners. Above the roll line, slightly roll the seam-line edge of the lapel toward the garment front, and slightly roll the seam-line edge below the roll line toward the facing. Baste and press to set this line.

Step 6: Iron it out.

Pressing is one of the most important steps in tailoring a jacket, especially if you are using wool fabric. A good steam iron and proper techniques will enable you to mold the jacket into the desired shape. Be sure to a press cloth and plenty of steam.

Start by pressing at the center back of the collar, working toward the bottom of the front edge. Use a clapper to help flatten the front seam edge, and remove excess moisture from the fabric.

Making Jacket Lapels: Grey Tailored Jacket

Step 7: Finish with topstitching.

If you are topstitching your jacket, start the topstitching on the right side of the lapel at the bottom of the roll line, and continue up to the collar. Pivot and continue topstitching to the center back of the collar, stopping your stitching at center back.

Next move to the other lapel and topstitch the second side in the same manner, starting at the bottom of the roll line and ending at the center back. On the right side of the jacket fronts at the bottom of the lapel roll line, topstitch on the right side down the jacket front. Continue to the end of the jacket facing.

For more information on classic tailoring techniques, be sure to check out Craftsy instructor Steffani Lencecums’s online class, Classic Tailoring: The Blazer. You’ll learn how to make an heirloom-quality jacket with high-end details that’s perfectly tailored to you!

What’s chosen tailoring technique: traditional or fusible interfacing? 


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