A vintage jacket: B5652

I wanted to take two wool jackets to the Fibres West retreat as I knew it would be freezing, but only managed to get this one finished.

I got Butterick 5652 from 1990 cut out but realised very early on that there were no pockets included in the pattern, which needed to be remedied very fast. Even the models in the drawings on the pattern envelope look like they want pockets!

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I also chose to make this for the Make a Garment a Month seasonal challenge.

One of the things I noticed with the grey fleece is that putting in seam pockets in a jacket isn’t ideal – I have to put my hands too far back to find the pockets, so I decided to make welt pockets for this one. However, this is a really thick wool boucle so I wanted to take it slowly and try to work out how to reduce bulk.


I used topstitching to keep everything nice and flat but had to use really thick thread in an attempt to get it to show up. I put the red thread in my bobbin which meant that everything had to be sewn from the inside to get the red topstitching on the outside. This was not easy and nor was it pleasant but I got there in the end. I decided to keep the inside neat by adding bias binding around the pockets and I do enjoy seeing that little peek of leopard skin when I look inside.


Having done the pockets I began putting the jacket together and immediately noticed the 1990 shoulders which require shoulder pads to look any good at all. I had to smooth out the squared off section at the top of the shoulder. My modification on the right shoulder, I shaved a bit more off after taking this photo, and the original on the left shoulder.


It doesn’t look too odd in the photograph but I looked deformed when I put the jacket on.

I also noticed the very deep raglans – the armpits were around my high waist, so this needed to be modified too.


I had chosen a red zip, but after I had it inserted I found another that matched the purple of the inside of the fabric exactly. I was not going to take out the red one as putting in the zip was a challenge, to say the least. I added a tiny bit of read leather to the zip pull and it makes me strangely pleased.

I really loved the hood, but noticed the style was more 1970s – remember when brides and bridesmaids wore hoods like this? I put the inside of the fabric on the inside of the hood because it’s a lot smoother and I like the contrast.


This jacket is so warm. The above photo was taken before I walked over to my yoga class (a new thing for me), and all I had underneath was a light t-shirt. I was hot by the time I got to class!


I have threads all over me in all these photographs – I think there was unpicking involved in the making of the jacket!

So, I have another more environmentally friendly alternative to the traditional fleece. I was reading in the local paper that one of our iconic beaches has got polyester fibres embedded in the sand due to lint being discharged into the waterways (here is an article on something similar from the Guardian). Horrifying. There are a plethora of articles on the issues with polyester on the internet, a couple here and here and one more here.

I am really pleased with the jacket, but the only thing I would change were I to make it again is the elasticated hem and cuffs. I find the cuffs really annoying for some reason and think bands would look much more polished.

A last comment on this jacket: the hood is so enormous that if I’m not careful I can finish up looking like this!


Wool boucle is from Knitwit and the red separating zip was also from Knitwit’s throwout bin. I am wearing my self drafted brown velveteen jeans, and thick cotton leggings and I just realised that every bit of fabric I’m wearing in these photographs has come from Knitwit. This makes me really happy as the shop is a 15 minute walk from my house and I need them to stay in business because it’s so convenient. The cream jumper is also new and I will blog it at some stage.




24 thoughts on “A vintage jacket: B5652

  1. I can see your pic with the hood over your face as a drawing in the style of the pattern cover, mixed right in with the fashion figures for a touch of humour. Very jaunty!

  2. The issue of the synthetic fibres ending up in water is very worrying… I was aware of it, but not of its scale.
    I’m pondering what to do with any man-made fabrics and yarns I have… Seems like the safest thing would be to dispose and send them to landfill?

    1. The main thing is not to knowingly buy polyester, however, if it’s in your stash you have choices. You can just make it up and risk the lint issue (and also what does polyester do to your body, that lint gets absorbed through your skin), you can donate it and someone else might have the problem, or you can put it into landfill where it will never break down! I have some polyester in my stash and I have no idea what to do with it, so I leave it alone. It’s an ongoing problem and conversation that the sewing and knitting community should be engaged in.

      1. Pass it on will still sadly result in those fibres getting into our waters.
        As you say, none of these is a good option. Perhaps best to let those stuff in the stash forever, or maybe burn it once (with nasty emissions, I know).
        There’s no good way, is there?

      2. I totally agree that the community should be engaging with the topic.
        I’m sad when I see popular craft packs being made of synthetic fibres. The finished object will look good, but do no good.

  3. Very cosy – but I can’t believe how big that hood is 😂. It will be a great jacket for staying warm after yoga.

  4. Haha, you’re right, the drawn models look like they need pockets 😀 Good that your jacket has some now. I really like how the jacket turned out and I believe that it is super warm!

  5. The synthetic fibres problem is really terrible, I’m definitely trying to change my behaviour around this (although I really love the stretchy “performance fabrics” for the gym, it’s going to be hard to find something that compares). Good on you for raising it. One thing that we can easily do with our existing polyester clothing is to only wash it when necessary, instead of out of habit, and I heard on the radio that a full load causes less friction (you may need to google that though!).

    The hood on your jacket is so funny, it looks lovely and cosy and you did a great job with the pockets 🙂

    1. The problem with polyester in a warm climate is that it has to be washed every time it’s warm as it starts to smell – another reason for never wearing it as far as I’m concerned! I use 100% cotton knit for yoga and walking but it doesn’t stretch as well as the more technical fabrics. Thanks for your thoughtful comment.

  6. I already saw a sneak preview on IG of the pocket detail and was looking forward to the garment you were making. the finished jacket looks great, comfortable and cozy. The fabric is very beautiful.

  7. As I was reading along here, I was getting a sense of “deja vu”. In the ’70’s my favourite RTW jacket was a rather large, baggy one, with a zipper up the front, overly large hood, wide bands at the cuff. A lovely light grey wool boucle. I kept it for years. You’ve pretty much re-created it here!

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