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Fabric and supplies

Today is the first day of the Anise Sew-along. Ready to shop?

If you’re following along with the Anise Companion, we’ll be covering the material from day 1, pages 4-9. If you’re reading the companion, this information might be repetitive, but this way we can review it together.

Buy your supplies

These are the supplies you’ll need for our sew-along.

  • Main fabric. This is likely to be wool, but you can also other fabrics, including linen or even cotton for a light summer jacket. Wool will be easiest to work with because it responds so well to pressing. My favorite choices for this jacket are wool flannel, worsted, boucle, tweed, or camel hair. But there is a big range of appropriate fabrics. Just consider their weight and drape individually. You want something stiff enough to be tailored and scultped, but not so heavy that you end up with a lot of bulk. For my jacket, I’ll be using a light blue textured Pendleton wool I got on mega-sale.
  • Fusible weft interfacing. Look for weft interfacing, which will drape well for this jacket. You can find it in black as well as white. Choose a weight that will work well with your fabric, giving the right amount of stiffness. You can experiment with woven interfacings, but do not use nonwoven.
  • Lining fabric. This is the fabric for the inside of your jacket. Choose a fabric to match, or opt for a fun color or print. I recommend all kinds of silk (twill, crepe, or charmeuse are lovely) or a rayon lining fabric. Skip the polyester or acetate, which get hot and sweaty. I’ll be using a vintage grey polka dot silk.
  • Underlining fabric. Choose plain cotton muslin to underline your jacket, giving it more body. Hold the muslin together with your fabric and interfacing to choose one with the right amount of stiffness.
  • Test garment fabric. Buy extra muslin so you can make a test garment and fit it before sewing. If you have some inexpensive fabric lying around that more closely matches your main fabric, you could also use that.
  • Light flannel for sleeve heads (optional). Sleeve heads are optional, but recommended. They help shape the cap of the sleeve and disguise the seam allowance. You can buy them online, but later I’m going to show you how to make shaped sleeveheads from cotton flannel. 1/2 yard will be more than enough.
  • ¼” shoulder pads. These very thin shoulder pads will help shape the shoulders without adding much bulk. I purchased mine from B. Black & Son
  • Silk thread. Choose a silk thread in a contrasting color to use for basting.
  • Polyester thread. Choose a polyester thread to match your main fabric and some to match your lining fabric.
  • Eight 1” buttons. Pick out some 1 inch buttons. They could contrast with your jacket fabric, or coordinate with it.

Gather your tools

Here are the tools you’ll need:

  • Sewing shears. Use sewing shears (also called dressmaker’s shears) to cut your fabric. Even if you use a rotary cutter, it’s a good idea to have these on hand.
  • Pinking shears (optional). We’ll use these to finish the edges of our pockets later.
  • Pins. You’ll need plenty of pins. I prefer glass head ones because they won’t melt under your iron.
  • Pattern weights. Use these to hold the pattern on your fabric while you trace it, or while cutting with a rotary cutter.
  • Hand sewing needles. You’ll be doing plenty of hand stitching, so grab some of these.
  • Marking pens or chalk. Choose one that stays put and shows up easily on your fabric, but washes away cleanly.
  • Point turner. A bamboo point turner will help you get sharp points and corners, and also help push out seams so you can press them evenly.
  • Steam iron. Perhaps this goes without saying, but you need an ironing board and steam iron. These tools will be almost as vital as your sewing machine!
  • Tailor’s ham (recommended). A tailor’s ham is not strictly necessary, but it will make pressing certain parts of the garment much easier.
  • Seam roll (recommended). A Seam roll helps you to press without the seam allowances showing through. It’s also useful for pressing sleeves.
  • Rotary cutter (optional). Not necessary, but makes cutting your fabric go faster. If you go this route, you’ll also need a mat.

Preshrink your fabric

Now it’s time to preshrink your fabric. That means getting all the shrinkage out BEFORE your garment is sewn. Even if you’ll be dry cleaning a wool jacket, you need to eliminate the shrink that will happen eventually. Wool is very prone to shrinkage.

You have a few good options for preshrinking your wool fabric before sewing:

  1. Dry cleaning. Take it to the dry cleaners and ask them to preshrink it. This can be expensive and you may need to hunt around for a dry cleaner who understands what you’re trying to do.
  2. London shrink. Take a bed sheet and wash it, then lay the damp sheet out flat. Place your wool on top and roll the sheet and wool up together. Let it sit overnight, then unroll it in the morning and let it dry completely. Once it’s dry, press the fabric with steam.
  3. Dryer shrink. This tip comes from Pam of the sewing blog Off the Cuff. She recommends placing your wool in the dryer with a damp towel, drying at high heat for 30-40 minutes. You may want to test this with a swatch beforehand, but I’ve found it a reliable method.

For other fabrics, such as your lining fabric, simply wash them as you normally would. For silks and rayons, I prefer to hand wash in warm water, then hang dry. Once it’s dry, press with steam to remove any wrinkles.

Preshrink the muslin you’ll be using to underline your jacket, but don’t worry about the muslin you’re using for your test garment. Since that’s only a temporary garment that you won’t be wearing, there’s no need to preshrink.


Want to get a head start on day 2? You can start cutting and stitching up your test muslin. We’ll talk fitting in one week, so you have plenty of time to get your stuff together.

Join us next Tuesday, Oct 2 with all your supplies and we’ll get started with fitting!

The Anise Sewalong

  1. Announcing the Anise sewalong (61 Comments)
  2. Fabric and supplies (44 Comments)
  3. Fitting (10 Comments)
  4. Anise Full Bust Adjustment (32 Comments)
  5. Wide or Narrow Shoulder Adjustment (26 Comments)
  6. Cutting, Underlining, and Interfacing (7 Comments)
  7. Tutorial: Bound Buttonholes (48 Comments)
  8. Assemble the body (1 Comment)
  9. Collar and Facing (4 Comments)
  10. Welt pockets (8 Comments)
  11. Sleeves and hem (5 Comments)
  12. Lining (9 Comments)


How about a light/medium weight denim for the shell?

I think denim would be awesome.

Angel S.

I am thinking of using a mid-weight corduroy with a printed cotton lining lining, will this work? There is not a lot available locally here


I was thinking the same thing! I would love to sew with wool, but live in Florida and rarely wear wool jackets.

That sounds good to me! Just be sure to do a one way layout for the corduroy.

Hannairina |

I’m thinking of underlining the whole coat with a light weight polyester wadding so that it would become warm enough to be my winter coat. I’m on edge about this, because my main fabric is medium/heavy weught wool and I don’t want to make the coat too stiff.

Thoughts? Alternative suggestions?

What about flannel or lambswool?

Hannairina |

Flannel sounds like a good option. I’m not sure I could find suitable lambswool anywhere in here, but I’m much more optimistic when it comes to flannel.

I was thinking of medium denim for the shell since I also live in Florida. It will have the lining so I think that should be warm enough for a cool day :). Denim should work with this pattern, right? Hope so!

Corduroy is genius!!!!! I also love the idea of over-dyed denim. I don’t wear wear and don’t know too much about heavier apparel fabric, so these ideas intrigue me!


Kittee Berns |

That was meant to say, I don’t wear wool…

I too was thinking of using corduroy but was not sure if it can work.

I’m excited to make up this jacket! I have a quick question – I am positive I’ll need to do an FBA. Would you recommend cutting the pattern according to high bust measurement in that case?

I’d cut by full bust. Then you can follow the full bust instructions from the companion, if you have it.

Thanks so much! I don’t have the companion, but I’ll definitely download it!

Angel S.

I could not find weft interfacing and when I asked at JoAnn’s they looked at me like I had two heads, so frustrating. Is there a particular brand ? Can I use regular woven interfacing? What weight should it be?

Here’s a good online source for weft interfacing:

Thanks ebony! Here’s where I’ve ordered from in the past:

I’m going shopping for fabric tomorrow and am so excited! Can we set up a Flickr group for the sewalong so we can all chat with eachother and share our fabric choices, etc?

I started a discussion in the community forum under Anise – if you want to go there? But a flicker group is a good idea. Let me know if you start one please. I’m not sure where to get my fabric from yet…

Great idea. I wasn’t sure whether we should use Flickr or the forum, but I’ll set up a Flickr group later today and mention it on the blog.


I, too, am concerned about finding weft interfacing. I had to drive an hour-ish to get my main fabric and lining. Not sure why on earth I didn’t just get the weft there as well. I think I figured Joann’s would have it. No such luck. Anyone have any ideas or brands I could search for?

I haven’t made a jacket in nearly 30 years! I’m fairly intimidated, but also extremely excited about this project.

I’m thinking about using…this…but it’s coating (labeled light/medium weight). Eep! I’m a little hesitant.

Haaaaaah, well, that was a really cool link to a hamster powered submarine that was on my clipboard…….. THIS is my ideal fabric.

Hahaha, that video!

That fabric is fabulous. I think you’ll know more when you get it. I find that the fabric naming at Denver fabrics is not always rigorous. But if it’s labeled light/medium, it’ll probably work out!

Yay! Thanks very much!


I did find weft interfacing at my local Joanns (which isn’t very big). It’s called Pellon 860-F Ultra-Weft. I didn’t know if it was right but I bought it anyway!


I am going to be sewing mine up in corduroy, as well. (Got the idea from the Donna Reed show!) I haven’t done much sewing before, and never with one-way fabrics, so I was wondering, how much yardage should I buy for the shell with the half-sleeves?

I’d recommend laying the pieces out ahead of time and seeing how much yardage it will take. You’ll be able to economize more that way and probably save fabric.

Ivete |

I bought my fabrics today and am now even more excited to get started! I didn’t buy the underlining muslin though because I’m not sure I understand the “hold the fabrics together to find the right stiffness” instructions.

I guess my question really is: Should the muslin be a heavier weight than quilting-weight muslin?

Thank you!!

You need to match the weights to get the weight that feels right to you. I used a light-to-medium weight muslin, which I think works well for many medium weight fabrics. But this is somewhat at your own discretion.


I’m so happy that I can join the sewalong because I realized I didn’t have to buy any fabric, so I could pick up the pattern and companion! I’m using a brown tweed, berry silk crepe for body lining, and rayon lining for sleeves. It works out because I have just enough of silk crepe; and the rayon lining is nice but so shiny I’d want to hide it in the sleeves. I even have weft interfacing laying around, yesss


I’m so excited! I picked up some some beautiful wool, silk lining, and Bemberg (all wool + lining 25% off!) at the Mill End Store, but was out of luck when it came to 1/4″ shoulder pads. Are the shoulder pads from B. Black and Sons, the ones you mention in the post, are they these?

Yes, those are the ones I used and they were great!

If anyone else has a similar issue, you can also layer batting together to form your own shoulder pads. That’s basically all the 3-ply shoulder pads are.

Hello, I am going to make this jacket, however I’m not sure the double breasted front will suit me. Can I simply fold the ‘flap’ back on pattern piece A and adjust the button holes accordingly, to make a single breasted jacket, or would it not work? Any suggestions would be great. Thanks

You can do this. You will want to place the buttons along the center front of the jacket (the line on the pattern piece). The edge of the jacket should extend past this, plus have a seam allowance.

I’m so excited for this sew-along! I ordered some seafoam wool flannel and treated myself to some silk charmeuse for the lining. :-) Can’t wait to get started on the muslin!

Thanks so much Sarai! I will let you know how I get on :)


quick question about prepping fabric – is there any kind of prewash or pre-treatment needed for the shoulder pads and sleeveheads?


Hi Sarai,

Would this interlining be suitable for the jacket – I’m in Scotland and need my jacket to be dead cosy.

The shell will be a nice harris tweed, and I hope to give it a good interlining so it’ll see me through the winters.


business cards | %URL%

Howdy! This is kind of off topic but I need some help
from an established blog. Is it difficult to set up your
own blog? I’m not very techincal but I can figure things out pretty quick. I’m thinking about making my own but I’m not sure where to start. Do you have any points or suggestions? Thanks

Hi Sarai
I was curious about your samples for the Anise. You mention the light blue pendleton wool above. But what type of fabric was the pink and darker blue samples made in?

They’re both wool coatings. The pink is a little heavier, more of a melton wool. The navy may have been Pendleton too, if I remember correctly. But it has a smooth surface, unlike the more textured light blue wool.

Thank you for the quick reply!