Vintage Patterns - Vintage Fabric - Vintage Style
1950s | Jackets | Mad Men Inspired | Mens | Vintage Sewing

Le Smoking Jacket AKA the Ninth Gate of Hell.

January 20, 2014


So, I found this amazing pattern for a smoking jacket from 1951, Butterick 1769. Despite being neither a smoker nor an idle rich guy from a Hollywood melodrama, my Husband decided he needed one in classic satin and quilted velvet. He accompanied me to the fabric store on a Saturday (an event never to be repeated), where he picked out this gorgeous Asian style brocade. We splurged and bought the fancy dress velvet to do the collar and cuffs. I made up a muslin sample, which actually fit him pretty good. I just needed to shorten the sleeves and he decided he would prefer a belt to buttons, so I drafted one. This is where the fun ensued. Slick satin just refuses to be sewn, especially when you are trying to meaningfully join it to any type of napped fabric. Sheer hell. Puckering. I ended up using tissue paper between the layers, which helped some, but not enough. I had to hand baste the batting to the velvet to do the quilting, which took forever and isn’t totally even. The piping was a pain, and in retrospect I should have used a finer weight cording. To top it off, I forgot to cut the back pleat into the lining, which I didn’t discover until I handed the jacket to my Husband to try on. I had to buy more fabric to recut it. Despite the hellacious and neverending trouble this pattern gave me, I still think it turned out pretty good. My Husband likes to strut around the house with a martini while wearing it, so mission accomplished. The moral of the story is that choice of fabric and finish details can make a BIG difference in your work load!



    1. I actually have been trying to get him to model this for you all, but he always is in Family Guy pajamas which sort of ruin the scene! I finally gave up and put it on my dress form. Maybe the next project. I have a 1960s pattern for skinny trousers that are quite Sean Connery-as-James Bond in his size. I think it might be next….

  1. My husband has a ratty old silk one that he LOOOVES, but it’s been repaired so many times already it’s almost not worth it anymore. I’m sure your husband is going to love his until it falls to pieces also!

  2. It looks lovely and it’s great your husband enjoys the jacket quite so much but those are some very challenging fabrics to work with. Especially put together. And with cording…
    I’m very impressed!

  3. Thank you for such a fab write up of your story – you made me giggle with your descriptions. This is a great smoking jacket and I’m sure your hubby is very proud of you. Maybe he needs some retro gentlemen pyjamas to finish his ‘look’?

  4. A walking foot is a must when sewing napped fabrics. I finally gave in and bought one (expensive) but worth it. Wish I had bought one years go.

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