Complete step-by-step Neapolitan Jacket sewing tutorial

After the huge success of my tailored shirt step-by-step tutorial, here as promised, is my Neapolitan Jacket tutorial. This post will not be 20 steps unlike the shirt but considerably longer and will feature a lot of photos! 

This is what you are hoping to achieve if you follow the tutorial. A soft Neapolitan style jacket as discussed in my earlier post here.

I wish you the best of luck with your Jacket make. Please do ask if you are unsure of any steps and I will do my best to help.

OK here goes….I created my own pattern for this jacket but I am sure you could easily adapt a shop bought Jacket pattern to make something similar. If you are interested in a copy of my pattern please do get in touch. I am using a soft woven silk/linen/cotton mix fabric.

Click on pictures for larger views!

Back darts

1. Cut back pieces and mark dart position.

2. Fold and stitch darts on both back pieces with RST. Press darts toward centre.

3. Stitch centre back seam completely. Press open seam.

Finished back. Note this jacket will have side vents rather than a centre vent. (Riding flap)
Front, sides and vents
4. Cut fronts and fold along darts. Stitch darts with RST then press darts towards centre.

5. With RST pin fronts to side panels and stitch. Press seams open.

6. Pin the sides to the back RST with vent flaps overlapping. Stitch from top to 1 inch below top of vent flap. Backstitch for strength.
7. Press side seams open and press vents.
8. The sides of the jacket (vents) are then folded in and over the open seam. Clip the seam allowance up to the last stitch on the seam. Fold the vent over the open seam then fold back on itself. Press well. Remember to fold over the side seam vent flap, not the back flap.
Chest pocket (Barchetta)

9. The Neapolitan Jacket has many features including the ‘Barchetta’ (boat shaped) chest pocket. Start by cutting a straight piece of fabric twice the height of the finished welt. Fold lengthwise along centre with RST and stitch seams at each end, turn and press. Now carefully press and stretch until the desired curve shape is achieved. Use lots of steam!
10. Unlike a straight welt pocket the bracket is curved so needs a slightly different approach. Mark the pocket placement on the left front chest. 
Iron a little piece of fusible interfacing to rear to just cover pocket opening
11. Slash the pocket opening CURVED! and clip to each corner. (Stitching and end lines are 1/4 inch from slash).
12. Stitch lining to the pocket welt and fold welt up. Press.
13. Now insert the welt with lining into the slashed opening. 
14. Baste carefully in place.
15. Time to do some hand stitching! Hand stitch the welt (lower edge and sides) to the jacket front along the seam edge.
16. On the inside turn the lining up in half and sew to jacket front above slash. Sew lining edges together thus forming the pocket pouch.
17. Barchetta pocket finished. See not that hard!
Shoulder Seams
18. The shoulder seams should be different lengths with the back being longer than the front by at least 1/2 inch. Baste and ‘ease’ the back in, then stitch. Press seam open.
Curved patch pockets
19. These pockets are simply cut and lined.
20. Then fold the top and side seam allowance over, press and baste.
21. Top stitch around pocket.
21. Pin accurately to jacket fronts and and baste.
22. Hand stitch the pockets to the fronts with careful edge stitching.
Inner seam tidy-up
OK now we have a lot of seams inside just pressed open. This jacket will not be fully lined but lined in the sleeves and across the shoulders only. To tidy them up we will give them a Hong Kong finish. That is we will sew bias binding along all the seam edges.
23. If you don’t have a bias binding foot GO AND BUY ONE! They are cheap and will make this task a whole lot easier!
25. Mark the seam allowance at the top and hem allowance at the bottom of the seams. You will bias bind to these points.
26. Now bind! Stop at the vents and we will finish them later.
Lapel interfacing

Time to interface the lapel. I always use a lightweight woven material. Similar to hessian but not as rough or hard.
27. Turn the jacket inside-out and baste the interfacing to the lapels, leaving the seam allowance free. Baste the position of the roll line.

28. Pad stitch the top of the lapel from the roll line to the edge of the interfacing.
29. stitch cotton tape along the roll line and edge of the interfacing.
Repeat for other lapel.
Collar and facings

For this jacket I did not include any form of collar stand so the collar is a little simpler. The under-collar is cut from Melton wool fabric although any soft felt would do.
30. Pin the Under collar to the jacket neck RST.
31. Check the collar is centred and ends the same distance at each lapel. Mark the start and end of the stitch line along the lapel top (The part where the collar meets lapel)
32. Stitch lapel and collar (both sides)
33. Clip the jacket fabric at the corner (where the collar ends on the lapel and joins the jacket neck edge) at the top of the roll line. Cut up to the seam stitch but be careful!
34. Now stitch remaining collar to neck overlapping the stitches you made on the lapels.
35. Clip seams, turn and press to complete under collar.
36. Stitch the collar facing to the lapel facings RST, turn and press seams open.
37. Now the upper collar can be attached to the facings. With RST do as you did for the under collar. Start with both lapel seams, check and stitch. Clip corner and sew neck edge to finish, overlapping stitches. Press the seams open including pressing the collar past the end of the seam.
Now comes the time to finish the collar and attach the facings. Take your time here to get a good accurate fit. The collar is notched when completed but care must be taken to sew accurately. I did not interface the collar at all as I wanted a soft collar.
38. Pin upper collar to under collar RST. Baste and sew the collar together. NOTE the collar seam is pressed along the lapel edge. Sew from this point (where lapel meets collar) all the way around the collar. Finish at the same point on the other side. DO NOT sew further than the lapel/collar joining seam!
39. Now carefully clip the seam allowance on both sides of the lapel facing and lapel up to the last stitch you made. Unfold the seam (previously pressed) and baste the lapel facings to the lapel from top to bottom.
40. Stitch the lapels and facings together RST stopping at the collar stitching line.
41. Clip all seams and curves. Turn lapel facing, collar and neck facing right sides out. Press well. Starting to really look like a jacket now! 
42. I top stitched the lapel and collar from bottom, up, round the neck and back down the other lapel. Use a thicker thread if you can or double up your sewing thread for a nice finish.
43. OK nearly finished the collar off but you just need to join the inner and outer collar seams together. Hand stitch them together through the seam.
Sleeves
A defining characteristic of the Neapolitan Jacket is the sleeve head that is puckered! I know, I have spent all my life trying to sew neat smooth sleeves, now I want them puckered! If you draft your own pattern, as I did, then make sure the sleeve cap curve is a bit bigger than you want normally. If you are using a shop bought pattern then just cut the curve on the next size patten line up from the jacket you are making. Easy!
44. OK Pin and stitch the upper and under sleeve together RST along the back seam. This sleeve has short vents so end your stitch about 1 inch past the top of the vent.
45.Press the seam open and press the vents. As you did with the jacket vents clip one vent (the vent on the under sleeve) and press over the vent opening. Press everything well.
46. Now with RST pin and sew the other sleeve seam. Press open.
47. Pop some button holes on the sleeves and add a couple of buttons to finish the vent off.
48. Press the sleeve hem up and slip-stitch in place.
49. Time to set in the sleeves! Turn the jacket inside out and the sleeve right side out. Starting at the bottom pin the sleeve into the arm scythe. Leave the top 1/4 of the sleeve unpinned for now. Get everything else smooth.
50. Now baste and add the pleats/puckers at the top of the sleeve head.
51. Very carefully stitch around the sleeve. Take your time here.
52. When stitched, remove the basting and clip seam allowances. Fold the seam in towards the jacket and baste again.
53. Top stitch 1/4 inch from the seam on the jacket catching the seam you just basted. Again go slow!
54. And there we are….A Neapolitan puckered sleeve. Now go and do the same for the other sleeve!
Lining and Finishing touches
You have come this far..now lets get the jacket finished! First the lining.
55. The shoulder/back lining is sewn together and hemmed. Don’t forget to add a box pleat at the top of the back seam.
56. Make 2 sleeves in lining material and set into the jacket lining. Remember to have the seams all on the wrong sides!
57. Press the jacket hem and slipstitch into place so we can finish off the jacket vents. Cut a little lining material and hem all the way around. Stitch over the vents to cover. 
In the picture above you will see I have added bias binding to the hem and along the inner facing.
58. You should end up with a nicely finished inside ready for the lining.
59. Now pin your lining to the jacket. Start at the centre of the neck facing curve and pin around to the lapel facings. All looks a bit messy but take your time.
60. Stitch the lining in place and feed the sleeves into the sleeve lining, press a hem in the sleeve lining and slip-stitch into the jacket sleeves.
61. Turn the jacket right sides out and admire!
62. Finally, yes finally add 2 button holes in the left jacket front and 2 buttons on the corresponding right hand side and a button hole on the left lapel. Now carefully press your jacket and thats it!
Enjoy your lovely Neapolitan jacket.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and I hope it will inspire some of you to have a go at something similar? Now what shall I do for the next tutorial?……..suggestions?
Until the next time….Happy Sewing!

5 Comments

  1. Stunning, stunning jacket and a fabulous tutorial. I need to look into a binding foot, I always machine stitch mine on the right side and then fold it over to hand sew with an invisible ladder stitch, as I like my binding to be 'perfect'. What is the finish like with the foot, as the method I use takes hours and hours of work!!

  2. Author

    Thank you Josie. The binding foot is a breeze really. Pop it all in and move the needle as close to the edge of the binding as you dare. Getting nice and close with a longish stitch and you won't see a thing. I bound the walkaway dress (which has absolutely loads!) in about 35mins.

  3. thanks for this fantastic tutorial! since Neapolitan jackets are unlined, i am wondering should we use light canvas to maintain the shape of the jacket?

    may i suggest a tutorial for a pair of trousers with side tabs/pleats, but no belt loops? 🙂

    1. Author

      Hi Michael, Yes I used some lightweight canvas to hold the shape. The canvas was cut so as to be hidden behind the facing. I will look at the tutorial as you suggest. Thanks

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