Make a "jacket" from muslim first. This way you will be sure to have a jacket that will really fit. A "real" seamstress could do it for you. Once you have the shell, you can undo the seams, and Voila!, you have your pattern pieces. You can use this as a liner or as a mask for future jackets.
Peggy adds: P.S. IMHO, if you don't get it to fit just right, you will never wear it and all your real hard work will be for naught.
I, too, am a quilter and not a sewer. I have successfully made four jackets based on the Jacket Jazz books. I found Judy's instructions to be clear and concise and written for people who don't do a lot of sewing. "Jacket Jazz Encore" patterns do require a bit more sewing experience, so start with "Jacket Jazz". The patterns in "Jacket Jazz" have dropped shoulders, so you don't have to worry as much about fitting a sleeve into an armhole.
Elizabeth - who hasn't actually made a jacket.
I did get one interesting tip at a lecture -- the quilter didn't suggest a pattern, but she did suggest using very small, miniature blocks (3" or less) for a very elegant looking overall jacket piecing ( and her jacket really did look cool).
I made jacket five in the Jacket Jazz book, in fact I had a picture of it in the quiltnet quiltshow. The sleeves were ultra, ultra easy to insert.
Believe me the sleeves are very, very easy in Jacket Jazz one, very loose fitting. The trick is to sew the arm seam and the side seam all at once, and that is how the directions are in the book.
The jazz jacket is constructed flat so putting in sleeves is not a problem...it is also easily adjusted after the pieces have been put on the foundation...i.e. adjust the side/ sleeve seams if you want them a bit narrower. The only adjustment I have to make to mine (for myself) is shorten the sleeves and put in shoulder pads. Otherwise, I selected the size based on my hip measurement as per Judy's instructions. Judy recommends that you trace your pattern and pin it together with the 1/2" seam allowance...if it's too big, then pin your pattern to the original and trace the smaller version. Honestly (I wouldn't kid you), I was filled with trepidation when I got this book (my daughter gave it to me with the hint that she really liked jacket two). However, I found the project easy and exciting as I loved seeing what would happen next...The only thing I don't like about Judy's jackets is the colours - they are too vibrant for me. I prefer the more muted versions exercising a bit more colour coordination. As for the Kandu jacket I haven't made this one but have made another in the series called GOTTADU JACKET. I like mine and intend to wear it as a very casual jacket. It is big (I chose one size smaller than the pattern indicates for my measurements). I haven't had any problems with the neckline. The instructions for these jackets are not well written and if I had not already seen one completed and had an idea of how it was supposed to end up, I would probably have quit halfway through. My choice for fun and instant gratification with a minimum amount of stress is the Jazz Jacket. So, Jennifer, my advice would be pick one and start....I'm not really a seamstress either but I really had a great time with these jackets and hope that my students will too.
The Folkwear Afghani Coat makes a very nice coat, and I don't see why you could not just cut it shorter to make a jacket. It has no collar or darts, but the neckline is curved and the fronts fall quite gracefully as they are angled, so they overlap slightly--no need for buttons or anything to keep it closed (although you could add them if you wish). There are gussets under the arms which prevent too much fabric from bunching up there. I made it years ago as a bathrobe and wore it out! :-)
Folkwear patterns are sold in many fabric stores, even the big chains, and also by mail from Taunton Press, the people who publish Threads magazine. Folkwear also publishes a lovely quilted skirt and lots of other neat patterns, all inspired by real folk costumes or old styles. I have used several of their patterns and have had no major problems, and they all fit well. They are printed on heavy paper so they can be used several times (not like the thin tissue paper patterns). The only problem I had was that they come with so many suggestions on how to use them, it takes awhile to read thru all of them!
I received a total of 14 responses in regard to the Kandu &Gottadu coat patterns, and 3 people asked me to summarize. Here goes ...
Hobbs positions its Thermore batting for clothing, and it is elegant. Has a nice drape, quilts beautifully by hand or machine, does not beard, is very thin ... and is really neat. Great for dressy clothing. The Morning Glory bleached cotton is really nice, too, for those who want an all-natural batt. It hand quilts quite well (is 100% cotton) and is thin and not too stiff.