On some blogs I read, there has been discussion recently on subject of tailoring. Mostly coming to the conclusion that you can only really ever hope to make a proper jacket by buying expensive fabric and putting in hours and hours of fastidious manual labour, padstitching layers upon layers of different kinds of heavy interfacing.
Hm, I have to admit, this was one of the issues which made me feel like I was underachieving... And I would like to try out this form of hard-core, couture-style tailoring somewhere in the (possibly quite near) future.
However, sewing is not an exact science and, in its history there has hardly been a golden rule which couldn't be broken.
In ready-to-wear, the kind of tailoring I refered to was practised on a large scale up to (about) the 1950's. Good tailored jackets would be able to stand to attention on their own. In the late 1960's and 70's, the youth culture and the decrease in formal dress codes allowed for an emphasis on comfort. Classic suits (for women) were no longer a fashion item. The power suit of the 1980's was a different beast. Heavily padded in the shoulders but a lot less fitted than its predecessors. It actually relied on flowing fabric for its appeal. So no more all-over interfacing... And, of course, many 50's suits were tailor made. Almost all 80's suits were factory products.
Now, I don't claim to know everything about sewing or fashion history. The story above was just intended as a general overview. I do not, for example, know when fusible interfacings were first introduced. Either in RTW or for the home seamstress. I do know, however, that nowadays fusible interfacings are available in a huge range of weights and styles (I actually have a bit of fusible horsehair canvas in my interfacing stash, for example). Finding the right one for your fabric and project and applying it properly will go a long way to help you make a professional looking garment.
Case in point? Well, doesn't the jacket in the picture look classic? And, if I dare say so myself, well-made?
I made it about one and a half year ago. I drafted the pattern myself and used a fairly solidly woven, mid-weight herringbone tweed, interfaced throughout with woven interfacing for wool fabrics. That stuff sticks to the fabric very well and, rather than adding a lot of weight, it acts like a thin web, slightly stiffening but mostly stabilizing the fabric and allowing you to shape it.
I'm posting it here as a reminder, also to myself.
I won't make any assumptions about menswear, because I lack experience in that area. However, when making a ladies' jacket, consider ALL your options. Fusibles are not evil.