Tag Archives: jacket

More fun than a barrel of monkeys

 

Yummies!

This is exciting. It will also be a bit challenging, especially combined with the RTW tailoring sewalong.

So an old friend came by yesterday with a project. She’s in the final stages of putting together her debut album (yay!) and wanted a frilly, over-the-top tailcoat for a photo-shoot. So we did some discussing, trawled Fabricland for suitably sumptuous fabric—the paisley corduroy is actually quite a lot more subdued than we were initially thinking, but Fabricland’s sumptuous-crushed-velvet selection is sadly understocked (go figure). Still, I love the fabric we did come home with, and I’m (not so) secretly hoping that there will be enough of the corduroy left over for me to get a little cute something out of it, too.

I’m planning to use the M-sewing tailcoat pattern, with considerable modification as you can see if you squint (or click through for full size) at the sketch on the photo. Fortunately Modern Pattern Design has diagrams for most of the modifications I’m going to need to make, although I’m still not quite sure about the collar—mostly because I’m still not quite sure exactly how I want it to look. Will figure that out soon enough.

In Me-Made March news

Here’s photos for yesterday and today. Again not overly glamorous, which I will blame on the continuing snow. Yes, it’s still snowing.

Me-Made March 27

Me-Made March 28

MMM 27
Cowl-sleeve jacket
Super-cowl top
skinny cargoes

MMM 28
raglan-sleeve top
skinny cargoes

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Yet another knockoff…

Jacket!

Someday I’ll make something original. Sooner or later the universe is bound to get tired of throwing other peoples’ really cool ideas at me, right?

Hmm.

So, I feel a teensy bit guilty about this knockoff, because it’s inspired by this EvaDress pattern, and I really feel like I ought to support her and buy the pattern. But, I’m also a starving student… and I wanted to try some kind of jacket with my new basic princess-seam pattern… and, well, here I am. I’ll buy it someday, I promise. In my own defense, the actual construction of my jacket is almost completely different—the original is a cut-on kimono sleeve, as far as I can tell, while mine is a standard princess-seam jacket, cropped to underbust length, with a set-in sleeve.

Drapey 30s jacket

Drapey 30s jacket

Debi’s made a great version of this jacket. (And here she shows more of the construction, which highlights the many differences between the “real” version and mine). If I’m not mistaken, it’s also the one pictured on this Threads article, which I’ve been lusting after since this time last year. Can we say, yum?

It’s really a very basic idea—a scrunched, buttoned-on scarf over a basic cropped jacket, with cowl sleeves. Lauriana featured a version of the sleeves here, and there’s a description in Modern Pattern Drafting of how to draft it—really simple, actually. I kept my cowl fairly small, partly because I like the close-fitted sleeve and partly because I didn’t have a lot of fabric.

Really, hardly any fabric, barely a metre. I had wanted to make a circle skirt out of this fabric (I’ve been cherishing it, waiting for the perfect project, since last summer some time) but didn’t have enough.

Without scarf

To avoid trying to match plaids (across princess seams, no less!), I cut the side pieces on the bias, then interfaced. The interfacing is probably a bit heavier than would have been ideal on this very light, soft, loosely-woven plaid, but hopefully it won’t be a problem in this location. I do wish I’d been a little more precise matching up the plaid across my CF, as it’s a hair off, but ah well. Not visible behind the scarf anyway.

The jacket has no collar (just the scarf), which was fortunate given the fabric shortage and the need to reserve a fair bit for the scarf. The underside of the scarf is made of flannel, as well.

The Built by Wendy book suggests using 1/2″ seam allowances on straighter seams and 1/4″ on highly curved ones (like the princess seams and the neckline and armscye). I followed the advice, and I like it, but I wonder if for this fabric I shouldn’t’ve used wider ones, as it’s pretty loosely-woven and ravelly. Time will tell, I suppose.

Back view, with pleat

The bias sleeves are interesting. They tend to stretch and narrow, which works well with the style but could make getting a long-sleeved shirt on under them tricky. I also didn’t line the sleeves, as I was concerned with messing up the drape. The bodice is lined with some more bits of leftover silver Kasha from my Winter Coat. Someday I’ll run out of that… I’ve still got nearly a metre left, though!

I’m not 100% sure I handled the back pleat the best way possible. I made similar pleats in the lining and fashion fabric, meaning they’re both kind of occupying the same space. I wonder if it wouldn’t’ve been better to try to wrap the interior box pleat “around” the exterior one so they were folding the same way… anyway, it’s not too terrible, I think.

Scarf, lining, really bad buttonholes.

Nitty gritty details: the scarf is lined in black flannelette, as I didn’t have enough to make a wide enough scarf just out of the fashion fabric. As it is, I could’ve made it a bit narrower, and probably an inch or two longer… ah well. It’s pretty hard to get more than a general sense of this until the buttonholes are already in place, so such is life.

I piped both the inside of the facings and the neckline and front openings of the jacket. I like the piping around the facings, but perhaps a softer cord would be better next time… anyway, as is typical with coats and my sewing machine, the facings were too thick to work automatic buttonholes in, so the resulting buttonholes are as attrocious as you might expect. Ugh. The buttonholes on the scarf, on the other hand, worked out just fine… so look at those ones instead 😉

Piped facings

The facings were squeezed out of scraps (I didn’t actually think I’d have enough fabric for them) so are pretty narrow but worked out well enough. Note to self: remember to remove the back pleat when drafting the facings. And here I was trying to figure out how my neckline had stretched out so much…

Cowl sleeves: Bias sleeves are, well, interesting. They tend to grow (which is a good thing from my point of view) but also shrink width-wise. I will admit I took a couple of loose, surreptitious stitches inside the drape part to keep the folds in place. The cowl edge is finished with a fold-back facing, and the seams in the sleeves are finished with serging. I’m glad I didn’t try to line the sleeves, as it would’ve messed with the drape thoroughly, I think (at least with my lining and this particular fabric)

Button front

There are a LOT of buttons on this jacket. Well, eleven, in fact, and I have some extra little ones I might put on the sleeves, just for decoration. I had an assortment of black, white, and grey buttons of this same shape, in a couple of different sizes, from a thrift-store button baggie picked up a while back.  The arrangement I went with colour and size-wise is probably not optimal, but it was the best I could come up with given the limitations I had. They’re not overly visible when it’s worn, anyway. I’m actually really glad I was able to use them all together, and I like their shape—plain but distinctive—with this style.

Semi-glamour

This jacket really deserves a much more glamorous photo shoot, but this is the best I was able to muster up today, as I’m still sick (have been all weekend). It looks killer with the 70s dress, actually. I had been hoping it would work with my circle skirts, but I’m not loving the combination—too much going on both top and bottom; instead of the hourglass look I was hoping for, it just looks busy. This jacket really seems to stand out with a slim, sleek bottom half—coincidentally just like the dress it was originally paired with.

I think I am officially satisfied with my fitting of the cropped bodice version of the “Built By Wendy Fitted Jacket”. Next up—sleeves and collar :). I’m thinking I might try a little cropped jean-jacket to test out a two-piece sleeve.

Warning: I have a deep and long-suppressed passion for boleros and severely cropped jackets. You may get sick of this look… soon.

I don’t know if I’ll ever actually do any of the particular projects in the Built by Wendy Coats & Jackets book (well, maybe one or two…), but I am loving having the basic pattern blocks to play with. So many possibilities! I may not be quite up to drafting my own patterns from scratch, but I love messing the heck out of  an existing one :).

Oh, and you can see the full Flickr set, with even more photos, here.

In Me-Made March news,

I did actually manage a picture today! (I promise I’ve been wearing my usual me-mades, but being sick just drains me of the energy to run around, get cute pictures, and then do the little followups like making links for the construction posts. Bleh.

At least the inch of snow that was covering the deck this morning is gone…

Me-Made March, day 20

Is the equinox today or tomorrow? Either way, the days will soon be longer than the nights! Hooray!

 

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Haphazard progress

Lady Grey---side view

So, I have now stitched up the bodice of my mutant Lady Grey. In a way, it’s good, as it works something like another iteration of muslin for the pattern. In particular, it’s highlighting how my severe swayback alteration is playing havoc with the peplum (and still needs tweaking), but anyway.

Lady Grey---Back

I opted for topstitching. Lots of topstitching. This adds a bit more structure to the sweatshirt material, and will also (theoretically) make the inside a little neater since I’m not planning on lining it at the moment and my serger is still MIA. Lining would probably have been a good  idea, but I don’t have any fabric suitable for a stretch lining in the stash.

The lumpiness in the upper back is mostly show-through from the layers underneath; there might still be a bit of extra fabric there, but I think it’ll be fine for this version. As you can see the upper part of the swayback is fitted very nicely, but it all kinda goes to hell below the waist. I suppose the peplum is designed that way, but I feel like a gentler flare at the back would work better for me. However, it won’t be happening in this version as I did all the topstitching before I sewed the side seams to try it on, and I’m not particularly inclined to pick it out at this point

Bust curve, with topstitching

Almost as an afterthought when I was mussing with the pattern, I flattened the bust curve a little bit (very unscientifically) and I’m quite happy with the result. I don’t have quite the cups Colette is drafted for.

(Also, doesn’t it look cute with a contrast puff and then a narrow sleeve? Kinda Shakespearian…)

Speaking of Colette’s draft, I was ogling my Ceylon pattern again the other night. I have a sinking feeling, however, that it’s going to require some serious muslining, as it will need both a major swayback and, I’m rather sure, a small-bust adjustment.  Again, I’m torn whether to make the size 0 (which matches my bust and hip sizes), or go up to a 2 and do an SBA. Which didn’t seem to work particularly well for this coat. Grumph. Maybe I won’t tackle that until after I have a duct-tape double to do fitting tweaks on. Also, I was planning to grade the waist panel from 0 (or 2) at the top up to my actual waist size (6) at the middle, but looking at the pattern pieces that would actually give me a convex waist! I’m rectangular, but I’m not literally apple-shaped (yet, anyway). The waist-curve on the pattern is definitely a bit extreme, but I don’t think I can go up more than one size. And then there’s the darts to think about (ugh) and whether to add a center-back seam (I’m told that’s the way to go when swaybacks are in the air). /sigh. Anyway, a lot to think about for that pattern.

Why, yes, I will cheerfully insert fly zippers ’til the cows come home, but double-ended darts send me running for the hills.

Next step: collar (I think I’m going to cheese out and do a straight band, like a traditional kimono collar), “obi” wrap, and how to finish the #%$# hems.

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Next big thing

I feel a little floaty with having the coat done. Not sure what to tackle next. Now that I have my whole wardrobe back, it seems like I’ve got jillions of clothes. Make something for the kids? It’s Tyo’s turn, I guess, but she just got two whole big black garbage bags full of hand-me-down clothes from a friend. I could work more on my Lady Grey coat. I’m distinctly behind, but since I can’t buy my fashion fabric yet (and probably not util the very end of October) it’s hard to get too pumped up about that. Not to mention I’m heading off to a conference on the weekend that I need to get ready for (myself, but the family also, house clean, childcare figured out).

So what do you think I should do next? Something frivolous like the 50s petticoat? Be good and work on the Lady Grey (make my muslin wearable? I have a few ideas floating around for knit tops but I haven’t got the fabric at the moment. I want to try knocking off some of the drape-drape ideas I’ve seen, since the odds of me actually getting my hands on one of those actual books are vanishingly small.

August Burda jacket---finished

Anyway, I did manage to motivate myself to stitch up the last of the lining hem on this jacket (first mentioned here), which has been hovering between wadder and UFO status for the last month and a half. It’s my first (and so far only) stab at a Burda magazine pattern; I guess I need to make at least one more thing from this issue to justify buying the magazine, otherwise I might as well have bought the pattern off the website ;). The biggest problem with it is that for some reason I cannot fathom, the shoulder seam is wonky. It sits in the right place at my neck, but angles backwards from there. Which means that when matching the shoulder seam to the top of the sleeve, it hung and pulled very strangely. Basically I had to pretend that the apex of the sleeve-cap matched up with a point about and inch and a half in front of the

August Burda Jacket---Back

actual shoulder seam. And they’re still a bit wonky. A more minor problem is that it’s a petite. I made the 18, which is allegedly the petite equivalent of my regular 36, but somehow when I got the lining in it became really snug. Maybe I should’ve gone up a size… or done an FBA? Seriously, if I need an FBA, it’s pretty silly, folks.

These are, of course, all the reasons why you do a muslin, but when your thick wool fashion fabric came from the thrift store for three bucks… well, I rush in.

Being a petite, it is quite short, but we’ve already discussed the disproportions between my limb-length and body length ad nauseum :). I could’ve added half an inch above the waist, perhaps, but it works. Most importantly, it conceivably gives me something to wear right now when my awesome winter coat is still a wee bit too warm.

Also, I lengthened the sleeves by one inch. Incidentally, this is the sleeve pattern I swapped in to the winter coat—the problem with the armscye/shoulder seam is why I didn’t want to try and use the armscye from this pattern, too (because that, y’know, would’ve saved me about fifty headaches.)

Anyway, here it is.

Open

Another cute back view

Seriously, though, people, what do you think should be my Next Big Thing? 🙂

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How to take cute pictures of a sucky coat

Burda Jacket... almost finished

Ok, the pictures aren’t even that cute. It’s not totally finished… not sure at this point that it will be, except for bloodymindedness and so I have something to wear during Self-Stitched September if (when) it gets too cold for my jean jacket. Note the hands on the hips in the first photo, creating the illusion of fit. Note how it’s pulled around to improve the rear fit in the second photo; this makes the front look super-doofy.

So, what are my issues?

Well, partly it’s fit. I never did get the shoulders *really* figured out. If I take them in, it’s too narrow in the

Burda jacket, back(ish) view

shoulders. If I let them out, there’s that bump that you see in the photo. And somehow when I put in the lining, the whole thing shrank (go figure :P) so that it doesn’t even overlap nicely in the front (without pulling at the shoulders). Instead of the lone visible button at the top and two hidden ones lower, I might just put in a low button, since that’s the only part that closes nicely.

And partly it’s my fabric. The jacket was designed for faux-leather, and my wool is MUCH thicker than that. I think this thickness is the main problem with the collar, which is sort of heavy and ugly without anything being obviously wrong with it.  I think someone with perfect tailoring skillz could have made a nice fitted jacket out of this wool, but I suspect that someone of my calibre should’ve stuck with something a little more basic. D’you think a sleeve-head or a shoulderpad would help?

On the up-side, the sleeve length is dead-on. And it’s super, duper warm.

Kasia skirt pattern

And, just to show that I’m truly a sucker for punishment, I printed out and assembled the Kasia skirt pattern for my next project! I’m going to grade it out from a size 36 at the hip to a size 38 at the waist and hope that gives me enough ease… I measured the pieces and according my calculations the finished size of the 36″ waistband should be 28″, which is technically the size of my waist but wouldn’t be comfortable at all. But one size up should be adequate.

Just for the record, I haven’t worn an item of clothing with a waistband at my waist, except for one Christmas skirt that fits like a dream, since I was a teenager.

Oh, and here’s a picture of the jacket before I put the sleeves on, inside-out to show all the

Interfacing

interfacing. This was all as directed by the pattern, but maybe it wasn’t such a good idea on my thick, thick wool. You can also see very clearly that rogue shoulder-seam.

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Jacket Suckitude

The sleeves on this jacket are driving me nuts! Is it me? Is it the pattern? Is it my punishment from the fickle Sewing Gods for daring to try to make a—ulp—petite pattern?

Part of the problem comes from the shoulder seam, which runs well to the rear of my actual shoulder. Actually, the neck-side of it is perfect. But for some reason it angles backward at the outside. (I had noticed this in the muslin but thought it was due to me distributing the fullness of the sleeve cap poorly. Now I suspect that this is WHY the fullness was all concentrated to the back. Also the shoulder seemed a bit too wide, especially at the front, and I’ve now tightened the curve of the front princess seam a bit. I am dangerously close to the kind of billiard-ball alterations that turned my Lydia Disaster from a well-constructed top that didn’t happen to fit me into something suitable only for my 10-year-old’s scissors. But wool is considerably more forgiving of stitch-ripping than a cotton knit (I’ve now had sleeves basted in at least five separate times, by machine and by hand… I like by hand, it only takes about 2 snips to rip it all out). I’m hoping if I give up on the shoulder seam as a reference and mark my actual shoulder point, I’ll have some better luck. I hope so. I sure love this fabric.

Seriously, though, this is a pain. I have pretty easy-to-fit shoulders. They’re a little broad (not for this pattern though!) and square, but they’re straight and even. No forward-shoulder alterations here. And I’ve set in plenty of sleeves before, even in jackets, with none of these problems.

Man, I wish I had a dress-form.

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Fools rush in…

oops... a jacket.

Where wiser seamstresses fear to tread.

This is a jacket from my new Burda mag. This jacket, actually. Minus pockets, on account of I don’t really like patch pockets on coats and I’m too lazy to learn to do the welt pocket on the left breast right now.

Yes, THAT jacket.

Yes, I went ahead and cut it without doing a proper muslin or anything. I am not in the right headspace to be tackling this, by any means. I haven’t read up on my tailoring in a few months. I haven’t gone through my sole sewing book for whatever tips may lurk within. Most of all, I’m not feeling patient, although I am working on it.

I traced off a size 18; this is the Burda petite size equivalent to my regular size, 36. The arms of the pattern

front of lining/muslin

are long to begin with, but let’s face it, I’m no petite. I measured the pattern pieces, and my own arms (this is always touch-and-go as it varied by where the shoulder/sleeve seam falls), and added an inch for good measure. Plus a 4cm hem allowance, so really I should have plenty to play with.

I cut out the lining first and sewed it up quickly to test the fit. The bodice was surprisingly good, although I’m not quite sure there’s going to be enough overlap in the front. Odd, since that should be the one dimension it actually fits me in. Here’s a few shots of it, though they’re mostly terrible. The darts actually fall in a really good place for me (which never happens). The bodice length is awesome (Ok, an extra half-inch somewhere probably wouldn’t’ve hurt, but I like a short jacket so I’m not going to bother). The fit at the curve of my (sway) back is great, too.

Back of lining/muslin. Something is WRONG with those shoulders.

Something is WRONG with the shoulders. It’s like all the fullness is gathered behind the shoulder, pulling the shoulder-seam back and making it poufy at the back there. I think I got the easing in the right place according to the pattern, but it does not look right at all. I think it’s just a problem in how the ease is distributed, though (as opposed to how the pattern is cut.) Also, I sewed the side pieces in backwards, which may have thrown off the armscye a bit.

Don’t ever try to use your lining as a muslin. It’s way too slippery and hard to get right—and then you won’t know which fitting issues are genuine and which just come from your own screw-ups. And then you pretty much have to pull it all apart to sew the facings in anyway.

Also, Things I Learned Tracing My First Burda Magazine Pattern

  • even if you remember to leave space for the seam allowances, leave more, they are LARGER than you think.
  • try to get all the pattern markings, including the seam numbers, down when you first trace it. You WILL need this info, and going back and finding the pieces again on the pattern is a PITA.
  • However, you will miss some markings. Go back and add them as soon as you realize it.
  • Burda uses little lines instead of notches. Draw your notches in (or out 😉 ) because you will forget them, otherwise. Don’t forget to do this at the seam allowance line, not just the stitching line.
  • the information is there. It’s just not always where you think it is.
  • look up how to sew a mitred corner.

Ok the last one probably isn’t very widely applicable. That’s all the instructions say for finishing the rear vent.

Anyway, I have a bit more interfacing and a LOT more reading to do. I have a feeling there will be a fair bit of basting and fitting for this one, especially around the shoulder area. But if I end up with a nice fall-weight jacket for Self Stitched September, I’ll be swimming, right?

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