Tag Archives: jackets

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.


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. 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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Burda 9610 jacket

On Burda 9610.

Have the body and sleeves mostly constructed; just need to add cuffs, attach sleeves, add the waistband, and of course get a bunch of snaps, since I’ve decided to go with snaps. The trickiest part so far was figuring out how to insert the pockets, as the pattern itself

Inside---showing pocket inserts and Hong Kong bindings on seams

doesn’t have any. However, they are in, mostly correctly. I’m using Gigi’s tutorial on Hong Kong seam bindings to finish the inside seams. I’m not as good at it as she is. I think part of my problem is that I don’t cut my bias strips wide enough. Anyway, Hong Kong binding + topstitching means each seam in this jacket (and there are a lot!) is stitched 4 times! Crazy. I found myself trying to adjust the construction process to minimize number of times I had to re-thread the sewing machine. Oh, I also figured out a workaround to increase my machine’s tension so the topstitching thread isn’t (or is less) loopy on the inside. You know how when you’re winding a bobbin the thread goes from the spool around that little doohickey on the top before it goes to the bobbinator? Well, (at least on my machine) that doohickey has a bit of a spring on it for catching the thread and adding some tension. I found that by winding my thread around that thing before threading it through the rest of the machine, I got a LOT more tension. No more

Front side pocket. On examining my RTW jean jacket, these pocket linigns are cut as part of the jacket pieces, folded to the inside. Not a bad idea. Ah, well---next time.

loopiness underneath! Unfortunately, I didn’t think to try this until I was about two-thirds of the way along, so there’s a lot of loopy topstitching. Ah well. Live and learn. I couldn’t decide whether I wanted to use the darker (right) side of the fabric or the lighter, shinier (wrong) side. So I used both! Keeping track of which was which was a bit of a pain, though.

Sleeve seams and bindings

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Adventures in denim

Kids' Jean Jacket pattern

Kids' Jean Jacket pattern

Last night I traced out Burda 9610  (jacket only) in kids size 7 and 9 (122 and 134 Burda sizes). These may be a bit big (the other stuff I’ve made them has been size 7 and 4, respectively, but I’m not sure that the Burda “equivalent US sizes” are actually equivalent) but I don’t have the kids handy to measure, and I kinda want these jackets to be presents for when we do see them next at the end of July. And yes, I have measured them before and written it all down. And promptly lost the paper. Although that was a few months ago, and the pesky things do tend to keep growing.

So, now I have the patterns traced out (fifteen pieces each for the jacket! That’s a bit different from that cowl-neck top!) and a *bit* more of an insight into how they will eventually go together. My main disappointment at the moment is to realize that they don’t really have pockets. Not only are there no side pockets, that flap is strictly decorative.

I am of course plotting how to change this. Making a pocket bag and an opening underneath the flap shouldn’t be too hard. Leaving a gap in the side of the centre-front/side-front seam and putting a bag behind this should be doable with just a little bit more ingenuity.

Also, I should think about seam bindings. I’ve never done un-lined jackets before (Hmm, now I’m thinking about lining them, maybe in a colourful fleece. Next time, Taran!). Since I can’t just serge everything, I’m thinking a hong-kong finish kinda thing. Best of all, since I’m not going to be fitting these as I go, I can do at least some of the bindings before the seams are sewn. Yay!

Next question: sparkly (under) side of the denim out, or subtler, less-sparkly “right” side of the denim out? Or a mix? Or just make at least the older daughter’s out of my black denim? (But I want the black denim for me!)

Also, while I’m sewing for children, I should whip up some little sundresses or something for my nieces. I hate to do this much unselfish sewing (I’m not as vocal about it as the Selfish Seamstress but I really do have a hard time putting a whole lot of effort into sewing for other people), but my sister-in-law is looking after my kids for the month. So that might fall under Advanced Selfish Seamstressing. I should call her and get their measurements and maybe quiz her on good colours/styles they don’t already have.

And, because I can’t spend all this time just sewing for others, I’m going to lengthen my Jalie capris pattern and get started on some full-length jeans for me! 🙂

Wow, ambitious much?

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