Tag Archives: jackets

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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Details, details

… and an unexpected benefit

 

Buttons!

A lot of little things got done yesterday. I made it to Fabricland to pick up thread and got my buttons (By the way, photographing black, carved buttons is a bit of a trick. Oblique lighting for the win!). I picked up some bias hem-facing strips but then, on a whim, grabbed a couple of metres of red grosgrain ribbon to try.

Ribbon as hem facing

Now, proper grosgrain ribbon has bumpy edges and actually eases around curves a bit, so would be perfect for a hem facing.

This ribbon was not that kind, however it did have those attractive little decorative white stitches at the edges.

Which, it turns out, also make perfect gathering stitches. WOOT! (This didn’t actually occur to me until after I had the ribbon sewn in place, by the way.) I sewed the bottom end to the hem itself, easing the shell fabric to the ribbon, and then gently tightened the upper row of white stitching to ease the upper edge of the ribbon in. Then I stitched it to the underlining. I actually started catch-stitching between the underlining and the ribbon, as Gertie describes, but it was lame and annoying, so I ended up doing something more like a slip-stitch. The final look may not be quite as soft, but it’s more secure and, more importantly, didn’t make me crazy. I generally enjoy

Hanging loop

hand-stitching (especially to the dulcet and soothing soundtrack of my husband’s latest video game) but the catch-stitching inside the hem drove me nuts.

So the hem is hemmed and the lining assembled. I remembered (after forgetting in my last two coats) to add a hanging-loop, too, just some bias tape folded in half and stitched. Not the prettiest thing ever—perhaps I should’ve made one out of the lining fabric—but it will be functional. The collar is also sewn up and basted in place (as per Gertie), but I’m going to save those pics for the big reveal ;). I will say that the padstitching really does make a difference in how the collar sits (or rather, how it stands rather than lying down), although I bet you could skip the outer padstitching and just do the seamline and maybe the below-the-roll padstitching and get much the same effect.

Anyway, To do:

  • insert shoulder pads
  • hem lining
  • attach lining
  • bag lining inside sleeves
  • finish inside of buttonholes
  • attach buttons
  • take fabulous photos, preferably in the snow

Hmm, I’ve probably forgotten something on that list.

Oh yeah, and clean the whole darned house because my father’s arriving today, not tomorrow, and the children have been running rampant for almost a week.

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Look what I did!

I spy, with my little eye, something that looks like a Lady Grey!

Oh, oh!

Oh, see!

See what I did?

Look, look! Funny, funny sewing.

Sorry. Syo’s on a Dick and Jane kick, believe it or not. My aunt gave her a set of board-book reprints featuring such classic tales as “Jane and Mother” and “The Funny Baby.”

Now, I’m a big fan of classic children’s books. Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss; Robert Munsch and Dennis Lee (those two might actually be Canadian phenomena, but they still rock). A dozen more that I could reel off. Top-notch children’s literature is critical, not so much for the kids—they’ll listen to pretty much anything—but for your own sanity, because you’re going to be reading these books again and again and again. I think I made my parents read me “The Secret Garden” seven times when I was Syo’s age.

… But somehow “Dick and Jane” were notable in their absence in my literary upbringing.  I suspect my mother may have had an active role in this, although maybe it was just the 80s. I was sort of under the impression that “Dick and Jane” were dull, cruel readers that children of an earlier time were forced to read in grim school-rooms, probably under threat of The Strap.

Apparently not. Apparently, they are fascinating, enthralling masterpieces of prose for that child on the cusp of literacy, craving the familiarity of a limited, repetitive vocabulary. Apparently the serene, white, nuclear world where Mother vacuums in heels and pearls while Dick and Father throw a baseball and Sally ties Spot’s ears above his head so they don’t splash in his water dish, is just what my younger daughter relates to.

Hrrm.

At least she’s reading, right?

As long as no one’s expecting me to vacuum in heels. Pearls, maybe.

Anyway. Look at that! Genuine Lady Grey progress! I laid out my fabric (this is the remnants left after Tyo’s Russian Princess Coat). There was just over 2m of the red (although functionally not very wide since it’s so off grain) and just under 1m of the black. And, I had enough fabric! The belt may be touch and go (I’m not worrying about it at this point… worst case scenario it will have a seam down the centre and lining fabric on one side), but I had enough! The collar and facings will be black, which I think will be supremely striking.

I managed to squeeze both fronts and side fronts and a collar out of the 2m of (very narrow) hair canvas I had bought a while ago, but there won’t be enough left over for a back stay, which I would really like this coat to have, so I’ll have to pick up more. I also didn’t have quite enough of the super-light-weight interfacing I used to stabilize the whole back pieces (this is a knit fabric, remember, with a disturbing amount of lengthwise stretch), and I can’t find the rest of the pattern to cut the lining, but I did what I could with what I had today, and I should be able to keep busy with the hand-stitching until I can make it to Fabricland to get the other bits and pieces. Hopefully the rest of the pattern turns up before I need to cut the lining, otherwise I’ll be winging it. Which, given the number of fitting tweaks I made might not be a bad idea, but I’d like to have the option, anyway.

If Tyo’s coat is the Russian Princess Coat, will that make mine the Czarina Coat?

Coat back. Ready to catchstitch down the seam-allowances by hand.

Anyway.

See Tanit-Isis! Look, look!
See Tanit-Isis sew.
Tanit-Isis sews and sews.
Funny, funny Tanit-Isis.

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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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