Cutting Lines Designs – By Popular Demand
Sometimes the simpler things give us the most pleasure. Take this jacket – it was made up almost exactly like the pattern, with no real design changes. The fabric was a plain mid-weight cotton. It’s pretty, because the lilac color comes from cross-woven blue and pink threads, but it really was not super-special. And this was not a case where I was executing a completed garment that I’d already seen in my head. The project was really straightforward: I wanted to give the pattern a try, and I had some fabric stashed that would do and wasn’t so expensive that I’d cry if I didn’t like the jacket in the end.
So there was no creative vision, no construction challenge, and no super-deluxe fabric involved. And guess what? I enjoyed sewing this more than anything I’ve done in quite awhile!
Background on why I made this pattern – I seem to always, always need casual clothing. I have my work wardrobe. I have grubbies for wearing when painting or working in the yard. But I don’t have clothes that work for just wearing around the house or out shopping. Once I did a SWAP that met that need; it was very useful but has since worn out.
Cutting Line Designs patterns seemed perfect to me for this role. They look casual, and carefree, perfect for our looong warm season here. They can be made to look either classic or artsy. From past experience I knew that I like the way the patterns go together. I decided to make myself a little wardrobe using these patterns and a few others that work with them. When the winter weather iced me in and cut off power a couple of weeks ago, one of the things I did was trace about 7 CLD patterns and think about summer weather. This jacket is the first piece to be made up.
Pattern description – this is a boxy jacket with convertible collar and jeans-type details. No collar stand or cuffs, so there are no tricky small pieces where alignment is critical. The front facing is cut on, and the collar is all one piece (instead of an upper & lower stitched together on 3 edges). Both of these features reduce bulk at seam intersections and help make for stress-free sewing! Sleeves are 2-piece, but the seams are design features; there is no shaping there. There is a decorative tab on the back yoke that gives a little interest to a plain back.
CLD patterns, at least the ones I have traced, all are straight up and down on the sides. On longer shirts and tunics, I need to grade out to a larger size at the hips. But since this jacket stops higher, cutting a single size worked fine. Even so, I was not sure I’d like the sides with no shaping, but in the finished piece it just has a simple, uncomplicated look. Fine by me!
The instructions include seam finishes, and Louise has the seams on this jacket serged, pressed to one side, and topstitched. (There is tons of topstitching on this pattern.) I don’t have a serger and was thinking about flat-felling the seams. One of nice things about CLD patterns is that you can generally clean-finish everything. Susan in Miami on Stitcher’s Guild suggested binding the seams, and she was spot on! I ended up trimming the seam allowance that would be underneath, binding the one on top, then pressing to the side and topstitching like in the directions. The straight seams are so easy to bind. I love the way it turned out! Gave me the chance to use a pretty binding, and the finish is even neater than serging. Thank you, Susan! I will definitely use this finish again.
Topstitching – each seam, edge, and the front facing is secured with two rows of topstitching. That’s a lot of topstitching, but it really adds to the finished piece, even when contrasting thread is not used. I made it easy on myself and just used the same single gray thread I was using for seams.
Now for the changes to the design. The pattern has a faux-felled seam detail on the pockets that go horizontally on the breast pockets and vertically on the lower pockets. I made them all vertical. And I used snaps instead of buttons – those are the only changes.
I can enjoy challenging projects and ones that expand my skills, but it was such a pleasure to work on one that sewed itself . There were really no decisions to make, no struggling to bend a fabric to my will, no worries. Everything just went together like it was supposed to. I think I want more of that in my life.
Another success (but not totally unqualified) was the new Hot Patterns slouchy jean. I made a muslin for fitting purposes and they were quite easy to alter. I like the fit and style very much. In the hotly-contested wide leg v/s skinny leg debate, I tend to favor wide legs. These look a little sloppy here because they were hemmed to wear with a little heel…and I have on Birkenstocks.
These were made in a Tencel denim, and the weight and drape were perfect. HOWEVER – I should have made a second muslin muslin before cutting out this fabric. I had to do some additional fitting. The tencel didn’t handle the ripping and re-sewing very well. And the blankety-blank 3/8 inch seam allowances didn’t help. I understand that they are handy for curved seams and all, but for perfectly straight seams, why not include at least standard allowances? And, silly Robyn, why didn’t you ADD to those 3/8 seam allowances? Huh? You knew that it would be smart. Purely lazy.
I’m not totally upset about my less than stellar craftsmanship, though, because the fabric is crocked and the dye is still rubbing off of it.
I love the fit of these jeans and am going to get them perfected. So I’ll make another pair soon – with 1″ seam allowances.