one last jacket

Finishing 2011 on a high note….the Paco Peralta T-Coat! This is my first pattern from Paco and it was a joy to work with.

Back when the JAM started around this time last year, Fabric Mart was running a special on their Shetland wools and it seemed like everyone was buying some. There were some awesome coats made at the time. I got a piece of the alpine green, because I’ve always wanted a loden coat and this is probably as close as I’ll get. It was the only piece of fabric I specifically bought for JAM, so it gives closure on the project to actually make it up.

For the style, I wanted something classic. Coats don’t get a lot of wear here, and it needs to work for many years. I also wanted a hint of folkloric flavor. Paco’s design, with its straight T shape, front yoke, and stand-up collar, has both those qualities. This and other patterns are sold in Paco’s etsy shop – you can see his sample coat and more information about the pattern there.

About the pattern: It came hand-drawn on vellum-type paper. Sizing is S-M-L. 5/8 inch seam and hem allowances are included, and there are separate lining pieces. There are no instructions.

I was pretty cocky about the no-instructions part, since there were so few pattern pieces and because the pattern is so well-drafted and marked. In the end, it was fortunate that Tany had already made this coat and posted her order of construction in her review. I also followed her recommendataions for interfacing.

Construction notes – a back stay and thin shoulder pads were added.

It was a pleasure to make this coat. Everything went together so well! It was so much fun that I’m thinking of how to adapt the pattern to be a top and maybe a robe. One of the really nice features is the way the sizes are drawn out on the pattern paper. You know how with most multi-sized patterns, if you cut out one size, you loose important cutting lines for the other sizes? The way this pattern is drawn, the sizes are nested. If you cut the largest size (yes, I actually cut it!), all the smaller sizes are still there, intact. So if I want to make a top, and think the size M has enough ease, it’s all there for me. Nice touch!

The only change I will make in future is that I would lower the pockets. I didn’t think to check the position of these before making up, and they’re a little high on me. That’s a pretty small quibble.

Here’s a happy girl in her new coat, ready for 2012!

(Thinks she’s an extra in The Sound of Music)


JAM #12

Jacket a month is finished! There are still plans for a coat, but more about that later.

This is McCall’s 6775, that has been with me since I first made it circa 1979. I liked it back then, enough that I’ve preserved it through many moves and purges. It’s one of those “Make it tonight, wear it tomorrow” patterns – 3 main pattern pieces plus a facing. Even the pockets are cut on.

Well, I didn’t exactly make it overnight, but it was easy and pleasurable. The fabric is a wool blend herringbone with several colors that are found in my wardrobe – teal, black, beige, off-white – so it will go with lots of things. I bought it originally with another pattern in mind, the Cutting Line Of the Moment. I want to make that one, but just can’t find fabric that seems right. Anyway, it got cold a couple of weeks ago, and I needed a light coat. I decided to use this fabric and then remembered the old pattern.

I added some width to the bottom, figuring that my shoulders were pretty much the same as in 1979 but my hips are not. Turns out I didn’t need the extra. Why does flat pattern measuring never work out for me? Also added 1 inch in length.

Interfaced with Fashion Sewing Supply’s Pro-Tailor Deluxe and that was just right.

There was some gray Ambiance in stash for lining (pattern is designed to be unlined).  At first I thought I’d be putting shoulder pads in there, but the shoulder is surprisingly fitted, and there was no room for a pad.

Leather buttons, also from stash. I harnessed up the old Singer buttonhole attachment since I knew the coating would never fit under the Janome buttonhole foot. Turns out it was a really tight fit even under the Singer, but the buttonholer easily handled maneuvering the fabric once it was in place.

That’s it – nice lightweight coat with a swingy hem.

The Jacket-A Month challenge was such a great idea – thanks to Marciae on Stitcher’s Guild for suggesting it and starting the sewalong. My skills improved, and beyond that I learned a good lesson about my personal style.  Here’s a composite of all the jackets (some are mere cardigans since we all agreed that any 3rd layer could count). A couple are outlined in red…because I ended up wearing them only a few times and then deciding they just weren’t me. Note that they’re the ones that are the most “fashion-y”. I liked the styles, thought they were darling on other people, and really wanted them. But in the end I didn’t feel good wearing them. The jackets that were either classic or casual get worn all the time. LESSON LEARNED.

What’s up next? There are a couple of things I’m really excited about. I still need a warmer coat, and have purchased Paco Peralta’s T-Coat pattern. Paco is a Barcelona designer who is making patterns available through his Etsy store. Looks like he has taken the store offline for Christmas vacation, as it’s empty right now. I can’t seem to swipe an image to insert here, so you’ll have to go to the blog to look. Isn’t it beautiful? I have a loden wool, one of those Shetland wools from Fabric Mart, earmarked for this and hope it make it up over Christmas break. I don’t have a (nice) heavy coat right now, and even in Texas you need one sometimes.

The other thing I’m excited about is a new XXX A Month challenge. I’ve been feeling like shirts lately and mentioned on Stitcher’s Guild that I’d like to do one a month in 2012. Turns out that sounded good to other people, too, and there’s a pretty active thread going on here. Join us and perfect your shirt/blouse patterns and work on precision sewing skills!

JAM #11

Jacket #11 is another Anything But Ordinary. This is such a simple jacket which lends itself to interesting fabric. And since it’s simple, it goes together quickly.

In one of her newsletters Louise suggested making an ABO ensemble, using the pattern for both a shirt and jacket, but cutting the collar of the jacket a half inch shorter so that the shirt collar peeks out all around. Since I had bought this lovely Japanese cotton from Louise specifically to make an ABO, I went stash diving to see what there was for the shirt portion. There was a nice mid-weight silk that reminds me a lot of chambray. They looked good together!

I made the shirt first. Simple pattern + plain fabric can be pretty boring, so I decided to channel stitch the collar and center front openings. All was going smoothly until…..slice….I had my first serger accident and nicked a three-quarter inch V out of one of the sleeves. What to do? If it had been in an inconspicuous place I would have darned it and figured no one but me would ever know. But there it was, right on the front of the sleeve, saying “Hi, I’m your big fat mistake and I’ll be your design opportunity this evening”.

So, the nick got patched. To make it look more intentional, I duplicated the channel stitching from the collar on the patch.  And to keep the fluidity of the silk, the edges were frayed instead of turned under. To further the illusion that I did it all on purpose, patches were scattered randomly over the top.

I was pretty disgusted with myself when I made the boo-boo, but now I’ve gotten over that and actually like the way it turned out. Three cheers for cooling-off periods!

Here are the front and back views of the shirt. With patches. And the CF is fastened with snaps.

On to the jacket. Even though this was planned to be worn over a silk shirt, I wanted to line the jacket to give it a little extra substance and so I could wear it over other things. I just loooooove the print and think it will be worn a lot. Around this time, Sewing on the Edge had a post about her “cheater” lining method that she used on her fab corduroy jacket. Just what was needed!

The lining meant that I could put shoulder pads in and they would be hidden. Louise is a big shoulder pad fan…that is, a big fan of the pads, not a fan of big pads…and always recommends them. What a difference it makes! Sets the jacket squarely on the shoulders and improves the hang.

My main issue with many Cutting Line and Sewing Workshop patterns, the ones without darts, is that they hike up in the front and I don’t know how to do a FBA without adding a dart. I tried adding a bust dart on a previous iteration and did not like the outcome at all. It went in the trash. So for this one, I decided that I would go for an angled hem, and cut it about 2 inches longer at center front. Well, it hangs straight. So I am pleased with that but would still like to know how to do an FBA and maintain the perfectly perpendicular CF and hemline that these designs are supposed to have.

Here’s the stacked collar shot. I love these buttons on this fabric!

I feel like I’m getting a handle on art to wear that I’m comfortable in. This ensemble has had its first outing and I didn’t regret wearing it one bit.

JAM #10

Ottobre Woman 2/2006 #17

The Ottobre jacket is completed, and a very nice jacket it is. I wrote a bit about it while it was in progress a couple of posts back, when the body was completed but I had yet to do the sleeves. At that point, I was so happy with the fit of the jacket that I knew I didn’t want it to be a throw-away muslin. I wanted it to be wearable. But setting in the sleeves was a concern because this fabric (the iron/cotton blend that got an extended Coke soak) was not going to ease.

Here is where the story gets really happy, because the sleeves didn’t NEED to ease. They fit right in, no muss no fuss. That was such a relief. All that remained was to sew on the facings, insert the shoulder pads, turn up hems and topstitch.

A bonus now that this jacket is all together and I like it and its nice easy fit – this same pattern has four different looks in the same magazine, mostly due to pocket stylings. It’s all ready for me to do some changeups…and one of them should be for the fall 6PAK which I am so behind on.

A slight design change – when I’m doing an unlined jacket, I usually redraft the facings so that they extend all the way to the armseye, as shown in the photo. This accomplishes several things: facings don’t flip out, it gives the shoulder and upper chest a little extra oomph, and conceals shoulder pads so they don’t need covering.

I’m glad I finally made this jacket up. Another TNT in a classic style, and this one will also give me a great set of measurements to use in refining other jackets. I’ve really liked the Nancy Ericson 1945 jacket, and have made it several times, but the shoulder was always too broad and I didn’t have the confidence to just whack it down. This Ottobre will be a good pattern benchmark for comparison.

Nice things about the Ottobre jacket:

  1. Did not need extensive alterations for me. When extensive pattern surgery is required, I’m always afraid I’m doing more harm than good. Alterations for this jacket: cut one size smaller at the shoulder, and then shaved off another quarter inch; sewed the vertical darts about 1/8 inch narrower than marked, just for insurance. That’s it.
  2. I like the way the pieces for the two-piece sleeve work. Many two-piece sleeves have the underarm seam meet the side seam – extra bulk and you have to take care to match the seams. This sleeve is cut so that there is no seam where it meets the side seam of the body. Less bulk and easier to sew that way.
  3. Plenty of “driving room” across the shoulders & back. Don’t know why, but this is often a problem with other patterns.
  4. Lots of fitting opportunities with the darts, and one could always leave some of them out for a boxier fit. Stitching the darts just a bit looser like I did makes for a nice shape: trim but relaxed.

Things I’ll change for next time:

  1. Needs a forward shoulder adjustment of about ½ inch.
  2. Cut deeper hems. Ottobre included hem allowances, but they seem skimpy to me. An extra half inch would do.
  3. Next time I’ll draft the lining. Ottobre intended it to be lined, but this was a trial garment and will be worn as a substitute for a jean jacket so I skipped it.

Things to just be aware of:

  1. The armseye is very high. Works great with a tank or sleeveless shell underneath, or could be worn buttoned up with just a cami, but anything with sleeves might choke up.
  2. Sleeve width is OK to accommodate a lightweight blouse, but anything heavier will require an adjustment. If you have slender upper arms this won’t apply to you.

 My TNT basic T shirt is Ottobre. My TNT basic blouse is Ottobre. Now this basic jacket is a winner. Ottobre pants take more fitting work for this body, but I have had success with them, too. The latest issue has some styles that I probably won’t adopt fully, but when you know something is going to basically fit, it’s no big deal to do a little adapting.

A nice surprise for me….one day I came home to holes in the sewing room ceiling with little wires sticking out, courtesy of The Spouse. The little wires were to be connected to several banks of track lights so I will be able to see what I’m working on! In fact, the lights are now totally installed, and when I clean up my space I’ll post pictures so you all can see.  What a difference!

JAM #9

When you can’t sew (because new lighting is going in the sewing room – yay!), the blog posting increases.

This is my recently-completed Anything But Ordinary jacket from Cutting Line Designs. It’s an oversized, boxy jacket, easy and cozy to toss on. Basically 4 pattern pieces without a lot of fitting necessary, it is an easy sew.

I shocked myself by deciding to test out this pattern as a pieced jacket. Ya’ll, this is so unlike me, but it came to me in a vision. I love natural linen damask/jacquard type weaves, and had scraps left over from my last CLD jacket. I also had a natural linen skirt in a different pattern that was never going to be worn, so I cut it up to use. Added another couple of linen scraps and here it is.

The effect is rather subtle. I got so carried away with art-to-wear-ness that I actually used one of the “fancy” stitches on my machine to embellish the plain linen stripe. White thread on cream fabric…doesn’t really stand out, but it does enliven the surface a little.

herringbone stitching on the lightest stripe, if you can see it

I put this together with foundation piecing, using batiste for the foundation. That made the jacket really cuddly, and none of the piecing shows on the inside. The method was easy-peasy, very much like the string-quilting technique shown here on Quiltville, except that my pieces were bigger.

I even used statement buttons to finish it off. This is a departure for me, but I like it. I especially like the magic built into that collar that makes it want to stand up.

Before I make this again, I’ll do some pinning on this one to see if I can reduce the volume just a little bit, and maybe try adding a dart. Just tweaks. I do have some other fabrics in the stash that I think would look very nice made up in this pattern.

Updating to show the fabrics used, since they didn’t show up very well. The first two were used for most of the jacket. Numbers 3 & 4 are the prominent stripes (which continue down the back and match at the shoulder), and the last one is cotton ticking used for the facings.

CLD Pure & Simple shell and Heading For Adventure Jacket

I’ll be back to sharing my old Vogue Pattern mags, but wanted to post some actual sewing so that I can get credit for jacket #7 in the JAM sewalong.

A new little addition has come to the sewing room. I did finally buy a serger, and have been glad that I did! I got the Brother 1034D, which has the reputation of being good, basic, and reliable. That’s what I look for in a machine. To test it out, I made up a couple of new-to-me Cutting Line Design patterns.

The first was the shell from the Plain & Simple pattern. Zip, zop, it was done in a flash. It’s made from some mystery fabric. It’s a woven, but after washing it crinkled up and stretches as if it was a knit, so it droops a little bit. The texture might not show, but it looks like a fine ivory/beige tweedy stripe. And check me out, I even got it an accessory.

I like those multi-strand necklaces, they are big enough to make a statement. I have now made all the CLD shell-type patterns, I think. P&S and HAF are my favorites, but I have uses for the ABO top as well.

Then I went on to the Heading For Adventure jacket, and was really glad I had the serger for this one. Here’s the front and back, to show the cute drawstring detail.

The fabric for this was a treasured linen that came from the late, lamented Timmel Fabrics. I really enjoyed ordering from Julie at Timmel’s, and was always confident that I could rely on her recommendations.

This jacket was one of the first ones that came to mind when the JAM sewalong started. I knew I would finally make this fabric up in the summer, and just which pattern I wanted to use.

This pattern was originally supposed to be a very oversized duster. Louise advised on Stitcher’s Guild going down a size if you want a shorter jacket, which I did. I also made a forward shoulder adjustment, which means that I now have a separate sleeve front and sleeve back (the pattern as drafted has all 4 sleeve pieces the same). Another thing to note if you make the shorter jacket is that you will also need to shorten the pocket and take into account the depth of your hem. If you make the pattern’s great big pocket, you will be sewing over it when you hem the jacket.

Not all the interesting style lines show because of the pattern in the fabric, but I think once it gets some wear on it, they will show up more. This was a fun pattern to sew, because it didn’t go together exactly as I thought it would. If you like puzzles, then you might think the same thing. While it was not particularly difficult, it was not quick to make. There is lots of stay stitching, edge stitching and topstitching. Now that it’s done, it has an “Out of Africa” feel to it that I like very much. Haven’t worn it yet…can’t wait.

Next post will be back to vintage. 🙂

JAM #6

I am still on a Cutting Line Designs tear and have made a second version of the By Popular Demand Jacket.

This was one of those rare cases where I saw the fabric and immediately knew what I wanted to do with it. Found the fabric at Pursley’s – passed over it on one visit, and when it was still there the next time, I knew it was kismet. I believe this is some gen-u-wine kind of Ikat because it started out only 36 inches wide…and after washing was closer to 32.

Because of the narrow width and also because there was some nasty adhesive stuff here & there that did not come out with washing, I did some fancy single-layer cutting. I managed to get most of the “plaid” type weave to match. Didn’t do so well with the backs of the two-piece sleeve….note to self: next time, match at the notch.

The threads in the fabric are fairly coarse, so I lined/underlined with a soft cotton batiste. I am absolutely in love with the way that feels on my skin, and will absolutely do it again. Oh, yes, the pockets – I used the breast pockets only and put a tab and button on each one.

This coming Wednesday I have a sit & sew class with Louise (Madam Cutting Line Designs herself) that I am looking forward to. Firstly, I’m very excited to learn directly from Louise. Secondly, I’m curious to try the machines that will be provided for the class. This will be my first serger encounter, so we’ll see how I like it! Baby Lock is providing the sewing machines, sergers, and a sales rep to help those of us who need it (like me).

I’ve sewn a fair amount of Cutting Line items this summer and am planning which I will wear to suck up to the teacher. Probably one of two pairs of Easy Ageless Cool pants, and one of the By Popular Demand jackets. Along with a Marcy Tilton tank.

Credit card, prepare yourself for action.