Monday, 23 March 2015

Project Jacket Vogue 8933 has now finished!

Hurray! I've finished my jacket and of course worn it twice already. Just see how happy I am with!

This is a very picture heavy post! So, here are lots of photos of me wearing the finished coat and thankfully it was ok weather to go outside and take photos!

Am I pleased with this jacket? Yes, very much. It's taken me a long time to make it, about 3 or 4 weekends plus sewing some evenings whenever I could get the chance, but it's really been worth it. I feel I've produced a good quality garment and as a bonus, really surprised myself at how well I've done it and how it's turned out. I think a big part of that was due to slowing down and taking my time as well as using a good quality pattern, Vogue 8933 and good quality wool fabric.

This coat is heavy! I'll say that you don't really sew a coat like this, you construct it. I added 2" to the length of body but it's turned out quite a long jacket. I narrowed the shoulders and got rid of the puffy sleeves and it's worked out well.

Now for more of its innards! There's a lot of hand sewing. A lot! I added some orange piping between the facing and the lining and that's worked better than I ever expected as this is the first time I've sewn piping. I bought No.1 piping cord, satin bias binding, used a piping foot and it was a relatively easy process. I like how the inside of the jacket looks. The only bit I didn't like was where the facing meets the hem, so I hand sewed some black sating bias binding over the raw edge.

You can also see how I did the hem- machined black satin bias binding along the hem and then hand sewed it.

There's a close-up of the hem showing the best-of-my-three hand sewn thread bars connecting the lining hem to the fabric, just so everything stays in place. I applied interfacing to all of the fabric pieces which took aaaaaaages! There's nothing fast about making outerwear.

Nice close-up of the big collar. I like big collars! On the inside, I didn't pipe all around the neck. I quit while I was ahead! I added a hanging loop, a detail I need. The front closure is by 4 large snap fasteners which are a devil to sew on as I kept sewing them on in the wrong places! It does make a neat closure though.  

I'm off to find an easy pattern!
Will I make this jacket again? Maybe. Did I enjoy sewing it? Absolutely! It's a lovely jacket to wear and very warm. I feel I need an easy-make just now though! Anyone else got plans for sewing jackets and coats? 

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Vogue patterns sale

Hello again and back to tell you something non-jacket related! I was in John Lewis on Saturday and found out that there is a Vogue patterns sale on at the moment. I bought some. Well, quite a few patterns actually so I thought I'd show them to you and maybe outline some plans for eventual garments I want to sew form them-

After my shock at realising that I can sew jackets and coats, this is what I might want to sew sometime soon. I know it's spring but we've had snow in April before in Edinburgh. I rest my case!

Anyway, 8930, I was thinking of making view C, but adding the patch pockets from the other two views to it. View C has side seam pockets but I'm not keen on this kind of pockets.

I've got my eye on a wine coloured boiled wool from Edinburgh Fabrics. They also had 10% off their wool fabrics so that would be very handy! And look, no buttons, buttonholes etc. It should be a quick make.

2900, I've had my eye on this dress for ages. I can see it made in a good quality linen. And look, it's got pockets! You can't see from the photos but there are lots of panels in the bodices, each view has different bodice panelling and view B has piped seams which is all rather nice. And I'd just like to say that as a tall person it's lovely to see a pattern that is a decent length. I'm not so sure about the rather deep slit at the neck, sometimes one or both sides of the slit has a life of its own and doesn't want to sit properly which spoils the whole garment.

1291, I love this dramatic top! It can be made in stretch fabric and also wovens like chiffon and crepe. I can see this in a lovely burgundy coloured silk. I've got a thing about burgundy. Such a beautiful colour.

8805, I love these dresses. I bought a similar dress a few years ago and it's just such an easy style to wear- literally fling it on and go out the door. It's the dress equivalent of jeans and a t-shirt.

8913, Lovely tops and I can see myself sewing up a few of these in different fabrics for the summer. I don't like the really low back hem though, that just annoys me. It would hang down below the beautiful summer jacket I've yet to make (ha ha!).

I also collected the Sew Over It Ultimate Trousers pattern before hitting the Vogue pattern sale! Yep, I did go on quite a pattern-buying spree but boy was it good!

Ah, almost forgot, but John Lewis also now seem to stock Butterick patterns too, which is good to know. Well, you can click and collect online I don't know if you can buy from their shops. I'd need to check. Handy, as I've got my eye on another jacket pattern...what patterns have you been buying?

Monday, 16 March 2015

The wool jacket project

Hello everyone and how are you? Well, after a few weekends and now and then getting time to sew in the evenings, my wool jacket still isn't finished! Bit of an anti-climax there and I'll bet you weren't expecting that...but I have got some photos to show you which C took yesterday just after lunch. They show the fitting issues I had (note the past tense).

The first two photos show the first basting of the sleeves. So, the shoulders are too wide and the sleeves are also a bit too puffed up at the top for my liking so need to be changed too. Enter stage left, the seam ripper!

There are also two places where there's excess fabric across the upper back, just at the sleeves. To get the pattern to match on the back seam I had to take very generous seam allowances so it was a bit of a surprise to find excess fabric here. I've also got a broad back, something that's happened
since I started swimming again. I have tried the 'stretch both arms out front' test and the jacket feels like it's the right size, not too big and not too small either.

It's impossible to see what the fit is like on the back unless you've got good mirrors or someone else can take photos. I've narrowed the shoulders by a good 0.75 inch at each end and reduced the 'height' of the sleeve. Strangely, this seems to have worked! I have no photos though.

The collar is very tall, even for a tall person like me. In these photos you can see that I've folded the collar over otherwise it would be half way up my head! I still love the big collar though. Here's a photo of a bit of the jacket front. There is a line of top-stitching on the front right which you can just about see is relatively straight. Result! There's also the top of a welt pocket and I'm rather pleased at how they've turned out. You can see my old puffy jacket photo-bombing its successor!

I have some photos of the guts of the jacket. I made my own sleeve heads using some of the fabric. I just googled and found instructions . They've worked well. I pinked and then zig-zagged the sleeve head edges because the tweed frays like anything. Here's a photo of my hand made sleeve heads. I had to use the flash to get a decent photo so you can see how they look hand sewn into the garment. This pattern didn't call for shoulder pads but I have put some very small ones in anyway. I just feel it needed something to support the fabric and the jacket is quite heavy. Another thing this pattern didn't ask for was a back stay, which I have included. I washed some of the 100% cotton sheeting I'd used to make my muslin, cut round the coat back and that was that. I pinked the back stay edges and then machine basted it to the back around the neck, armhole and side edges. That's worked well! And of course, me being me, if I've sewn something, I press it. Even if it's machine basting or stay stitching. I'm an obsessive presser but it's really paid off with this jacket.

So, what can I possibly have left to do? There's a lot of hand sewing still to do- sew in the sleeve lining x 1, sew the sleeve hems x 2, sew the snaps to the jacket front x 4 and sew some thread chains securing the lining to the jacket fabric.

Lots of text and quite a few photos in this post so if you've read through to the end, well done! I really, really hope to get this finished very soon. It's about time I started wearing it before the heatwave arrives. Edinburgh...heatwave...?!?


Monday, 2 March 2015

The Project- a work in progress

I realise it's been a couple of weeks since I blogged so I thought I'd better let you all know what I'm doing. In my last post, I said I'd be working on my next vintage pattern pledge, which was going to be a 1970's coat. I'd already chosen the fabric but hadn't bought it yet. So I went ahead and made a muslin but found that the coat was far too big. Time is marching on and I really need an intermediate jacket or coat for when I can finally get out of the puffy-coat. I quite agree with Jen from Grainline Studio, cold weather is either puffy-coat weather or wool-coat weather. There are times when only a puffy coat will stand up to the cold! This is Edinburgh and we seem to get the wind straight off the Arctic sometimes. 

So, after the vintage coat muslin I decided I couldn't face making so many alterations so a garment that I really need very soon. But luckily I had a close 'second-place' pattern I wanted to make and here it is, Vogue 8933. I'm making View B. I made a muslin for this coat and found my swimmer's shoulders and biceps made for too snug a fit and that I didn't like the pockets inserted into the side seams. So, I'll make the next size up and also add the welt pockets from view C. I have made welt pockets before but it was years ago. 

It took sooooooo long to prepare the fabric and cut it and the interfacing and lining out. The fabric itself is a 100% wool black and green herringbone tweed. And it's got orange 'bits' woven though it. I've coveted this fabric for months! Then when I went to buy it from Edinburgh Fabrics they're having a 10% off wool fabrics. Result! 

Preparing the fabric
I basically turned up the steam iron to the hottest it would go and pressed my fabric, giving each pressing 3 blasts of steam. I pre-tested how the fabric would react to such a hot steaming before letting loose on the whole length of fabric but it was absolutely fine. There was no change to the surface appearance from the iron, which I was a bit worried about. I won't be washing this jacket, I'll get it dry cleaned. 

The really scary part was cutting out that lovely expensive fabric. Thought I'd take a photo of the big cutting out!

This is the bit I've agonised over and lurked about on the internet trying to find out what others do. In the end I decided upon a medium weight, iron-on non-woven black interfacing. I also decided to interface the whole jacket. For the front facing section, which includes the collar I followed Sallieoh's example and used iron-on canvas interfacing.  

I really wanted orange or burnt orange lining but there was only a thin polyester lining fabric in these colours which didn't match up with the standard of the fabric. I did find a lovely sating lining, which is probably polyester, but much thicker and definitely more luxurious! It's black but I had the brainwave of adding some burnt orange piping between the edge of the lining and the facings. I've already got a piping foot,  bought some No.1 piping cord and burnt orange bias binding to make the piping so I'm all set! 

To draft a two piece sleeve from the one piece sleeve of the pattern. This actually went well and I made another muslin of the sleeve (photo shows drafting in process). I'm impressed at how well it sits and glad I didn't stick with the one piece sleeve. I followed these instructions on 'Drafting a two piece jacket sleeve from a one piece pattern' by Margaret Komives. The new sleeves can now accommodate my swimmer's biceps and forearms! 
Resources used so far
  • I've bought and read 'Vintage Couture Tailoring' by Thomas von Nordheim which I've found really useful so far. 
  • Margaret Komives instructions on sleeve drafting
Decisions I've made
  • Hand sew the facings to the jacket  so they stay put.
  • Not to bag the lining, I'm going to hand sew it all.
I could probably do with a tailor's ham but now I've started I can't hold up the big project! Is anyone else working on a big project at the moment? I've a feeling I'll be making more outerwear this year so expect to see some more big projects over the next few months.