2 for 1 jacket update

While I was “away” making curtains and doing alterations and making nice things for other people, this project was burning a hole in the back of my mind!  Now the new year is here, the kids are back at school and making for others has quietened down a bit, I can finally get cracking again.  I decided to track the progress of this jacket, to show the internal workings of speed tailoring a jacket.

First things first, if you have a wool or wool blend fabric, you need to prepare it.  During the making the fabric will be subject to a lot of heat and steam, and it will inevitably shrink.  There are different ways of going about this.  Usually I cut a  10x10cm piece, zigzag or overlock the edges and pop into a basin of warm water.  If the water doesn’t get absorbed, there is a coating on the fabric, and it will need to be dry cleaned.  If water is absorbed, pop it in the washing machine on a cool, woolens or handwash cycle.  Then check it, has it shrunk?  Has the finish/feel of the fabric changed?  Has the colour run?  If the answer is yes to any of these, dry clean only!  For preparation you will need to steam this fabric.  If not, you can wash it.  Now some fabrics can be shoved in the machine, and others need a different approach.  (Most of the wool I buy gets the machine wash.)

I have a cashmere that is definitely not going in the machine.   I dampened down 2 double flat sheets (you could use old duvet covers) and sandwiched the wool between them.  I rolled the whole lot up like a Swiss Roll and left for the damp to get through the wool.  Then opened it up and draped over a balustrade/handrail.  If you have to use the washline, first cover the wire with a towel, and if possible, drape over two lines, not just one.  Leave to dry, then dry iron to remove creases.  Iron on the wrong side, and check for any imperfections.  Mark these so you can avoid the area when laying out the pattern pieces.

It really is worth taking time when preparing wool for a jacket.  The fabric is rarely cheap, and considering the amount of time you will take to put the item together, it will be pretty soul-destroying to have it go wrong.

Your next job is the interfacing.  I use a speed tailoring jacket pack that I get from Gill Arnold.  On this particular wool I have used her Weft insertion on the jacket shell and the fine sheer fusible on the facings.  I have also used some iron on canvas, and some non-iron canvas.  I interfaced the “T-zone” and all the hem edges with the weft insertion.  This covers all the areas of the jacket that are put under strain or will be sat on and crinkled!  Then I made up the fronts and back.

The next step was to apply a fusible cotton tape to the front seam, this prevents stretching on the front seam.  It is applied about 5mm in from the fabric edge and if you have a curve at the bottom, you will need to snip into it to take the corner.  Once that was done, I made the canvas chest pieces.  This is done to plump out the hollow in the chest that women have just below the shoulder.  You will need the non-iron canvas and some weft insertion for this part, and each pattern needs a different shape chest piece.

The pieces are cut on the bias.  The weft insertion interfacing is a different size to the canvas.  It is 1cm larger on the armhole side, and 2.5cm larger on the neckline side.  Fuse the canvas to the weft insertion, taking care not to attach the overlapping interfacing to anything.  Trim the top corners, cut a box 1×2.5cm and 2.5×2.5cm.  Place the chest piece on the jacket front with the armhole side on the edge of the fabric and fuse the overlapping interfacing to the jacket on both sides.

Preparing the canvas chest piece
Chest piece fused in place
Taped breakline

Next fuse cotton tape to the breakline of the rever.  This helps the rever to fall in the right place, and to stay there!  There is no need for padstitching the create the fall. Now staystitch the neckline on the facings, jacket front and back.

Once that is done, pin on the facing.  The facing is between 2.5mm and 5mm bigger/wider than the front on the rever up to the breakpoint only.  This is to accommodate the turn of cloth.  You don’t want to see the seamline or any of the fabric from the front rever peaking out.  The fabric needs to be manipulated carefully so you don’t get any puckering, pinch the excess at the corner and pin the “blister”.

Sew the front facing on from the podmark for the collar join to the hem.  Snip the seam allowance at an angle at the breakpoint and layer the seams.  Trim both of the seam allowances down by 5mm.  Then trim the seam allowance of the front facing by a further 5mm.  The rever needs to be trimmed too, but trim the front by a further 5mm, and not the facing.  Press the seams open and then  flat.  Ensure you roll the fabric when steaming so there is no seamline showing.

layered seams
Seam layering on front and facing front

Now for the shoulder seams.  Pin the canvas away from the shoulder line and pin the fronts to the back.  Stitch and press open over a sleeve roll.  Remove the pins from the canvas and let it extend past the seamline onto the back.  Turn the right way round and put your hand under the shoulder seam.  Pin along the seamline, going through all the jacket layers as well as the canvas.  Turn to the inside and pin the back seam allowance to the canvas.  remove the pins from the outside and then stitch the canvas to the seam allowance, close to the shoulder seam line.

Canvas pinned back, shoulder seam sewn and pressed open
Canvas extended over back seam allowance and pinned from right side
Canvas stitched to seam allowance, close to original seamline

So that’s the body of the jacket, ready for the collar and then the sleeves.  Happy sewing until next time!

Just a quick one

Soo stoked!!  The cushions I finished last week and delivered to the store on Tuesday made it into the window display yesterday afternoon!  *Happy dance*!

Window display at The Arter, Stratford upon Avon

The photos were taken with a mobile (cell) phone, so not fabulous quality, but hey, it’s all good for me!

Window display, The Arter, Stratford upon Avon

Two for One

This weekend has been pretty productive for me, I got the cushions finished and made good progress with the jacket pattern for the grey wool..  I have kept it pretty straight forward.  I have a limited amount of fabric, so I cannot go too mad on seam detailing etc.  This is the initial sketch, nothing over the top.

Jacket Sketch

Everything has gone together fairly well, I have kept to the panel seams in front and back, although I have curved the back panel seam a little, this takes it closer to the centre back seam, I am hoping it will be a visual slimming line..  But overall it didn’t have much oomphf.  I decide to something with the sleeves …

Darted Sleeve Head
Pattern for Sleeve Head - see all the alterations??

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I altered the sleeve head to accommodate 3 short darts.  It took a while, and was tricky with all the layers of paper I already had going on!  This has the effect of adding about 3m to the width of the shoulders, which is great if you have no waist little waist definition.  Broadening the shoulders makes the waist appear narrower than it really is – bonus!!  I also cut the sleeves 10cm short, and kept an angled hem line.  I added 2.5cm flare to the back seam of both the upper and lower sleeve.

Jacket pattern pieces, pinned on calico to toile.

So it looks pretty good, but – the collar and rever combination appear a little small with the new sleeve-head.  I think the rever could do with being 2cm wider, and the collar needs to be adjusted so the proportions are correct.  But if I still had a “normal” sleeve-head they would be fine.

The Back
Front, see those sleeves! Fitting alterations are pinned.

This is where the “2 for 1” comes in.  I will trace off another sleeve from the sleeve block, and keep the head normal.  This will work just fine in the jacket as it is.  Then I will trace off the front panel and adjust the rever and draft a new collar.  This front & collar will be used with the big sleeve.   The rest of the jacket can stay exactly the same!  So I have two patterns – yay!!

Jacket front, seams altered.

Sorry about the fuzzy pics, I was using the self timer, and I cannot work out where to stand to be in focus!!

So what do you think of the collar & rever vs sleeve proportions??

Coats & Jackets

After finishing the cushions the other day I am really inspired to get going and finish the jacket and coat I started the patterns for last month.  However – Daughter no 2 and Husband and I went into Birmingham on Friday….  A quick visit to the Fancy Silk Store and a much longer visit to the Bullring has resulted in more fabric and more ideas!

Caramel wool

I got a lovely piece of caramel coloured wool (only £12.99/m!) to make some carrot leg trousers for me – I do need to make sure the style works on me first though!  I also got a caramel and blue plaid – daughter no 2 fancies a jacket…

Plaid for jacket

But – a pop into the French Connection store put something else in the front of the queue…  She found this coat, and can I please make one of these???

Coat from French Connection

It’s double breasted, collarless and has an interesting skirt.  The back doesn’t connect to the front at the side, but further forward.  This accommodates in-seam pockets pretty well. It also has bound buttonholes, but I didn’t think the opening on the facing side was done very well – it wasn’t very “City & Guilds”!!  😀

French Connection coat

Of course, I don’t have fabric for it now either, so I may have to force myself to go shopping – again!  😀

We also slipped into the Waterstones in the Pallisades.  The best part of the shop is right at the very top – 4th floor- in the Book Garden.  Daughter no 2 and I collected up a pile of craft, fabric and cookbooks and snuggled into the leather seats.  About an hour later we had whittled the pile down to three that had to come home with us.  All told it was a productive day!

It’s not just clothes geting made around here!

Nope, anything goes!  I have just finished some cushions that I started back in June! *blushing*  Excuses – none really, I just lost focus and made other things instead!  I thought I’d pop them on here so you can see the other stuff that gets made in this house.  I made these for a shop in Stratford upon Avon.

The Arter - Stratford upon Avon

The Arter is a gallery stocking arts and crafts from 26 artists in the locality.  They have some fabulous stuff, and the goods range from handmade jewellery to glass, pottery, felted creations and ceramics.  If you are ever visiting Stratford on Avon, make this little National Trust shop a place to visit!  I don’t think there is another quite like it!  In this tiny picture, it is the shop with the little red bits in the window!  Soon there will be workshops and other fun activities run there, I am looking forward to them!  Visit their Facebook page for more information.
So, the cushions.  I wanted to make some kiddie ones, and I just love the way children use colour.  A child’s colouring in book is full of the most amazing colours, so this was my main draw.  I also love the way they see things “flat”, so the designs are not 3D at all, but flat, like children draw.  I chose four African animals, to reflect my roots, and I had just come back from a 3 week holiday in South Africa, so homesickness was still coursing through my veins!  I figured I had better have some English animals too, especially as they were to be sold in a National Trust shop!

African Animal Cushions

The animals are all applique, the black outlines are free machine embroidery, I wanted it loose, so I didn’t use a satin stitch, which is what you usually use for applique.  I wanted the lines to be within the shapes I had cut, so it looks like the colours have over-run.  The giraffe cushion has a patchwork design of triangles on the bottom, not my most successful technique, but it looks good.  The swirls are what you want them to be – suns, stars, clouds…  And the grass is pink.  Why not??

English Animal Cushions

Ok, only three..  I couldn’t decide on the fourth, so instead of it holding up the works I figured I had better get on with the others.  My favourite is the fox, he is just so cute!  The same techniques were used on these cushions.  I have restricted the pallette, otherwise it could have gone overboard very quickly.  These colours are bright and cute, without being brash.  The back is a sturdy dark blue denim with an envelope closure, topstitching in a loverly orange.  The size is 30x30cm, a really nice size for a child’s bed.

I have grand plans for these designs, I have roped daughter no 1 in – I want her to paint these for me so I can do framed prints etc.  So what do you think??

Friday – busy day!

Wow, I can honestly say I am gobsmacked!  This little blog of mine has been ticking along with a handful of visitors, when suddenly the tracking spiked!!  Thank you so much to BurdaStyle for making me featured member of the week!  Another big thank you to those who have added my blog to their subscriptions lists, and those who left me comments.

New Blocks

So back to work!  I have re-drafted some of my personal blocks.  After making the jacket this last month and having way too many adjustments to make, I gave in.  So yesterday I drew a new Jacket Block, Coat Block, Close Fitting and Easy Fitting Bodice Block.  They will all be used this season!  I still need to toile and fit them, and draft their respective sleeves, but in the mean time I thought I’d share what I intend to do with them!

I have a lovely purple georgette that has been begging for something pretty and floaty.  I am going to use the Easy Fitting Bodice Block to make a loose-fitting top with a dropped shoulder and ruffles along the neckline.  Isn’t that top cute?  And purple will make a change to my usual grey, black or blue!  The georgette is not silk, unfortunately, but I loved the colour when I saw it on Ditto Fabric‘s website, so I had to have it!

Purple Georgette & Ruffle Top

Next, the Close Fitting Bodice Block will be converted into a One-Piece Dress Block and then I will adapt the bodice and sleeve to form a Kimono Block.  I have FINALLY decided what that green and turquoise silk is going to be!

Silk Graphic Kimono Dress

The Coat Block is going to be a hip length Pea Coat in the most beautiful pale, ice-blue cashmere that I bought at Fred Winter back in January on their winter sale!  I already knew I wanted something different, so I also got some Liberty silk for the lining and some Dupion to make piped details!

Cashmere and silk for Pea Coat

And the Tailored Jacket Block??  Something simple.  A cropped jacket with 3/4 length sleeves, possibly cut on the bias to take advantage of the burgundy/maroon flecks in the grey wool I got last week at Fred Winter.  I was really good, only getting 1.7m instead of going for the remains of what was on the roll, 2.5m!  I am sure I would have used it somewhere, but if I had got 2.5m I just know I would still be procrastinating this time next year!  I am going to use the last three buttons from my antique shop purchase, the others are on the Spotty Jacket.

Grey wool and Jacket sketch

So that’s that!!  Busy me!  Have a fabulous sunny weekend (if you are in the UK) I will be making winter goodies!  😀

Spot That Jacket

Ok, apologies need to be made….  I have neglected my blog.  It’s not that I wasn’t doing anything else, I just didn’t have much to write about until I had finished this project.  I know I had posted that fabulous green and turquoise silk, and I will still make it up.  Although it may not be along the lines of the dress posted!  While indecision plauged me though, I had something lined up!

Black and ecru grossgrain

I had bought this spotty cotton and silk grossgrain from my favourite fabric shop, aaaages ago.  I won’t even try to calculate how long I have had it!  Anyway, I had seen a jacket in a shop, about 2 years ago (!) that I liked the neckline of, and I quickly sketched it.  This was the basis of the jacket I have just made.  Sorry this is a bit blurred!

Jacket with Peter Pan Collar - Sketch

I wanted something that would fit snugly in the back, and also provide some sort of indication of shape at the waist (a bit of a cheat, as there really is none!).  I made the basic tailored jacket block and had husband draw on the panel lines, with me checking in the mirror!  Then I cut the block up and transferred the lines onto the paper pattern.  I closed the darts and voila!  The front is plain, just two panels with welt pockets.  There wasn’t much point in doing anything fancy as it would detract from the collar.

Jacket toile - back
Jacket toile - front

The toile was cool, the shape worked really well and I love the curves on the back.  Although, thinking about it, you can’t really see the section seams that well amongst all the spots!  Oh well.  Another thing to think of is the collar.  When I toiled the jacket I only did one layer, and it seemed ok, but…..  In the finished garment the narrow ends near the centre front seem flat.  I am going to have to tighten up the neck edge of the collar pattern to encourage a bit of a rise there.  But it is no train smash, perfectly wearable!  lol.

Jacket Panel Pieces

So, the structure – I used fusible interfacing from Gill Arnold.  I used the weft insertion on the “t-zone”, the hem edges and the upper cuff and collar.  The facing, under collar and cuff were interfaced with the fine sheer polyester.  This is to reduce bulk while still ensuring support.  I made a pattern for a chest piece and cut the canvas on the bias.  I didn’t use any canvas in the collar, perhaps once I fix the pattern and make another I may use a bit on the lower edges, just to make sure the shape is held properly.  Cotton tape was fused down the front opening edges to make ensure a sharp fold.  The shoulder pads are a felted tailor’s set, also from Gill.

And this is the finished product.  Daughter no 1 thinks it’s really cool to take photos at an angle, so no need to adjust your sitting position while viewing the pics!

Spot that Jacket!
Front Detail
Jacket - Back

I seem to have spots on the brain, as I am making a blouse now, a black and white spotty silk chiffon!

Graphic dress

I have found something to use that wonderful silk in, thanks to Kim and Immi for their suggestions.  Mooching on Pinterest today, my eye was caught by this pretty blue number…  I had thought to change the collar though.  I really like the “Just like a stole” detail from Pattern Magic 2, so I thought I’d give that a go, and change the sleeves a little.  As summer is pretty much over here in the UK, I will want something to take me into the autumn, so I think a 3/4 sleeve will do.

Just like a Stole - Pattern Magic 2

I can’t make up my mind whether to have a plain but fitted sleeve or something with a bit of oomphf, like a sleeve with a cowl drape at the head??  I always liked this dress from Burda Style‘s December 2010 magazine.  It’s style no 102 for those who want to dig it out..

Dress with drape sleeve - BurdaStyle magazine 12/2010

I guess I had better get cracking with the paper and scissors then..  ;D

Help Wanted

Twill weave silk

I’m a little stuck.  I have 1.9m of this gorgeous lime and turquoise fabric, and I just cannot decide what to make with it.  It was the end of the roll in the shop, so I couldn’t leave it there, it was just too beautiful.

So I need help.  I had thought of a cowl neck dress – or a kimono sleeve top – or an empire line – or a skirt of some sort…   I don’t want to cut it on the bias though.   I just don’t want it to join the rest of the silks in the cupboard, waiting for me to decide what to make with them.  You know the feeling – you buy something because it is beautiful, and then cannot bring yourself to cut it up and make something just in case it isn’t quite right, and then it’s all been for nothing.

So I await your comments….  🙂

Lime and turquoise silk

Sweet Disposition

Liberty Knot Dress

Here we go, the Knot Dress has a new image!  Imagine the difference there would be if this were made in a plain linen…  Perhaps that’s the next job.  So, here it is – made up in the Liberty Tana Lawn I bought yesterday at Fred Winter in Stratford.  What do we think??

Happy Customer

I used French seams throughout, there is an invisible zip in the centre back seam and I bound the neck and armhole edges with self-bias.   I turned in 5mm on the hem before turning up 3cm, and machine stitched.  It was actually easier making this version than the toile, simply because the fabric was so much less bulky. I like the little tucks in the back. There are two 5cm long tucks to catch in the bulk of the fabric and stop it from being too tent-like.  I am glad I removed the extra fullness in the centre front, it definitely wasn’t needed.

Bow and Knot Detail

I encourage you to give it a go if you are so inclined, the pattern wasn’t hard to draft.  There are lots of little things to do on it, so just keep focus otherwise you will lose your place!  Overall, I am really pleased, as is daughter no 2!

Knot Dress