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!

Welcome 2012

Well, it has been a while!  Alopogies for being AWOL.  I must be the most frustrated sewist around at the moment!  I haven’t been able to get near my own work for a long time now.

There is a word of caution to all those who start to sew, and then show off their accomplishments.  Other people want you to “do something” for them.  Hemming.  Repairs.  CURTAINS!!  AAARRRGGGHHH

However, I am chronically incapable of using the “no” word, so I guess the pain has been self inflicted.  My New Year’s Resolution??  To be more disciplined, and to say “NO”!

A very Happy New Year to all, may you have many opportunities to succeed beyond your expectations!

Panel Skirt patterns

From the search engine referrals, there seem to be a lot of requests for panelled skirt patterns.  I am guessing this is because of the skater skirt tutorial!  Please leave me a comment if you want a tutorial on how to do these, and how many panels you are after.  If there are other pattern cutting tutorials you want, please let me know, and I will do my best to get them online for you.

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??