Work in Progress Wednesday 1/23

And sew it begins! My first acutal project of the year was a pair of jeans for myself, but I haven’t got any photos of those to show you yet, so we’ll start the blogging year with something that’s on the cutting table. I really should have made this jacket last year, but things got busy, and there was’t a massive rush anyway. I will be making a 70s jacket for Daughter No 2 in the next week or so. It’s moved to the top of my pile and I have told myself to finish it before I can make anything more for myself. The pattern is Simplicity 5918, dated 1973, which has been in my vintage pattern collection for some time. I’ve always liked this little jacket on this pattern, so when Daughter No 2 said she was keen on a 70’s jacket, this was the first one I thought of.

Simplicity 5918 jacket toile

I toiled the jacket in some old curtain lining without any alterations to see exactly where and what I’d need to do, rather than what I thought I’d have to do. We had a fitting back in October (see how long ago I should have been sewing this?) and made some notes. These are the adjustments that are needed to make this little jacket into what she wants. It’s a lot more loose and boxy in real life!

  • First up, take it in at the side seams and darts, a total of 1cm at the waist on each one. It’s just too loose fitting for her.
  • Second, what’s with the tiny pockets?? They’re going to be made a tad more useful.
  • Third, although a 70s looking collar and rever are relatively cool, they’re just a bit too wide. So the rever and collar are being narrowed. Thankfully that’s just a style line.
  • Fourth, I need a forward shoulder adjustment of around 1-1.5cm.
  • The sleeves are also being lengthened by 5cm. I’m glad the body didn’t need to be lengthened too, it finishes at just the right point.
Alterations on the toile

I’m using a gorgeous chocolate brown needlecord from the stash and a champagne coloured lining, leftover from a previous project. The hope is to get it finished pretty quickly so that she can still have use of it in the cooler weather – especially as it should have been done months ago! I’m not planning to make it too structured, the pattern is for an unlined jacket, so just adding lining will change the way it sits. I’ll try not to over tailor it, just supporting interfacing where it needs it. I am still in two minds about shoulder pads though, they really do make the difference in how a jacket looks. Perhaps I’ll just get small ones – we’ll have to see!!

So – how are your sewing plans? Or is it just way too early into the New Year to ask that question?

Work in Progress Wednesday 2/2022

Well, what do you know!  A progress report on a Wednesday – and only the second of the year…  Oh dear!  Nevermind, progress is progress.  Today’s project is one that I cut out about a month ago, thinking that at least with it already cut, I might get on with it quickly….  Yeah.  It’s another Olya Shirt from Paper Theory, this time in black and white squiggle print cotton voile bought from Croft Mill in August.

Continuous bias strip for the sleeve placket

I’ve cut the 14 again, like I did for the first three.  I went down a size for the linen version but I actually prefer the bigger one, it feels better in the length especially in the arms.  The fabric is just lovely, so soft and light!  It was possibly something I should have got on with in August, it’s more of a summer weight than an Autumn/Winter weight!!

Back pleat

I’m changing the sleeve placket detail, just keeping it simple this time with a basic bias strip instead of a tower placket.  I’ve added some reinforcing stitching the the back pleat, something different.  Today I’ve got the majority of the work done, it look like a shirt!  Tomorrow is buttonstand, collar and cuffs, the hem, and buttonholes and buttons.  I hope I have suitable buttons in the stash.

It looks like a shirt!

I do love this pattern, and I have another black and white cotton print waiting to be made into another Olya!I don’t think you have have too many black and white shirts, can you?  Just like classic plain white ones, they’re always useful!

Work in Progress on a Thursday

Hello to anyone who might be lurking around, waiting for a blog post from me. It’s been ages…  I had two in the pipeline over the summer but didn’t have photos, so they’re still in my drafts!  This post should have gone up yesterday and been a Work in Progress Wednesday post but, as I’ve become less used to blogging and what needs to be done, I forgot to take adequate photos of the process….  Anyhow, I have something, which is always better than nothing!!

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Waistcoat patterns

The waistcoat I’m making is a Burda pattern from the 90s, one I made for myself when I was in my 20s – Burda 2889 for those who might be interested in tracking it down.  Over the summer, daughter no 1 requested a waistcoat to wear as a top, rather than over a tee or shirt.  I made her a black cotton twill version and an off white one in linen.  I don’t have photos of them on her, but have been assured that they fit fine and have been worn.

Roll on to Autumn and daughter no 2 would like waistcoats to wear over shirts – preferably  shirts with some sort of interesting (big) sleeve.  And yes, I’ll be making those too…  So I toiled the size 10 in the same pattern and she likes it.  I like it because I didn’t need to make any adjustments!  I had some leftover pieces of wool in the stash from other projects, so we decided to use these instead of buying more fabric.  Thankfully the linings have also come from the stash, so that’s made these waistcoats very economical!

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Facings and linings, front (left) and back (right.

Version one is using a windowpane wool I used for my Assembly Line V-Neck Dress.  The left over pieces were akward shapes and I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to patternmatch anywhere, which almost prompted me to cut some panels on the bias, just to be obviously different!  But there wasn’t space for that either.  In the end, the front and back pieces match, but I couldn’t get the side seams on the right lines.  It’s disappointing, but I hope it won’t be too obvious.

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All sewn together, seam allowances layered and clipped, ready for turning.

The pattern as it comes doesn’t have facings and seperate linng pieces, you cut double fronts and the rest all in lining, but the lining is a very different shade and I didn’t want any of that to roll out and stick up over the edges.  So I traced the pieces and made facings and linings, only just having enough of the wool to cut them all out. It sewed up well and I’m pleased with it, even the faux welt pockets.  I’ll be leaving these off the next version because the wool I’ll be using is thicker and it’ll just be bulky.

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Faux welt pockets, cut on the bias

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Little brown buttons with a fleck of white from the stash will do nicely.

I’ve hand sewn the remaining lining side seam and actually managed to find buttons in the stash (that’s a miracle in itself!).  I had hoped to use some bronze or brass metal buttons but, as luck would have it, I didn’t have any of a suitable size and number.  I found something in the brown buttons section in the stash that will do the job just fine.  I want to get it all done today so I can start on the next one, and then a pair of Lander Pants for the same daughter is on the list.  I also have a Paper Theory Olya shirt for myself cut and ready to go – but first, waistcoats and Landers!  And I will nag and nag and nag for photos on a person so I can show you want the waistcoats look like on a human!

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My new sewing room helper. The great distraction in my life since the beginning of September!

In the mean time, I have to keep my sewing stuff under supervision these days, since we acquired a British Shorthair kitten at the beginning of Septermber.  She is at once cute, cuddly and a little terrorist!

Work in Progress Wednesday 5/21

I haven’t intended to have so few Work in Progress posts this year, it’s not as if I haven’t been sewing – just not thinking of taking photos while I work and getting round to posting anything!  Today I’ve made a start on a new jacket.  I’d realised that I had no black jacket for the winter – time to put that right.  As I said in a previous post, the Burda patterns haven’t exactly been inspiring lately, but there were two in the August magazine that caught my eye.  I’ve already made the trousers, this is the other pattern.

Jacket 111 Burda August 2021

Jacket 111 is slightly boxy, hip length, double breasted with collar and interesting sleeves.  It was the sleeves that made me stop and look again, they’re cut in three, with horizintal seams.  Volume has been added in each piece, creating a cocoon shape which is emphasised in the magazine’s version with piping.  Initially I wanted to use up the remains of the cotton jaquard from my Mother’s Day coat, and add plain navy.  But it wasn’t to be, there just wasn’t enough of the jaquard.  But I had something else…

I traced the 44 and toiled in some old curtain fabric, waiting to see what I’d need in the way of an FBA.  I didn’t need any width, there’s plenty of ease in this jacket!  But I needed the shoulders to be narrower, they hung over too far, even for a loose, casual fitting jacket.  I altered the line of the armhole to take into account 1cm of shorter shoulder seam, and it’s worked.  For the bust, I decided on moving the bust dart down 2cm and then adding depth in the front.  I added 2cm of depth, and took in the excess at the side seam in the dart.

A second toile of the front (I took the seam ripper to the first front pieces and took them off) revealed the adjustments worked.  I left the length of the jacket and sleeves alone, they’re all fine.  I had thought to make welt pockets in the front, instead of the inseam pockets the pattern has, but got lazy and just left the existing pockets!

Interfacing and support

I chose not to add all the structure I’d usually use to this jacket.  I have the standard interfacing, weft insertion fusible on the t-front, back yoke and supporting the underarms, sleeve head, collars and a lighter weight fusible on the facings.  I’ve also added 5cm deep bias cut interfacing to the hem area to support the fold.  I’ve also kept the cotton fusible tape along the front edge to stop it stretching out of shape and just make that area all nice and crisp.  What I’ve left out is the canvas chest piece that always goes into one of my jackets.  But I have decided shoulder pads are a must.  The pattern doesn’t call for shoulder pads, but it just didn’t look right like that, I much prefer it with the pads in.

Sleeve details, no piping this time, just topstiched seams

I thought I’d share my method of sewing inseam pockets in this post.  This method gives you a really nice neat finish, I never use the Burda method!  Well, not any more, anyway!  So here goes.  First thing  to do is to consider whether or not the fabrics you’re using need support.  If you’re like me, your pockets are going to be well used!  Another thing to look at is the weight of your fabric – mine is bulky so I’ve chosen to cut the pockets from the lining fabric but I don’t want to see lining fabric when I open the pocket.  So I’ve cut a 5cm wide pocket facing that will be attached to the back pocket piece.

pocket bag with facing

Start with placing the front pocket pieces right sides together with the front pieces and sew along the seam line between the markings.  Start and stop exactly on the markings.  Then snip, at a slight angle from the edge of the fabric to the markings/end of stitching.  Go slow here, you can always snip a little more, but once you’ve gone too far you’ll have to start again.  Then press the pocket bag seam with the seams under the pocket bag and understitch from mark to mark again.  Turn that under and press well.

Stitch pocket to front between markings

Snip to end of stitching

Understitch pocket bag

Press packet bag to the inside and topstitch if you want to

If you’re facing the pocket, sew it onto the pocket bag now.  Then place the pocket bag ontop of the front pocket bag and sew around the bag, neatening the edges afterwards.  I like to double stitch pockets in jackets, if I get a hole, I have another line of defense!  And overlocking, or zigzag stitching helps the edges not to fray while bouncing around between your jacket fabric and the lining.

I stitch a double row around the pocket bag and overlock the edges

Finished pocket, topstitched

And it’s big enough to stash all sorts of things in!

Jazzy lining and a complete pocket

This method of sewing your inseam pockets results in a nice neat finish, the Burda instructions will give you a pocket, but it won’t be as nice as these!

So, pockets, shoulder seams, collar, side seams, sleeves – shell done.  Tomorrow I’ll sew up the lining and attach it to the facings, turn up the hems and tidy the last tailor’s tacks.  But I need to decide on snaps, it’ll all depend on whether the local shop has black snaps in a suitable size.  If they only have silver ones, I’ll probably cover them with black lining fabric.  I don’t want shiny silver snaps!  Hopefully they have something I can use, otherwise I’ll have to order something online and the completion will be delayed.  Not that I don’t have anything else to be getting on with in the mean time!

I’m curious about your chosen inseam pocket method, do you have one method you always use?  Or do you follow the instructions that come with the particular pattern you’re using?

Work in Progress Wednesday

 

Coat update!  Last time you saw it, it was all in pieces.  I’d done the interfacing and needed to tailortack and then get cracking!  So that was Thursday morning’s position.  By the end of the day I had assembled the hood, the back, the sleeves and the two fronts with the welt buttonholes.  I’d left the pockets to the last, because I knew it would be fiddly because of the bulk of the fabric.  Actually, they were fine, and the rest went together really well.

 

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Hood, collar pieces and facings sewn, no side seams!

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Welt pockets. On the left you can see the bits of interfacing on the fronts, and the cut down dart to reduce bulk.

On the weekend I attached the zipper to the centre front and made up the collar, attached the hood and facings.  I attached the zipper before I sewed the shoulder and side seams, figuring that it would be far easier to do with less fabric and fewer pattern pieces flapping about.  I also attached the collar and hood pieces before sewing the side seams.  If fact, I didn’t sew the side seams until I’d finished all the faffy, bulky work on the front.  It was tricky enough to do flat, I can only imagine how frustrating it would have been had the sides been attached.

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The front

Things got really tricky with the front tab and collar, there were so many layers of wool that it was tricky to get it all in under the foot of the machine.  This is one of the times when I am very happy to have a sewing machine that weighs so much!  I really don’t think I’d have been able to manage with a modern, lightweight machine.  Then adding the front fastening band made more bulk and made things worse.

I am unhappy with the position of that piece, I couldn’t get it higher as the machine pushed it down every time I forced it under the foot, even when I basted it in place.  It also seems to be too far from the centre front, and I think that’s because of the width of the zipper.  I really should have attached the band closer to the front.  Monday wasn’t a great sewing day, I had a re-occurence of my nasty headaches and attempted to work through it.  It wasn’t one of my best ideas, and I had no relief the next day either.  So now I have a pretty much finished coat, but I’m unhappy with that band and know it will be a mission to move it.  So I’m inclined to leave it.  But I know it’s not right.  Grrr

collage sleeve
Left, sleeve head tipped over; top right, pinning the sleeve in the seamline; bottom right, sewing the sleeve into the armhole, sleeve side up.

In contrast, the sleeves went in so easily!  If you’re making a jacket or coat, run a line of long gathering stitches 2cm from the edge of the fabric, just one line, and pull that up slightly, to give you the shape of the sleeve head.  Then pin it into the armhole with the armhole folded back, and the sleeve over it.  Next, pin on the stitching line, parallel to the stitching line, easing the fullness into the sleeve head.  It’s fiddly and the pins bite, but it gives a great finish.  Then you sew the seam from the inside, the sleeve side up, picking out the pins as you get to them and using both hands and almost all your fingers to smooth out the fulness and avoid puckering.  Once you’re happy with it and the hang is good, sew in the sleeve padding.  This can be purpose made wadding or you could cut bias strips of your fabric and fold in half longways.  Stitch just before the original sleeve seam and fold it over and into the sleeve head.  Some jackets need this step, some don’t, it all depends on the look you’re after.

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Looking up at the shoulder pad on the left, into the armhole with the interfacing and padding showing.

The lining is in, and the hem handstitched in place.   The lining is from The Lining Company.  It’s an acetate/viscose twill, and it’s shot, so you get a lovely shade of colour, depending on the direction in which you view it, and which side you use!  I chose  the Light Blue Fawn colour, which looks fabulous with the colour of the wool.  I’m using the blue-er side but have decided to use the other side which has more of a gold tone to cover the snaps for the front.  I was hoping to find a brass/bronze colour snap in the time I had, but I couldn’t.  So simple silver snaps are now covered with the lining.

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Lining details

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I had originally intended to finish the coat to wear to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London tomorrow, but the weather is not showing me I’ll be needing it, and I haven’t got the fastening band buttonholes done yet either.  I guess that although my headaches have finally passed, I’m not in quite the right place to finish today.  I’ll get it done over the weekend, and hopefully some proper photos will follow soon!  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to my first visit to a big London sewing show!

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From the back

I’ll show you what I buy over the weekend, all the fabric I bought at the NEC earlier this year has now been made up, so I’m kinda justified in getting a bit more! 😉  And I would love to find the perfect fabric to make up another dress, The Assembly Line’s V-Neck Dress.

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I realise that all of the posts in the last few years have been completed projects. I used to photograph as I sewed, I even posted as I worked, with the finished project at the end, nicely modelled on the daughter for whom it was made. So I thought, I might start that again! I’ve been working on a jacket for daughter no 1 using a 1m length of Linton Tweed. I like mixing things up a little, so I suggested we make a biker style jacket with the fabric, rather than something more predictable. That got the thumbs up!

I’m using the same Burda pattern as I did last year when I worked on the Refashioners project. This time, however, I’m not changing the pattern, because I don’t have to! 😀 So how far have I got? Well, I’m almost done… I cut and interfaced yesterday, block fusing so if there was any shrinkage it wouldn’t affect the pieces too much.

Pockets!

Today I did most of the construction, I thought I wouldn’t get as far as I did because I had ordered the zips online from Jaycotts and wasn’t sure when they’d arrive. Luckily, they came today! I used a black piece of wool for contrast and bulk reduction in certain areas, the welt for the pocket, facings, inner cuffs, waistband pieces & inner collar.

Setting the sleeve

I think it’s worked rather well! I needed the bulk reduction, this tweed is chunky! I’m actually using the wrong side here, we decided it was less busy, and more likely to be worn this way around.

This is what it looks like tonight, with just the lining, waistband, cuffs & snaps to go. Now my eyes are tired and it’s time for bed!

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