(This is my second catch up post)...
Forget little black dresses, I just don't wear them. Give me a cardigan jacket to throw on over whatever else I am wearing, and I am happy. Trouble is, I have never owned one, because they are too expensive for me and also don't fit. So it was about time I turned to needle, thread, fabric and machine and make one to fit me.
I was also making this garment for the Make a Garment a Month challenge. This month, the challenge was to find the oldest piece of fabric in your stash and make something from that.
I happened to have a very small piece of wool and mohair mercerized worsted fabric in the stash. only it was a piece kept by a retired tailor, and it had lots of flaws in it. Presumably he though he might one day find a use for it, just like we blogging sewers try and rationalize over pieces of really quite questionable pieces of fabric in the stash. Total, 1.25 of 150 wide, with flaws to avoid.
I have had the piece in my stash for over 20 years, and as the tailor closed his business in the 70's, it probably dates back until at least then.
Well, it turned out that this fabric was as tough as old boots. I washed it in hot water and it did not shrink. I washed it again in hot water to make sure, and it did not shrink. It practically drip dryed.
Lining was a piece of polyester pongee from Spotlight. This is heavier than normal lining, which I thought the jacket needed, as the pattern does not call for interlining, and the wool was also quite firm. I thought a heavier lining would also help to hide the seams better.
The pattern I used was McCalls 6041, OOP for some years, but a classic Chanel type jacket shape that can be found in many pattern ranges:
It has been decades since I have made a jacket (with the exception of 2 knit jackets last year, but I mean a proper tailored jacket) - so I guess this Crafty approach felt a little less threatening. And it was a classic boxy cardigan-ey Chanel-ly looking cut which is what I wanted.
My main fitting problem with jackets and fitted shirts and dresses is my erect and narrow back. You don't find many people with this problem, and it took ages for me to work out what to do. You actually fold out an amount of fabric at about the shoulder blade level, and then also through the sleeve at the same level , tapering to the middle of the sleeve. Perfection! No pooling in the middle of my back :). I think I have always been a little frightened of doing this alteration. Not now!!
Size - I cut size 12, B cup and narrowed the shoulders. I added an extra 1/4 inch at the CF in case I needed it. I also added just a smidge at the bust area - I am a B, but I have a bigger front than back, so I often just add a teeny bit in this area with a princess line.
I found the sleeves quite wide, so narrowed them to about size 8 from about the middle of the bicep area. I removed 2 inches of length. I added about 2 1/2 inches length, and made the pockets larger and deeper. I moved them down about 1 1/2 inches so that they suited the adjusted length of the jacket.
I also cut a facing for the back - the pattern just runs the lining up to the neck. I wanted more stability in this jacket, so an interfaced facing seemed a good idea.
The pattern called for 1.25 metres of fabric, and I just managed, with lots of manipulation, to miss all the flaws - the advantages of many pattern pieces. And of course I had lengthened the bodice pieces. Mind you, I did get a headache laying this out, avoiding the flaws, - it took me ages. Determination that this piece of flawed fabric, hoarded for so long, was not going into the wadder bin.
Making the jacket was quite straightforward, except for the behaviour of the worsted wool. The seams would not press flat. Steam and clapping ferociously did not work. I thought about calling it quits, but determination came to pay a visit again. I decided to catch stitch the seam allowance to the jacket. A bit risky, but barely visible. I thought about top stitching, but I wanted a classic look, not a sporty looks.
You can see slight ridges, but when I wear it, they are barely noticeable - the jacket just looks good.
I added shoulder pads and wrapped the shoulder sleeve in a bit of wadding - not quite a sleeve head, but just to add some definition to the shoulder line. The pattern did not use shoulder pads, but the jacket just looked sad. Luckily I had some that were really almost flat, and they just made the shoulder line nice and smooth and a little more structured. They had been cut out of something I purchased years ago - I knew they would come in useful one day!
The lining was machined (and pongee is not fun to work with, it has no give whatsoever and did not co-operate at all, and it didn't want to press nicely either)...and then attached at the underarm by machine stitch. I decided to hand stitch the hems of the sleeves and body, because that is easier to undo if I have to get into the jacket again. Or if I want to replace the lining one day - that will be the weak point in this jacket.
And I closed the front with large hooks and eyes.
I was going to add a trim to this jacket, but it looked cheaper with a trim than without it. And also, a trim just made me look old an matronly.
Then I decided to top stitch by hand. This didn't work that well, so I undid it and top-stitched the edges by machine. I had to, to get them to lie flat!.
Pockets - the top of these had interfacing applied. I lined them with voile, because I hate the feel of lining on my hand.
Hook and eye closure - this is inside the jacket so nothing is visible from the outside - as you can see in the picture above :)
Bottom of jacket where the lining is folded for the hem pleat - I added a little guipure daisy to the corner because it looks a little more finished than the hand stitches - which while neat, sort of annoyed me at the corner.
And I also added one at the junction of the CB of the facing and the lining. This was because I cut the facing out of the last two tiny pieces of wool, and had to add a seam down the back. The daisy sort of distracts the eye from the join:
Now, pictures of the jacket actually on me:
It's a pity this is a black jacket because black just does not photograph well, does it? But I think you can see the outline at least - and certainly the side view shows the back of the jacket hanging perfectly. And the front is not gaping open at the tummy - my slight bust adjustment certainly helped with that.
( Certainly incongruous wearing sandals with a wool jacket, but it was about 27 degrees...)
I have to admit I was well out of practice with jacket making, but I seemed to have pulled it off. This is going to be my tough as old boots throw in the boot of the car, the overhead plane locker etc sort of jacket - wash and wear, and made out of fabric that cost little.
Costing - fabric, nil, lining $12.00, Pattern, $20-00, interfacing, $2.00, wadding, $1.00, Needle and thread allowance, $7.50, Daisies and hooks and eyes, $1.50. About $45.00.
That's it for now, more catch up posts soon.