I decided to start my September sewing by making a garment that is a little out of my comfort zone. Butterick 6181 is not the sort of jacket I would normally make, but I thought a fashion garment might lift my rather plain and simple style.
I found a remnant of polyester shantung for $3.00 at Spotlight, and thought this might make an interesting version of the pattern. I had some buttons in my stash that would work. I thought the soft grey would be flattering, and would go with all my clothes.
I only had a small amount, but as summer is coming, I though I could modify the jacket to a short sleeve version. The muslin looked nice with the short sleeves, and I worked out I needed to shorten the bodice by 1.5 inches. I was a little unsure about the look of the collar, but decided that my objection was more to do with it being something different that I was not used to, more than actual dislike.
Then I started to sew the jacket. As this was going to be a jacket, a nice finish inside was a must for me. Jackets get taken off, and I like to see nice seams.
Seams were simple for sides and the raglan sleeves. As the fabric frayed a lot, I used french seams for the side seams. The seams in the sleeves were finished with a bias binding.
Then I made the collar up. I decided to line the collar with a poly/cotton fabric. The shantung was quite stiff and thick, and I thought two layers would be too thick. I also wanted something softer against my neck. And the poly cotton toned with the grey bias tape I was using.
The collar was extremely curved. The pattern told you to trim the collar seam allowances, but did not mention that you also would need to notch the seam allowance so it would sit properly. Of course, I did that, and came out with a nice curved collar. I also edge-stitched the collar, although there were no instructions for edge or under-stitching to hold the seam in place.
Then I attached the collar - the longer curved edge went to the neck of the garment, so I clipped the neck edge at frequent intervals so that the curve would fit. Then I read what to do next. Trim the collar seam allowances and finish:
And that is it - the finished edge. Not a pretty sight. I had a vague feeling that there was something not quite right, I sensed that this was more the sort of finish for a knit fabric. The seam was also supposed to be pressed down, but it really wanted to sit up. I'll show you in a minute.
So I bound the neck edge, because I wanted the inside to look good, and lets face it, the finish shown above does not look good.
Now, isn't that much nicer. But you can see how the seam wants to sit up and roll in.
Now, the pattern's solution to this, as one of the last steps, is to top stitch the seam down. Again I got the vague feeling the construction method was more suited to a knit.
The next day I checked the 2 reviews on Pattern Review. One had no problem making the jacket, but the second also had the sense that the construction methods for this jacket were "messy".
Then I checked McCall's blog - this pattern is being used in a sew a long this month. The first post discussed fabrics suitable for the collar. Only knit fabrics were suggested. The pattern envelope states quite clearly that this jacket or shirt is for wovens. But I was already sensing that the construction was written for knit fabrics.
Then I started the band. Again, the band was sewn on and finished with a trimmed seam. Again, a finish more appropriated for knits, not a nice finish for a blouse or jacket.
Now, I wanted a band that was more like a casing - nice and finished on the inside. This was no easy task, and I figured in the end that I really needed to have a cut on casing, and not a separate band.
After lots of undoing and rethinking the square, I sort of got a band worked out that I could finish inside.
But by then I was totally not in love with this jacket. You see, I had seen a pastel colour bomber jacket on someone - a pale apricot polyester. And I hated it. I did not like the look at all, and did not want to look like this lady.
So, I am going to call it quits. But on the plus side:
* I have well and truly gotten over my dislike of sewing bias binding - just look how nice my sewing is, in the photo above, says me modestly.
* I problem solved how to finish the garment nicely. And could have achieved a really nicely finished band as well, if I chose to continue.
* I have re-clarified my ideas about my style. I was in two minds about a Bomber jacket, because it is not really what I tend to go for. But because I don't want to limit myself too much at the moment while I am redefining my style, it was a good idea to try something new. It didn't cost much as I purchased the fabric for $3-00, the pattern for $5-00, the thread and the bias, probably another $10.00 total. To go to a shopping centre to try styles on and come home empty handed would have cost no less, after fuel, parking, coffee and food. And I would have come home empty handed. With this project, even though it was not finished, I honed my sewing skills a little further, and am rather pleased with my critical analysis of the construction methods. I really am being very modest today!!!
This morning I disposed of the garment and the pattern went to the Op Shop.
So, Good Bye Butterick 6181.
Now I am off to go through my patterns and see what I will attempt next. I'm feeling I need to recharge my batteries, so maybe trousers. I sort of know what to expect with them.
All for now, good luck with all your sewing attempts,
P.S. I have since seen other sewer's versions of Bomber jackets - and I really don't like them. Isn't it funny how we sometimes choose a style we don't like, just because it is the trend.