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Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Very Important News

My jacket is done! Well, it's at the tailor's to get buttonholes. It's looking really good, even if I do say to myself. (I'm going to wait until it's got buttons to take pics).

It took me about 6.75 hours to put in the lining, which I did it by hand. Not too sure why I decided to do it that way but there you have it. It does look pretty nice. Then I spent a bunch of time marking my buttonholes, which brings my total to 45 hours.

I had a bit of a difficult time trying to get buttonholes made. The first place I went to today could make keyhole buttonholes but they were so ugly and sloppy looking. It had this kind of vibe, but even shittier.


It was really uncomfortable for me to back out of getting them done once I was there, but I'm glad I did, because they would have been sooooooooo ugly!

After a little more running around, I tracked down a tailor that has a machine that can do a keyhole with a bar tack, and can do a proper lapel buttonhole. Like this, you know?


Oh, this contrast buttonhole reminds me. I really wanted to have a couple of contrast buttonholes but I ditched that idea when I thought I was going to get the ugly buttonholes, and then I was so happy that I found a place to do nice buttonholes I forgot to ask for it. So no contrast buttonholes for me.

Another bummer is that I have to wait for Monday to get my jacket done, because most of their staff is off right now. Still super grateful that they're gonna do it at all, though! I'm so excited to wear this jacket!

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Oh my gosh another post about the jacket!

Ok, ok. I know it's only been one day but whatever. I'm off work.


I put sleeves and shoulder pads in and it only took me 3 hours! (I'm at 37.75 hours now)

I just need to hem it and line it and get buttonholes made! 

From these pictures I can see so many things that I want to change for next time! I think the bust is too full, causing the folds from my bust to my side waist. Also, the polyester didn't press very well for the lapels and didn't ease great in the sleeve cap. I used the bias strip way to insert a sleeve so it was still pretty easy.

I'm also a bit confused about the lapel pattern. On the pattern I used, there was part of the lapel that you were supposed to ease into the lapel facing, but when it came time to sew them together, there wasn't any ease. Not too sure what I did wrong but I'm thinking that might be part of the reason why the lapels aren't lying very flat. Or it could be because it's drafted to accommodate larger breasts. There also seems to be a lot of room in the upper shoulder. Hmmm...


Yes, I have a swayback. No, I didn't do anything to adjust for it on this pattern. I'm hoping that it will be less dramatic once I hem it. I'm also not sure that a swayback adjustment is the right move, since I don't really want to loose any length at the back. Next time I might just grade out to a greater circumference at the bottom hem. Or I might scrap this pattern completely. Who knows?

Before I line this, I need to decide if I'm going to put sleeve heads in. I'm thinking it might help the saggy-ness at the back of the left sleeve there.

Oh, and I just realized that the left sleeve is way too long. I think it's because my body is totally unsymmetrical. Well, there's nothing I can do about that now.

Man, I wonder whether I'll actually wear this or not. At least I'm in the home stretch!

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Jacket progress

Hello! I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

So the title of this post is pretty misleading because I've made barely any progress since my last post about it. In my defense, I spent a week in Mexico!

Lounging poolside at our swim-up room. In my self-made dress. Heaven.

We decided to go to an all-inclusive for a week instead of buying Christmas presents for each other. What a great idea! This is the first time doing an all-inclusive and it was just what I needed. So relaxing!

Of course, I wasn't able to work on my jacket while I was there so all I've managed to get done in, like, the last two weeks is to line the sleeves which took four and a half hours. Ugh. I'm so slow! I'm now at 34.75 hours. I just have to attach the sleeves and line it. What do you think? Over or under 60 hours? (FYI, since the fabric is so thick - and I want to have some contrast buttonholes - I'm going to have them professionally done, so that will significantly reduce the hours I'll spend at the end.) I'm hoping to have this jacket ready to wear on January 2. Wish me luck!



This is my first time attempting surgeon's cuffs. I had to alter the pattern I was using because it didn't include a sleeve vent at all but I think I might have drafted the vent too short. Now that the sleeve is hemmed, the actual opening is only about 2 1/2 inches. not sure if that will be enough.


I constructed the sleeve and lining according to the instructions in Classic Tailoring Techniques. The lining of the vent is almost exactly like making the vent in a skirt, but just different enough to completely throw me off. I think next time I might combine that technique and some of the instructions from Tailoring. The results that I got this time are passable but not exactly tidy.

Thursday, 18 December 2014

Love at First Stitch

I've been very lucky in learning to sew that I learned everything I needed to get started from the internet (Like, 80% was from reading Gertie's blog from top to bottom. I'm sure I'm not the only one!) and the library has a pretty wonderful supply of sewing books for more in-depth techniques (several of the books that I test-drove from the library proved to be so valuable to me that I bought my own copy).

But I can totally see that appeal of having a beginning sewing book as you learn to sew. As I'm finding with using two books plus pattern instructions to make my jacket, too much information from too many sources can be confusing


Just for fun, I picked up Love at First Stitch by Tilly Walnes from the library and I can totally see the appeal of this book. The projects progress from silly-easy to a lined dress, with new techniques taught along the way (OK, not the most original concept, but it's well-executed). And it is such a cute book! The aesthetics and styling of this book really appeal to me for some reason. 

One thing I really like about this book is that there are suggestions for variations on each project to make it unique and these ideas can be applied to a wide variety of projects, you build up creative options as well as techniques. Fun!


There are also little interludes or articles in the book that talk about bigger picture stuff, like approaching sewing projects from a place of fun and exploration and play, or ways to find time to sew in a busy life. I think these mini-essays add a lot to the overall tone of the book, and take it beyond just an instruction manual. Its gives you a further glimpse into the author's personality and shares some of her enthusiasm for what sewing can bring to your life beyond fun new clothes.

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Another post about the jacket I'm working on

Well, the work on my jacket continues. I've been really lucky in that I've had a lot of time to dedicate to it (although I haven't been able to get anything done in the last two days!)

Here are the hours that I've put in since my last post:

December 6 - padstitching and taping the lappels 4.5 hours
December 7 - finish taping lappels and add back stay, shape shoulder, sew side seams and fit. 3.75 hours
December 9 - attach under collar, assemble upper collar and facings and attach - 4.5 hours
December 10 - grade seams, turn and press  - 1.5 hours
December 12 - cut lining, assemble sleeves and baste lapel and front edge - 3 hours

So 13 hours from my last post, plus 17.25 hours in the last week. Over 30 hours so far!

This is what the jacket looks like right now:





When I bought this fabric, it was sold to me as wool, but I realized when I brought it home that it wasn't raveling at all, not even when it went in for dry cleaning. As soon as I started pressing I realized that there was  no way this is actually wool so I did a burn test and it's definitely synthetic. I've read up a bit about camel hair and apparently it's not uncommon to find polyester or poly blends with actual hair used for the texture on the right side.

Ordinarily I'm a snob about synthetic fibres and we'll see how this one feels when I'm wearing it but I have to say it's nice working with something that can take a lot of handling, since I'm pretty inept at the techniques and everything takes so much time. I'm still a little disappointed, though. I'm putting so much time in and I want to love the finished product!

Another issue with the fabric is the weight. It's pretty bulky and would probably be better suited as a topcoat. It can take a lot of pressing but I haven't been able to get the edges looking crisp and professional.

Well, I'll just have to keep working and see how it turns out!

I've also been spending some time re-watching this great series of videos. I'd forgotten it existed until Chris reminded me. Thanks Chris!

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Friday, 5 December 2014

Slow and Slowly

It seems like every time I finish a garment, someone asks how long it took me to make. I ususally know when I started and when I finished (in days) but I never think to count how many hours!

When I try to estimate, it ends up seeming like a crazy lot of hours. So with my jacket that I'm working on now, I'm actually tracking the hours. I'm also hoping this will encourage me to get this project done fast. I can't wait to wear my new jacket!

Here's how much time I've spent so far:

November 30 Cutting fashion fabric and pad stitching undercollar - 5 hours
December 1 Assembling patch pockets, incl. cutting lining and interfacing - 2.25 hours
December 2 Put together front and side front, attach pockets - 2.5 hours
December 4 & 5, cutting out, preparing and basting the canvas to the front - 3.25

Holy moly! More than two hours to make pockets and another two to put them on! I look at other bloggers like Lladybird and Diary of a Sewing Fanatic and I just can't believe how fast they sew. I guess I dont really mind taking so much time. I really enjoy the process of sewing so it's not like a hardship but I'm just amazing at the amount of time everything takes!

In 6 days, I've spent 13 hours and this is as far as I've gotten.



Looking pretty good I think. When I made my sweetheart's jacket two years ago, I only used Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. but now I've also got Classic Tailoring Techniques (I ordered it Friday and it came on Sunday, if you can believe it). It's nice to have more information but it also makes it a lot more confusing. Even with both books, I'm not 100% sure I did this basting right. Classic Tailoring Techniques doesn't really explain how the bust contour works with the basting. Like, when you're basting, you're supposed to make it smooth, but there's a lot of contouring going on in the bust area, you know? That shit's not gonna be smooth, but the book doesn't say anything about it. I did the best I could and I think it'll be OK.