Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Last details and finished jacket

A picture heavy post, as I’ve included pictures on me and on the dressform, to show the comparison for this once. A few pictures on the end conclude the details on the construction of this jacket. The jacket is finished and I’m so happy with it. The style is very much me, the fit is good and I really enjoyed sewing it. Nothing more to wish for? There is one little thing that’s not quite correct, but I won’t tell!

The front, the extra shoulder interfacing of hair canvas really ensures that the fabric doesn’t collapse between shoulder and bust. My fabric was very flexible, and I think it was the right thing to do.

At the back I took a bit out of the shoulder, to remove the extra pleat I often have there. The solution was in the book Fit for real people and I want to thank Nancy K for pointing me to this solution.

In the sleeves I used a sleevehead and thin shoulder pads.

To finish the posts on the jacket the last details on construction for those interested.

I didn’t make a separate lining pattern, but used the pattern and marked the extra space where necessary on the fabric. I seldom make a jacket pattern twice, so I just cut the facings from front and back pattern. (if I want to I could tape them together again).

Extra space in the low part of the sleeves, on top of the sleeve the extra centimeter that is used by the shoulder pad is taken off.

Extra width in the back, and at the shoulder seams also the space of the shoulderpads is taken off (folded the pattern down).
Not in the picture, but I also added extra width at the top of the side seams, where the sleeves are set in.

Hongkong finish for the front facing. The lining is inserted with the bagging technique.

One of the pattern changes was taking out half a centimeter at the front shoulder and tapering to the side.


The effect is that the center front is closed more when worn open. See the difference between the two jackets?

The changes I made to the jacket pattern:

  • FBA on the front
  • Shoulder change in at neckline in front (as described above)
  • Shoulder change at the back (reverse, at the sleeve side) to remove extra space/pleat
  • sleeves 2 cm longer
  • decreased the sleeve ease
  • more waist definition at the back

And finally: I didn’t use Burda’s instructions at all, I adjusted the pattern and used techniques described in the books below. I wouldn’t want to be without these books in my sewing library.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Almost there

It was a lovely long weekend here, with gorgeous weather. Had the weather been worse the jacket would probably have been finished by now, but we took the opportunity to go cycling and enjoy the weather in the garden.

A few answers to questions or comments to a few previous posts:

Faye asked whether the tailoring board is the june tailorboard. Yes it is, and I’ve used it a few times now in constructing the jacket, and I’m sooo happy with it.

Ann-Marie asked about extra costs involved in importing from the USA: yes there are extra costs involved for customs and VAT (BTW). As I said: I could’t find a European source for this, but still think that all together it’s value for money.

Then there were several questions on the dressform: I made it in a workshop, so I don’t have the instructions how to do it, we followed the instructors guidance. The bottom is wood with a piece of pvc pipe in it. The stand was ready for us, we didn’t make it.

The workshop was on 3 Saturday mornings, 2 of these were used for making the clones of each other. At home we had to make it more sturdy by adding tape at the inside, which was really taking a long time. The last morning it was finished with the outer layers, which was not too much work.

This is a link to several instructions making a clone of yourself. A bit down there are 4 links to different methods. The last one, paper-tape dressform, is most like the method we used.

The fit of the dressform is pretty accurate I think, it certainly isn’t far off.

More details on the jacket

The notched collar was constructed by sewing the collar first. The under collar was cut at the bias. First the long side is sewn and understitched at the under collar, then the sides of the collar are sewn. I checked for turn of cloth and made the necessary changes to the collar, in fact made the under collar a bit smaller in the neckline.

Under collar is sewn to jacket and upper collar to facings, sewing to the corner as much as possible.

The next step is sewing the center front side, without making the corner of the lapel. I put a pen in to show that this is still open. The lapel and the center front are understitched too, switching sides at the point the fold line meets center front.

Last step is sewing the short part of the lapel, and sewing approximately 1 cm of the collar too. Black is too difficult to make pictures, and as this is not a test garment, I couldn’t use a different color thread. Next time when not using a a dark fabric, I’ll try to get better pictures. But I found this methode easy to do with great results.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


You had a little sneak peak last week: I have made a dressform to my own measurements. It was done in a group of 4 ladies and we helped eachother with the process of making a copy of your body. A few impressions of the construction.

First I was wrapped in adhesive paper. This was cut at the back and glued together again. Then it was made more sturdy by adding more adhesive paper on the inside.

After drying it was coated with a first layer of fiberfill. The outer layer is a stretch velours

The result after adding the bottom and putting it on a stand. On top is a pincushion. I’m convinced it will help me with fitting issues. It was pretty confrontating to see your own body copied with all its particulars, but it’s just the way I am, nothing to do about that.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Notched collar

Just have to show a picture of the notched collar. Earlier this year I tried the method that is described in Threads when Nancy K wrote about that article. Now I’ve used the method in a real jacket and I’m quite pleased. I made a few pictures of construction that I’ve not uploaded yet, not too sure you can see much on them. Working with a mostly black fabric is not too easy for pictures.


You’re being quite unanimous in your answers whether you like the posts on plans and details. I was thinking I might be repeating myself, i showed how I make a jacket earlier on, but it has been awhile. As to plans: I have a lot of plans, quite a few (coordinating!) fabrics that I want to sew some clothes from and techniques I want to try. I’ll do a post on my plans when my jacket is finished, but my experience is that most plans for a sequence of garments somehow are left somewhere in the middle.

More detail shots of the jacket then. I made single welt pockets and was inspired by the book Cool couture by Kenneth King (so envious of those of you who attended the PR weekend and had a chance to do some embellishment with his guidance). I used a combination of two types of pockets that he described.

Basically it comes down to  make sure the seam of the side of the welt is transferred to the back of the welt.  I’m not writing a complete tutorial (( do highly recommend buying the book) but this is what I did:

Cut the welt from silk organza, in a double layer, the foldline is on the straight of grain.
Re-drafted the welt pattern piece, so that there are angles of 45 degree that must match on the back of the welt.

The interfacing organze was edgestitched to the back of the welt, leaving a few stitches open at the corners. In this way I could pull the corners away when stitching th seam.

Stittched the seam of the welt.

Folded the welt over the organza interfacing

The back, do you notice the seam line that goes from the left upper corner in a diagonal line to the bottom?

Stitched the welt and pocket to the front of the garment.

After turning you can see how small the pocket opening is. Mr King says that in this way you won’t get any stretch on the welt and the pocket opening is practically invisible. The sides of the welt are sewn from the back through the front. I’ve done both pockets now and I love the result.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What you won’t see later

I took some time this afternoon to work on the jacket. When I bought the fabric, the lady of the shop showed me a picture of a jacket with the edges only serged and obviously not very structured on the inside. She said this was a good fabric to make such a jacket. Apart from the serged edges (not my style) initially I thought I would make it not very structured, but I changed my mind and it will be a tailored, linen jacket. Though I use some shortcuts in tailoring, like I usually do.

As I told in my previous post I interfaced the whole jacket, and treated the interfaced pattern pieces as “the fabric”, therefor I used extra interfacing where I would do that in a non-interfaced fabric.

The result on the inside: a back stay of silk organza.

I sewed a shoulder stay of hair canvas to the fusible interfacing, and cut the interfacing on the roll line and took off 3 mm at the body part (as described in the book Tailoring). The hair canvas is not fusible, this was a solution to that “problem”.

The result after applying stay tape to the roll line too.

The stay tape is sewn by machine, except for the last centimeters, that are done by hand. That will make sure the machine stitching won’t be seen from the outside.

I wanted to include a poll, but that is not working properly. I wanted to ask you: do you like these posts about plans and construction details, or do you prefer to see only the end result?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

New tools

Ladies, you are so right about leaving the darts in. A jacket with more shape suits me much better, nor do I want to go for an 80’s style! Karin quoted Vibeke “darts are our friends”, and Vibeke, you’re right.

Not much progress to show. I interfaced the fabric with Pam’s Pro sheer Elegance fusible interfacing and made a trial single welt pocket. That is what I think I will use as pockets, I don’t want a zipper or patch pockets, like the variations of Burda show. I did sew the darts and think that it will be a more tailored jacket than I originally thought it would be.

Recently I bought two pressing tools, and I’m quite happy with them. The tailor board from Nancy’s notions which arrived within 10 days, very quick! (I could not find an equivalent in Europe). I also bought a press roll. Both are good extra tools, as you know half of the time spent on sewing a garment is time spent pressing parts of it.


Finally there are a bit more flowers in our (small) garden. My son was experimenting with the camera this afternoon, and I was surprised to see that one of the roses (Z├ępherine Drouhin) has flowers. It’s in a sheltered spot, the other roses don’t have flowers yet.


Thursday, May 13, 2010

Random projects

That’s how it feels to me. Next is a jacket from a Burda from 2000 (too lazy to check the month now). I was looking for a pattern I remembered for a jacket in one of the old issues I have, but that appeared not to be what I was looking for, but I found this pattern instead.

The fabric is linen, it has a stripe in the length which doesn't show well in the picture, along with an abstract flower woven in.

The muslin on my “dressform to be”, more on that later, it’s sturdy enough now to be used for the first time, though it’s not finished yet.

I traced a size 40, did a proper FBA as described in the book Fit for real people and took in the center back seam a bit at the wiast. I tapered down a size larger in the hip area, but need more space there.

Trying the muslin on myself showed a strange fold in the sleeve, but I checked it with the sleeve pattern of one of my favorite jackets (Burda too) and it’s practically the same.

I’d like a bit casual jacket and consider taking the vertical darts out. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Knip mode blouse

Thank you all for your kind comments on my dress. It really was a special project to work on. And in answer to a comment from Cidell, I don’t think American church services are very different from here, the wedding I attended was in an Armenian (not American) church. This means that it has more old catholic traditions like the eastern part of Europe.

Last week I made this Knip mode blouse from the March issue (no. 107), mostly a simple summer blouse. Hope the weather will get better, till now it’s been too cold here to wear a top with short sleeves.

The uneven plaids gave me difficulties. You might know I’m the matchy-matchy type when sewing with plaids or stripes. On the other hand I didn’t want to spend a day on the cutting of this top, so I did my best not to match all. I started matching the darker lines, but then decided against it and made the white parts match. In the end the result is that though I tried not to match, a few lines almost match, which to me means “not cut right”. the not matching dark lines catch my eye. It’s ok, it’s ‘only’ a summer blouse, not a jacket with hours and hours of work, and most people (not sewing) will not notice at all.

The review is here. I might sew more Knip Mode patterns in future, at the moment their patterns are inspiring me more than BurdaStyle does. I even cancelled my subscription to BurdaStyle. It’seasily available in every supermarket, so I decided only to buy when it has patterns to my taste. Last months there were not a lot of patterns that attracted me, and usually I don’t sew a lot from summer issues anyhow.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Pictures on me

Of course I still owe you a few pictures of me actually wearing the dress. After hemming the dress on the evening before leaving there was no time left to make pictures then. We attended a wedding in Paris and as it was a school holiday last week, we stayed a few days. Awefully cold in Paris at the beginning of the week. It was the first time we were in Paris with our children, so we did more “obligatory” sight seeing. I would have liked to go to the Yves Saint Laurent exibition, but didn’t make it. Another time, another exhibition….

The dress I combined with black. There was an Armenian church ceremony in the afternoon and I was unsure whether bare arms would be appropriate so I borrowed a black beaded shawl from a friend. The beads took up the color of the silk of the dress and was a good combination with black shoes and purse.

This is a picture from the day of the wedding.

The zipper is not perfect in the top, which is mainly due to the fact that the zipper had a larger hard plastic part than the zipper I used in my trial run. Next time i will try the tutorial by Sherry, which looks less complicated than what I did.

For securing the vent in the back I used the instructions from Els (sewing diva’s blog), with a piece of the fabric straight of grain.

Another version of this dress:

In the time between posting my first muslin and this last post on my dress, AnaJan from Serbia was inspired by the pattern and made a version of her own. I could work from the pattern, but she drafted her own pattern. With very good results. Take a look here for her dress.