Return of the French Jacket

Like most seamstresses, I have a stash of fabric I’ve been amassing for years. Everything from knits to silk to $1/yard cotton prints. Yet I can never find something I like when I want to sew.

The situation became more acute since I decided to stop buying fabric until I use what I have. (Okay, I did buy some fabric a couple months ago but it was on impulse. I got some orange ponte for $3/yard. Don’t judge me. What was I supposed to do? It was ponte. At $3/yard. Don’t look at me like that; you’d have done the same thing.) So now I feel stuck between using fabric that doesn’t inspire me or breaking my “no buy” promise.

My solution is to dig deep and pretend I have no options; that I have to sew my way to freedom. I haven’t been sewing much because, as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been deep in my coding obsession (I’ll be writing about that in a separate blog so you won’t have to read about it here.)

To get back on track, I’m revisiting old projects that I’d put aside because a) this is, after all, a blog about making stuff; and b) it’s spring and I don’t have any spring clothes.

My first project is my super-overdue French jacket (Vogue 8804). The one I’ve been talking about since 2014. Yes, 2014!!!! I was waiting until I reached my goal weight, but you know what? I’m close enough AND I can buy more fabric for another one later. I found my old muslin and I’ve been tweaking it a bit, especially the sleeves, which are giving me agita.


I know the sleeve isn’t set in properly, but I’m over it at this point.



See those markings at the bottom? I got that idea from A Challenging Sew. Apparently adding length to the center back visually elongates the torso. Go read the entire post because her finished jacket is so beautiful, it’ll make your eyes well up.

Most of the adjustments I had to make are ones I usually do anyway, but some of them were just baffling. For example, when I made up the muslin, I had a HUGE bubble in the middle of my back.  I know I always need to make a swayback adjustment, but this one was extreme. In the pic below, the black thread is the original seam and the red one is the new seam. At the widest distance, the two threads are about 1″ apart.


I’m going to do a couple more fittings then I’ll be ready to take the muslin apart and start cutting the fabric.

And for anyone who still remembers the bra underwire saga, I finally got my underwires in the mail (yay!).

That’s my less ambitious (and hopefully more realistic) plan for this week.

So, are there any projects you’ve been working on (or planning to work on) for 2+ years? Share your pain the in comments; I’m here for you.


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My French Jacket

I haven’t been blogging, but I HAVE been working. Kinda. I made a couple of skirts and I’ve been catching up on my knitting.

One of the things I’ve been working on is a French Jacket. Inspired by A Challenging Sew and Thewallina, I decided to fulfill my longtime dream of making a Chanelesque jacket (I can’t say it’s a Chanel without tempting fate and I really don’t need a cease and desist letter in my life right now.) Seriously, check out those blogs. Amazing.

Also, I stalked the Artisan Square sewing forum frequented by of the wonderful and amazing Ann Rowley of the Great British Sewing Bee (Please, oh please can we replace one of those dreadful housewives “reality” shows with this one?). Anyway Ann made her own from jacket and was generous enough to document the process in Flickr. I love her.

I’m using those sources plus Claire Shaeffer’s Cardigan Jacket book and DVD and my old issues of Threads to guide me. Craftsy has a class called the Iconic Tweed Jacket, but I haven’t bought it yet. Honestly, I’m on the fence (plus I heard rumors that Susan Khalje – my sewing fairy godmother and badass extraordinaire – is working on her own DVD. I’m almost embarrassed at how excited I got when I heard she was doing it.)

So back to my jacket. The hardest part was finding the right material. Since it’s for spring, the fabric had to be light, but also classic enough so that I wouldn’t get tired of looking at it. I had big dreams of a fun, springy bright bouclé. After days of looking for the perfect fabric, I decided on basic black cotton bouclé from Mood. Yeah, I know, but at least I got a fun lining.


I’m using Vogue 8804 because it seemed a bit more challenging than 7975 and I want to push myself on this project.

PSA to other seamstresses: If you’re using V8804, piece number 14 (it’s part of the sleeve) should be graded. If your pattern piece is not graded, contact Vogue customer service and have them send you a new piece. I received my replacement piece within the week. Thanks to the wonderful women at my favorite sewing forum, Artisan Square for pointing this out.

Next time I’ll discuss my muslin and the changes I made.


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