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.

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

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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.

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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.

xoxo,

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French Jacket Muslin

In my last post, I talked about the beginning of my French Jacket. Now let’s talk about the muslin.

First, I know you’re supposed to make a muslin for just about everything, but generally I don’t unless the garment is fitted. I guess I’d rather just make adjustments to the garment. But in this case, I wanted to do everything by the book so I went ahead and made it. And I’m so glad I did.

Anyhow, here’s are some pics. It’s super overcast here right now, so this is the best I could do – and these are with the flash.

Front:

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Back:

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Another picture of the back. I have no idea why this one came out so much lighter.

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You may be wondering why she only has one arm. Well she had two arms originally, but the sleeve caps needed so much ease that I took both of them out. This was my third attempt to get the sleevecap to fit. On the inside, the cap is pushed in about 3/4 inch past the suggested seam allowance. I’m not sure why this happens, but one day I’m going to devote a few hours to figuring out the whole armscye/sleeve cap mystery. I’m with Kathleen Fasanella and her “Sleeve cap ease is bogus” post. The more I sew, the more I think that the pattern companies only use one sleeve sloper for pretty much every garment.

I cut a size 12 and naturally I had to make some changes. The first thing I changed was adding length to the sleeves. I’m not a big fan of bracelet length jackets so I wanted to extend the sleeves to my wrist. I added 2 inches, but I still need to add another 1-1/2 – 2 inches. Second, I have a swayback so there was a big bubble in the back of the jacket. If you look at the second picture, the back darts are much closer together than they were originally. I took about 1-1/2″ out at the curve of my back and and tapered it to the bottom and top of the center back seam. Surprisingly I didn’t have to do an FBA because there’s so much ease. The last change I want to make (and I forgot to do it on the muslin) is add 2 inches at the center back bottom. According to Leisa at A Challenging Sew, it visually elongates your torso. As I’m 5’5″, I’ll take any visual elongating I can get.

The next step is to fine tune the fit and then I start cutting.

I’m also working on Vogue 8787 which is another challenge since I don’t really sew knits. The last knit dress I made was a white, knee length dress with a loooooong zipper. It was a massive disaster, but I wore it anyway because it was the first thing I made. I’ve come a long way since then, but zippers + stretch fabric still makes me very nervous, but I now know to stabilize the zipper area so this one should be much better.

xoxo,

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