I've had a whole lot of fitting practice this week, which is always the unexpected upside to a big four pattern but it's been worth it I think, as I really love the look of this jacket, unlined, a little slouchy...the perfect garment for spring.
I'll apologize in advance for the amount of detail in this post, but I got lot's of emails from sewers who also intend to make this and so wanted to share what I've done to make it work for me.
I have to say I was surprised at how hard it was to see the actual garment from the line drawing but it's conceptually beautiful, and one I think I will use again and again now that I have a working muslin.
I've been a bit of a vocal hater on the big four for a long time, the amount of ease included confounds me and the sloppy pattern drafting drives me nuts... how can any sewer not experienced in fitting alterations know that these patterns can only be step one in a long line of muslin steps, its such a pet hate of mine....no wonder sewers blame themselves when it all goes wrong.
Because of that, I thought I would be a smart ass and approach this jacket with a clean slate, dutifuly following all the instructions as stated, happy to be proved wrong if all went well.
The envelope measurements for my hips (38) bust (36) and waist (28) line up exactly to a Size 14 while the finished measurement size on the paper pattern state that the finished bust measurement will measure 41.5...yep 41.5"
5.5" of ease is a lot for me, especially when I like my clothes fitted.....but I went with it out of curiosity. Its been a long time since I followed a pattern blindly and if I am honest, this was the first time that I was confident I could fit the very large shapeless jacket I had a feeling I was about to create.
and while last week I had mentioned that I was going to use my bodice slopers, as soon as I saw the pattern pieces I realized that was impossible.
Its a bit of an origami puzzle and a lovely one at that...
Above is the front, with the armhole in the middle. The center front is a huge, huge square cut on fold at the center back, with an addition of an upper front piece to complete the front bodice.
and I have to say, I think sewing a convex to a concave is a hard seam to sew, and I am shocked that the pattern is marked as an average for that alone. I did a lot of snipping, basting and pinning to ease that in properly, and that was with the thinnest cotton..
There are also points, curves, bindings, piping, bias and twelve bodice pieces to contend with, so I am amazed that this is not an advanced intermediate or advanced pattern but apparently not!
To begin, I removed the 5/8" seam allowances so that I could leave big 1" seams for easier adjusting... not knowing what would have to be taken in or let out.
and from there whipped up my first muslin, ... and curiously it was not huge, big sure, and badly fitting, but hard to define at first glance where and what was wrong with it.
and that's mostly I think, because of the amount of pattern pieces, each one was "off" but not by an obvious amount as it was fairly evenly distributed between them all...
and for that alone, an average rating is crazy.
I ended up putting the muslin on the dress form that fits my measurements the best and pinned the upper shoulder seam, the back center seam and the armseye to hold them tightly in place and keep grainlines intact.
And from there, I started at the back center seam by undoing the basting and re- pinning it to fit the form. (I removed all the ease while doing this as its easy to add some back in once the pattern is workable, but hard to include while fitting to a form)
Working forwards on the right hand side- one seam at a time.
I also used a dead dart at the upper back and side front piece..
For anyone not familiar with a dead dart, they are used to simply remove excess quickly and permanently. I find that I use them most on my upper body whenever there is a discrepancy between bust/shoulders and back/shoulders.
You simply pinch out the excess, pin it flat to the muslin or pattern paper and leave it as is... re-drawing armseye lines, darts etc to compensate for the shorter pattern piece.
From there, I took the muslin apart, marked the alterations shown and made a very quick second muslin.
I could quickly see see that the only thing that still needed a little adjustment was the armeye line and a little more shaping in the center back and side back seam was needed for it to lie flat.
All in all every single piece was changed to some extent...below are the original brown paper pieces with the new pattern laid above (no seams included)
The front: I added an extra 1" to the drape on the hem along the whole length of the new pattern (seam shown at the bottom on this picture) to increase the folded affect of the jacket that had been lost on the inside due to excess being removed.
The side front, with dead dart included , bust dart increased by 3/4" width and repositioned so it actually hits the apex.
Center back reshaped.
Lower side drastically reduced to give some shaping to the side and waist of bodice.
Lower side that joins to triangle above, again reduced to shape hem line.
Side back (shoulder blade area) this had the most obvious excess and least amount of shaping.
I also thought I should include a picture of the two enormous continuous bias pattern pieces, I am so overwelmed by the size of these .... there has to be a yard of 1" bias to cut here alone!
So for anyone making this, grainlines, grainlines, grainlines...mark them on every muslin everywhere. There is no way this is going to fit from the packet, and there are so many pieces, its to easy to take one off grain without realizing unless there are lines on every piece.
The front drape is huge, and heavy, and I think some wasit definition is crucial so you wear the jacket and it not wear you.
Lightweight, and super stable fabric is a must especially if it is to be unlined as intended. They mention tweed and cotton blends, which are great but having worked with both, I am curious as to how the inside will remain neat and secure and the outside weave tight with fringing, piping and drape weight hanging off it.
and talking of fabric...
I pulled this Prabel Gurung from my stash this morning and am trying to decide if I can keep the lines matched and the piping in place as its almost the perfect fabric.
I've been hoarding it for ages, as it's just so unusual. I ran to Mood last year for some silk and luckily was there while a large delivery was being bought in, I saw this immediately and snatched up all three yards at $40 a yard...remembering I'd seen it in another store the month before for almost $200!
I also got two yards of the same design but with a cotton interfaced backing, so perfect for a skirt.
I have a couple of busy weeks ahead, the college acceptance letters are arriving (the second child is off in August) and being the loving Mother that I am, I suggested we head immediately to LA for the accepted student tour at Dodge Chapman, I admit the kid seemed vaguely suspicious but the fact that it's going to be 84 degrees there this week, 84!!! has nothing to do with it I swear...squeeee!!!
(and if anybody knows somebody or has an opinion on Dodge and their film/directing degree- do let me know, I would so appreicate it)
I also have a very nice and unexpected Baltimore visit coming up towards the end of the month, and am heading down to Susan for the class that starts on the 23rd.
But I will be home for most of this week and plan on starting this jacket today - if I can decide on fabric, with the vague hope that it comes together quickly!
I'll probably put a lot of the fabric and jacket construction up on Instagram in the meantime.....I love seeing everybody else's work in progree but am lazy about doing mine!
When I-Tunes finally released the Diana Gabaldon Outlander season I watched it immediately (truly excellent for any fan) and was reminded just how good this story is.. chick flicky I know but its got history in it to!!
and so I've started them all again. I've never read one after another before but I can't put them down, even knowing how they all turn out!
To date, I've finished Outlander, Dragonfly in Amber and am almost done with Drums of Autumn.
I have the Kindle and Audible apps on my phone and they now sync to each other, so I can read or listen depending on where I am and they adjust accordingly..I am so easily impressed!
Also on TV, Broadchurch Season 2 was just released for anybody who was as addicted to this as me last year, I've watched episode one and its just as wonderfully written and acted.
So thats it, good luck to anybody else who is working on V1440, see you on the otherside!!
(If I have a finished jacket I will be back next Monday but if not, it will be the following week from Baltimore :-)
Have a great week,