jacket for a scarf

You might remember that one of my resolutions for this year is to participate in at least one of The Sew Weekly challenges each month. 2012 kicked off on the Sew Weekly with an introductory post by each of the participants featuring one garment they made last year. You can see my post here.

As I managed to get that post in within the time period set for that challenge I suppose strictly speaking I can tick off January. But that seemed a little lame – I mean it is hardly participating in a weekly sewing challenge when they only thing you have to show for it is something you made last year is it? So I decided to knuckle down and go for at least one of the other challenges this month.

Which brings me to the ‘jacket for a scarf’. I received a lovely black and white collar/scarf for Christmas (the one you can see in the photo at the top) which, to my mind, was screaming out for a black jacket to go with it. And, would you know it? The second challenge on The Sew Weekly was to create a garment or outfit inspired by an accessory. Bingo (only I didn’t manage to get the jacket finished to properly participate in the challenge – hence show casing the jacket here and not there!).

Luckily I had some of this fabric in the cupboard (bought about this time last year I think in the January sales of the most expensive fabric shop in the south of France, say no more). Unluckily I had only bought a metre and a half (probably something to do with the price, even in the sales) which ruled out most of the patterns I had in mind.

But then I remembered this pattern.

Vogue 8640

I have made a couple of versions of the pencil skirt but hadn’t yet made the jacket and after a little bit of reflection and modification I thought this would be perfect. I was looking for something a little longer but realised it would be simple to add some length to the body and the arms.

The pattern is actually very simple – a front and back yoke, the lower back and front and the sleeves. The directions stated that the same pattern pieces be used for the lining and that the outer shell and the lining would then be sewn together. I ummed and ahhed over whether to add facings in the same fabric as the outer shell to make it look more ‘professional’ but in the end I decided to go with the pattern directions.*

Other than adding some length to the body and the arms I also added some top stitching around the yoke and I finished all of the seams by creating mock flat felled seams (some of which you might just be able to make out on this photo).*I wore this jacket for the first time on Friday and essentially I like it (what is not to like about a useful black jacket) but something was bugging me….the lack of facings – maybe I am being pedantic but it feels wrong and, worse, when the wind flaps it open from time to time you can see that the lining comes right to the edge and I don’t like it – in addition, despite understitching around the neckline the lining still has a tendancy to creep over – and believe me I have pressed it to death. So I am going to take out the lining and add facings and re-line it. Give that the jacket only took a couple of afternoons to whip up I don’t mind this too much and hopefully the addition of facings will take it from a ‘like’ to a ‘love’!!



New Year’s Blog Resolutions

I’m not normally one for lots of new year’s resolutions (or, to be honest, any) but this year, for some reason, I have jumped on the bandwagon. Most years I have made some feeble attempt to think up at least one resolution just because I felt as though it was the thing to do and usually it has been left by the wayside by about mid January.

This year though I felt differently. Littlest boy is now two months old and so the new year coincided with me wanting to get some kind of me-life back. I also decided that I needed some focus for what I want to do this year and also, coincidentally, for this blog. I started out blogging to document my sewing and I have decided that I am going to return to focus primarily on sewing on this blog. I will still include some cooking but my other main interest, photography, now has a blog of its very own – you can find the link at the top, up there just under the blog heading. I set up the separate blog as my first resolution for this new year is to improve my photography and this new blog is a place for me to document my adventures in trying to achieve the perfect shot!

So, as I said above, this blog is going to focus mainly on my sewing – and to that end I have a plan. I have chosen 10 projects that I aim to do this year. The projects vary from learning new techniques, attempting a pattern I have been putting off making, to sewing for others. I have chosen each project with the aim that my skills improve over the coming months and with the idea that I stretch myself technically and artistically (don’t laugh!). Some of the projects are more complex than others and that is intentional. Some will take me longer than a month and some (I hope) will take just a matter of hours. In choosing this mix I hope I am being realistic – with four young children it is unrealistic to think that things won’t crop up that will limit the time I have available to sew (without even mentioning school holidays).

So here goes (at first I was just going to introduce each project as I got to it throughout the year but then I realised that that would be cheating – as I could (and probably would) very easily modify them as I went along…). This way I can be held truly accountable!

I probably should mention now that I have listed the projects in no particular order – in other words I will not necessarily do them in the order listed below – in fact it is almost certain that I will do the easy ones first!! You will also notice, if you are paying attention, that some of the projects overlap (the Donna Karen dress for example could very well be part of my spring/summer capsule wardrobe). I make no apology for this and in fact it has been intentional so as to make this resolution realistic.

Project One.

The Sew Weekly challenge. There, now I’ve said it. But don’t be fooled, I am not completely unrealistic! I have signed up to be a contributor but in the full knowledge that sewing a new item each and every week is going to be a stretch too far. Project One therefore is to do at least one of the Sew Weekly challenges each month that I photograph and contribute to the Sew Weekly blog.

Project Two.

Donna Karan V1159. I have had this pattern for a couple of years now and have even had the pattern cut out for at least a year. All I need now are a couple of metres of two way stretch knit…Project Three.

This year I am, finally, going to sew something for my husband. I’d like to think I will manage a shirt (Negroni?).

Project Four.

A capsule Spring/Summer 2012 Wardrobe. As I did with my Late Fall Challenge I would like to create a capsule collection of garments for Spring/Summer focusing on fit and wearability.

Project Five.

I bought this book towards the end of last year and have picked out two (of the more straightforward) techniques that I would like to try.

Firstly, a bodice with a bamboo shoot design.Project Six.

The second technique I would like to try from the Pattern Magic book is this:

A dress with a draped design.

Project Seven.

Lady Grey. Another pattern I have been hoarding for a while. I need a mid season jacket and this will fit the bill perfectly.Project Eight.

The Colette Sewing Handbook challenge. This year I am hoping to sew up each of the five patterns included in the Colette Sewing Handbook.Project Nine.

This lace fabric. It has been in my stash for too long now. It has to be made into something. This is its year.

Project Ten.

Shirts and shorts. I have two girls and two boys and there has been a severe one sidedness when it comes to sewing for my children. This year I will make it up to the boys!

Et voilà! Now I just need to set to! What are your plans for this year?

Late Fall Challenge – Item 4

So with three items already done and a skirt on it’s way to completion I decided to add a quick and easy project – a jersey top.

You may remember the red marinière I posted about here. Well I still had some of the red and white stripe fabric left and decided to make it into a slightly different kind of top. At first I thought I would go with a simple fitted top with gathered sleeves made from the bodice section of the dress pattern in Sew U Stretch but then I remembered this Vogue pattern I had bought a while a go to make a dress and decided to see if I could adapt it to make a top.The amount of fabric I had left meant that I had to go with the three quarter sleeved version but that suits me fine as you may have noticed from the other two tops that I sewn for this challenge that despite it being winter I still have a preference for short sleeved tops. It is not that it is not cold here it’s just that our heating works well (!) and often when I am busy , especially if cooking, I feel as though I am going to overheat. I therefore like to layer up rather than have one thick item of clothing on.

I separated the bodice from the skirt on the pattern and cut out the bodice front and back and the three quarter sleeves. The pattern sleeve states that the dress should be made in moderate stretch knits only and has a zip closure on the centre back seam. As the red and white jersey that I was using is relatively stretchy, even for a jersey, I decided that I could skip the zipper as I was confident that I would be able to get the top on without any form of closure.

I followed the instructions for the pleats on the front but in addition top stitched the pleats in place. For the top stitching on the pleats and around the neckline and the sleeves hems I used a contrasting navy thread.

And I added a grosgrain ribbon on the inside of the back neck seam to prevent the neckline stretching out too much (along with the regulation label of course!)I also added a pleat tuck on each sleeve mainly because they were too wide but I think that the added pleat goes well with the overall design.And, finally I added a double band waistband which I find works well to stop jersey tops growing width-wise at the bottom and giving that gaping look which is never a good look!Put all that together and this is what you get:Basically a three quarter sleeve length t-shirt with a difference. I like the pleats on this top and am looking forward to making the dress when I find some suitable fabric (I’m thinking a block colour to really show off the pleats with maybe an exposed metal zipper down the back…). In the meantime I can see myself adapting this pattern again to make more tops.