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Vintage Suit sewalong

8 May

So yes, I’ve joined the Vintage Suit Sewalong, because my track record with sewalongs is just so good, and I desperately need a suit in my life, and need a vintage suit even more!

<returns to reality>

I’ve joined the Vintage suit sewalong because even though I don’t think I’ve ever properly completed any sewalong I’ve joined, I love seeing everyone else’s sews coming along, and the finished products. I really don’t need a suit (I need leotards! I’m doing so much dance at the moment.). And I need a vintage suit even less. But the other reason I joined? Well… I have this pattern:

Photo in paper pattern file - Google Photos:

 

Indeed I’ve had this pattern for a very very very long time. I believe it is actually my first ever op-shop vintage pattern buy. I also believe, if I’m recalling correctly, it was 20c. Hit me hard in my hip pocket this pattern did! Oh wait hang on, we’re back in reality aren’t we. Yeah 20c. No wonder I nabbed it 😀 I haven’t sewn it yet. It is one of those patterns I’m sure I’ll sew one day. Maybe its time has come.

Let us take a look at the divine details:

A classic knee-length A-line skirt with two small darts in the front. I adore two small sweet darts instead of the usual boring tedious but perfectly serviceably single dart.

The jacket is a delightful length. Waist length, but just long enough no midriff would show as you move around. I have no problem with showing my midriff but I prefer to show it in the context of bellydancing, not so much an everyday context. But, but, but!!! That length of jacket would allow a nice swish of air round the waist. Inbuilt airconditioning is always a bonus in the tropics.

Behold the angled bust dart – I much prefer angled darts at the bust than boring, tedious but perfectly serviceable horizontal bust darts. The angled dart helps shape the waist of a garment without necessarily creating a curved waistline. It looks great on pinafore-style dresses too.

I don’t mind a notched collar. I’m not greatly excited by the pockets, mainly because all I can see of them is an extra few layers of fabric. HOT!!! so I’ll probably leave them off. And I like the sloping shoulders, considering mine are a classic coat-hanger-ish shape that requires more of a slope than most modern patterns have, to fit them properly

I really really like the fact this jacket won’t need a dicky or a camisole to be modest in the cleavage department. I won’t need to move the buttons up, coz believe me, there is no way I’ll be wearing anything under the jacket. That would constitute wearing more than one layer of fabric. HOT. Waaaay to hot.

Speaking of too hot, the sleeves are too long, so I’ll shorten them, and create a little summer suit of the style that I saw so many of in Brisbane’s CBD in summer when I lived there. Suits like these:

High quality professional summer ol lilac short-sleeve pant suit women's fashion business work wear twinset free shippingNew Pink Business Suits Women Work Wear Skirts Sets Short Sleeve Blazer Suits With Leopard Printed Spring Summer Suits Plus SizeTB2rFxEcFXXXXajXXXXXXXXXXXX-2126658491

 

I was, in fact, so in love with these adorable, short-sleeved suits that even though I didn’t work in a fancy office job in Brisbane’s CBD I made my own pantsuit out of a soft sage green ‘tropical’ wool randomly found in a dusty unkempt fabric shop in my local shopping centre. I wore it when I moved back to Darwin, too, because amazingly, that ‘tropical’ wool was cool enough to do so. For the record I used this pattern. So mid-90s! (hey, isn’t that vintage nowadays? ;-D)

I guess I’m trying to recreate that feel of being so put-together yet so well, er, suited, ahem, to the tropics. Having the experience of tropificying a suit pattern already, I feel equal to the task of tropficying my vintage suite pattern too. I’m considering making some trousers as well as the skirt – probably my usual 3/4 length ones, which could look quite cute with a short-sleeved matching jacket. Not sure though… Must think on it.

According to the Vintage Suit sewalong timetable, May is for muslining the suit. I’d better get on with it then!

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Vintage sewing pattern pledge update

29 Dec

The original plans of what patterns to sew totally went out the window. No worries, I replaced them with a whole lot more though.

Firstly what I have done so far:

Bolivian Milkmaid’s jacket in a blue velvet. Mmm! Sadly the fit was so boxy I am not sure I can adjust it to be more flattering. I didn’t like the peplum either, with the boxy waist it just looked huge, not flattering.

Mind you, I learnt an enormous amount! And I also had a lovely jacket for the trip I went on. Here’s the best photo, where I’m pulling the jacket in at the waist in the back. It doesn’t look too bad at all in that photo!

I think this macro I found on Sew Pretty In Pink’s blog. I think it’s appropriate for this jacket too (I so ❤ Anne!)

3dfd4-tumblr_lnqobbivnf1qb5fseo1_500

Next, I sewed up Mrs Conover’s blouse.

Miss Conover's blouse, 1921

 

Here’s my mock-up version in an old sheet that’s a horrible colour on me. I decided it was a terrible pattern, until my mum and best friend both convinced me the icky bit was the fabric, not the style:

 

I found when done up in nice fabric that it was just too big. I took it in, then took it in, then took it in. Each time I did it looked better and better. I finally stopped taking it in when it was this big.

But do you think I could get a decent shot of the front? NOPE!!! and then it was all spoiled anyway when the green fabric colour ran the first time I washed it, and made the yellow icky *cries* I love the top so much I’m planning on trying to fabric-paint the neckband yellow again. *hopes*

Next was the swirl dress! Soooo much fun, the sewalong group was fantastic, and Beccie was also fantastic.

The fourth vintage sew – two dresses from this mid-1970’s pattern

For me…

And for my mum…

Fifth pattern: made the underwear part of this pattern too but no piccies yet.

 

So that’s six garments from 5 patterns.

Well that was my original pledge amount. Why aren’t I finished yet?

Well… I got all inspired by Amanda of Bimble and Pimble’s nightie-tops. (Ok, properly the Alice top 😛 But I just so have a vintage nightie pattern that is very similar to this!) I hope it’s not rude to just borrow the picture of the blog post. But it looks so good! And so cool! And so inspiring! And that dotted swiss voile is made with neon dots!!! (Go read the whole post, that’s one groovy top 🙂

Tessuti-Fabrics-Alice-Top

I just so happened to have bought 3 vintage nightie patterns not long before christmas! (Yeah yeah I love nighties :-P) Now what on earth could I do with those patterns??? I’m aiming for photos and a post about it on New Year’s Eve my mum’s birthday to nicely round out the vintage pattern pledge!

Blue velvet jacket!

15 Oct

I finished it! I wore it! It’s awesome!

See?! See?! Isn’t it beautiful?!

… ok ok enough with the ! and onto some substance… Warm clothes pose problems when you live in the tropics. Unless you never go anywhere else, you not only need warm clothes, you need seriously GOOD warm clothes because you get cold long before people living in a temperate climate do. It’s worse coming from Darwin, because unlike northern Queensland, we never, not even in the depths of ‘winter’, get very cold. 16C is a freezing night for us, with the days still getting up around 30C. Your body just doesn’t get practise at coping with the cold.

Some people simply leave a box of warm stuff with their relatives for when they visit. As kids, our Granny lived in Hobart. Yes, indeed, an entire continent away from all the tropical warmth of Darwin:

Map of Aust + antarctica

 

Granny kept all our warm clothes. Hobart airport was tiny, smaller even than the old Darwin airport back then. We’d shiver our way off the plane, onto the tarmac and finally finally through the doors into the waiting arms of our Granny, who had this comical but deliciously warm hug-while-wrapping-the-grandkid-up-in-a-parker greeting perfected. Next came the ordeal of waiting in a breezy freezing shed for the luggage to be brought in on trailers dragged by tractors. (I wonder if there’s finally got a proper luggage conveyor belt yet?! And if so, is it in that draughty shed?)

However, this approach only works if you visit only one place. But as an adult I have friends and family all over the country, so I need to keep a warm wardrobe here.

A huge hole in my warm-clothes wardrobe has been the lack of a light jacket. I’ve got a big winter one for the times I’m insane enough to visit my brother’s family in NSW Southern Highlands between May and November. But I also need a light jacket cutting out a cold wind and giving just a bit of warmth.

So that’s what this velvet jacket is for.

It also needs to look good (not dated) in 10 years time, because that’s the other thing about living in the tropics, your warm clothes don’t have a chance to wear out. I still have yummy woolen skivvies I bought in NZ over 15 yrs ago. I’ve focussed on building a wardrobe of classics. Ok so a Bolivian Milkmaid’s Jacket isn’t exactly a classic. But a simple princess-line jacket with nipped-in waist, flairing out over the hips is one of MY classic sillouhettes. So is dark blue.

I decided I wanted the jacket longer than the pattern, so I cut one godet per section (The pattern has two) and lengthened it. To be honest, having it the original length might make the jacket more useful. Less warm. The blue velvet is pretty warm.

Looking at the pattern reviews on sewingpatternreview.com the jacket looks nowhere near as shapely as it does in the line-drawing. I tried to bring the waist in a bit on mine, but I didn’t really manage it. It’s the only issue I have with it. In the first photo in this post, I was cheating and pulling it in round the waist, to see whether that is what it needed. I think that and the photos below confirm it would be worth refitting it before my next trip.

The jacket is lovely and soft and unstructured, which is just how I wanted it. It was so soft and comforting to my feet when it was stashed under the seat in front of me while flying. (hey I needed some comfort. I was flying Jetstar. ‘Nuff said?) I really meant it when I said here that I needed a scrunchable jacket 😛 Old backpacking habits die hard…

Taken on the path over the dunes to the beach, I’m ‘striking the pose’ here as my friend taking the photos told me to do 😀 (She’s a jazz singer, I’m a dancer. We’re such a pair of show-ponies :-D) Like my socks? They’re from Sock Dreams. The blue lace headscarf is a length of fabric from Kerryn’s Fabric World. That tiny width was all I could afford. Fortunately fluffy curly hair looks great with hair-scarves.

Hopeless phone camera is hopeless. *sigh* But you get the idea 🙂 I love the big sleeves. Although they’re literally half as full as the pattern. I didn’t have enough fabric to do the full deal.

And when it comes to timeless warm clothes, that scruffy-looking skirt is letting the side down. REALLY need to do something about that!

I thought the blue flowers (lobelia I think) would highlight the blue in the jacket but I think as far as achieving that, this photo is a sad FAIL. But hey…

Just a little peak at one of the divine places we visited, this is a beach that went on forever, along the Sunshine Coast. So beautiful! So odd to have the sun set behind the dunes, too…

Jacket sewing is hard work! :-P And a question on jacket hemming.

26 Aug

Can’t please me! It’s scary or it’s hard work! Sheesh, any other complaints, Imogheena???

Actually I have a question to the more seasoned jacket-sewers out there. How do you hem the jacket and lining? Is it best to sew the lining to the jacket hem somehow, or better to hem jacket and lining separately with the lining able to swing free? I am worried if I sewed it to the jacket hem it would sag down below the hem of the jacket over time. If I sew it separately then I can sew it a bit shorter than the jacket hem, and if it sags I can fix it easily.

Which is best? or some other option this jacket-sewing novice doesn’t know of?

Anyway, I have been finding sewing this a bit of hard slog. It’s such a BIG project, bigger than most of the things I sew and I’m starting to never want to see blue velvet ever again. Oops! That wasn’t my intention… I’m getting through it though, I’ve just today joined the lining and the jacket. That was big stuff. To do from now on:

Press the front/neckline jacket and lining seam.
Cut the armscye lower, adjust sleeve, set sleeve in, bind sleeve seam.
Put cuffs on the sleeve. (Maybe do that before setting sleeve in?)
Make buttonholes for front and sleeve cuff.
Make back belt to pull waist in. Sew it on, and two extra buttons to allow for weight changes.
Hem jacket and lining.

Tomorrow I’ll focus on the sleeves. If I could have them finished by the end of the day (Can’t really sew once it’s dark as the fabric is so dark it needs natural light to enable me to see properly) then I’d be a Very Happy Vegemite!

I’ve got a week to finish because I’m flying out monday afternoon in a week. Oh oh oh! how exciting!

Here are piccies taken just before I sewing the lining to the outer fabric.
Outer jacket:

Lining:

This is the sleeve and the cuff above it. Not very exciting, but it gives a pretty good example of the true colour of the velvet and also how it reflects the light. Oh ok, I’m not reeeelly never wanting to see it again, no not reeeelly. It IS gorgeous gorgeous fabric 🙂

The jacket was making me look terribly short and squat, but then when I put the sleeve on my arm and held it in the right position against the jacket armscye, it suddenly looked fantastic. The sleeve defined the waist beautifully, probably because you could then see there was a gap between the waist and the sleeve.

I’m rather relieved – I know if I don’t feel comfortable in my clothes I’ll never pick them to wear when I’m bleary-eyed and sleepy in the morning. Short and squat doesn’t do much for my confidence, and I’ve put a LOT of effort into this jacket. Too much to throw it away by not wearing it coz I feel ugly in it. Or only wearing it because I’m cold but have nothing nicer. So yay for sleeves helping to define the waist!

I think too, I’m just not used to seeing 2 layers of clothing on me. So much bulk…

Eh, who cares! I’m on holiday next week!

Back to the sewing machine…

Jacket sewing is scary!

12 Aug

The expression on my face in the above picture captures the scary-bit really well!

And then, bit more confident but starting to realise photographing dark blue velvet is ridiculously hard.

And even harder to do a back-view-mirror-selfie of dark blue velvet.

So uh, just what are these pictures supposedly showing? Well, glad you asked!

The Bolivian Milkmaid Jacket in dark blue velvet, (oh yum! *dies of happiness*) the bottom view, which is the ‘traditional’ version, adapted to my needs in a jacket – well what I fondly hope are my needs.

Why is jacket-sewing scary?

I have made a grand total of two jackets in my entire life. One from this cat-eaten Style pattern (I adore Style patterns) in a bottle green, that I took with me backpacking, and used for three years and yet have no photo of me in it. Go figure eh?

(I also made the trousers for my sister once in a soft crepe of a dark background with little green flowers on it, that draped like a dream. She looked fabulous in them if I do say so myself! Anyone that tells you 5 foot nothing is too short for wide-legged trousers is using the wrong fabric.)

The second was a lovely little bolero jacket out of black silk noir. Simple and beautiful. And very easy!

I’ve tried to do a few more and they became UFO’s for various reasons like the one I explain about below. I think the Scary Bit is partly because I have so little experience making jackets, and partly because the only jackets I have made were made when I was young and knew everything 😛 However, the technique I employed with both jackets, was to gather my courage up and jump in the deep end – and do something I rarely do – follow the instructions exactly. It worked! (And those are double-welt pockets lurking under those innocent-looking flaps) So I’m doing the same again. So far so good…

What I need in this jacket:

  • Look good (yeah of course, right?!)
  • Be able to be worn with anything at any time, anywhere. Kinda like The Goodies 😀 (Seriously though, I’m not asking too much. I have a black woolen coat I bought from Max 17 yrs ago in Auckland, (Italian wool because it’s somehow better than either NZ or Australian???) It fufills these needs, except for the minor detail that it’s a coat and thus a bit hot for like ooh say my upcoming trip to SE Queensland. I want all that but in a jacket that is more about cutting out cold wind in a Brisbane winter, or a temperate climate spring or autumn, than suitable for a NZ or southern Australian winter.)
  • Scrunchable. Looking after jackets isn’t my forte – I’ve got almost zilch experience!
  • Something I can actually sew in the tropics without getting either heat exhaustion or prickly heat rash. (Mmm prickly heat rash, such fun. *shudders*)

I know from sewing a couple of pairs of cotton corduroy trousers for mum that I can sew that fabric without dying. I have the most divine red boiled wool from the then Global Fabrics in Wellington 10 yrs ago. It was to be the fabled go everywhere do anything jacket. But I couldn’t do more with it than sew up the main seams before I got so hot and bothered and prickly and irritated by little bits of red wool dust that I scrunched it up (see what I mean about not knowing how to look after these kinds of things?) and threw it in the back of the top cupboard behind all my winter gear. (It’s still there. It’s too beautiful to get rid of and too hot to sew. Impasse.)

Just to explain why mum and I have winter gear when we live in a climate where 18C is a freezing cold night, I have a brother, sister-in-law and a gorgeous little nephew who live in the Southern Highlands of NSW. Fellow Aussies will know that has very cold winters. If we visit from late Autumn through to about mid-spring, I need every soft warm fuzzy thing I own, and then some! Same with Mum. My nephew’s birthday is late August; a few years ago mum and I went down for it, and Oh My GOD I almost died of ice-blockedness. I swore that no matter how much I love my nephew, I’ll have miss his birthdays 😦

Anyway, cotton velvet is very similar to handle and sew as cotton corduroy, and I’m not overheating! And what is more, I’m actually enjoying sewing it. Nice huh?

Construction notes:

After looking at reviews on sewing pattern review I decided the jacket was too short for the look I wanted, so I lengthened it. I also felt the amount of flair over the hips created by godets set into the seams and darts was just too much with the longer length. In the pattern, each seam has two godets in it, so I simply only used one. This also meant I only had 7 godets to sew in, not 14. Always a bonus 😀

This is the godet set into the centre back. Wow, appreciate for a moment you can actually see something in this photo!

Here’s the one set into the front dart. It was actually harder to do than setting the godets into a seam. Technically it shouldn’t have, but in reality it was just harder and more fiddly to get right. Fortunately, I’ve discovered, velvet is fairly forgiving of things like a bit more or less fabric in a seam allowance than is supposed to be there. I hadn’t expected that, but I’m happy to take it!

To line or not to line?

Originally I wanted a lining, one of those nice slithery things that make putting a jacket on extra-easy. I’m not that good at putting heavy clothes on. Yes, a velvet jacket is heavy! But I didn’t want acetate. Sticky. Doesn’t breathe. I tried to track down some rayon bemburg lining in a dark blue, but just didn’t find any, either in my local Spotlight (though they had signs up for the price of it. Typical Spotlight huh?) or online anywhere. I wanted dark blue because it’s BORING. Yes boring but will mean the jacket is more likely to still be in use in 17 yrs time. (I didn’t think of silk till it was too late to get any sent here)

I gave up on trying to line it, and bought some navy bias binding (yes yes, BORING, I know) to do hong kong seams.

However… after trying it on for these photos, the silly thing stuck to my clothes and seemed more to resemble velcro than anything else. So that’s it. I’ve just gone and got the nicest dark blue lining I could find in my local Spotlight, a thick viscose/polyester affair that is apparently both Italian, and anti-static.

Well, I supposed I’d better go and sew some more 🙂

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