Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Suit Jacket in Progress

So, I guess in the end wanting to make a suit jacket and dress combo for my orals wasn't the smartest move I could have made, seeing as my orals are two days away and I've only just finished the preparation work. And did you know how incredibly complicated it is to find either ready made white piping or piping cord in Berlin? There's not that many haberdashery shops, most of the fabric shops don't have it and I didn't find it either at the haberdashery in the big department stores, nor at the Turkish market, even though they have such exotix things like cherry printed bias tape and pompom trim. In the end I resorted to calling the various haberdashery stores, so I didn't have to visit all of them, and one told me that they have the stuff, both in matte and shiny variations. Yes! So I need to pick that up later, after having sewn the darts and non-piped edges of the jacket.

I also need to look out for buttons. If I don't find anything, I have a kit for fabric-covered ones, but I think blue&white buttons might look nicer...

So, the stuff I already did: I made a muslin, and good thing I did, too.  My measurements aren't that far away from Gertie's, as she mentions them in her book (at least the bust and hip measurement, my waist is a size up), so I started with a straight size 8 (which she mentions she made to her measurements) even though the measurements from the size chart were a bit off. Yeah, I know, confusing. Next time, I need to remember to actually grade a size up in my waist with Gertie's patterns, cause she really means it when she says her patterns are for a hourglass shape! (I have given up grading Colette Patterns or McCall's/Simplicity ones in the waist, as they usually have enough ease built in.)
I'm also a good inch too short in the waist, and I must have a funny back, as I had to lengthen the back darts upwards at least three inches. I do that with Colette patterns, too. I wonder, am I straight backed? Hunchbacked? Who knows! I also took in the side seams under the arm a wee bit (at least on the left side on the pictures, so you can see the difference).
All in all, I guess the fitting part was relatively straightforward, as jackets go. I didn't muslin the sleeves, and I'm also not underlining them, just lining. I hope they'll fit anyway.

So then it was altering the muslin pieces and transferring the changes back to the pattern, and finally cutting into my fashion fabric, using the muslin as pattern (since I'm also using it as underlining).
It would probably have been more proper to make a second muslin, especially since I couldn't actually add fabric to my waist this way, but I figure I only need about 3cms in the waist, which I just added to the side and back center seams of the fashion fabric. It will mean slightly less seam allowance for the underlining, but I don't think that matters. I also have an extra seamline where I shortened the underlining, but it's about the height where the peplum facing ends, so it shoudln't be visible.
Then I spent about two hours hand-basting the underlining to the fabric, including down the middle of the darts and adjusting for turn of cloth. Gertie doesn't mention that in her book, but Sandra Betzina did in a Threads Magazine article about underlinings, and it felt safer that way.
So now I can get on with stitching. I took the fusible interfacing route in this jacket, even though I bought some hair canvas (I think, I coudln't find out what it's called in German). But I didn't want to add the time for padstitching this time around. Plus, I still don't have a tailor's ham. I know, shocking. One of these days I'll buy some sawdust and get around to making one myself. :)

So, cross you fingers for me that my jacket will turn out wearable by Thursday, and the matching dress, too.
I'm a bit concerned since it's supposed to be 34°C on Thursday, and I'll be wearing a wool dress and blazer. Crazy? Um, yes.

Hope you're having a wonderful week!


  1. Fascinating to see your jacket making process. I am keeping my fingers crossed that all turns out well. Good luck with the orals too.

  2. I think your back is like it should be on a real human. You have the famous three curves...seeing your picture made me finally realize what several doctors said about my back...I don't have the middle curve, e.g. I am straight there. Making a jacket can take some time...especially the fitting part. But you will enjoy the fantastic results. Good luck on your oral exams.

  3. I think, that the jacket will turn out very well and good luck with the orals!!!

  4. 34 degrees to wear a suit jacket? Yikes! 2 days to makes yourself a jacket? DOUBLE YIKES! That is some ambition. I hope it's coming along well for you - I totally love the front shaping on Gertie's pattern :)

  5. Good luck with your orals! Is it air conditioned in the exam room, I hope so! 34C is quite hot!
    I received the fabric parcel, thank you so much! Happily planning what to make with it now :)

  6. It's looking good - hang in there!

  7. Massive good luck on both jacket and exams!!

  8. I'm a bit late reading this, you've already done your orals by now, and I hope it all went well. AND I'm eager to see your finished jacket and dress, did you manage it? This is also something I'm known for, working on a big project in the final hour (my husband just shakes his head!!)