Saturday, April 9, 2011

RTW Tailoring Sew Along - getting organized

I really admire Sherry of Pattern-Scissors-Cloth and so I joined her tailoring Sewalong, and then could not get going on a project.  Summer is approaching here in N. California and tailored garments get pushed aside for summer dresses.  I have had some trouble choosing something to make although I could use a lightweight black jacket but didn't have anything suitable in my stash.  Plus I have put myself on a fabric diet.  
Rummaging through the selection on my shelf I chose this mystery fabric found at an estate sale - can't remember when.   I am not sure what the fabric is, it was washed and pre-shrunk in the dryer and seems to behave like denim, it presses well, but doesn't wrinkle like cotton so I am not sure of the fiber.   I had an aqua cotton poplin short trench coat which I wore a lot so this should fit into my wardrobe, plus the price is right!  The jacket is cut out and markings are done, so I will be fitting the sewing in between working on other projects.  
Collar pieces aqua jacket
I made this same pattern last year,  in uncut corduroy, and while I was happy with the jacket it seemed a bit short.  Yesterday I was examining it again, and I decided that it is not so much short at the hem but that the waist seams hit me too high, so the peplum effect starts too far up on the torso.   Here is last year's version.
Blue cord jacket front
Playing around with the length and proportion I have concluded that the seam where the bottom portions attach can move down about 2 inches.  If that is too much then I will raise it up when sewing, but for now this will work.   To lengthen patterns I decide how much to add, then choose a spot and draw my "lengthen or shorten here" line across the necessary pattern pieces.  This jacket has no provision to lengthen the torso - but that doesn't mean it can't be done.  Here are the 2 upper side pieces.  I have drawn the line across the pattern pieces, then using tissue paper I make long strips with the desired amount drawn on, for this example it is 2 inches.  I find that if I make the "expansion pieces"  in advance, the process goes quickly and I avoid mistakes in the adjustment.  In this case the expansion is in length but it would work the same for spreading the pattern in width.
aqua jacket pattern piece 3
Next I cut the pattern apart on the line I have drawn, and insert the 2" extension piece.  To keep the top and bottom halves of the pattern piece in the proper orientation, use the straight of grain line to connect the pieces and line up the bottom with the upper part
aqua jacket pattern piece 2
It may be a little easier to see it in this photo, here I have extended the straight of grain line down to the bottom of the pattern piece, as it needs to go through the part where the extension will be inserted.
Aqua jacket pattern piece 1
Remember to lengthen all the pieces, including the facings!  Oh yes, I have cut out a complete jacket and then realized that I neglected to lengthen the lapel facing - kind of defeats the effort.  

Dandelion flowerToday's SunnyGal garden photo,  we have had so much rain this winter - which is a good thing here - as it will be dry very soon.  But the weeds enjoy the rain as much as my tulips.    
Happy Spring Sewing,  Beth


  1. I love this jacket and can't wait to see your second version with adjustments. Have fun with your sew along!

  2. I know it is hard to get motivated to sew winter clothes when summer is looming... but jackets are always handy for those fresh spring nights. I love the colour of the fabric you've chosen!
    I've done that facing thing myself too!! so annoying!

  3. Nice to see you tackling a project like this. I played around with a dress pattern last year for summer, but it took me all summer long to get the final project. And finally summer is here again so I can wear my new dress!

    Oh, and I think you'd really enjoy browsing around all the great sewing links over at if you haven't found it already!


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