The title for this class is "Sew Better, Sew Faster" so they got me right there. Faster is something I am always interested in.
The instructor is Janet Pray of Islander Sewing Systems and the class included their Jacket Express pattern. Note that all sizes are included, XS - 4XL and I think this style adapts to that size range very well. I made the size Small and it was a bit roomy, I prefer a more fitted jacket and the sleeves were very long. If you are very petite the XS may still be too big and I would suggest a quick muslin or pin fit of the pattern.
As I mentioned in my previous blog post, the style is really not something I would pick out but it is a nice basic jacket with useable pockets so it is perfect for a variety of fabrics.
Here is my finished jacket made with a soft red denim. It turned out to be a lucky choice and the perfect weight.
So what about the class? Here are few of my impressions:
- This would be a great class to sew along with at home. She goes through every step and there are logical places to pause, do the steps that she mentions and then press play again. I think if you do it this way you won't have a single error.
- Her tips on using the sewing machine and how to sew without pins are very good. I do a mix of pin and no-pin on most of my garments, and this jacket has such short seams that no-pin is easy to accomplish. (not something I do on a wool plaid designer Vogue, then it is porcupine time :)
- Yes to pressing! She shows you when and how to press, and consolidating the pressing and sewing to maximize efficiency.
There are two different pockets on the jacket, an upper hidden pocket and a welt pocket. I liked the way the pockets went into the jacket, and the steps were very clear. I can confess that I watched about 4 of the lessons while I was doing something else and then cut out and sewed up the jacket, using the instruction booklet as opposed to sewing along with the video, but I did watch the rest of it this week - I didn't want to miss any tips. So I made the pockets and then later when I watched the video I realized they would have been easier had I seen her method.
Here is the inside so you can see the pockets. I used some quilting cotton for the upper pockets but used the red denim for the yoke. She makes a big point about the construction method for the yoke which I have seen on many other patterns. But hey, it works !
Most of the seam allowances are 3/8" except for a few that are sneakily 1/4". If I had been following along that would have been fine, however I zoomed ahead and sewed a few things (the upper pocket flaps and the hem facing) at 3/8" however it made no distance. She did something that I do all the time, which is mark the stitch line with a pen or pencil. For tiny fiddly parts and pieces which have interfacing I think drawing the line is a no brainer. That makes sewing faster and no-fail. You can see here that I marked with pen. The blue painter's tape is marking the 5/8" seam allowance. This new machine is really great but the seam allowance markings are a jumbled mess, because they have both the metric and inch measurements. The lights on the new machine are just a bit harsh to me and make a glare in that area so the blue tape is on the 5/8 line which helps and cuts down the glare.
Here is a look at the back. I guess seeing this angle it is less boxy than I thought. If I just shorten the sleeves it might be perfect.
In summary, there is so much to recommend on this class, particularly if you are looking for ways to streamline your sewing. Lots of the techniques can be used in any garment and some really helpful explanations on topstitching and pressing. She shows lots examples at the beginning of different jackets in a variety of printed fabrics and those kind of put me off, not really my style but the suggestions about fabric weight are interesting. Also she is a bit obsessed with topstitching so if that thrills you there is plenty to see.
Here is the link to my previous post with photos of the finished jacket.
Coming soon - my search for the perfect lightweight summer jacket has ended with success. And the pattern will be a bit of a mystery and a surprise so stay tuned.
Happy late summer sewing, Beth
Here is today's Sunnygal garden photo. Not much blooming now in the August heat but here are some pink snapdragons. I think next year I will plant lots of these, they have done really well.