Here is something that took me quite a while to finish, and yet once it was finally basted together for final stitching I did breathe a sigh of relief, and appreciate this lovely fabric. My pal Heather bought this fabric at Mood during her summer 2015 trip to NY, where she did some solo shopping and came back with quite a few goodies. Some of which are still in my stack of "to do". In this case, she was quite willing to wait until my inspiration developed, although this one did say jacket when I pulled it out of the box. It said jacket - but I screamed, "Stripes!"
OK - just between us sewing types, you know the feeling, when you are confronted with the fabric and kind of wish it was anything else. Like a nice, simple solid color! or random pattern that needs no special treatment! Of the various fabrics she bought on that trip (which includes some luscious silks waiting to be turned into a summer maxi) 3 of 6 were striped, or panels that need careful cutting.
Oh well - text and FaceTime long distance shopping only goes so far.
Enough about that. Like I said, she was in no hurry so slow and steady were the order of the day.
I have never sewn with a genuine Linton tweed but seen some samples that a friend ordered, and this very much reminded me of those. It is very loosely woven, actually a bit delicate, and the grayish stripes seem like satin ribbon or some kind of shimmery fiber. We had enough yardage to make a jacket and then a skirt but she is not really a skirt wearer - she prefers dresses so I suggested a jacket and then a dress with the boucle for the skirt and then a solid color on top.
I had very little hope of finding something suitable and figured that might be tricky, but I walked into Stone Mountain Fabrics in Berkeley with my boucle swatch and they had a shelf of wool double knits - so this coral pick color was an absolutely perfect match and weight. Lucky score - or lucky me to have such a great fabric store so nearby.
Here's the one and only pic I took of Heather when she came to pick up this outfit. It was one of our 100˚ + days in August and even with the AC on it was Hot! so just a quick barefoot pic :)
Here is the pattern I used for the jacket. I really liked this pattern as it combined some of the look of traditional jacket but has some nice features that make it work for a plus or full busted figure. Not sure if you can see it in the tech drawing but it has a princess seam down the front, and then a regular bust dart. I also like the open V neckline. The other version with the attached collar/lapel is also nice - might have to try that one now that I have all the fit changes worked out. And in a solid color!
Because whew - the fitting was a bit tricky - in a solid you can do a little cheating with fit adjustments with with a horizontal stripe like this any change needs to be very exact and then also be accommodated to keep the stripes level and matching.
Here's the dress, I only have this view on the dress form which is not really how it looks on, the fact that the top portion is a knit means that it fits very closely yet has plenty of ease. This wool double-knit is like a very thick ponte - I love this fabric and would use it again. Not that it is probably a lot warmer to wear than a rayon ponte - so keep that in mind if you try it.
How about some sewing? Oh and by the way - this boucle is completely fused - every piece - with Pro-Weft Supreme lightweight woven fusible (this one). Why? because I started with the jacket front, and had the jacket front stabilized with silk organza, and the edges taped. Then I put it on the dress form and it was just so limp. And with this open weave I didn't think it would survive much wearing. So I did some testing and liked the texture and drape with the fusible. Particularly for the skirt pieces it seemed that they would need more than just lining, so fusible comes to the rescue.
After that little hiccup I moved on to more fitting. As usual, making the sleeve for a jacket where I have sliced and diced and adjusted the pattern a lot is then a bit tricky. I did use my trick of making a muslin test sleeve, fitting that into the real jacket, getting it to feel and fit just right and then cutting it out last. I even went so far as to mark the horizontal lines on the muslin so I could then place the pattern pieces on the boucle and have the sleeves match. Ok time to admit - this project was kind of agonizing.
See all those various colors of basting thread holding the sleeve in - those are my various tests on the armhole - which changed shape a bit as things went along. And on my desk I have a lot of scribbly notes such as " left sleeve use pink thread baste, move shoulder in 1/4", sew at 3/4" not 5/8" which I write down in the heat of the moment and then go back to later to try to decipher my own clues. And always resolve to be more methodical with my notes. And I never am! So far lucky...
Check out that ravel-y fabric. Oh yes, this one wants to start disintegrating as soon as you touch it. But once inside the lining it doesn't matter so no seam finishes, just healthy seam allowances, pressed down and sometimes catch-stitched so they stay in place.
This is a really good view of the fabric and how loosely it is woven, it actually seems like a collection of ribbons woven together. And more of my thread traces to mark the hem edge. I had to bring out the neon green after I used all my other colors on various sections.
Here is the result of all that persnickety matching - I was so satisfied if I do say so myself! This is one of those fabrics where it doesn't seem all that stripes - but if they weren't lined up it would be so jarring and look off kilter. So I'm glad I took my time on this one.
The dress is a pattern I have used for Heather previously, it is a Bootstrap Fashion pattern that I ordered using her specific measurements, here's the link to the specific one I used. I've used this pattern twice for her, changing out the sleeves and then omitting the peplum thing. In this version I also omitted the waistband. With these patterns I've found the fit to definitely be in the ballpark. Depending on how much your figure is different from the standard on other sewing patterns (both in circumference and height) then these patterns are useful although not necessarily the answer to everything. I find they do have the right amount of ease (i.e. not too much) and the height measurements are amazingly good (length, where the bust and waist hit, etc) the fit in the bust can be problematic as you go up in size but the fit in the shoulders/neck is usually pretty good, so some more adjustment in the bust area seems like a reasonable thing to have to do for the rest of it to be more or less a good fit.
What else? We decided to omit the button for a variety of reasons. She said she never buttons a jacket closed, also I tested bound buttonholes on scraps and they were hideous - this fabric just didn't want to form into buttonholes. Machine buttonholes I know wouldn't work, this was too nubbly and thick to fit under my attachment. So whew - she didn't want them anyway :)
I made a three piece sleeve as I needed to do some fit adjustments and this was the best way to get the shaping needed. More stripe matching! Also in this view you can see the bust dart. I believe I added length to the front and enlarged the dart a bit, then adjusting the side panel and back to match. I like the way the dart is angled, it really gives nice shaping but isn't an intrusive dart. What is an intrusive dart? one that I notice, like an arrow. I guess this is a style choice - there are a few indie patterns that I look at and all I can see is the dart placement (which looks wrong and too horizontal to me). So Burda seems to get this right pretty often. In fact I will say it again, for plus sizes I think Burda is such a winner - and with the envelope patterns or the downloadable pdfs I can find just about any style that I am looking for.
Last look, the lining. I decided on a pale grey lining instead of a cream color. You know how an item with a white or light lining looks around the neckline after a few wearings - not my fav so a grey lining is a bit more practical. The bodice portion is lined in a coral pink.
So that's the scoop on the epic boucle jacket project. I have sewn so many things since I finished this and need to get going on my blog backlog.
Life and travel keep getting in the way. Speaking of travel - did you see this Instagram post - read carefully :) and maybe I will see you there! Hope so!
And I have even found my fall sewing mojo -despite our lingering summer weather. Sneak peek- I finished this to add to my ever growing stockpile of coats that I don't need but sew anyway because I love to. Blog post soon. And an interesting pattern journey that ended in a repeat.
Happy "is it fall where you are?" sewing,
Today's garden photo - oh it is at a low ebb around here, just dry and nothing blooming and leaves piling up. But this vine is a winner - I wish I had bought 3 when I found this at Home Depot a few years ago. Just keeps climbing the fence and blooming throughout the summer. Not flashy but dependable. Every garden needs lots of those.