ETA Photos of finished jacket, Sunday 17th August 2014.
It's ages since I posted - not because I haven't been sewing but because I don't have anything completely finished to post.
I've been away from home for a few days at a time and had family visit - in the case of my middle daughter she has moved back in with all her stuff, hopefully on a temporary basis. Her stuff took over my sewing room!! So I had to be away from home to get anything done!!
As a treat for my birthday, from my mother, I went to a town near Chesterfield for a 3 day sewing break, near the beginning of July. I travelled by car, to carry all the stuff I took with me and arranged for hotel accommodation. I travelled down on the morning of the course, starting very early, but still managed to be a bit late because of traffic hold ups. Travelling on the morning and back at the end of the course meant I only had 2 nights away from home and only the cost of two nights hotel and food instead of 3 or even 4. I was very tired, though.
I had the tutor all to myself. In advance we had decided that I would make a jacket. From the patterns I already had, the tutor chose this jacket.
I was first measured and the size decided on. This was larger than I expected - normally I grade up two sizes from bust to hip but that wasn't necessary with choosing the same size for chest and hip. This pattern comes with a choice of cup size and we chose the C cup, although my bra size is D or DD depending on band size.
I pinned the pattern together and tried it on and the tutor agreed the size was good. She didn't feel I needed to lower the bust point as I usually end up doing - an advantage of the larger size.
I went on to make the basic jacket up as a muslin. This was a little tight across the upper back and the seam had to be released and a little added. That allowed me to move my arms forward properly. In addition, the sleeve needed to be lengthened. Far fewer adjustments than I usually make. It was yet to be seen if they were sufficient.
The jacket I chose didn't have pockets, simply what appeared to be pockets because of the external braid. Another version (A) did have an inseam pocket but I decided against that for fear it wouldn't lie properly. My regular sewing tutor had counselled against them. There were pocket flaps elsewhere on the jacket, depending on the version but I didn't want these.
So I went to Chesterfield with wool fabric, matching thread, toning lining material, yards of bias binding, yards of braid, fur hooks and buttons (you can see why I needed to go by car!). The tutor didn't like my braid (I had great problems trying to get suitable notions.), so together with the tutor I visited a local haberdashery, run by a man in his 80s - the shop was a real treasure trove. I did buy some rather expensive braid - but then later decided I'd prefer not to have braid at all!
One great thing that the tutor showed me how to do was to fully interface each piece of fabric - using different grades and types of interfacing, depending on the position on the jacket. She has a press and I loved using this to apply the interfacing - but no, I won't be buying one for myself! I don't have a photo of the beautifully interfaced pieces.
Excuse the photos and my facial expressions! It was blowing a gale but I didn't want to wait any longer as who knows when it would have got done!
With no braid and no pocket flaps there was a danger of the jacket looking too plain. I decided to topstitch the princess seams. This, I think, looks very nice but it is rather subtle (not really a disadvantage in my book!). This took some time to achieve, using a triple stitch on the tutor's machine. (I will add a photo later as my camera is playing up and I don't have a decent view) I also top stitched the cuffs (shown). I had to use a smaller seam allowance in stitching the cuff to the sleeve as I felt the sleeve still wasn't long enough - next time, I would lengthen it further. This photo shows my fabric, the cuff top stitched at both ends and the notch, which on the pattern is much deeper and has a button at the apex of the notch. I decided I preferred a gentler slope.
I had watched a Craftsy class on how to make a lining for a jacket and reviewed it in the evenings when I had nothing better to do while away from home and on my own. I also looked at Sandra Betzina's instructions (in Power Sewing Step-by-Step). So I was ready to make the lining. However, to save time the tutor took me through the steps but made up the lining pattern herself. I was disappointed but realised that time was very short.
In fact, time had now run out! My jacket was not finished. The tutor ran through the remaining steps, involving finishing the closures and facing, by hand, attaching the lining and hand stitching the sleeve lining to the cuff interfacing and the lining to the hem - she said this was just a couple of easy steps which I could manage.
So I decided to finish it at home.
So was the class worthwhile? You know, I'm really not sure. It was good value, despite having to travel so far and pay for hotel accommodation and meals, the tutor was pleasant and knowledgeable, I had her to myself - and if I'd been at home there was no way I'd get 3 days to sew. However, I had a lot of problems after I left and feel time in class would have been better spent actually fitting the lining, for example, than sewing on hooks, though of course things have to be done in the correct order. There was no way that the fur hooks were going to work attached the way she suggested and that wasted a lot of time both in class and afterwards.
If I cost up this jacket, it's very expensive - but a lot of the techniques I learned can be used elsewhere, so I'm not going to include the course cost. I'm not even going to include the cost of the unused yards of bias binding, the braid or fur hooks as they can be used another time - they've just added to my stash.
Closures firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com £6 - now firstname.lastname@example.org £6.20
Total £74 now £74.20 - and a lot of time
Do you think it was worth it?