Thursday, 18 December 2014

Black Linen Jacket

In July I went on a 3 day sewcation where I sewed a jacket Simplicity 2149  with the help of the tutor. The pattern was for an unlined jacket but I wanted to line it rather than bind all the seams and the tutor thought this was a good idea anyway. Due to time constraints the tutor drafted and cut out the lining (there was no lining pattern).  When I came to sew the lining together ready to bag it I found that the sleeves were a good bit too short and I had to add to their length. The seam doesn't show as there is a cuff. I have an earlier blog on this jacket and also a review on PR.

It was very windy that day - in fact it is today which is why we took photos inside.
I've wanted to do the jacket from start to finish by myself, however. I wanted a black casual jacket and had been unable to find one to buy so I decided to make one.  I decided to make the jacket in black linen,  which I had bought previously. I also decided to fully line it and chose red and black Paisley print lining, which I bought specially.

I measured out the pieces for the lining fabric on the existing pattern pieces, adding the necessary two seam allowances. Note to self - next time draw up separate lining pieces. This would be so much easier.

I also decided to have pockets, borrowed from another pattern Simplicity 2341.  On the other pattern,  I realised that the pockets were closed by exposed zips which I didn't fancy so decided against the zips but kept the pocket. My tutor at my regular Thursday class helped me by showing me how to make up a pattern for the pockets, which are sewn in on both sides of the princess seam. That was clever and useful. Before she showed me, I really was struggling as to how to do it, even though the jackets are similar (except this one has raglan sleeves).

I also decided to have a front zip closure, like 2341,  and bought a long black separating zipper after checking with the tutor that this would work. The other pattern has such a zipper closure.
The other change I made was to lengthen the sleeves as I felt they were a bit too short on my first jacket.

I cut out the jacket pieces without major difficulty.  The only problem was that I had to recut the sleeve bands which slipped a little as I was cutting. I cut them in class which means that I couldn't use my rotary cutter, unfortunately,  as I cut much more nicely with that.

I sewed the back of the jacket without problem and then started sewing on the side front pieces.
I then realised I needed to add the patch pockets to the front side pieces before stitching further (okay I had to unpick a bit! ). The tutor had advised sewing the bottom seam right sides together and upside down so that when folded back the pockets would be placed correctly. Another problem arose - I clearly didn't place exactly where we had made the pattern for as the pieces were not exactly the right size as they should have been.  I had taken my original jacket to class to work out where I wanted the pockets and cut the pocket pattern accordingly. Unfortunately, I didn't mark on the pattern...
Another note to self - carefully mark on pattern where I want to put pocket.
I decided to topstitch the pockets in 3 places - at the bottom of the pocket, at the top of the pocket and along the edge of the folded under flap which,  incidentally, I interfaced on the advice of the tutor.

I stitched the lining pieces together in class. The pieces lined up on one side but not the other. Even if I had wanted to, the tutor advised that it was so far out I couldn't ignore as the sleeve would twist in use. I took everything to pieces again and remeasured the segments. I found I had cut the two back sleeve pieces short - I had missed out the necessary double seam allowance, even though I had marked this on the pattern. I didn't have enough lining to recut the pieces so had to be satisfied with adding a piece to the top of each back sleeve. It won't show.

I did have a couple of other problems. I sewed one seam wrong sides together so had to unpick and resew correctly. Then I thought I had miscut the other lining pieces as once more my sides were different and didn't line up. When everything was taken apart, the measurements were equal. It is clearly difficult to match up; I haven't had experience of sewing slippy bias fabric and assume I was found wanting!

There is a lesson to be learned here - it's difficult to sew and concentrate when there is a lot going on. Perhaps it's better to put off until things are easier? On the other hand, I do find the classes an escape. Even the tutor noticed I wasn't my usual self - I found it more difficult to work things out, had to ask more and made more mistakes.

I didn't manage to finish  before our lengthy Christmas break but was well on the way. One night at home took me to the next stage.

My next task was to attach the collar. I had a few problems with this (after I had attached it and facing and trimmed seams). I topstitched around the collar and realised that I had created a right and a wrong side, attached the wrong way around. When I reread the instructions trying to sort this out, I realised that I had done the same as I did previously (and had been advised to do), which was to fold collar and understitch the seam allowance to the facing, before folding back to right side and topstitching, thus creating a right and a wrong side. Now I realised that I needed to fold over equally with no understitching, so that both sides were the same. I remade the collar to do this. I then topstitched with fewer problems than I had previously. It also had the bonus that the collar was easier to attach than it had been previously, even though my neckline (and facing) seam allowances had been trimmed, as the collar edges were equal in length now

I attached the collar and then the zip. The zip lies between the front and the self facing. My zip is quite heavy and has silver toned teeth. I had another lighter weight one with black teeth but this was shorter - I felt too short. In retrospect, I wish I had spent longer trying to source a longer black toothed zip. In addition, the end of the zip isn't black, and shows. It seems to be a thick opaque coating over the end of the zip. This was quite tough to sew through. I had to have a few attempts to line up the top of the teeth and the edge of the collar to match on both sides. It's not perfect but is acceptable.

Then I had to sew the facing to the neckline over the collar; the facing to the fronts was already attached, with the zip between the layers.

I had the lining sorted out and pinned to the facing pieces. I tried out sleeve lining length and it was okay. I still had to fold up the jacket hem and interface the seam allowance, stitch the lining to the facing where pinned, stitch the sleeve lining to the sleeve cuff seam allowance and sort out the hem area before turning the whole through an unstitched part of hem and voilà! my jacket practically finished!

I reckoned just a few hours work would see me finished. I was finding it difficult to get the time, though - I wrote this part as I was sitting in the hospital out patient department waiting room waiting for my mother to complete her eye tests and other bits have been written travelling on the train - so the whole post will be rather bitsy. After we took my mother home, I decided to finish the jacket before I got on with other Christmas preparations.

I had to take the lining off the jacket (I had moved on without properly checking the steps) and trim to the length of the finished jacket hem to make sure the bagging would work properly. I once again followed Linda Lee's Craftsy tutorial 'Underneath It All', but I didn't use staystitching on the lining as a guide as I had overlocked the edges and, to be honest, just wanted to get on with it! The reason why I had to unpin everything rather than just the hem area was that I also wanted to add interfacing to the hem allowance and hadn't thought to do this earlier. I also gave my linen a good press.

I repinned, following instructions and stitched lining to facing right sides together at 1.5 cms from one hem up and around neckline and down to other hem. I then went ahead and attached sleeve lining to the seam between sleeve and cuff using the contortions recommended! Then all that remained was a little handstitching to the facing at the edges and along the bottom of the hem.

I love my red Paisley lining!


I decided not to add the short half belt at the back or the buttons at the cuff.
However, two things
1. The lining is not joined evenly - my shoulder seams don't match. I don't know how this happened as I started by matching these seams. No, I'm not taking it out again! It was perfect before I unpinned.
2. The heavy zipped front sections want to flare out. I didn't do any topstitching at edge of zip and realised that I probably should have. My attempts to do this failed as the zip teeth caused the stitching line to veer off-course. The whole is understitched so that's not the issue

Is the jacket a success?
In so far as I have managed to complete the jacket without anyone doing any of the steps for me - yes. Another attempt would be easier.
However, the rumpled look of linen isn't for me, I'm afraid. It's just too unstructured and messy in my view. I pressed well but this didn't solve the problem for me
I’m not sure that the addition of a zip helped this jacket. I think I'll branch out to another style - and maybe I'll move away from raglan sleeves. I might actually be better sewing a straight 2341. I did buy fabric and zips for this previously but decided on this occasion as I had already made 2149, I would stick with that.

It's finished!! That's the biggest win!

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