Sunday, 15 October 2017

Making a Chanel-type jacket day 2

In progress
Following my last class, my tasks were to quilt the lining to the fabric/interfacing combo. Purists will realise that a 'proper' Chanel jacket doesn't have any interfacing but the interfacing here was ultra soft and lovely and probably helped me handle the fabric. To quilt, I did large herring bone basting stitching across the pieces, to secure them together. I originally tried pins down the lines of my stitching. These nicely marked the lines and secured the fabric but a couple caught the fabric so I ended up not going that way.
The pins here show where the stitching is going to go

Each piece was quilted with a line of stitching from the right side of the fabric, starting in the middle of each piece and ensuring the combo lay smoothly. I had a suitable pattern to follow. Each line of stitching is finished at least 1" from the sides and 3" from the hem. The process is not difficult, I was glad to find. You can, by the way, handstitch the quilting but that's not for me. In my case, I had to reduce the machine thread tension - and now think I could perhaps have reduced it a bit more. In my practice piece, I used a piece of fabric that had inadvertently been fused with interfacing on the 'wrong' side and the quilting lines are completely invisible. That's not the case with the other side of the fabric but at least my lines are even! My fabric could be used either way. I actually preferred the side I've used as the wrong side but Gillian pointed out that it would be particularly prone to getting caught so I took her advice and used the other.


So the pieces quilted were - fronts x 2, side fronts x 2, back x1, undersleeve x 2 and sleeve x 2. I did make a new back piece as when I looked at the piece I had, it was skewed. I only found this when I went to start the quilting. So I made up a new pattern piece the full back piece (the original has you cut on the fold by whatever means you choose to interpret that - mine was not on the fold, but flipped over on a single layer of fabric). It might have been okay but I had enough fabric to redo so that's what I did.
The underlying pattern shows the discrepancy
Better focus than the previous one

The stitching lines from the quilting were left with long threads at the end. These were pulled through to the inside of the sandwich and we tied them off. My lines were too close to the ends, particularly as there were a number of adjustments carried out in my fitting so these will have to be retied. It's important not to tie the ends too tightly, or that causes a dimple on the right side of the fabric. My ends are much shorter now so that will be a challenge!

After the quilting, I had to baste the jacket together for the final fitting. The fashion fabric is sewn together, but the lining left free. I used a big stitch on my sewing machine for this. Margaret hand basted. We roughly inserted one sleeve only.

On the way to staying with Margaret prior to the second class, I made another attempt to get suitable chain for the jacket and was partially successful. I had ordered some on-line but it was much too fine.
On Friday night, Margaret and I sat finalising our homework. Of course, we each tried our partially completed jackets to see what we thought. I thought Margaret needed quite a whack taken in at the shoulder princess seams as the shoulders were much too wide and the sleeve was lying strangely at the top. Margaret had also allowed extra for her hips but this wasn't necessary. I thought mine was too tight in the sleeves.

Day 2
When I was making up my jacket, I had taken in at the princess seams on the shoulder, tapering downwards towards the bust apex in front, as recommended previously but in fact, I needed even more as the shoulders were still too wide. Still - no alteration to the armscye! Lesson learned. There was even more taken out over the back - the original curve there is now much straighter.  Just under the arms on the side seams was also taken in, only for a short way.
Jacket basted, one sleeve roughly basted in

Right shoulder and back pinned (you can see in mirror)

I addition, my right shoulder required fabric to be removed from the neckline. This shoulder also needed to be shortened by taking in another portion at the princess seams. The left shoulder didn't require this. Yes, my shoulders are wonky!
Gillian pinning changes. You can just see the alteration to the neckline edge of my right shoulder
To my surprise, I didn't need to use the extra seam allowance sewn to increase hip width.

The jacket looked and felt much better.

I spent AGES, far too long, making the adjustments necessary - this because the patterns needed to be matched. The first time around, I hadn't been too worried about 'perfection' as I knew adjustments would be needed, but this time, things had to be right. It was tough, particularly over the curved bust area where there is both easing and pattern matching to be achieved. Also, I had to unpick lines of quilting as these now interfered with my adjustments.

Adjustments made. Pinned on centre front. Not pressed yet. No sleeves yet.
Next step was to trim any excess fabric from the seam allowances and insert the sleeves. Time was actually rather short so we trimmed just enough to finish sewing the shoulders and insert the sleeves. The jacket got a good pressing before this - apparently the last opportunity!

Gillian was happy with my jacket so far.
None of the hems done as yet so lots of raw edges and loose threads

She showed us the next stages.
  • Taping the neckline.
  • Folding up the hem and inserting the curtain chain weight.
  • Margaret is doing buttons so she had a facing and will need to do buttonholes. She is planning to do machine buttonholes. I have no facing as my lining goes right to the edge. I think Margaret is also planning to insert flange piping between her lining and facing. That looks rather nice.
  • How to sew the ling beautifully, by hand. Margaret got to start hers but I'm quite a bit away from that as yet.
  • How to add braid to the jacket edges. I was going to add braid but Gillian showed me how to fringe the fabric and I decided I'll go with that. Basically a strip of lining, two strips of fabric laid over it, sewn longitudinally down the middle. Then lining folded away from fabric (this is sewn to jacket fabric on right side on seam allowance for front) and fabric fringed by removing the warp threads. My sleeves ended up a bit short so I have decided that this is a suitable fix - fringe added to the sleeve cuffs.
  • How to do a mock welt pocket. Not a working pocket, which neither of us wanted. I need to decide whether to do a button or a fringe trim to match the front I'm planning

·        You'll realise that I'm not intending to do 'couture'

Since getting home, I have decided again that the sleeves are a bit tight. I had originally thought that perhaps after trimming the allowances etc they would be fine but I'm thinking not so best to do this now. I'll add just a touch at the two seams - even 1/8" would add a total of 1/2".

I don't think the finishing touches are difficult to do - fitting is clearly the biggest issue - but they are time consuming. I'm short of time at the moment so will probably do what I need to do a very little at a time and it will be a while before I can model the finished jacket.

I haven't yet made the amendments to the pattern for future reference but will do that soon, maybe today, before I forget what they all were!


I made the long jacket version but the length is fine for me as a shorter version and to do the long version with buttons, I'll need to lengthen the pattern by at least 2".  I'll also lengthen the sleeves.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Making a Chanel-type tweed jacket. Day 1

Margaret asked me if I'd like to go to a class in Leeds, at the Yorkshire School of Sewing, making a Chanel jacket, as I'd previously expressed an interest when we met in Dewsbury. Of course I would! Two separate days, with homework in between. Margaret offered to let me stay with her the night before each class which sealed the deal!

Margaret has already done a blog post following the first session, so I'm keeping this brief.


I originally planned shorter length, longer sleeves, no buttons and welt pockets.
We had a number of supplies to buy before the class. The pattern. Vogue 7975.
Fabric. Interfacing. Trim. Thread. Buttons. Chain. We had to make a toile of the jacket basic pieces to take with us.


My time was cut short a bit as my mother is in hospital but I had managed a toile suitable to take before she was admitted.


I made a toile using Swedish tracing paper and found that I could hardly move my arm up. I was surprised at this as I thought Chanel jackets were cut high under the armhole to facilitate movement. The whole shoulder shape was off, I thought. (I've changed my mind since but that's another post maybe)

Alongside this I had been making up a Grainline Morris blazer and had what I thought was a similar problem. With that my tutor suggested I add fabric to the underside of the sleeve and to the body of the blazer which helped (I have posted about this and am far from happy with the outcome so this was not probably the correct alteration to try). I decided to try the same here and initially thought that worked well. I added approx  1” to the underarm and to the side body. This of course made the armhole too small so I had to extend that upwards. More was needed at the outside than the inside. The end result was a greater distance between shoulder and apex which was good for my 5’11” frame, I thought, but there was quite an alteration/distortion of the armhole/sleeve which I tried to balance again and an alteration/distortion of the distribution of fabric around the shoulder area. A lot of changes. Second toile in calico this time. Unfortunately I wasn't able to get professional tutor help with the fitting of the toile as I haven't been able to get to classes.


There was no change to biceps width. No other changes to length. I made up the short version. I thought the body is a little short, perhaps by ½” apex to waist and by 1½” waist to hem but I didn't adjust due to lack of time. It's not bad and the first thing in the class is adjustment of the toile. So it's ready for better or worse.


I should say I traced the pattern so I haven't altered the original pattern.


Fabric - I had some choices in my stash. I'd been asked to supply 1.5 metres or 2 metres if a larger pattern match. As I'm both a larger size and a longer length I felt that my Linton tweed pieces were too short at around the 1.5 metres length. I did have a piece of Avoca fabric from Fabworks and bought a piece of bouclé from them at GBSB Live last week. Both long enough. The first is navy and silver (better for my colouring) The second black and cobalt. I'll take them both.


A piece of Linton tweed but probably not enough. I like the colours here.
Another option for later
Originally I planned to use the navy and silver fabric and really wanted to trim the jacket in leather. I visited Le Prevo Leather, which is only a couple of miles from my house, for the first time, and bought some beautifully soft fine navy leather. I don't know if it will be suitable so I decided to get some trim too to give me a choice.


Margaret and I went to Fine Fabrics of Harrogate and bought lining fabric and interfacing (though unfortunately not quite enough of either). We bought some trim and some buttons in Duttons for Buttons - and I bought some more in Bonds of Farsley which I had never visited (or heard of) previously. Originally I hadn't planned to make a version with buttons but the class instructions mention buttons so I thought I'd get them. Lovely buttons.


Tomorrow is the first of the two classes. Everything is ready. Margaret and I both hope to make two jackets alongside each other. I think one of mine will be short no buttons and the other longer with buttons. Both will have long sleeves as I don't like jackets with ¾ sleeves.


Day 1


I was somewhat apprehensive, despite having briefly met Gillian the day before in Harrogate.


Gillian wasn't happy with my toile. She felt my adjustments had knocked the fit off and there was far too much fabric at the back, in the wrong place. The neck and shoulders didn't lie properly. The back neck fell back.The shoulder seams were uneven. The sleeves didn't lie or hang properly. I agree that this was the case. She feels that armhole/sleeve adjustments should be the last to be tried due to the complexity and that there is often another way of solving a problem. In addition, she didn't feel this pattern had major issues with this area. Basically I had created unnecessary problems. She asked me to cut out an unaltered version from the pattern tissue - fortunately this was still as per original. Fortunately too there were only two of us and Gillian was able to help me try to catch up with Margaret who was charging ahead.


So new toile. Still calico. Original size. Long length this time. Gillian thought this might be a little big for me but we agreed I should cut the size for my bust (42” full bust so a size 20 - other times I might cut according to my high bust 40” size 18 and make a FBA as I am a DD cup despite just 2” difference). The fit around the back was much better. The shoulders were still too wide. When taken in at the Princess seam, this narrowed the shoulder and worked well and the sleeve also felt much more comfortable. Clearly this should have been my first adjustment not going in big time to the adjustments I made! It didn't need a FBA. Waist position fine. So I was going to be cutting out an unaltered version in fashion fabric!  I think that's a first!


I went with the navy and silver grey fabric which has a stripe pattern - matching required! Gillian showed me how to match properly. She did quite a bit (a lot!) for me to try to keep me up with Margaret.


Then beautiful soft interfacing was fused onto the back of the fabric pieces, ensuring they kept the original pattern shape. As I mentioned earlier, Fine Fabrics ran out of the interfacing we wanted so we ended up piecing and using different interfacings which again slowed down the process.


The edge of the fabric/interfacing was machine basted. That was an easy bit!


The fabric is navy and silver grey - I can't get a good colour on screen
Then the lining was cut out (I hadn't completed this at the end of the class). This will be tacked to the fabric/interfacing using large herringbone stitches. Then the bundle is machine quilted using lines of stitching approximately 1” apart and stopping at least that from the sides and 3” from the hem. I was able to test out stitch length, tension, colour before we left.

Testing quilting - reverse side
The quilting is invisible from the right side.


Reverse - ready for quilting
So I have quite a bit of homework before we meet again! As I cut out the longer length, I'd like it to have buttons but this means I also have to cut out facing pieces which I didn't do so I need to see what is sensible to try to achieve. I can't do any while I am in Scotland visiting my mum. I should manage some this weekend though. I need to as the next session is the following Saturday (thank goodness we had an extra week between sessions!!)

Fabric ready for quilting
Margaret has already posted a blog post here and I think is still hoping to do two jackets. I'll be happy with one.
Machine quilting the fabric

Grainline Morris blazer - 'finished' and abandoned

I can't remember if I posted anything about the Grainline Morris blazer I was making. I haven't been posting for ages and my memory isn't that good! I started this blazer months ago, perhaps a full year ago or more!  So to briefly recap:
  • I followed instructions to do a FBA. This meant that my final blazer would have a dart whereas the original did not. Grainline is for a smaller cup size
  • I made up a toile but the fabric wasn't suitable so this wasn't very helpful. However, I needed a bit extra in the biceps area.
  • I lengthened the jacket length (though it turned out by too much)
  • I thought I had found suitable fabric and started to make the blazer. However the armholes and sleeves were far from right. I modified these as per tutor advice. I added to side seams under arms on bodice and sleeve and the sleeve cap was narrowed. I was fitted with it on.
  • Using the alterations suggested,  I started to make the blazer again and this time a bit shorter though still longer than the original. The fit wasn't bad, I thought.

I quickly realised I had a few problems. I loved the colour of my fabric but the fabric itself was spongy and really quite nasty,  clicking too readily - and clinging so that it wouldn't be possible to wear it over any kind of sleeve. I originally thought it was a ponte but it's actually a rather cheap scuba. It was difficult though not impossible to press and neither sewing machine (despite trying different needles etc) nor overlocker liked it.

I had to make up new facings because of my adjustments but that wasn't a great problem though I could certainly improve on what I achieved, particularly at the junction of hem and fronts.

So today I was ready to complete the blazer. The outer part was sewn and sleeves were set in.  Facings were attached apart from sleeve facings which I did today. I didn't like it. Colour lovely but the jacket dragged as I put it on to try it. I feel it needs a lining. That's the fabric rather than the style though I think.

Nevertheless I decided to finish but I made a mistake. The original instructions have you understitch the hem only. The front and collar are pressed so that the junction with the facing is at the edge and then the jacket is topstitched. As my fabric was so springy I decided to understitch the lot. I trimmed and graded all the seams and understitched. However I forgot to change the understitching to the other side at the collar break. I didn't even realise until it was pointed out. As it was going to be difficult to remove the stitching and as there were already a couple of nasty clicks very visible on the collar, I quickly decided this was another toile! You may see this on the photos. I'm not taking any specifically to show this.

I did some quick and dirty topstitching which certainly wouldn't have been satisfactory on a proper garment. I was using a class machine and I'm sure the wrong needle. My stitching was short,  long,  skipping. A mess.

I ‘finished’ the jacket.
But:
  • Wrong fabric
  • Difficult to judge fit as clings to shoulder area and sits lopsided
  • I need to improve how facings are attached to jacket at free edge.
  • i think its too wide at shoulders
  • I need to follow instructions or get my modification to instructions correct!

As well as quick and dirty topstitching, the jacket has quick and dirty pressing!

Too wide at the shoulders is the least of the problems



The blazer might be satisfactory in a different fabric. It needs more body. It's for stable stretch.  I'm thinking maybe boiled wool. Anyway, this is a summer jacket really. I'm not thinking of redoing it for now as I have a host of other projects on the go all of which are now more urgent than this one -  posts to come. Briefly: Chanel-type jacket quilting (for Saturday coming), costumes x4 for murder mystery weekend and silk dress for Helen for birthday all by end of November. Wish me luck! This jacket is back at the end of the queue; there are other UFOs in it too.

Update and Continuing with Machine Embroidery Course

I haven’t been sewing anything recently. I’ve managed a few alterations and repairs and a little bit of machine embroidery - though I’ve f...