Monthly Archives: May, 2014

Making My First Jacket

Guess what? I’m making my first ever jacket!

I’ve been wanting to make one for a while now, but for oh-so-many reasons I’ve only just got around to doing so. Firstly, the thought of making a jacket always seemed so much more intimidating than making a dress or a skirt, then there was the matter of finding a pattern I liked and fabric that would work well. I kept telling myself that there was no point in investing time and energy in making something that I wasn’t going to wear a lot. And so the jacket-making idea kept on being put on the back burner.

Then I went shopping with Mum a while back, and I finally found a jacket pattern I liked. Actually, let’s make that a pattern I loved! It’s what I’d call a cardigan style jacket, but what my lovely sewing teacher Sabina calls “une vraie Chanel”- it has no collar, no cuffs, no lapels, no buttons, and it’s not particularly fitted. I think this style of jacket can be really elegant, but can easily be either dressed up or dressed down depending on your mood. And, for a first foray into jacket making, it looked reasonably straightforward. So I bought it, with plans to make a summer-weight jacket at some point.

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Soon after this, I saw a class on Craftsy to make a classic tweed jacket. I love Craftsy classes, because you can follow along at your own pace, as and when you want, and everything’s always really well explained because you can actually see what’s going on. So I signed up, and found that the class pattern was the one I’d just bought with Mum. Now this was a good sign 🙂

What’s more, the lovely RR had bought me this book on making this kind of jacket as a Christmas gift (aren’t Amazon Wishlists wonderful!). Serendipity indeed!

But what fabric to use?

Well, as it turned out, I actually already had the fabric for this project sitting in my cupboard. I’d bought it on a whim at our local fabric store,where it sat languishing in the remnants bin at half price. There was about  1 1/2m of it and I had no idea what I wanted to use it for, I just liked the colours and the weave and the texture, not to mention it was a pretty good price (well, for Switzerland, in any case!) For the lining, I used some beautiful vivid blue silk dupion – I do so love a bright coloured lining.

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And so it all finally came together. Spurred on by the success of the grey shift dress I made for Ms S and Mr E’s wedding, I decided to jump in at the deep end, and use the beautiful but inexpensive fabric to make My First Jacket.  To tell the truth, I was kind of hoping when I started that it would be ready in time for said wedding, so that I could wear my two creations together, but it took me ages to put together the toile, and make the necessary adjustments to the fit. Well, suffice to say that I only actually got round to cutting the fabric out the day before we left, so wearing it to the wedding was a bit of a non-starter. But it is now underway nonetheless.

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I’ve been working on the jacket for the past few weeks, and slowly but surely I’m getting there. I know it’s not going to be perfect, but I’ve already learnt a lot, and I’m hoping it will be finished before my trip to the US in June, and my week at Susan Khalje’s Couture Sewing School. I’m going to be making a jacket while I’m there, so this one is partially a trial run, as well as something I hope I can wear during my trip.

Fingers crossed, eh?!

A Spring Wedding Outfit

I know, I know, it’s been *ahem* quite a while since I last posted on my blog, but that’s not to say that I haven’t been busy. Oh no indeedy! It’s just that what with one thing and another – Easter, lovely friends visiting, Patchwork in the Peaks quilt retreat, RR’s cousin’s wedding, and visit to Mum amongst them – blogging seems to have fallen off the radar recently. But having been so busy lately also means I have lots to write about – and I thought I’d start off with the dress I made to wear to Ms S and Mr E’s wedding.

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I saw the pattern for this dress in the catalogue in my local fabric store in Lausanne and loved it so much that I bought it straight away – I just couldn’t wait to get started, and the thought of waiting over a week to get the pattern shipped from England was just too much to bear! Sadly this meant that I got instructions in French, German and Dutch, rather than in English, but, hey, it was good for my French and I picked up the odd sewing-related term in German too 🙂

I already had the ideal fabric for this dress sitting in my cupboard, a lightweight grey wool I had picked up at Beckenstein Fabrics when I was in New York over Thanksgiving. It was an offcut, just 1 1/2 yards, but I knew immediately I saw it that it needed to be made into an elegant shift dress – and so, several months later, (French) pattern in hand, I got cutting and stitching.

The pattern came together really quickly, and over the course of a couple of weeks my wonderful sewing teacher Sabina helped me fit it and showed me how to create a proper facing and attach a lining. Shoes and bag had already been purchased, so everything was ready to go, and I was able to concentrate on the quilt I was making as a wedding gift for the lovely couple.

Then, one week out, disaster struck – I tried the dress on and it no longer fitted! With the benefit of hindsight, this was Not Entirely Unsurprising as I had been scoffing chocolate over Easter like a crazy woman, but it came as a bit of a shock when the dress barely zipped up (well, I got it zipped up, but breathing then became a problem – oops!) Cue an entire week of eating nothing but salad, combined with some judicious seam alterations and – Ta Da! Still a little tighter than I’d like, but all things considered, not bad at all…

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I absolutely love this dress (despite the not-doing-up trauma!). I’ve already made a second version in a gorgeous light blue linen I bought in Paris – and I have plans to make several more. It’s a simple make, nice and flattering and very elegant. Perfect, in fact, for a wonderful spring wedding.

Dress pattern – Burda Style 3477

Shoes – Russell & Bromley Smoothie 2 in Sky Blue

Bag – Le 48-50 de Lancel in Sky Blue