I’m writing this sitting in the sunshine on the deck at my friends’ house in New York. And I’m happy to say that my jacket was finished in time for the trip. Just.
Overall I enjoyed making it, but I have to admit that I’m not altogether pleased with the finished product.
The real problem came when I tried to put the sleeves in. It had all been going so well up to that point! The stripes across the body were matched up beautifully across the seams, and the shoulder seams were chevronned to perfection. I was feeling pretty darned smug about the whole thing!
But then came the sleeves, and it all started to go wrong. No matter what I did, however much I eased them, they just wouldn’t fit in without puckering and tucking and wrinkling. And as for matching the pattern up – forget about it! In the end I put them in, unpicked and redid them about 6 times. And each time I unpicked and redid them, it got worse and the fabric got increasingly stroppy. The left shoulder drooped and no amount of steam would encourage it to behave.
Eventually I decided to call it a day and just live with it. After all, it was my first jacket. And maybe, just maybe, I am too much of a perfectionist.
It was at that point that I realised I didn’t have enough sleeve lining to cover the seam inside the jacket.
Many Bad Words were uttered, and a Not-Insubstantial Amount of Gin and Tonic was consumed.
I decided to sleep on it and come back to it the next day. A good decision, I have to say.
The next day, feeling slightly calmer, and less inclined to burn the damn thing in frustration, I sat down and looked at it again. The only fix I could think of was to dig out the minuscule scraps of lining I had left from the rubbish bin, and attach them to the sleeve head by hand to try and extend the sleeve lining enough.
So that’s what I did.
It was a bugger of a job. But the sleeve lining finally was big enough to cover the seam, and I could finish the lining.
All that was left was to add the patch pockets and the trim, and sew the chain into the bottom hem of the jacket. All of which went like a dream.
I was ecstatic! It was finally done!
But when I put the jacket on I realised that the problems inserting the sleeves had affected the fit across the chest. It didn’t lie nice and smooth any more. I’m going to live with it, wear it with pride, and take it to my Couture Sewing Class next week to get some expert advice on how to avoid this next time. Because there will definitely be a next time.
After all, it was only the first jacket I ever made, not the last.