Archive for the ‘Jackets’ Category

ABdPM 20013: C’est Fait!

December 5th, 2010 16 comments

This pattern, my first Au Bonheurs des Petites Mains, was all about experimentation, and it has been a wonderful experience all around.  Not to mention that I love, love, love this jacket!

The lower fastener is drooping a bit; I didn’t catch it when I took the photo.  This is probably due to the fact that the dummy isn’t fully dressed beneath the coat.  It doesn’t seem to do this on me; if it did, of course, it would be an easy matter to tighten up the elastic.

The first part of the experiment was translating the directions from the original French, an effort that was not wholly successful.  Then I changed some things that may or not have been addressed by the instructions (it was hard to tell).

There were all kinds of fun challenges along the way, every one of which was even more interesting because constructing this pattern involved thinking that was so different from my usual methods and approaches.  Now that it’s finished, I’m still not sure exactly how it’s meant to be made!

I think, for example, that  this jacket is meant to have elastic strung through the hem, giving it a slight “bubble” effect.  I didn’t do this; I think this makes my jacket longer than ABdPM’s, a length I prefer.  Skipping this step also gives my jacket an A-line shape, kind of like an abbreviated “swing” jacket, which I like very much.

Choosing the closures was a whole adventure of its own.  In the end, I strung ceramic beads on oval elastic.  Loops on each end go around filigreed metal buttons:

So that I don’t lose them, these fasteners are attached on one side, under the buttons.

The cuffs are caught up by elastic that loops over slightly smaller buttons:

I love the curve of the yoke on the back, and the big, wacky hood:

The hood is wonderfully, insanely, bizarely huge:

It’s kind of Grim Reaper, isn’t it?  But you wouldn’t wear it this way, of course.  To wear it,  you’d turn the front half of the hood back, which works perfectly, and is necessary if you expect to see where you’re going. Amazingly, the back part of the hood fits my head perfectly, and it stays in place very nicely even in a brisk wind.

This is a faux facing that I added so that I’d have a firm anchor for the chain, and a showcase for the ABdPM label:

The vertical line below the facing is the pleat I added to the lining.  It’s sewn closed under the facing, and below the waist to the hem.  Did you note the label?

One comes with every pattern  — it’s a superb finishing touch!

Here’s the comprehensive list of what I changed:

  • did not use contrast for hood and front bands
  • lengthened jacket by about an inch; did not elasticize hem which probably made for another inch or two increase
  • made my own lining pattern; added center pleat for wearing ease; cut back lining all-in-one instead of separate yoke piece
  • made welt pockets instead of using welt-trimming on each pocket edge
  • added loops for hidden security pockets

The elastic closures on this jacket mean that it will always shift a bit in wearing, as you can see here:

This jacket is really easy to wear, and the shifting doesn’t bother me a bit; it’s just part of how “free” this coat feels.  However, it would be simple to add a button or two on the inside, or to replace the elastic cords with, say, flaps and toggles, if that’s what you preferred.  That would make the coat look much more conventional, but it would keep the front in place.

Aside from the closure and the hood, there is one other unusual thing about this jacket. The wide front bands are not at the center of the jacket.  Instead, they overlap each other completely; the seams where the bands join the front of the jacket are actually right at the center front, so there’s a double (really quadruple) layer down the front.  Very nice in cold weather!

Although he likes this coat, Mr. Noile says that the elastic toggle on the top of the hood looks silly.  And it does, when it’s sticking up straight.  You can’t really see that here (or even the toggle itself, but I’m a little burnt out on photos here), but here’s how the hood looks in back when the elastic is drawn up:

It would be easy enough to put the toggle at the other end of the elastic, near the curve of the hood if you preferred.  I don’t mind it all at all — it is covered by the fold when the hood is up, and is unobtrusive when the hood’s down.

The pattern itself is well-drafted, although there was a minor issue at the front center neck, easily seen and resolved before cutting.  I didn’t care for the “use the exterior pattern pieces for the lining” instructions, so I made my own lining pattern, which was easy enough to do.

Then there’s this curious anomaly:  ABdPM calls for a contrast fabric for the hood/bands.  I skipped this, because if I’d used their pattern piece, the outside of the hood would have been in this contrast fabric.  But look at the ABdPM photograph:

You can hardly see it, but under that top fastener is a seam.  A seam that would have allowed using the contrast as a simple lining for the front band only, not for a one-piece band-and-hood.  Hmmmm.  Looks as if a little something got left on the drawing board.  It would be easy enough to alter the pattern to allow this small change, and much nicer than having the contrast as the exterior of the hood.  I can’t find any reference to this seam in the printed pattern, but that could be a language issue.

I had two minor problems while making this:  One was inserting the elastic into the hood, which was due, at least in part, to the thickness of my fabric, but might have been easier if I’d fully understood the French directions.

The second had to do with the hood/front band pieces:  When I lengthened the body of the jacket, I lengthened the band as well, but something went wrong, and the band ended up an inch shorter than the body. Here’s the bottom of the bands, with the lower edges of the fronts lined up.  (The band’s the fuzzy part.):

I could have fixed this by simply shortening the jacket, but, as it is, I’d probably make the next one two inches longer than this one.  It would be more flattering, for example, if the hem didn’t hit right at the widest part of my hips, so shortening was not an option.  Instead, I just left it as it was.  I don’t think it materially harms the appearance of the jacket, and I would have been very unhappy with it shorter.  Was the problem with my math?  Was it because the body was supposed to have a wider elastic casing?  Or is it an ABdPM error?  I think my math was fine (it was easy math, after all!), but I’m not sure what happened here.

Bottom line:  An experienced sewer will have no trouble with this pattern, but may have to work a little harder than usual to get through the project (unless fluent in sewing French).  But it’s so worth it:  As Mr. Noile said “It really looks French!”.  I think so, too.

You won’t see another one of these on the streets of New York — unless someone reading this gets cracking!  And please do — I could see this jacket made so many different ways.  In cotton twill, for example, and unlined.  In two shades of light linen, or a coordinating print and solid in a light linen.  What about pinwale corduroy?  Or canvas?  Or in solid wools, say fuchsia and a purple for the contrast version that I didn’t make?  Oooh-la-la!



ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

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ABdPM 20013: The Lining

November 30th, 2010 1 comment

Wow, polyester, how do I hate thee?  Let me count the ways:  There’s the permanent factory crease down the center of your yardage that no amount of ironing will remove; the fact that you hate all thread tensions known to humans (and their machines); the way you equally  hate all needles; not to mention the lovely way you perforate — permanently — everywhere a pin is placed.

There’s more, but I haven’t got all day.

I know; I did the wrong thing.  I chose my lining for the color, not because it was going to be a good lining.  It’s green, a lovely, leafy green which just happened to coordinate with the buttons I intended to use to close this coat.

Top to bottom:  The tweedy wool, hardly visible; a strand of glass beads once considered for the closure; the now-rejected (sob!) green buttons; the rejected springs (ditto); oval elastic (still on); solid black twill, since rejected, originally meant for contrast; and the infamous poly lining.

Can I just mention how much I wish I had gone for a boring black, white, or ivory heavy acetate coat lining?  And then move on?  Live and learn; it’s the only way.

ABdPM has you use the same pattern pieces as the jacket for the lining; they just have you cut the body pieces shorter. A lot shorter, but this may have something to do with the way they finish the hem.  More about that later.

I decided, though, that I really didn’t want to simply use the jacket pattern pieces for the lining, so I made the following changes:

  • cut the back yoke and the lower back pattern pieces all-in-one, just as I did for the interlining
  • added a box pleat to the center back, to allow for ease of movement in the upper back especially
  • cut the sleeves (which aren’t curved where the back seam is joined) all-in-one
  • cut the backs and fronts 3/4ths of an inch longer than the interlining, and the sleeves 1/2 inch longer

I traced my own lining pattern, building from the ABdPM pattern, and adding these changes to my new tracings.  I might actually make this jacket again, so the extra effort is worth it; this jacket is actually pretty simple to make, once you know how.

I edge-stitched the box pleat, on the wrong side of the lining, of course.  Doing this will help it to fall back into place as I move:

Satiny stuff photographs badly, especially in the hands of such an amateur as I am.  This actually looks quite a bit better in person than it does in the photo, though I was never able to fully resolve the poly issues chronicled above.

When it comes to coat pockets, I’m all about utility, and I like lots of them.  This led to one other change in the lining.   As I’ve made it, this is kind of a swing coat, and putting pockets into the lining might have weighed the jacket down and inhibited some of that pizazz.

Instead, I sewed two self-fabric loops into the lining at the bottom of the armholes.  My cell phone will  go into this pouch under my left arm, out of the way, and not pulling on the jacket at all:

The picture’s not great, but you can see the silver hooks clipped onto the loops above the floating pocket.  This pouch was kind oaf a quick and dirty mini-project, mostly to determine what length the loops should be.  I may  make a more polished one later.  A “secret” wallet/pocket will attach to the other set.

If I ever have the misfortune of losing my bag in a city, I want three things:  my cell phone; a twenty dollar bill; and my transit pass.  I like having them all clipped into my coat.

I thought I’d bag the lining, since I’d never done that before, but quickly abandoned the idea, since the jacket is so bulky I’d have had to leave an entire side seam open to turn it.  No matter; inserting the lining is very straightforward, and it’s almost done.  Hurray!



ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Rant alert –nothing that follows has anything to do with ABdPM, or this particular project (except tangentially).  Read at your peril.

Adding to my polyester woes was the fact that I bought this fabric at JoAnn’s, and it suffered from all the usual JoAnn quality issues.  I was laying out the pattern on the first cut when I realized that there was an oil blotch, very subtle, but very present, about 15 inches into the cut.  OK, I kept cool —  I understand JoAnn quality, so I’d bought an extra half yard just in case there were issues.  I figured I could work around it.

So I changed the layout to work around the stain, but foolishly cut the front and sleeves before actually pinning the back (which is on a fold, of course).  Then I realized that I had left an inch too little fabric.  Aaaaargh!

I went back to JoAnn’s and discovered, amazingly, that they had gotten another bolt of the same stuff in.  (Glutton for punishment much??)  There was a spray of small oil-like stains on the start of this bolt, too, which I made the clerk cut off, but the piece I brought home appears to be fine — except for all the poly issues mentioned above.

I try to avoid JoAnn like the plague, but when color matching is an issue, sometimes I’m stuck.  It’s never a good thing.

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

ABdPM 20013: Miscellaneous Report

November 27th, 2010 3 comments

Things are progressing here — the jacket’s got pockets:

I don’t like raw edges on the insides of my patch pockets, so I lined these with a thin, slippery polyester.  And I interfaced them as well, because that will help to keep them from “pooching” over the years.  Then I turned them, and applied the finished pockets to the jacket fronts.

These aren’t exactly the pockets specified by ABdPM.  Their pockets have two bound edges, stitched from the contrast that I’m supposed to be using for one side of my hood (you can see this in the photo below).

I know, too small, but maybe you get the idea.  The contrast trim is just a thin edge on the pocket opening.

Instead, I used the exterior wool fabric, and made standard welts for the opening. Here’s the welt on the back side, before I stitched it in place:

This fabric ravels very easily; with another wool, I probably wouldn’t have bothered to finish the edges.  The welt fabric is a true rectangle, but I took this picture at an angle in a (vain) attempt to avoid the shadow you see at the bottom of the picture.  Got to work on those photo skills one day.  Not this week, however.

My pockets are larger than the ABdPM versions — about a half an inch larger all around.  ABdPM’s pockets are pretty small; big enough for hands, probably, but mine had to be large enough so that I could get my pocket camera in and out with no fuss.

I used to be quite good at making welts and bound buttonholes, but those days are gone, and, once again, I’m grateful for this lovely tweedy-twill which hides imperfections very nicely.  The welts nearly match.  Close enough, as they say, for government work — but far from perfection.

On other fronts (literally) I’ve been debating the closures.  When I first saw the ABdPM photograph, I was thrilled because I mistakenly assumed that the jacket was closed with springs:

Yeah, only a hardware junkie could have leapt to that conclusion. Those are actually beads strung on elastic, which loops over four assorted buttons.

I liked the hardware concept a lot though, so I picked up a couple of springs.  They were too chrome-y, and maybe too heavy, as well.  Then I dropped in at the beading store and picked up some heavy black wire, which I wrapped around one of the springs.  Better, but not right.  Then I made a spring-like structure out of the black wire and added flat, rectangular, glass beads to the ends.  Not quite right, either.  The black wire coils completely disappeared into the tweed which just looked strange, rather than interesting.

Here are the three incarnations (in reverse order from the way I’ve described them, sorry):

All have been rejected (and you might say “good riddance”!), but I think I have a solution, which I’ll save for later.  I’m afraid that I really do want a kooky closure, so actual buttons-and-tabs or buttons-and-buttonholes are out of the question.



ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

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ABdPM 20013: The Hood

November 22nd, 2010 3 comments

Once I’d fit the jacket, and cut out the interlining, it was time to tackle the “exterior” fabric:  the wool the world would see.

This pattern calls for “serge” or “”twill” (it’s not clear to this English reader which) for either the inside or outside of the hood and the band that extends down the front of the jacket (they’re cut all-in-one).  My French isn’t good enough to figure out exactly which piece was which, although I think it would be pretty obvious once it came time to do the final assembly.  I’d decided, though, that I wanted two layers of my main fabric for the hood, so that’s what I did instead of using the contrast.

Here’s the hood, assembled, with the front edges of the hood and the front of the jacket bands to the right.  The bands are folded back because this is one looong piece.

Because I wasn’t sure exactly how this section was going to attach to the rest of the jacket, I probably made the front band a little longer than necessary; I won’t know for sure until the final assembly.  At this point, I’m supposed to have closed the bottom seam, and topstitched all around, but that’s waiting until I confirm this piece’s true size.  I think I’d have wanted to do that topstitching last, in any case, after the jacket’s all together.

The hood has an elastic drawstring, with which I did battle for hours.  I can’t even imaging what all went wrong:  Attack of the stupids, maybe?  I did make life a little difficult for myself when I insisted on putting a protective bead on the elastic. , inserted the elastic all wrong, forgot the bead and toggle .  .  .  and so on.  Here’s what the set-up looked like:

There’s the elastic (I cut it to the precise length of the part of the hood that holds the drawstring, so the hood, which also forms an over-sized collar, could be worn without any cinching at all), the lock toggle, and the bead.  The casing is along the hood seam; I’m not sure exactly how ABdPM meant it to be made, but I just topstitched on either side of the hood seam, forming a channel.

The problem is that the elastic doesn’t go the whole length of the hood; it begins in the middle of the hood’s curve, goes along the top, and then exits through a buttonhole a few inches from the hood’s front edge.  I did every dumb thing possible while trying to thread this elastic.  The first issue was classic:  There are four layers of wool forming this channel, and I laboriously  threaded the elastic up through one that didn’t open out through the buttonhole.  D’oh!  And it got worse after that .  .  .

I don’t even remember how I solved this problem in the end, but it involved making an opening in the hood lining seam, knotting the ends of the elastic (but not so much that it couldn’t be pulled through the channel), and somehow resulted in having the bead and toggle where they belonged on the outside of the hood, and the ends of the elastic stitched to the seam allowance in the inner hood, and with the seam closed up neatly.  Wool is so forgiving!

I love using this bead, because there’s no chance the toggle will be lost.  This means, I hope, that I’ll never have to think about this process again.

ABdPM marks the buttonhole perpendicular to the hood’s edge, but, instead, I set it over, and parallel to, the hood seam (only on the outside hood, of course, and before I assembled the pieces), and then just opened the seam where the buttonhole was centered.  This made a lot more sense to me, and was much easier to do over the thick wool layers.  I  made it as small as possible, and it turned out to be quite neat and tidy.

I did not interline or interface the hood or front bands.  I was sure the doubled wool would be the right weight, and I wanted the front bands to drape a bit.  They appear to lie over the front of the jacket, so they shouldn’t need extra support.

Cutting both the hood and the hood lining meant that I needed almost three yards of wool; mine was 62 inches wide.  It would have been a pretty tight fit, but probably still possible, to get everything from 60 inches, but less width might have gotten problematic.  The hood/front band pattern piece, with my  +/- 3 inch alteration was 40 inches inches long.  That’s one big hood!

ABdPH calls for far less fabric (even allowing for the major change I made); maybe they’re a lot more clever at layout than I am, though my layout sure looked economical.  No layouts are included, though, so their scheme remains a mystery.



ABdPM 20013:  Fit and Interlining

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

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ABdPM 20013: Fit and Interlining

November 21st, 2010 6 comments

From Au Bonheur des Petites Mains, this is the “Veste effet boule, à capuche”, (or “Jacket ball effect, hooded” per Google Translate).  I’m a little unclear on exactly what the “ball effect” is, but that’s OK.  It’s a jacket with a goofy hood, a fun front closure, and circular pockets.

Because the instructions are in French (or more accurately, because my French is decades old and beyond rusty), figuring out exactly how it’s meant to be put together isn’t the simplest thing.  Using Google Translate, and Shams’ helpful glossary, I cobbled up instructions that were more or less comprehensible, if slightly scanty.  That was my first step.

The next step was figuring out my size.  ABdPM patterns are French, and the sizing is a little different from what I usually encounter.  Allow me to correct that:  The sizing is a LOT different.  Not only do French women not get fat, but apparently they’re not very big, either.  And have no busts.  And super-slender arms.

So getting used to ABdPM sizing takes a little effort.  At 5’2″ and 122 pounds, I needed size 44, except in the shoulders, where I cut the pattern down to nearly the smallest size:  34.   (Size 44, by the way is the top of their smaller size range.)

I probably should have tried an FBA in a smaller size, but I’d still have needed the 44 sleeves, and I wanted the fullness of the larger coat body, not to mention that I needed plenty of space for my 37 C+ bust, and without an FBA the larger size was the only way to get it.

The size 44 sleeves fit in the biceps,where they’re snuggest, but come thisclose to being too tight, so that’s definitely something to watch.   Overall,  I’m pretty small for a North American, and my arms aren’t notably heavy, so these sleeves must be really narrow.

ABdPM patterns are printed on heavy paper (which is wonderful!), so I traced off my chosen size, and cut out the interlining (or underlining, or whatever).  No seam allowances are included; they’re completely up to you.  I used 5/8th of an inch, which is what I’m most used to.  I also made the jacket about three-fourths of an inch longer, before, of course, adding the depth of the hem.

My “exterior” fabric (that’s what ABdPM calls it, and I like that adjective a lot better than the silly term “fashion fabric”) is all wool, but not quite coating weight, so I knew I’d need some fairly serious insulation for winter wear.  The interlining is one layer of a thin, drapey poly batt, and one layer of cotton flannel, cobbled together with loose, free-hand quilting.

Yikes!  Clumsy stitching and out-of-focus.  Just think of the outer layer as an especially fuzzy flannel .  .  .

I’d never done free-hand quilting on a machine before, and, let me tell you, I did one messy job of it.  No matter; the only point was to keep the layers together without stiffening the lining.  In that, I succeeded.  I do, however, now understand why a quilting shop I stop in at now and then has a huge, computerized quilting machine which is always humming.

Since I was fairly confident of the fit, I used the interlining as a “muslin”, and tweaked the pattern only slightly, in the shoulders, as noted above.  This was pretty risky, and may come back to bite me, though, since I’m still not exactly sure how the jacket goes together.  I think I know, but let’s just say that the instructions are a little obscure in places.  A more prudent sewer would have done a full muslin, but since the jacket’s loose-fitting, and the whole project is an experiment, I was willing to take some chances.

The back of the jacket has a yoke, with a lovely curved seam, but I cut the yoke and lower back all-in-one for the interlining once I realized that the seam was strictly decorative.  I didn’t want the bulk in the insulation.

By the way, ABdPM patterns are hugely over-sized; about 9 x 12 inches, or roughly 22 cm by 30 cm.  They come in a stiff, nearly cardboard-like envelope, with a photograph of the finished garment, a page of instructions, and the pattern itself.  This presentation explains the hefty shipping charge to North America, but the packaging is an aesthetic joy, and a further spur to action.  I can hardly keep from drooling every time I see the envelopes on my shelf.  Who wouldn’t want to sew something packaged so enticingly?



ABdPM 20013:  The Hood

ABdPM 20013:  Miscellaneous Report

ABdPM 20013:  The Lining

ABdPM 20013:  C’est Fait!

Categories: ABdPM, Jackets Tags:

Felted Wool Tunic/Vest

November 16th, 2010 3 comments

Thanks to Shams, I’ve been introduced to the wonderful world of Fawbush’s, where I saw this marvelous vest from Angel:

Here’s the description:

Since 1985 Angel has been providing customers with unique, fashionable, high quality womens apparel. Their garments are produced in Turkey using the finest Italian yarns. We love the drape and classic styling of this versatile piece. It features a no closure front, a double collar and embellished pockets.

Nice! — but this is knit, and I wanted something woven.  And I’m not nuts about that upper collar; it’s just not a look I’m wild about.  Clearly, I needed to make my own.

What material to use?  Felted wool seemed like the best answer, as I wanted to keep the vest as simple as possible, and didn’t want to mess with wither the weight or angst of facings.  I decided to make a muslin of regular old felt, just to get a feel for sizing, etc., so I trotted down to the local “fabric” store and bought the only felt yardage they had — made from recycled soda bottles (and boy, could you tell!).  Here’s what I worked up:

I really liked the look of this!  I finished all the edges in woolly nylon, and my only regret was that I’d made it in such an awful fabric.  Since I was about to leave on a long trip, I began to dream about how nice it might be to wrap up in a boiled wool vest on a chilly plane .  .  . but I had only a day or two before the trip, and no time to find nice wool, boiled or not.

There’s an overstock store near us, though, and through energetic ferreting, I was able to find two 100% wool throws for a pittance.  I tossed them into the washing machine and dryer, several times over, and ended up with enough wool to replicate my vest in something with a much nicer hand:

I didn’t, and don’t, like this version as much, though.  The fabric was thicker, so that the pocket shape isn’t as pronounced (the stitching doesn’t take up enough of the fabric, so the pockets are larger, less rectangular, and “poufier”).  Of course, I couldn’t match the burgundy in woolly nylon, so I had to use a pewter/black instead — it’s OK, but not as nice as I’d like.

This version needed something:  some kind of closure.  I showed it to Mr. Noile and was debating the various options.  I was leaning toward magnets, but debating how I’d keep the stitches from showing on the “right” side.  A non-functional button, sewn over the magnet,seemed to be the right answer.

Mr. Noile looked thoughtful for a moment, and then suggested attaching magnets directly to the button(s).  He pointed out that this would let me change the button configuration any time I pleased.  Brilliant!

So I got out the hot glue gun and attached magnets to buttons, resulting in this, the smock vest:

and this, the one-button close:

and this, the loden version:

and this, the two-button-with-collar styling:

and this, the pocket variation:

This was all very well and good (and a lot of fun!), but overall this project was not a success.  First, because this kind of vest is not best suited to a small person with a large bust, and secondly because somehow that lovely burgundy boiled wool just looks a little becky-home-ecky compared to the more sophisticated-seeming gray flat felt.  I really, really prefer my gray felt version, but the fabric’s just too awful to wear.  Sad.

Not to mention that woolly nylon was not the right edging.  It snags and pulls on everything.  Though I should note that the boiled wool itself is heavenly to wear; it’s both warm and light, and feels incredibly natural on the torso!

Neither version really captures the longer, leaner look of the original (or the better drape!), and, in the end, I’ve got something quite different.  After all, that’s what “inspiration” is all about, rather than “copying”; I love the way this morphed into something else.  This exercise was a lot of fun, and I’ll have to continue to experiment like this in the future.

I made a tiny pocket hidden in the large pockets to hold the buttons when they’re not in use.  That was a good move, and would have been especially useful if I’d actually worn it on a plane.  Which I didn’t, because anything I take on a plane has to have many uses over the course of the trip.  A long vest just wasn’t minimalist enough for me in the end.  But it was a lot of fun playing with the idea!

Categories: Jackets, Tops Tags:

Thrift Store Rescue: Jacket Repair

April 28th, 2010 No comments

Sometime back in 2008, I saw this jacket at a thrift shop, and fell in love with it.  Why?  Because it’s weird, that’s why.  It’s a kooky variation on what used to be a classic Columbia winter jacket.  This one is made of the same clear nylon jade/purple/black colors, and has the typical color-patching, but it’s a pullover, and the cut is much trimmer than a typical Columbia-type jacket.

It also has zippers all over the place:  under that snap placket; at the center front (the fit’s so trim that you’d need to unzip to run); under each arm; and up one side.

The problem was that much of the hem had pulled out, and the nylon lining, naturally, had begun to disintegrate.  Not so badly that it couldn’t be fixed, though.  I was pretty sure that, among the very few non-sparkly woven trims at JoAnn, I remembered one with jewel tones not unlike those in this jacket:

Not only were the colors compatible, but the pattern seemed just about perfect, too.  Here it is sewn in  place on the coat:

In the few spots where the lining had unraveled especially badly, the trim was just wide enough to bridge the gap.  I sewed it in place with tiny, nearly invisible stitches, since I didn’t want stitching lines on the front.

The new trim not only solved the problem, but made the inside just as full of crisp, sporty pizazz as the exterior:

You’d never know that the frazzled lining had almost turned this jacket into a discard.  Now it’s my favorite early fall, late spring coat.

Categories: Jackets, Tips Tags:

A Little Re-Styling

February 6th, 2010 1 comment

This is my wear-around-the-house-so-the-bad-kitten-can-destroy-it sweater.  Or jacket, I’m not sure which.  It’s very comfortable, and it was remaindered for next to nothing, so I was happy to find it.  But the asymmetric  front closure just looks strange.  Believe me, it looks really odd on a real body.  Or, at least, on my real body:


A little trim balanced it much better:


Or did it?  Mr. Noile says this jacket is still seriously wonky.  Aldebaran, the kitten, likes it just fine.  And it does appear to be virtually indestructible, which is what matters when the little monster feels like mountain climbing.

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Vogue 7914 – Jacket

May 28th, 2008 No comments

Here’s another piece for the PR Mini-Wardrobe Contest. (Will I actually make it to the finish line?) This pattern has appealed to me for a long time — it’s got easy lines, and that long tail in the back (which stretches around to the side fronts) gives it some extra interest.

According to the size chart on the pattern envelope, I should have cut between size 14 and a 16 (37 inch bust, 28 inch waist). I made a size 8, which is just about right. If anything, even that borders on the larger end of things, rather than the smaller. There are adjustments for petites; I had to double the amount Vogue suggested to shorten the sleeves sufficiently, though.

I made the jacket collar-less; I didn’t particularly like the look of the collar, and think the jacket will be more comfortable to wear in summer without it. I top-stitched around the neckline, too, matching the rest of the jacket. I’m not sure that worked — at least, the buttonhole looks a little odd fighting with the topstitching.

The directions are quite clear, except for the curious omission of adding buttonholes. Somehow they got lost between page 1 and page 2. This is unfortunate, especially since I, personally, like to be reminded of which side I’m supposed to put them. Bad editing, it seems, is becoming a Vogue trademark.

My fabric’s a turquoise linen with just a little bit of stretch. The buttons are JHB; mine are seven-eighths of an inch in size, though the pattern calls for three-fourths. I had considered going down in size, and had even ordered the smaller buttons, but realized that they would get lost in the massive expanse of the jacket.

However, this was the source of a serious miscalculation on my part. Instead of relocating the buttonhole location, I simply started them at the point closest to the edge of the jacket. This meant that the small amount of extra length leads out toward the sleeve. Net result? when the jacket isn’t buttoned, the buttonholes look a bit off — as if they were placed a little bit too far to the left. Which I guess they sort of were. I’ll have to watch that next time.

This jacket’s not lined, so I used a Hong Kong finish to give it a clean look inside. I’m happy with the jacket on the whole; but, in the end, it’s sort of neither here nor there. In spite of the fun tail, a great color and interesting buttons, it’s really sort of a plain, boxy jacket. I’ll wear it, I’ll enjoy it, but it’s sort of nebbish.

My Pfaff still doesn’t have a check spring, so I was fortunate that I was able to keep a very close eye on things and keep the thread tension where it belonged through this project. It’s really odd that the buttonhole function works perfectly when the machine is so hobbled . . . but I’m not complaining!

I remembered to sew an extra button inside the jacket. Replacing one of these buttons would be non-trivial.

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Vogue 7640 Jacket with Draped Lapels

March 27th, 2008 No comments

This is another strangely-shaped pattern (like Miyake’s Vogue 1476), and I actually marked “sleeve” “collar” and “shoulder” in big letters on the front jacket pattern piece, one side of which resembles a mad architect’s idea of the outline of a suspension bridge. You might save some time and aggravation if you do the same.


I made the jacket in an acrylic plaid in black, brown, white and teal found at JoAnn’s (the only immediately accessible fabric store where I am at the moment). I actually love the plaid, and wish it were in a soft wool instead. The jacket looks fine, but the drape would be softer in a better fabric, and also feel wonderful to wear. The acrylic just doesn’t quite do it.

In the envelope illustration, it looks as if the armholes are dropped off the shoulder. In actuality, they fit as if in a tailored jacket — except that the jacket front flows from the shoulder line. An interesting combination, but not exactly what’s illustrated. I’m reserving judgment about the tailored sleeve caps. I’m not sure they’re exactly what I wanted. Otherwise, the jacket does flow and fit as shown on the packet.


The jacket has another curious quality — the back is straight across, which isn’t exactly what you might expect. It feels short when worn, but I think it looks fine. I shortened the sleeves, which I always have to do, and did a Hong Kong finish on the seams, which worked well.


I think I may sew it again. It made up very quickly, and could be really wonderful in something very soft — kind of like a sweater with a jacket’s style. I loved doing the mitered corners! Next time, though, if I use such a loosely-woven fabric, I’ll make the turned hems a little larger. Managing a 1/4th inch edge in a loose, bulky weave is a bit tricky.

This is a fun, little versatile jacket that I’ll wear with jeans, trousers, a dress I already own and probably a skirt or two. It might be great for traveling, too, as it can span anything from casual to almost formal.

I wish I’d made it in a nicer fabric; I get compliments every time I wear it. I wish the fabric felt as good as the jacket looks.

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