Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Deer & Doe Pavot Jacket

I think once a year I'm going to take a relatively easy coat pattern and add a bunch of design features that are way above my ability level.  Last year it was the Albion duffel coat.  This year it's the Deer & Doe Pavot jacket.  A contestant on the first season of The Great British Sewing Bee is working his way through a challenge and he says, "God loves a trier."  I had never heard the phrase before but it entered my brain again as I was attempting triangular buttonholes and a lining.

I first saw triangular buttonholes on Pinterest, which referenced  The Bishop Method of Clothing Construction from 1959.  I couldn't work out the instructions in the book and so I was pleasantly surprised when I learned that the Craftsy course Couture Finishing Techniques with Alison Smith has a section on triangular buttonholes.  She also offers instruction on circular buttonholes.  I attempted to make up a flower buttonhole on my own with no success.  She remarks that you should stick with one or two triangular buttonholes on a jacket.  I thought to myself, "I wonder why she said that.  Oh well.  I think I'll do seven."

I tried and tried to get the little puckers out of the corners of the triangle but couldn't pull it off.  I think it had something to do with the fabric I used because on my practice run with muslin I had no issues.  At some point you have to stop fiddling and move towards acceptance.  I do like them though.

I used a gabardine from Mood Fabrics for the body and a wool flannel for the collar (which is unfortunately sticking up in the picture--you can't win them all).  The gabardine was easy to sew with but it's hard to iron out a wrinkle once it's in there.  The lining is a navy-ish acetate also from Mood.  My color inspiration was this coat that Lady Mary wears in Downton Abbey. 

I am pleased with the fit.  In the pictures it appears that it's tight across the chest but in reality there is a good amount of room.  I didn't make any adjustments to my muslin because I'm getting so much better at measuring beforehand.  There are things that could be better about it (neater buttonholes, better finishing, better handstitching along the hem) but it's a success form me.  I learned a lot and stretched my abilities.  That's always a win, right?

Now for the construction details:

I constructed the entire shell of the coat first, including the facing .  I put in the buttonholes on the front half of the facing and then cut triangles in the back half of the facing as instructed. 

This pattern doesn't include a lining so you have to make your own.  I have never done that before.  Some people say, "I added a lining" like it's no big deal but for me it was a big deal.  If you don't add one the inside of your jacket will look like this (unless you do a different seam finish, of course). 
I used Tilly's tutorial on the Sewaholic website for assistance.  If you look at that first the rest of this will make more sense. 

The front jacket pieces are curved and therefore difficult to tape together.  I marked it little by little as I swung it around from the bottom all the way to the top. 

The facing part was harder to figure out because it folds back on itself and becomes the button band.  I taped the facing on exactly like you would sew it.  You can then feel on top of the paper and trace around the neck facing.  For the front of the coat, I only added 5/8 inch (not 1 1/4 as instructed) and only to the top part of the pattern that is at the neckline.  The inside of the facing extends 5/8 inch past the seamline along the front of the coat, so that's why I didn't add any more to that.  This is what my piece looked like prior to cutting along the single line at the botton and along the middle line at the top:
It was confusing but the measurements worked. 

The back bodice piece is rounded and is also in two pieces.  You are supposed to add an inch to the back bodice to be able to form a pleat in the lining fabric.  After factoring in the 5/8 inch I needed to take out because I was going to put the lining piece on the fold, I added 3/8 inch right in the middle and drew a straight line up from there.  This meant that there was an extra 1/4 inch at the top and bottom but it worked out ok for me. 

For the skirt front, I took off 5/8 inch along the straight front edge because of the facing issue described above.  I did the same for the waistband.

I constructed my entire lining including sleeves prior to putting it in the coat.  I wish I wouldn't have done that.  I intended to follow the protocol used in the Colette Anise jacket I made last year, but then didn't read ahead before construction started.  In that pattern, you sew the body of the lining on first and then hand sew the sleeves along the armhole.  I didn't have that option here because I did French seams throughout my lining.  Instead, I anchored the lining at the top and bottom of the armhole.  I was pleasantly surprised to find that my friend's RTW coat was done exactly like that.  I hand sewed my cuffs as well as hand stitching the hem and the hem of the lining. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Sewaholic Granville

After a particularly bad experience with the Papercut Rigel Bomber in January and some of February (which I'm choosing not to talk about in an attempt to forget it happened), I really needed a successful make.  The Sewaholic Granville shirt is my first time ever making a button up shirt with a collar and collar stand and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it.  There's just something rewarding about working through all of the different steps. If you're contemplating making the Sewaholic Granville shirt but haven't yet, get to it.  You won't be disappointed.  Believe the hype because it's a great pattern.

I made a muslin with a size 6 in the shoulders and grading down to a 0 right under the bust darts because I'm not a pear shape. My next step was to make what was supposed to be a wearable muslin out of a fabric that I absolutely had to have a year ago and recently decided I didn't like all that much.  I thought the 6 was just a tad too big in the shoulders so I went with the 4 instead.  I had a very hard time conceptualizing the collar and collar stand based on the pattern instructions, and consequently ended up destroying that part of the shirt.  If you get nothing else out of this post, get this: I strongly recommend buying Pam Howard's The Classic Tailored Shirt on Craftsy or consulting some other resource that walks you through sewing the collar and stand together as one unit before attaching it to the shirt.  The Granville Pattern instructions don't do this and it's pretty confusing if it's your first time.  Two different ladies from the RTW Fast on Goodbye Valentino suggested the Craftsy course and I can't recommend it enough, especially for beginners.  I was a little concerned when I noticed the segment for the collar was an hour long, but she is one of those instructors that makes it all seem so easy.  The Sewaholic website has several posts on sewing a collar as one unit, but the fabric used is so busy that I had a hard time figuring out what she was doing.  Buy the class!

My fabric is also busy so it's hard to tell what's happening but my collar and stand turned out crisp and neat and made me very happy. 

Sewing on buttons has not been my strong suit even though it seems like that should be the easiest part.  I end up sewing them in the wrong place a lot and then the shirt looks ill-made.  The Craftsy course gives good pointers on that as well and I had no issues with it this time. 

I skipped the beginning segments and went right to the collar portion because I had already completed the shirt up to that point.  I look forward to going back and watching them for my next Granville.  I also didn't watch the portion on sewing in the sleeves until I had already sewn my side seams with French seams.  Pam Howard sews her sleeves onto the shirt without sewing the side seam or sleeve seams first.  I had to set mine in in-the-round.  Which version do you use? Does it make a difference?  I would obviously prefer to do it her way because it seems easier.  Next time!

My wearable muslin had excessive fabric at the lower back.  Swayback adjustments are common for me.  I thought I fixed it with this version but there is still excess fabric back there.  I need to work on that.

I could not figure out how to do the sleeve plackets on my Oakridge blouse.  The Classic Tailored Shirt from Craftsy uses a sleeve placket similar to the Oakridge blouse so I can reference that next time.  I was able to follow the pattern instructions for this shirt.  They look OK but you'll notice I sewed down further in the final step on my left sleeve as opposed to my right.  Just another thing to perfect for next time!
This is definitely a shirt that will become a wardrobe staple.  I know many people frown upon quilting cottons for apparel.  I don't use them myself, but does anybody use nice quality quilting cottons for a shirt like this?  I know it's an endless debate but I'm curious what the thoughts are for a button-up shirt.