Friday, January 10, 2014

I Sewed a Jacket

At the beginning of the autumn school term, I enrolled in an adult education class;  Advanced Tailoring and Dressmaking.   With the arrival of my two beautiful grandsons, I had started sewing again.  I made a quilt each for the new babies and then I ran up a nightgown for myself.

About the same time the BBC ran a series called The Great British Sewing Bee where sewers from around the UK competed to be labelled the best amateur sewer in the UK.  Some of the stuff they made was easy, but some projects were tough!  Though I have been sewing for years, I couldn't attempt some of the garments that they were making but I thought I might  as well try.  I was inspired to look into improving my sewing skills.

Looking up local sewing classes, it turned out that Carlisle College runs adult education classes and include sewing classes.  These classes ran from absolute beginners to my class, the advanced sewers.  I wanted to learn to alter a pattern to make a garment ME shaped.  I also wanted to learn some couture sewing techniques, the nice finishing touches that take a garment from homemade to custom tailored.  I go on Thursday nights and it turns out that the night class is a mixed class.  There are some beginner sewers and then there are a few at the intermediate level.

I picked out a pattern for a jacket and got some beautiful tweed. I am very lucky as the most beautiful woolen fabrics are produced right in this part of the UK.  One of my sons and his family live in Peebles on the banks of the river Tweed! Carlisle itself is home to Linton Tweeds, the factory that produces the woolen boucle' for Chanel.  I can go to the factory shop and buy end of run and flawed cloth for my own projects.

The pattern used for my first project was McCalls M6172 choosing to make view B

It was fun to make and I learned a whole bunch while doing it.  I took photos during the process.

Laying out the pattern pieces to cut the cloth.
Ensuring that the pattern was Peggy shaped meant that I had to make it a little wider in some areas.

The lining is a lovely green. I almost went for a bright fuchsia, but chickened out.  The wool tweed was very expensive and I'll save creative colour choices for another project.
That particular piece of lining is the back center piece.  It has a large pleat down the centre.  To keep that in place, I basted it in place, only taking the basting stitches out once the garment was completed.

After cutting the cloth came the time consuming task of marking in all the tailor's tacks, little marks on the pattern that help the sewer to match the pieces properly when constructing the garment.  I didn't want to skip a single step of the construction.
You can see some of the tailor's tacks in the above photo.  I used red or orange thread so that I wouldn't miss them when it came time to remove the threads. Each of the pattern pieces was used four times so I had to be gentle with the little tissue pieces.  Initially I made up a toile or cotton mock up to check the fit, then cut the fabric, interfacing and lining .

The construction was fun.  I loved figuring out the challenges and plowing ahead. I sought advice when it came time to make the collar and add the lining.  It seemed that there as a specific order in which to do things and the pattern directions were unclear.  My lovely sewing instructor stepped in at that point and gave guidance.  She even invited me to her home one afternoon over Christmas so that she could go over how to proceed.

The pockets on the garment were double welt pockets with a pocket flap.  I did a practise one on a scrap of wool cloth and it came out very well.  Then I had to do two MATCHING ones on the jacket. In the end the pockets turned out beautifully. They matched, were on the right spot on the jacket and layed flat.  I wanted to put more pockets on!
Place to keep candy!

After putting on the buttons and making the button holes and stitching the last lining hem, I was able to wear the jacket with pride yesterday.  It was so great!
I resisted stopping strangers to have them admire my work, but I kinda wanted to.  "I made this jacket!"


Susan said...

How fun, I should find a class like that, it's always great to learn new things.

That pattern looks like it has a fair bit of tailoring. Good for you for taking it on. Now you need to post a photo of your lovely jacket!

Peggy said...

I tried to post a photo when I completed it, but technology failed me. I'll put it up as soon as I can. :-)

Xtreme English said...

Too cool! Imagine living near a Scottish woolen mill that sells remanants!!! Wow. Lovely tweed jacket, ducks!!

Shammickite said...

You are so clever! I would love to go on a course like that. I once bought a linen jacket with no lining and designed a lining to go inside, sleeves and all, and it worked out perfectly! Recently I have made some little girl dresses and some Superman capes.... that's what you do when you're a Nana!

Peggy said...

I sewed before my boys started having children of their own, but I wanted to get better at it. :-) I am making things that I will use a lot. Tweed jacket that will do for work AND will go nicely with jeans. Next projects - nightgown for daughter in law and wool trousers for me :-)

Anonymous said...

How lovely! Good sewing Sis! What a nice jacket, I also love that the lining is so colorful. Enjoy.

Peggy said...

Hey Katie!
That's the "tame" lining. I almost went for fuchsia. I may get braver with colour later on.

Sarah said...

Looks fabulous! Hope we can see a picture of you wearing it...?

Anonymous said...

Loved this post! How I wish I could keep up the sewing I did since I was 8 - my mom signed me up for sewing lessons at the Singer store in Bismarck. I made a red and white striped terrycloth bathrobe with scuffs to match. Now I only do repairs. Bending over the dining room table to cut out a pattern kills my old back. Nice to see what you're doing - the only one I know who is doing major work! Hurray! --Cousin Susan