Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Finished Seams, A Linen Jacket

This time, I was rather pleased with myself even if the fit wasn't perfect.

I loved peter pan collars after making the last 2 shirts so I decided to improve the collars and make a linen jacket using the same peter pan collars.  Immediately, I thought of the yellow medium weight linen that had been sitting in my stash for years.

I know there are plenty of patterns of the same style out there, but I love drafting patterns. Because I learn the most through mistakes, so I'm generally not too obsessed with having perfect pattern each time.  It is also an excuse for my laziness about making a muslin first. I went ahead and drafted my imperfect pattern.

I have drafted princess seams before, and one thing I learned was that simply cutting away the dart area, the 2 pieces that made up the front do not line up at armhole when sewing them together. I used my daily walk in the woods with Ritchie to churn over puzzles and problems like this in my head. During the walk of the day I was going to draft my pattern, I realized rather than trying to research and figure out the math, the easiest way was simply cut away the darts, then tape the 2 pieces together and redraft the arm scythe and rest of the front pieces.  That solved my problem.

Because the collars on the previous shirts kind of stick up a bit, This time I modified it by straighten out the neck edge a little instead of the original method of tracing the neck lines with front and back taped at the shoulder and draw the collars edge few followed the same neck arc at few inches away.

One more crazy idea that came to me during the walk was skip lining and finish the seams with Hong Kong seams. I'd never done that before, or any other nice seams, and I was super excited. I Googled and searched Pinterest on how to do Hong Kong finish, and it looked simple enough.  I was very blessed with my ignorance on how time consuming this would be.  I proceeded with cutting my bias strips with a paisley cotton I had.

Next day I had another inspiration during my walk, rather than doing the nice finish after sewing everything together, I could serge all the edges of individual pieces first followed by sewing bias tapes over the edges, then sew the pieces together.  I didn't give myself room to think about if I had to re-fit or re-sew. Fortunately everything came together nicely albeit the fit wasn't 100% perfect.

One major problem came up, I forgot to add in seam allowance for the sleeves in the pattern! They were tight for my comfort that they had to be taken apart, re-draft, and re-sewn.  I ended up over-compensated a little on the second draft and the sleeves came out a bit wide especially at the cuff.  But that didn't bother me enough to make me want to redo them.

All in all I was very happy with how the jacket turned out.  The collars came out like I wanted. They are more subtle than real big peter pan collars, hence a bit more grown up look.

First lesson learned: after putting all the numbers on paper, add seam allowance to the numbers before drafting the pattern.
Second lesson learned; next time, allow more than 1/2" of seam allowance on Hong Kong finish so I wouldn't have to do it so carefully.
Third lesson learned: test out bias strips for the right width before cutting them all so I wouldn't have to sew them so carefully.

I vowed to make another one that will improve on these:
1. sleeves that are still easy to wear but not as loose.  (I really don't like too fitted sleeves with woven material.)
2. better drafting on the arm scythe  so the sleeves and front are more fitted.
3. better princess seams for a slightly more fitted look..

Not super excited with sleeves don't hang straight when wearing, but, I am also not super excited about drafting and cutting 2 pieces for each sleeve like what more tailored jackets have.

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