Let's focus first on the challenges associated with this fabric (wherein I'll ask y'all some questions about mitigation strategies), then I'll talk about pluses.
Challenges in sewing thick, textured wool:
- That channel, created by stitches burrowing into the fabric, is a concern. I've lowered the top stitch tension, which helps somewhat, but the bobbin thread is still pretty tight. I've also lengthened the stitches, which does improve things too. Mind you, I wonder if my (lightweight) modern machine is the problem. My vintage Singer's tension is also intermittently problematic (I wonder if it doesn't work so well with thin fabric; at this point I haven't tried it with this thick wool). I intend to see how the Singer sews, but I'm not committed to making the jacket with that machine. It's just too unreliable. Do I need to buy a new machine?? (Yes, I am insane enough to go and buy a new machine for a freakin' sewing project (my current machines were a) gifted and b) an intro machine bought at WalMart when I started sewing). But I'm more inclined to work with what I've got. The lightweight Brother generally works quite well. Should I screw with the bobbin tension (that seems unwise)?
- I'm super worried about bulk. Considering how many layers of facing and interfacing and lining and bound buttonhole "windows" I've got to work with, and considering all the work I've done to streamline the fit, I'd be lying if I said I feel nonchalant about this. Of course, I'll open darts and clip seam allowances closely, but what about the 2x12" strip of bias fabric used to ease in the sleeve? That isn't clipped away. I'm wondering if I wouldn't be better off to use thinner interfacing? Given that I intend to add shoulder pads, I'm not sure if I want an additional layer of spring in the shoulder. Having said this, my understanding is that the easing fabric should match the qualities of the fashion fabric.
- Another concern is that this suit is going to be too warm to wear from May till October - esp. since I aim to finish construction in May. I was hoping for something a bit more 3-season. Of course, I do live in freakin' Canada. Just cuz we're having the warmest year ever doesn't mean we won't have more regular or unseasonably freezing weather just around the corner. (How many Junes have found me wearing a coat?) But I don't like bulk under a coat. Maybe I'm overestimating how thick this wool actually is?!
The Up Sides (which are considerable):
- There is not a lot of fray factor with this fabric. Close to none, really.
- It's got lovely hand. Very soft to the touch and with a lovely, rich texture.
- It's going to hold its shape very well - far better than a crepe would, for example. Given that the design is very structured, that's a huge plus.
- I doubt that any pad stitching glitches will show through on the front side of the fashion fabric (under the lapel, for example).
A few Craftsy-coursers have left messages on that site about concerns over the fit of the side front main or lining pieces (the same ones I've had my majority of trouble with). As yet, there isn't much definitive feedback. I've only had the opportunity to muslin 5 of the numerous pieces that comprise the pattern. While I've carefully considered these pieces, and worked hard to get the sleeve to work with my adjusted versions (adjusted for reasons of my unique shape, as much as to ameliorate the side-front strangeness as I see it), I really hope that I'm able to manage things as I sew. I wonder if challenges are with one size (the 6), or if those of us having trouble are having trouble because we're missing something. Presumably, lots of people have already made this jacket without any issues. I guess, time will tell.