Friday, January 11, 2013

Tailoring: The Spring Suit

So, my friends, the time has come, once again, when I will undertake a tailoring project aka the only thing I'll likely sew for a couple of months and which will probably test my resolve in numerous, skill-building and life-improving ways.

Lucky y'all.

I've been thinking about how to chronicle this journey, one which will be more exciting because S, my fitting friend, will make the same jacket at the same time - in something like 18 sizes smaller than me?!? - and then I'll be her fitting friend. Now S is a private person, unlike (ahem) some other people we know, so it's likely any specifics will centre on me. Happily, that works with my solopsism.

Because I did with the last suit, I don't want to drag you through the metaphoric mud. How much appetite, really, do you have to hear about a muslin, much less 3 (or 7)? And yet, as you may know, when one embarks on a tailoring activity, it is a) intense b) labour-rich c) frequently repetitive and d) requiring feedback, love, support, commiseration.

First question of the day: Do you prefer the blow-by-blow or the high points? Note to reader: I may be incapable of doing anything other than what appeals to me in the moment. I'm kind of known for that. But I would like to start this off with your perspective.

Let's get the high-level details out of the way:

The Pattern: Vogue 8333

The Claire Shaeffer Custom Couture Collection Single-Breasted Jacket
As luck would have it, my link feature is once again fucking up (why does this happen on occasion, I wonder??) so you'll have to navigate free-form, sorry.

This weekend, S and I are finally going (this has been planned for months but we have been derailed) to get all of our supplies. Do you know how long it takes simply to figure out what you need to buy??

Having done this before, I will now remind myself of the following important considerations:
  • I've done this before, and I'm doing it again, so it's probably not as bad as I'm going to think it is in a month.
  • I have a very short memory for project-pain.
  • Beginning a large-scale project - of any description - is daunting. Trust me (she says to herself), I've planned many a complicated project in my career, in my life and when crafting and the first moment is scary. It's the point at which everything is everywhere. But my job now is to herd the sheep.
  • What the fuck does that mean? It's my fancy way of describing that I need to corral my mental processes to gain my clearest awareness of all of the elements. That's how I can a) demystify them (to make me calmer) and b) work methodically to address them.
  • You can't know all of the elements. Just most of them. The others you can fear quietly or wait for with the hostess spirit.
  • Tailoring is alchemy and starting with a bunch of bits which turn into a finished jacket is a fine magic.
  • I'm on a trajectory of skill-improvement.

Keep in mind, if you want to exercise fiscal restraint, then complicated projects are the way to go. For starters, they take a long time, so your output goes a long way. But they also tend to produce garments that would be expensive, were you to buy them, due to the workmanship that goes into creating them.

My fingering weight cashmere sweater? Still in process! A tailored suit? Merely cutting out the pattern pieces takes a week :-) I choose to view this as an example of the financial prudence I'm, no doubt, known for in these parts. :-)

37 comments:

  1. That looks like a fantastic project, and I would love to hear ALL about it. Yup. Through all 7 muslins. :D

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    1. Doesn't it? I'd just love to watch someone else make it :-)

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  2. If you do decide on high points only, I hope that by "high points" you also mean low points and high jinx, too. (Not that I wish you any low points, but sharing can be cathartic.) I look forward to reading along! I hope this time the pattern is kinder to you!

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    1. Oh, by high points I most def mean low points! :-) And high points. See, that's when it starts to turn into the metaphoric mud! And I really hope this pattern is kinder too. I'd happily take flat out kind.

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  3. I'm currently trying out Lekala patterns that are customized to my measurements and so far the fit seams almost perfect, I think my torso might be slightly longer than the jacket but it might be just visual since the hem is faced. I did find taping together the 28 sheets of paper tiresome. I ordered another pattern and had them send it PDF wide and then took it down to FedEx office and had them print it on a big sheet of paper, which is much better!

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    1. That's wonderful! What a gift. And taking the file to the printers is a very smart idea. One which I never do, for some reason.

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  4. Oooh! A Claire Schaeffer jacket!! Yes, i want to hear ALL about it.. the muslins... the pains.. the lessons, everything!

    Jackets will come next year for me.. this is the year of TNT pants and tops pattern for me.

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    1. Well, just remember you asked for it :-) And you'll have all of your separates lined up for when you start your jackets next year.

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    2. That's brilliant!! I didn't think of that.. that's a good motivation to get cracking on my TNT pants and tops. :)

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  5. I'm with Clio, I don't mind whichever way you go (it's your blog after all). :-) This time you'll have the experience from last time to pull from, so it shouldn't take you 7 muslins to get there. Can't wait to see you get started on it!

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    1. I know I have the experience of last time but who can say what the muslin goddess has in store :-)

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  6. This is fantastic - I can't wait to see the result. I'd love to make this too - I own the pattern since this is what I wear 40-50 percent of the time at work. For lightweight jackets professionally cut - I haven't made any - I buy RTW. I'm going to be following your progress very carefully - and hopefully I can make my own.

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    1. Oh, Pam, that's great! I sure do hope this gives you some useful tips. The process of starting with fabric and getting to a finished jacket is kind of scary but it's very formulaic and steady. You can do it!

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  7. I love that jacket, the rounded bottom to the buttons is really nice. It's a good choice for your frame.
    I think as this project evolves, you are going to write what you need to write. When things get tough and you need to vent, we'll be here. When things are cool and you want to boast, we'll be here.

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    1. Isn't that a nice feature. I'm glad you think it will work on my frame. You know that's such a challenge for me. And thank you for going along for the ride :-)

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  8. I've never sewn anything but a button but i adore reading your blog. Details please:-D

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    1. Wow, that's high praise! Thanks you.

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  9. Blow by blow for me also. I need to make my dh an 1880s jacket. I have all the materials. Why haven't I started it yet??????? Sigh. He's starting to nag. ;(

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    1. You haven't started it yet cuz it's boring to make stuff for other people :-) Maybe this will get you going. We can learn together...

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  10. I'm excited for you, and I totally want to a blow-by-blow account. And rants. Rants are good! In any case, I've decided this is going to be my "Year of Tailoring". I will mix it up with all the different types depending on how fancy I want it to be. I totally want more jackets and blazers in my wardrobe, especially since the office is freezing in the summer when its a 100F outside.

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    1. Rants are de rigeur. I don't know that I'm capable of not ranting. How exciting that you are entering your year of tailoring. You have some fun times ahead!

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  11. You are such a TRUTHFUL blow by blow sewist. I love it too. Let me have it all!

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    1. That compliment, I'll take. Thank you :-)

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  12. I LOVE this pattern and can't wait to see your finished gem!

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    1. Ginnie: Right about now, neither can I :-)

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  13. very interesting project! and the jacket is beautiful. I'll be following your steps with great attention as I'm currently trying out my first jacket: plenty of stuff to learn ahead!

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    1. Oh, please stay tuned. Hopefully I'll be able to provide a few tips.

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    2. i definitely will! I've just read your most recent post on the jacket and I'm astonished by the number of steps!! I don't know how many there are in my Burda pattern probably only a few, but we all know Burda magazines instructions, they'd love it if they could just write "1. cut the fabric 2. sew the jacket"

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    3. Hilarious! That's totally what they would write, if they could get away with it.

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  14. I agree with Faye...I want every detail...every down and dirty detail! This is gonna be fun!!

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    1. Oh, it's always fun when it's someone else's tailoring :-)

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  15. A gorgeous-looking pattern, and I'm betting the finished product will be pretty fabulous also.

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  16. I have this pattern and though I love the design, I've always found it intimidating. I'd love for you to do a blow by blow as well.

    Thank you

    Mel

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    1. Mel: It is intimidating! I agree :-)

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