Sunday, January 13, 2013

The Spring Suit: My Work Plan

Last time I made a suit, I started with a work plan. I made the suit in 6 weeks, which shocks the hell out of me, because that was a fuck of a lot of work to do in that period of time. I lived and breathed The Tailored Suit project. Every waking moment at home was spent on it (sorry, family). I worked on math elements over my lunch hour. I considered its numerous, convoluted elements as I walked to and from work. Often, I couldn't sleep for problem-solving. Seriously, at a certain point, I started dreaming about it.

It was a creative and structural undertaking of the first order and, even as I was constantly trepedatious and hateful, I LOVED it.

Last time I had an online course to see me through. Alas, it was a suboptimal course (though there was a lot of good information contained within it), but it was organized in very knowable segments. This time I'm working with a pattern having 106 steps (for the hand-tailored version S and I will make) - the fusible version has less than half that number of steps - and there are no clear segments.

Having perused this pattern, which is to say studied it with my eyes glazing over, I can see that there are some new learning opportunities:
  • A notched collar - which is apparently "easy"
  • Pockets (I omitted them from my last suit, but these pockets seem more in keeping with my style)
  • Hand-worked buttonholes - egad?! What is it with clothes and buttons?? Mind you, I've decided, having done them in 3 projects, that I really don't like bound buttonholes. I mean, I don't like making them but, more to the point, I don't like looking at them. They're fussy, IMO.
  • Slightly different construction techniques than those I've used before aligned, one supposes, with Ms. Schaeffer's Couture Sewing Techniques "bible".
So, how best to plan things out?

I don't know that I want to give time lines this go round. The part of me that is so outcome-focused bristles at the thought that I might work without an end date. But the part of me that's been pretty kicked around in the last 6 months, between reno and sickness, doesn't want to be all crammed into a box.  So here's what I'm going to say right now: It's a suit for the spring. Spring, in these parts, doesn't start till April (at the earliest). So I'm aiming for an early April completion. That's 11 weeks. If it gets done sooner, well won't I be fab. If it doesn't get done on April 1, by noon EST, then I'm not going to stick my head in an oven.

And, with small amount I know of a) tailoring and b) V8333 - here's how I imagine things might break down:

1. Buy all of my materials, review the pattern, cut the pattern, prep all of my fabrics.

2. Cut the first muslin, assemble, begin the fitting excitement.

3. Spend as long as it takes, with S, to fit the muslin optimally. (Please muslin goddess, be kind.)

4. Cut the fashion fabric, lining and other materials for jacket assembly.

5. V8333 Steps 5 - 14 - Tailoring the front jacket up to pad stitching

6. V8333 Steps 15 - 24 - Tailoring the front jacket, pad stitching and other tailoring elements

7. V8333 Steps 25 - 33 - Side front tailoring and pocket insertion

8.  V8333 Steps 34 - 42 - Facing the front

9. V8333 Steps 43 - 49 - Side back, back and hem tailoring

10. V8333 Steps 50 - 62 - Constructing and tailoring the collar

11. V8333 Steps 63 - 67 - Set the collar into the jacket

12. V8333 Steps 68 - 77 Sleeves

13. V8333 Steps 69 - 81 - Sleeve lining

14. V8333 Steps 82 - 84 - Setting in the sleeves

15. V8333 Steps 85 - 88 - Shoulder pads

16. V8333 Steps 89 - 98 Lining and finishing the lining

17. V8333 Steps 99 - 105 Buttonholes and buttons

18. V8333 Step 106 - Final finishing of the jacket

19. Make a skirt or pair of pants to go with the jacket. That comes with its own 18 steps, I'm sure.

Presumably, I'll write about these steps in some kind of excessive detail, potentially with vitriol, as they occur. BTW, thank you all so much for your feedback on the question from my last post. Now I can say with confidence: You asked for it! :-)

OK, gotta go take some pics of fabric to update my last post. If only it weren't pouring with rain and approximately as dark as dusk. I'll have to make do with some serious flash.

Next post will talk a bit about my fabrics, how I chose them (rationale), how I'll deal with buttons, costs of things and I know I've got to follow up on the "Short Girlz Who Sew, Win" topic. Sorry, tall peeps, you'll just have to find your primacy in the rest of the world :-)

Today's questions: Have you made this jacket and, if so, what are your thoughts about this breakdown? If you haven't made it, what are your thoughts about this break down? What part of the jacket-making process seems most fun to you, even as a casual observer? Which part has you running for the hills? Let's talk!


  1. That's going to be such a great suit. I haven't made a suit in quite some time. I need to follow you on that.

  2. I will be very interested to see the couture construction techniques! I have made this jacket, using the RTW / fusible method, because I had an event I wanted to wear it to. I love it, but definitely rushed through it, So I am excited to see a more careful construction. I do remember being very happy with the pattern- fit, markings, instructions, everything. Good luck!

    1. Lanie: I wish you had a blog so I could read all about it :-) Thanks for your feedback.

  3. I'm impressed by your tenacity! I must confess I don't think I have it in me to undertake such an elaborate make on my own, especially because I'm a visual learner and teaching myself tailoring techniques form a book would simply not work for me. Perhaps I would consider a formal course or pairing up with a buddy who is making the same thing. You are lucky you can go through this with your friend S - fun times ahead!

    1. Thanks A! You know, I'm a visual learner too, but there are so many visual teaching tools out there that you will be able to do it! I am so lucky to have S. Her fitting skills are awesome which is beyond helpful in producing a good finished garment.

  4. I'm in the middle of making this jacket (ready to insert sleeves). I think you'll love it, it was easy to muslin and the fit is superb (especially compared to the craftsy gertie jacket). I think your breakdown is fine, It goes together slowly at the start but starts moving quicker as you get more done. Not sure if you've done hand seen buttonholes before but Poppykettle did a nice wrote up on then when she made her jacket;
    Now I really should go and pull my jacket of the shelf and do some more!

    1. Suzy: Oooh thank you! I've seen Poppykettle's posts on this. Please keep going with yours and write up some posts! I need all the help I can get! :-)

  5. I'm so thrilled to hear someone say they don't like bound buttonholes because it seems the blogosphere is only awash with those who LOVE them. I'm totally in your camp.

    Oh, I have this pattern. That's as far as I've gotten with it.

    1. I just don't like them. I'm so glad I'm not alone! And pls. do start with this jacket. I'm looking for commiseration!

  6. This is going to be one heck of a suit!

  7. I admire your going at the tailored jacket again. It almost makes me want to go out and buy fabric for a jacket myself. ALMOST. (I find that I really don't wear tailored jackets that much and need other articles of clothing right now, so I will stick to those.) I'm intregued by the bound buttonhole comment. I really like the way they look when done well, but it is so easy to mess them up (My last attempt looked good on the front, but the back was a disaster.) I think it is interesting that you don't like them at all. Are they really too "fussy"?

    1. Thanks V. Maybe it's slightly stupid (if brave)? Maybe fussy wasn't the best word to describe bound buttonholes. I find them entirely overrated and, in general, not as sturdy as regular buttonholes (which I don't love making either, particularly). Bound buttonholes don't appeal to me visually. Here's hoping hand-worked ones will.

  8. And so it starts!! yayy!

    As a casual observer, I'm very curious about the notched collars!!! That and underlining, more curious about lining ..... how on earth do they put it in. [I'm ultra curious about bagging a lining too, but that's sacrilegious on a couture jacket thread, so I'll shut up].

    1. I don't know if the couture version of this jacket (vs the iron in interfacing version B) has a bagged lining. Haven't got that far yet. But I too am curious to know how it will work.

  9. And kristin, somebody at SG posted a hand worked buttonhole related video on this post.

    All of those goes above my head, but maybe you might be able to understand.,19921.msg316762.html