Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Spring Suit: Some Pics of the (Almost) Finished Jacket

For starters, the jacket is finished, more or less (for deets, see below). Let's take a moment and be grateful about that because I won't have to think about it for a week or two, and you won't have to listen to my bitching anymore for a week or two (theoretically).

To forestall mutiny :-), here are some PREVIEW pics of the jacket. I still have to make the bottom part of the suit and a few adjustments to this jacket version and, really, I'm kind of ambivalent about it at the moment. I wasn't up to modeling it today.
The piece looks pretty meh on the dress form, which is too wide for it, so I thought it would be better to show it flat:
The buttons, while temporary, are very sweet. They're vintage - little roses.
Oooh, pretty lining (and bagged!)
Trust me, the buttonholes are very nice. They don't look it here, but you'll have to take my word.
Here's a shot of the sleeve facing where it meets the lining. I particularly love this part of the construction.
I won't lie - I'm conflicted about the Burda suit jacket. On the one hand, there are things about it I hate:
  • the quality of the shell fabric (it actually looks cheap, horror!)
  • the slightly-too-long 3/4 sleeves (um, I've spent 2 months on this thing - could they not have drafted it with full-length sleeves?)
On the other hand, there are things that I love:
  • the lining fabric
  • the way the lining falls in the shell garment
  • the proportion of the altered lapels
  • the placement of the sleeve in the armscye and the fit at the underarm (these were real liabilities, and hard to fix, so I'm proud to have largely resolved them). Intriguingly, while I worried as I was making this, that I'd altered the armscye "too high", once I clipped the extra fabric under the arm and inserted the lining, the fit became very pleasant - it provides mobility and adequate ease.
Then there is that catch-all basin of things that aren't great as they stand now, but might be alterable (in this version) - here's hoping or I've got bigger issues than I care to address:
  • the placement of the upper button unit which lies against the body - it's causing weird pulling which, I guess, shouldn't surprise me overly as it isn't actually part of the original pattern design, but my ad hoc work-around to address excessive gaping above the one set of buttons that the pattern actually does instruct about.
  • the external buttons - they're placeholders and I think they're too heavy for the fabric, and the wrong shape (lovely thought they are). I'm waiting on my self-fabric buttons from California. Here's hoping they fit the buttonholes I made in their absence. (I think I ordered the right size, but only time will tell... At least I have more fabric in a pinch.)
  • the internal buttons - I forgot that the internal buttons on the left side (which I used to merely to stabilize and to provide a clean finish) are actually for use so I'm going to need to replace them with ones in the correct size to fit through the buttonholes. The current ones are too tiny - if cute (and they all match).
For all of this learning, and working, I still don't know if I like the finished design. It's vaguely, um, twee on me. And a bit boxier than I would have imagined given all the work I did to "hourglass it up".

I do suspect that this is one of those suit jackets than needs its counterpart (pants or skirt) in order to look its best. Alas, I can't confirm that till I make the skirt, which won't happen till this weekend. (Note: Even as I write this I am reminded of Clio's fantastic leather version which definitely goes with everything and requires no matching bottom. But leather is not fabric. And her version has a zipper and a peplum. In certain ways it's only notionally the same pattern.)

Insecurities and ambivalence aside, I do feel very satisfied with this process and by what I've achieved. I'm a MUCH better seamstress, tailor, pattern drafter, fitter, human being... I've learned skills I will not forget, things I'll bring into every future project I take on, such as the next version of this jacket which I suspect will begin at the beginning of May. (I need a bit of a break and my family really suffers when I do a project requiring so much engagement... I also need to wear this as much as possible over the next while, so that I can begin to understand it in motion.)

Next up, the pencil skirt - my standard, Vogue 8640. I intend to line this vented skirt (the pattern instructions don't include a lining) and to face the waist with petersham ribbon in a crazy contrast colour. (I am such a fashion bad ass!) Stupidly, I've managed to lose the incredibly useful package of notes, photos and instructions I created when I made this as part of the Tailored Suit project (the one with the Starlet suit jacket). Fortunately I have a soft copy of my basic instructions and I know which posts provided the required tutorials (thank you Sunni and Tasia).

When the skirt is done, I'll show off the whole suit in a formal photo shoot. Till then, hopefully these pics will have given you something to go on. Stay tuned for more about the skirt construction. Something tells me I'll have things to say about it.


  1. So much detail! You're not making me want to get back to sewing any time soon, truth be told, although I meant to chime in the other day and say that I have a similar (or a bit earlier) vintage Husqvarna (Vanessa was the model name, about 1976). Had it tuned up about 3 years ago thinking I'd get back at it, but haven't yet managed that. . . .still like the machine though. Bet you'll enjoy yours. . .

    1. Oh no! Get back into sewing - just don't sew suit jackets :-) I'm going to check out the Vanessa now...

  2. Wow! I'm very impressed with your jacket.. Can't wait to see it on you..

    Too bad you lost your meticulous notes! Hopefully it will turn up sometime soon, when you are not looking for it.

    1. Thanks K. It's not much good to keep meticulous notes which I don't have the wherewithal to meticulously keep :-)

  3. I love how lining looks on anything, particularly a jacket - you've done a great job. The jacket looks lovely as well. I know when you've put so much work into it you want it to be perfect but I bet when you've done your skirt and you come back to it you'll really like it. I think the fabric looks lovely - more versatile than your last jacket?

    1. I know! I'm a total convert to lining everything! (Except knits.) This jacket definitely is more versatile and the overall fit is better - in that I have more mobility in the arms. But it's not as well fitted in the waist.

  4. It's looking very good! Sorry you are less than thrilled about the fabric. Bummer. Were the sleeves only 3/4 length?? Did I block that out of my mind? Or were there 2 different versions of the sleeves?

    1. Yeah, the ones I made were! I don't think there were 2 diff versions but my sewing friend traced the original pattern so I can't say for sure. I think she would have traced the long sleeve version if there were a choice.

  5. the jacket looks so lovely, i really like the shape of the collar! and contrast linings make me so happy. hopefully the jacket proves to be a staple in your closet!

    1. Thank you! I really love that collar too. Just not so thrilled with the double-breastedness feature. I might need to redraft for not double breasted. Hmmm...

  6. Well, I suppose the details are what matter, but the jacket does look lovely and I hope you will enjoy wearing it.