Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Harper Jacket: More

OK, per Debbie's comment yesterday, here's what the technical drawing makes of the front piece:

And here's the end result of my alteration:

Ignore the bit of paper taped to the upper left (nr the armsyce). I altered the armscye and sleeve. When I do this, I keep the bits of paper I cut off until I'm sure I won't need them again...
To me those pieces look almost identical, and though I appreciate Debbie's thoughtful advice, I opted to start making the jacket using my diagonal alteration vs her suggested, straight-of-grain one. Seriously, I was up half the night debating the differences between our proposed methods. I really don't know if the impact is that great one way or another. Maybe this is one of those times that different alterations will work.

I'm happy with my choice re: drape, but I could have cut 2 inches off the centre front width of the front piece. There's more than enough fabric. A bit too much, IMO.

So, next time, I make that alteration.

And yeah, there will be a next time cuz I spent half the day altering every one of the pieces for the second time. The size 10 sleeve height is way to deep. The shoulder too wide. There's too much ease in the torso. Happily, I could work around these things it for the version I made today but the pattern pieces have to reflect my slice-and-dice. Honestly, I could have bought the 8 and it would still have been too long and wide everywhere except in the sleeve circumference. And every change I made was a little bit complex in the way my body is. See, grading between sizes wouldn't have worked. My issues are about depth, not width. I've only tried this one Style Arc pattern, but if it's anything to go by, the designs are for tall, long-waisted people. I'm very happy I've been putting in the time to learn how to fit because my clothing is SO much better for it. I can live with the current imperfections, given my inexperience. And, now, I have the chance to make a garment work for my proportions. Damn straight I'm making it again.

I am reminded - as with every time I take a break from sewing - that I am not fast. The top took 8 hours from start to finish. People, it's a 3-pattern-piece knit. Next time it will go twice as fast, I realize, but this time, I had to determine how to finish the seams and alter the fit. If you finish the seams the way the pattern instructs, it looks sloppy and homemade. I largely serged, but the back neck unit - while very easy to work - isn't neat. I ripped out a bunch of seams. I made alterations. I took my time. A a result, I like how it looks inside and out (more or less), though the neck is still a bit meh on the wrong side. (I''ll post pics tomorrow of both sides.) The instructions aren't fantastic. I mean, they're totally accurate, but they don't hold your hand. This designer assumes you're not an idiot.

I think I'd prefer the Harper made in a less structured fabric than the double knit. It's the thickest fabric I'd want to use on a garment like this. Effectively, I think of the pattern as a wrap-like sweater, not a jacket.

I'm trying to decide between a couple of other knit fabrics I have in the cupboard. One is a stripe-pattern fabric and the other textured. My concern is to ensure that they won't roll at the (raw) edges because many of the Harper edges are raw, and I don't want fabric that flips to expose the wrong side.

Anyway, more to come... 


  1. I'm glad your way worked.

    A simple to sew pattern is worth it's weight in gold once the fitting is done.

    I take more time to sew up simple garments also. I'd rather have something that looks great inside and out than something I sewed in two hours!

    1. I agree! But now I'm inspired to try it your suggested way next time. Thing is, I modified my original pattern piece, so going back to the start was going to be complicated (not impossible, but very complicated and involving lots of tape.

  2. I've generally found that simple to sew and easy to fit often have an inverse relationship. With fewer pieces, there are usually fewer places you can alter it. So, I think you are a trooper for toughing this one out.

    1. I completely agree. In some ways, ironically, this was easier than usual because at least I didn't have to worry about fitting the bust! But this whole armscye alteration requirement is more necessary, for more people, than many realize. I think, if there's one alteration to get cozy with, it's that one.