Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Tailored Suit: My Work Plan

I've given myself 6 weeks to make this suit. Of course, there's no prize at the end of it - except a finished suit - and one which I'd like to get some use out of before the weather gets too warm.

On the topic of warm, I'm sure this can't last, but it's like mid-June here and it's freaking the plants out. No rain - not that I'm complaining - 22C days (like 72F) i.e. nature's perfect temperature. All the idiots have started blaring music and turning the bass up. I have to clean up my back-garden and (first-season NEW!) front-garden. I'm honestly not ready for this. But I have no idea what's going to surface in the front. Yes, I chose the plants, but I have no memory of any of them, apparently. For example, I have yellow crocuses. I can't remember picking these. Maybe I didn't?! Anyway, I LOVE crocuses. For your viewing pleasure:

(Elizabeth, this is for you!)

OK, back to the schedule. Giving myself an end date also helps me to stay focused. In truth, I'm motivated by nature (no pun intended), I do not procrastinate (unless it's on spring cleaning my garden) and I love an end result.

In general, I will sew on weekends only though I will spend a LOT of time thinking about sewing / researching midweek, as per usual. Midweek sewing will occur a) when I'm so intrigued by the next step that I can't stop myself and b) when hand tailoring i.e. pad stitching up the yin yang. When I tailored my coat, the pad stitching process was quite labour-intensive. I'd hand stitch in the evenings, in front of the TV. It's totally a fun thing to do, btw.

For purposes of this work-back, let's assume that every weekend has 2 sewing days (approximately 6-8 hours per). Assume a start date of April 1.

Head start prep: I've bought all of my materials and printed/taped/cut out the pattern so I don't need to factor this into the 6 weeks. If I did still have to do this, I'd do it midweek, so it wouldn't interfere with the 6 week time line. I have also watched the Craftsy course once. I will watch it again before beginning. That takes a few hours.

Week 1: Cut the muslin fabric. Prep all materials (fashion fabric, lining etc.) and set aside. Assemble the muslin. Begin muslin fitting.

Week 2: Finish muslin fitting. Make any necessary adjustments on the paper pattern. Cut the fashion fabric and lining and interfacing etc.

Now I will be ready to begin the project proper. Note that I'm not reinventing the wheel. The Craftsy course outlines every step in making the jacket (though it doesn't walk you through making the matching skirt, also provided). In truth, the skirt seems to be a bit of an afterthought - if a nice one. It's not the kind of style I wear, though. So I'll make a pencil skirt - which has the benefit of being quite professional and should counterbalance any whimsy intimated by the jacket. It will likely my TNT. I will manage this part of The Tailored Suit project without the assistance of the Craftsy course.

One other thing - the work-back below shows the regular ordering of tailoring, which you will find presented similarly in this terrific tailoring book. Needless to say, my little outline doesn't tell you anything meaningful about how to do all of these things, which is what Gertie's course and excellent texts on the matter will be able to do.

Week 3: Create front bound buttonholes. Tailor the jacket front. Decide whether to do welt pockets. If yes, tailor the welt pockets.

Week 4: Tailor the back jacket. Make the sleeves. Make the collar. Attach collar and facing.

Week 5: Finish bound buttonholes on facing. Hem. Insert shoulder pads and lining. Complete all finishing i.e. finishing the lining, attaching buttons.

Week 6: Make the skirt. (At this point I will have decided whether I want to line it, finish it in some vintage pretty - or in a even "professional but practical" - fashion.)

Wow, that looks ambitious.

At this point in my outline, it is time to talk myself of the ledge.

Seriously though, I will aim to move through this project in the most streamlined fashion. Who knows, I may gain some time in the muslining phase (ha!). Or maybe one element of tailoring, given that I've done it before, may be finished more quickly than some others.

But what are your thoughts? If you've made this, or any other, jacket, how long did it take you? Does the timeline seam feasible if I'm working on the jacket (realistically) 20 hrs per week?


  1. It seems like you'll be pushing yourself awfully hard to finish this in that amount of time. Whenever I do that it just sucks the joy right out of it. However, you know your limitations, and if you think you can do it, I'll be rooting for you! :-)

    1. If I start feeling that way I will totally reconsider my time lines. This is about having fun, after all.

  2. Cheery crocuses. . . and good luck with that list. Wow!

    1. Thank you! It's kind of like your nature photos - only far less lush :-)