Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Spring Suit: Construction Update

I'm going to make this post brief because my head is all up in the jacket construction, but I want to give you a status update (and share with you some of my mistakes to date).

While this is definitely a final garment - I've worked very carefully with my materials and I've aimed to make the assembly very "professional" - there are some elements to it that still feel quite "test garment". That's not to say that I started putting together the final garment too quickly. I really think I chose the right moment. The thing is, there are no real instructions associated with this specific garment. Burda's are ridiculously non-commital and, were I to have used them, my jacket would be in bad shape. The tailoring book is super useful, but it doesn't address my pattern, simply technique.

(I will second Clio's perspective that to sew the facings onto the jacket - having already attached them to the lining - would be insane. I don't know how one's delicate lining could sustain the kind of pressing and clipping of the facing, after the fact, to attach it to the garment shell.)

Now, having said all that, I really should have sorted out my sleeve situation before I started making the final garment, but not for the reasons that you might imagine...

The sleeves, I sense, once I get everything redrafted and I re-cut the the upper sleeve, will be OK. After all, as far as the bodice shell is concerned, I'll only be removing fabric from that area. Alas, and listen to this one cuz it's important: The extra fabric - once I remove it - has no bearing on the final sleeve. But it does impact the angle of the dart I sewed into the armscye.

Fuck. That dart is now sitting wrong and I've spent the last 12 hrs trying to decide whether to try and lengthen it a little, and live with it. Or to - at this late stage of the process - unpick the original dart and redraw/sew it.

The benefit to the former option is that the integrity of the fabric will be retained. The negative is that the fit will be imperfect. By contrast, the benefit of the latter option, unpicking and realigning the dart, is that I might be able to redirect it as per the original intent. The negatives though, they could be extreme: my fabric might not be up to it (I really pressed the crap out of the original dart), The shell is sewn. What if there are impacts I can't envision on the basis of the sewing that's already been done?

And, the time to make the decision is now. I won't be able to do it once the sleeve is in (my next step).

I suspect I'm going to unpick and take my chances. So give me some good sewing vibes please!

Whatever goes down, I'm remaking this jacket almost immediately after I finish this first effort. I need to understand the construction better and to write my own instructions (for use in a year, once I forget what I've painstakingly learned these last few sewing sessions).

While this is not going perfectly or smoothly, the way one hopes a garment will after having made 4 muslins, it's a complicated garment and those muslins were for fit, not construction. I'm still feeling very optimistic about the long-term potential for this jacket. It just remains to be seen whether I debut this one, or the one I intend to make in two weeks.


  1. Good sewing vibes... well, your perseverance and determination is absolutely inspiring and I am in utter awe of you!

    Keep at it mate, your crap... is my perfection :D

    Bundana @

    1. Your vibes most definitely helped me with the dart reinsertion! Thank you. xo

  2. Good luck with the jacket and whatever decision you take!

  3. Since I have no good advice on what to do, I'm sending good vibes your way instead! Good luck!

  4. Sending Good sewing vibes to Kristin!!!

    You girl, you are so persistent in getting this jacket right and yo bet you will be rewarded for all these efforts. Good luck! I'm keeping all crossables crossed for you.


    1. Thank you! I hope eventually I will be rewarded for all of these efforts. Like, sooner eventually rather than later eventually :-)

  5. I'm just wondering... with the dart placement... were you wearing the same bra? It can make a tremendous difference.

    1. That's a really good question. I belive I was wearing the same bra but I have 8000 of them. Can't confirm. Mind you, the dart issue went away when I reinserted it (as I threatened to do). I'm pretty sure it was the way I cut the armscye and sewed in the dart, in this instance. Thanks for thinking of this though. Very good point.