Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Spring Suit: Construction Update (More)

OK, just finished today's stint on the Burda jacket and I've learned a lot. Much of which I don't feel particularly good about right now but I'm just going to get it out there so that I can process it and move on. I've got one of those mega-intense, think-headaches. Maybe if I write about it, all the thoughts that are crowding painfully will leave. I can hope.

The garment is most definitely another muslin. Will it be wearable? I suspect yes. Is it where I want it to be? No. And the worst part about this is that it means I'll have to go back to my pattern pieces and adjust them yet again. Even though I'm not exactly sure of how, right now. (My brain's gotta chill... You know when your headache gives you an earache?)

The things I'll need to change going forward, but which can stand in this version of the jacket - let's call it garment 1:
  • The armscye is a little bit high. I need another .5 inch of space between my underarm and the lower armscye seam. It's not a deal-breaker. I can certainly wear the jacket, but it's a bit too snug in the underarm. Mind you, the mobility is good!
  • Scott noticed that the back is pooling at the mid thorax. It goes away when I pull the jacket down slightly but, needless to say, that's not a long-term design option. The thing is, I don't know if it's the back stay (made of hair canvas) that's contributing to or even causing this. The issue wasn't present in the muslin but then the muslin didn't have any fabric ease to speak of. Now I've got a very drapey fabric against a very firm one and it could be causing the problem.
  • Man, this merino faille suiting takes a deft hand. Potentially a defter one than mine, I regret to say. It's not taking to my pressing very well. Probably my iron's not up to it. Possibly, it's not the kind of fabric that does well with fusible interfacing. I'm going to go out this week to buy the fabric for my next version. I'm going to be exceedingly careful about what I choose.
The thing I've absolutely got to change in this version:
  • Why is it that, when you find a good alteration - like rotating the sleeve in the shoulder to manage forward rotation - it's so tempting to overdo it? I managed to make my left sleeve a whole extra inch more forward rotated than the right sleeve - which was already forward rotated by an inch (and even that might have been too much).
The last thing I did today was rip out the left sleeve (after having inserted the shoulder pad and slip stitched the ease-bias strip). That's a tough end to a long day.

But let's focus on a bit of good:
  • The fabric managed remarkably well through the removal of the first dart, re-cutting of the front armscye, and resewing of a new dart. That's the one thing this fabric seemed to like.
  • I do think that my sleeve fix - the one wherein I moved all of the extra fabric to the front sleeve (vs. my original, crazy idea of having half on the sleeve and half on the armscye) - was successful. It might seem ridiculous that I didn't realize, right off the bat, how to add fabric to this seam. But I've got to tell you, it's all theory till you make a mistake.
  • I calm myself by remembering the wise words of Mardel, one of my first sewing teachers: Sometimes you need space between you and the work. What seems horrid now, may seem very adequate in 2 days. It's almost impossible to believe that right now, but I know from experience that it's true.
  • My interest in making this work is in no way daunted by my latest challenges. OK, that's a lie. But I'll get over my dauntedness and live to sew another day. And when I finally process everything I'm learning, I'm going to be much better at this craft.


  1. "...when I finally process everything I'm learning, I'm going to be much better at this craft". Pretty much says it all, no?

    1. Let's just say, it's not always a fun process - though I don't need to tell you that! :-)

  2. i think we all hit a place during particularly challenging makes where we just want to chuck it all and start over. i'm sure whatever fitting issues are left to iron out (no pun intended...) will be far more obvious if you finish and wear the jacket before trying again. at least that's how it is for me! good luck!

    1. It's SO true. I don't know how one can spend 50 hours on construction alone and not feel overwhelmed by certain elements of it (or all of them!). I've got to wear this for a week to see how it really fits. Then I'll be able to tweak the pattern intelligently.

  3. Oh no! How frustrating. Too bad that this version will be a muslin. So weird about the back/stay.

    1. It's going to be ok. I really am learning so much that I'm sure it's going to improve the next one immeasurably. BTW, when you bagged your lining - did you start with the hem so that you could catch stitch the shell hem to the jacket (invisibly, of course) after the fact? All of the tutorials advise doing the rest of the jacket before the hem. I don't see why it matters and I want to be able to give the hem the extra stability. If you did it the other way, how is your fashion fabric hem stabilized?