White Jacket

1 May

Some time ago, I thought that I’d like to have a white suit to wear to church-actually to William’s baptism on 28 March. I rummaged through my fabricf stash and decided to make a white suit made of a waffle weave white linen that was given to me, trimmed with a navy blue polkadot fabric. This is the sketch I drew.

Fashion Sketch

It would have a shawl collar, and bias bound with the navy blue polkadot trim, with a sewn in belt feature, accompanied by a pencil skirt in the same polkadot fabric.

The chosen fabrics

This would be the first time I attempted a jacket, as well as make my own bias binding. I’ve always been intimidated by the jacket, with its facings, sleeve vents, linings and collars-but I decided to take the plunge this time.

I drafted a jacket block from Winifred Aldrich’s Metric Pattern Cutting for Womenswear.

The Jacket Draft instructions

My personal jacket draft

The shawl collar had to be drafted separately on another piece of paper and attached to the main jacket block.

My shawl collar piece

I decided where I wanted my style lines to be and marked them on the main block with pencil, and traced them out onto newpaper with seam allowances.

My cut pattern pieces

Laying out my pattern pieces on fabric, ready to cut.

The cut fabric

I also cut my interfacing for the jacket facing and the belt.

Interfacing pieces

Next up was the bias binding. I used the continous binding method to make a long chain of binding. I estimated that I needed around 3.5 m of 2.5cm wide binding to go around the jacket. 2.5cm x350cm=875 cm squared, square root of 875 =29.5cm. So I cut a square of polkadot fabric 35cm by 35 cm, and marked 2.5cm intervals on the bias with tailor’s chalk.

Fabric square marked on the bias with chalk every 2.5 cm intervals. The marks are not visible here.

I cut the square into half at a 45 degree angle across the bias

Now place one half of the square on the other side-making a rhombus like the picture. Match all the chalk marks

Sew the two pieces together with a very small seam allowance and press

The rhombus has to be rolled into a tube and joined together, matching all the chalk marks again. This feels very counter intuitive because it feels like the fabric is twisted.

The rolled tube of fabric

Now I just cut the fabric into one long strip following the chalk marks I made.

My bias strip

To make it suitable for binding, like bias binding you buy in a package, I use my bias tape maker.

Pulling the strip through the bias tape maker and pressing as I pull it through.

My bias binding all pressed and ready to go

It was rather satisfying to make that loooong strip of bias tape.

Before I started sewing, I did all the other incidentals like fusing the interfacing into place.

I fused the interfacing to the jacket facing.

My interfaced belt pieces

I sewed the lining pieces together first-to prevent sewing fatigue. You know how you’ve finished the main garment, then look at your lining and sigh-wishing that you didn’t have to do it after all? Well, making the lining first prevents that problem.

The lining pieces

I started sewing all the main garment pieces together and didn’t take pictures because I was in a hurry to finish the jacket. I sewed the binding all around the jacket by hand which took me the better half of two days.

This was the finished jacket.

Finished jacket

HOWEVER- I tried it on. And boy was I disappointed. It didn’t fit!!!! Well. It fitted well enough in the shoulders, and had the jacket been a standard design with no in-built belt, it would have fitted beautifully. But, I didn’t make a muslin, and didn’t anticipate that the draft being a looser fit with standard jacket ease built into it would not carry my design well. My design needed an extremely fitted jacket, with the belt sitting and wrapping the waist precisely. This jacket billowed at the back. And it has so many seams that was I to make the alteration to fit, I’d need to recut the belt piece, as well as take out every seam at the waist, where I counted at least 8 seams. It’s such a pity because I loved the colour combination-it’s so pretty! Grgh! And because it didn’t fit, I haven’t the motivation to finish making the buttonholes nor put in buttons. And now it’s officially an UFO-UnFinished Object. Sigh. I haven’t the heart to make my polkadot pencil skirt either. That’ll teach me to make a muslin next time I make a new draft of something.

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