July 16, 2013

Head of the Class

For a little while, I guess (fine fine, for a quite awhile, I admit) I've had an obsession with finding, fitting and sewing a perfect jacket. If you don't know, for me, this is like trying to turn the sky pink. I have an upper body that is a rather hard fit. I have a fairly broad upper bust and it makes purchasing woven tops and jackets from the store a very dismal affair - so dismal, I don't even bother trying stuff like that on anymore. Anyhow, let's move on with this little story here and find out why I became obsessed with creating a clearly fall-like jacket in the middle of summer (as I type this, we're hitting 100 degrees farenheit today!).

I've been working on several projects behind the scenes here. Behind the scenes sounds so.... secretive, when really, its not. I just haven't been up to my usual blogging pace. This is McCall's 6172. Its a Palmer Pletsch pattern that was one of the best jacket patterns I'd seen in awhile. I love pretty much every single thing about this jacket. I picked up this pattern sometime in January and have been slowing hacking away at it since. I know, weird. My obsession for projects can come and go and that is exactly what happened with this pattern.

Before my initial muslin, I decided to read some pattern reviews of this pattern. Always, always a great idea. It runs big. Actually let me correct that. This pattern runs big for normal folks, for me it was only really really big in the waist and hip area but for my upper bust, shoulder and upper arm area it was practically perfect. This is a first for me, for sure. Taking in the waist and hip was a cinch. Additionally I made some cosmetic changes to the jacket too. I raised the welt pocket to hit more at my waist area rather than in that weird in between the waist and hip space. I also reduced the size of the lapels and collar which were quite large and I also hacked off some length too. Thinking for the next jacket, I've decided to also raise the buttons upward too as I feel that the button placement on this jacket falls a bit low.

The jacket started out in a completely different fabric. After working on it for several months, it still looked pretty bad. There were so many things that just kept going wrong and finally, I just decided to let well enough alone and start anew. I decided once and for all that after many many sewing fails (in addition to the jacket I just described) I was not going to stand for it anymore. To place even more faith in myself, I decided on a plaid.

Friends, let's talk plaid for a minute. I don't know about you, but even the word can strike absolute fear into my heart. Thing is though, I'm such a sucker for plaids. In fact, I have several in the stash that have been languishing away in hopes that I would be able to get my nerve up. Most are ear marked for a jacket because seriously, what is more bitchin that a plaid jacket? I think nothing! I'm a regular freaking Nancy Drew in this thing. So friends, when I tell you that tackling a plaid jacket is not for the faint of heart, it truly is, not for the faint of heart. And for all you mad plaiders out there, this was an unbalanced plaid to boot.

The fabric here is from Yellow Bird Fabrics and it has kind of a sad tale. It was such an unwanted fabric. Apparently this particular plaid had been there for a few years. Seriously, this kind of thing makes me sad. Oh little sad fabric, why does no one want you? Its a beautiful wool, quite soft and the plaid is very old school. Like it reminds of 1950s college cohorts or something. So after some cute girls came in and bought a couple of yards, I decided to nab up the rest and tackle this sleuthing, college chumming number. Surprisingly, since the pattern was all figured out, this jacket only took the better part of 4 days stretched out over a 2 week time span.

The plaid matching was not too horrendous. May I point out a few things here? Again the plaid is unbalanced. Looking at the plaid you'll notice that the stripes that stand out the most are those red and yellow ones. And if you look at the jacket fronts you'll notice that on the right side and left side the vertical red and yellow stripes are not mirrored. Where there is a red stripe on one side it is a yellow stripe on the opposite side. When working with plaids, this type of thing seriously intrigues me. Plaid fabrics can be a really fascinating journey to work with - kind of a weird thing to say, but true. For the most part, I'm really really happy with the plaid match up. We've got matched plaids all around the bodice and look at the front sleeve cap? Isn't it beautiful? I'm not particularly happy with the under sleeve though. As you can see, the front part of the under sleeve did not match up with the upper sleeve at all and that's because I was thinking it would be more important to have the back part of the sleeve match up. While the back matches up quite well at the hem and up to the mid upper arm pretty well, I think overall, the under sleeve would do better cut on the bias instead. I'm not sure though, thoughts anyone?

To boot, I've decided to make another plaid jacket and I thought I would document my journey of the whole process as planning a plaid garment is not a topic of much discussion, I find. And if you, like me, have a love affair with plaids, you'll want to know how to work them. Especially in a ridiculously awesome jacket. Are you game?

Ever made a plaid jacket? Or a plaid garment? Do you love plaids as much as I do?

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