I have missed so many Stitching Spotlights, I don’t even know where to begin, so let’s just start over. Right? Right. It’s November. NOVEMBER! You know what that means right? Leaves falling, hot drinks, stocking-ed feet and fall fashion, of course. I love this time of year. The colors are so pungent, you can almost taste them.

kokuryu from Burda Style

Have you visited this girl’s website? She makes the sweetest things, takes the sweetest photos and stitches like a mad woman. And look at this Jackie O inspired dress. I saw this pattern on Burda Style awhile back, one of the new patterns from the Burda Mag that you can download. I think I need one of these. The color, oh the color she’s used is just superb!

I bought this delightful book not too long ago. Mr. Coffin definitely knows how to write a sewing book that will peak your interest. He’s got shirtmaking down to an art and it’s all put so eloquently. Love it. Highly recommend. And now I think I need his trouser making book. And I need to get with it and put together that pants sew-a-long. Almost there.

Want to get your hands on pin hem marker? Well Ms. Gertie posted a link to these here that seem to be reproductions of the one I have. There are several vintage ones on etsy, however you may find that they are not quite high enough to give you the skirt length you desire. This one from B Black and Son’s could definitely give you a mini length or below the knee length. Have a look. Put it on your wishlist for Christmas as these are definitely a gift worth getting. Then you can have your own contraption in action, like me.

Happy Friday Everyone! I’m up to my ears in velvet dust from the boyfriend’s jacket. It’s looking rather lovely though, if I do say so myself. I’ve got a few sneak peeks planned for next week. Have a lovely weekend!

  • Ashley - Hmmm….now that you mention it, I realize I’ve never made a pants, love the idea of a sew-a-long!
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - I just ordered the David Coffin book Wednesday! My husband has been chomping at the bit for a bespoke shirt. I may wait to see how your mens shirt turns out first.
    I would do a pants sew-a-long. How about in January once all of the holiday madness is over?
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  • Tasia - I have the shirtmaking book out from the library right now! I love his writing style, so opinionated on what he likes and doesn’t like. It will come in handy when I (finally) make up Mr Sewaholic’s shirt!
    I’d maybe join a pants sew-along, I rarely wear pants because they’re so unflattering off-the-rack, and yet I haven’t made a pair either! Either way I’d love to read along as you lead the sew-along :)
    Happy Friday and hope the boyfriend jacket is coming along well!
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  • Angie - Yay do s pants sew-a-long!! Im desperate to make some but terrified to try!
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  • Ban Clothing - I never tackle pants mostly because it’s so important for them to fit amazingly. If I have an amazing pair the last thing I want to do is take them apart to use them as a pattern. If you do a sew along I might finally tackle the unknown.
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  • Skirts - I’m not very good in stitching. But the style looks really cool and i’m completely inspired with it.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Th7hEvqX7CU I’m gonna get one of the copies of the book. I’m not good with pants. Good with shirts and skirts.
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I had mentioned that I waited 3 weeks to hem up my circle skirt. That was due to getting this little nifty vintage notion via Ebay. Before I purchased this one, I went ahead and purchased one of those Dritz hem markers from my local fabric store. Um….it was more than disappointing. When I got it home from the store, I promptly took it out of the package, poured the powder into that spray thing and started squirting some pants I had on. The powder was white, mind you, and my pants were dark grey. And yet, I could barely see the chalk line. Not to mention, the more I started looking at the actual marker tower I noticed that indeed, the tower was crooked. Next day, took it back. Got a full refund, even though I had opened it. So sad really. They just don’t make sewing notions like they used to.

After that fiasco, I started looking around online at some vintage hem markers. I found some that were the chalk spray type, but decided that I didn’t want to go that route. Then I saw a host of these pin markers on Etsy. I thought, “Why not?” Lurked around a little more and found this one for mini-skirts on Ebay, not that I’m going to make a mini, but you never know right? But now it’s mine! And it came in the original box!

So what makes these contraptions so great? Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. For one thing, these have metal and wood parts. Enough said there. You have the base, which usually comes with a pincushion (how very handy, if I say so myself). Then you have the ruler which is attached with a screw to the base. Next you have the actual metal pinmarker. This part slides over the ruler and is tightened or loosened with a wingnut screw. I used mine on my Linda-Hop Skirt. First, I tried on my skirt and marked it where I wanted the hem to be. Next, I took off the skirt and put it on Ms. P, adjusted the pinmarker to the height of the pin I marked the skirt hem at and Voila! started marking my skirt all the way around by sandwiching the skirt fabric between the marker and the ruler.

These things work really great for circle skirts. Really great. Not to mention they are so easy to use that if you didn’t have a dressform, you can get your significant other or a friend to mark your skirt for you. Seriously, they are THAT easy to use. AND, since the pin is pushed through the fabric at 4 different points (rather than the regular 2), it really doesn’t fall out. I always have that problem, you know, the pins falling out of the fabric while pinning things up, in the carpet, where I can’t find the darn pins. Won’t happen here. Promise.

Do you have one of these? You need one, if you don’t. Seriously, these are the COOLEST gadgets out there. Simply brilliant.

  • Myrna - These are the best of the hem markers. I really like mine. Enjoy.
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  • D@FrenchCollections - I WANT ONE NOW!! I’ve been disappointed with hem markers forever now I want one (especially since I have a circle skirt planned…). Thank you so much for this hint! By the way, your pictures always look so nice, what camera do you use?
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  • Angie - Wow that is pretty much the coolest thing ever! Now I must hit up ebay asap!
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  • Angela - How cool is that!! Thanks for sharing!
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  • Seemane (aka Claire) - Oh dear me… I feel another frantic eBay/Etsy search in my immediate future LOL!
    That looks so cool – plus I’m luvin’ the animation of it in action v. cute :)
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  • lap - “Contraption in Action” is the greatest blog subject title ever. Please consider making it recurring.
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  • Patty - Hmmmm…. take one ruler, a handmade pinchusion and some ingeniuousness… I’m seeing another cupcake goddess product offering!
    Really? could a partner do it? I’m curious about these sorts of things, but don’t have a dress form and dont’ think Mr. Bug would be up for the job!
    Also, you win the award for best tutorial animation ever!
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  • Darci - I HAD one of those and didn’t know what to do with it! I’m sure I made someone at Goodwill REALLY happy that day… crumb!!
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  • melissa - That’s really cool! I’ve never seen that kind before, only the crappy powder kind. Thanks for walking us through how it works!
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  • Samantha - I’m so glad I stumbled onto your site. :)
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - A contraption is the perfect description for this! How funky!
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  • Ana - Oh wow, I thought those things weren’t available any more. My mum has one and I have several childhood memories of standing precariously on a stool while she pinned up hems on various dresses and skirts. You can’t beat them!
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  • Stephanie - Like the contraption, but o.m.g. that animation graphic rocks my world!
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  • Tasia - What a cool tool! (Haha, that rhymes…) That’s such a great item to have in your collection, and now you’ll have perfectly marked hems on all your circle skirts. I love the animated photo, how cool is that?
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  • Tamsin - That is amazing! what a simple idea and you little video is fab too!
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  • Corvus - That looks all sorts of useful!
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  • Alexandra - Oh hey, I have one of those. Picked it up in a thrift store. I didn’t realize that contraption was for pins!
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  • Gail - I needed one of these so badly on my last project.
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  • Gertie - I have one of these but it’s super short! It only goes up to 20″. It’s from the 50s when tea length was all the rage. I love yours does mini skirts! How mod!
    I just saw that they sell them new on this website. I’ve been meaning to order one for a while now.
    http://www.bblackandsons.com/pin-skirt-marker-p-539.html
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  • kaitui_kiwi - I remember our next door neighbour came over to hem my school skirts and she had one of these. I thought it was so cool :) I used the similar attachment on my dress dummy just recently and produced a perfect hem, I was so pleased :)
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Still working on my boyfriend’s jacket, but decided to finish a project I started a few weeks ago. I found myself being more and more drawn to making a skirt that didn’t require alot of fitting and was easy to wear. Not to mention with cold weather just around the corner, I was ready for something warm and Fall looking. And plaid. Mustard-y plaid. I’ve had this fabric stashed away since last year when I bought it intending to make….oh yeah, I can’t even remember now. 2 yards at $36 per yard = a very expensive circle skirt. I didn’t want to do anything cheap on this skirt either. So I lined the thing in bright banana yellow silk charmeuse too.  That only took $60. So let’s see, just for the fabric here, I’ve already spent $132. And if you haven’t fainted yet Mr. S, you’re on cue now. Oh dear! Needless to say, this thing is simply gorgeous. And by darn, if you don’t agree…..I’m not quite sure what I’ll do but it will be something.

It’s only fitting that I bring you this gorgeous creation after a little draught of sorts here in cupcake goddess land. I haven’t made a single garment since August. So it is with giddy excitement and pleasure I present, The Linda-Hop Skirt. Made from the Linda pattern on Burda Style no less. Easy peasy pattern with loads of potential for fun details. Since this was such an easy pattern, I decided to tackle this plaid double faced wool. It was simply dreamy to work with. And this stuff is extra thick and extra beautiful. And I matched up the plaids rather well I think considering this is my first time working with plaids. The plaid at the zipper just wouldn’t work for some reason, but its only off a slight bit in that one area, so there. I’ll live, I guess. Sigh….

The skirt went together quite smoothly. Easy fit, easy sew. I let the thing hang for about 3 weeks. And surprisingly, I didn’t know that you had to let circle skirts hang. Thank goodness I did an update on my facebook page and thank goodness there were some great stitcher’s watching over me giving me a few words of sound advice. So, if you didn’t know, it’s official, you have to let a circle skirt hang, at least overnight, before hemming it. This is perfectly sensible, because the seamed sides (my front and back here) are cut on the bias. Now, I don’t think I needed to let it hang for three weeks, originally I was planning to hang it for one, but then I decided that I wanted a vintage pin hem marker and it didn’t come for awhile. And I let it hang for that long because this fabric was not only thick, but rather tightly woven. It needed a real good stretch. So it got one.

I hemmed up the hem with horsehair braid. I follow Gertie’s advice and tutorial for this as she is an expert circle skirt maker. I didn’t have access to the type of horsehair braid that she uses. Mine was not as wide and I had to run a gathering stich along one edge. I just bought mine at Hancock’s. I love the finished product though. Oh my goodness! The hem looks so professional. And it gives the hem weight. I love it!

I gave it a lapped handpicked zipper with a vintage metal zipper. Could not be happier with the metal zipper. The skirt lining is finished with my favorite detail, lace. You might also be wondering why I’m wearing it with the seam in the front and back, as traditionally the pattern says it should be worn on the side. I had been looking at alot of mags for the inspiration for this skirt. The ones I liked best were plaid and had the plaids matched up perfectly and to show that off the seam was in the front. I loved this. Yeah. I can match my plaids. Thanks.

Other items of note:
Top – Just a sweater from Sear’s
Belt – Thrifted
Hose – Sear’s (yeah, they have really good tights this year. Just bought another pair that’s in houndstooth. And don’t forget to read my post on proper stocking care. If you want them to last, you have to put them in the freezer. HAVE. TO.)
Shoes – Crown Vintage

What do you think? Ever stitched a circle skirt? You probably should now, if you haven’t. I mean these things are the best things since….A-line skirts. Not only that, but you can twirl. And who doesn’t want a skirt that does that?

  • Patty - Yay! I have a circle skirt (well, dress) hanging right now! I also have a couple yards of purple/black/grey plaid flannel that I was considering for a full circle skirt as well – I love the lines on yours and am feeling the plaid even more!
    I like the seam on the center front for these kinds of skirts. It gives it a bit of interest and for some reason, my skirts lie/drape better when I wear the seams on the front/back rather than the sides. I think it has something to do with how I graded my circle skirt pattern up!
    Is there anything better than all the weight of the skirt, with the braid and then the lovely lining and lace? Yours is wonderful!
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  • Jennifer - LOVE LOVE LOVE! This is inspiring me to get up and sew one! I have a wool from Jo-ann’s that I would like to make one out of, but I don’t have enough yardage. I think I will have to go buy some more and recreate your look. However, I have never heard of this horsehair braid thing and must look it up!
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  • K-Line - OMG – I UTTERLY love this. I’ve been looking to make a skirt like this for a long while. If only Burda patterns weren’t so onerous with the pasting together of the pages…
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  • Uta - Gorgeous! I think you won’t regret the expense in the long run. I wear nothing as much as my wool skirts in the winter, the cost-per-wear is negligible!
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  • Peter - Gorgeous skirt. Great job!
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  • Maggie - That looks fantastic! I will have to put that pattern in my ever-growing lineup :)
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  • Sewing Princess - It’s really beautiful. I have never made a circle skirt as I feel it wouldn’t suit me…and would add too much bulk. Seeing it on you made me think. I love the details and the yellow hints
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  • Kristin P. - That skirt is so wonderful! I fell in love with it RIGHT AWAY! So, tights in the freezer? Hmmm, I guess I’ll have to do that.
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  • Laura - Fantastic! I especially love the lining being so cheerful. Here’s to sunny days in winter!
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  • Jane - It’s absolutely beautiful.
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  • Gertie - I’m in love! Great length, and I love the fabric and lining. And it’s beautifully made! Go you!
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  • petite josette - Your skirt is gorgeous, and I love the lining with the lace. I love the length of it too, it’s the perfect length for winter. I’ve been meaning to make a couple circle skirts like that, but haven’t found the right fabric yet.
    Congratulations again, and you were right to splurge on nice fabric, doesn’t it feel like it could be right out of an Anthropology store – except you made it !
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  • Tasia - Oooh it’s lovely! What a wonderful fall skirt. I absolutely love the bright yellow lining with the lace trim! This is a fantastic, keep-forever wardrobe piece. Stunning!
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  • liz - I love it! I have the linda skirt in my favs, but its so hard to tell what it looks like with the dark color burda makes it in. I’m going to have to make one myself soon, yours is such great inspiration. :)
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  • Shannon - I love a luscious plaid skirt and yours is just scrumptious!
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  • Alexandra - Now THAT’s a skirt.
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  • TanitIsis - So lovely. I will make myself a (regular wear) circle skirt one of these days, /sigh (so it can go and hang unworn like the rest of my skirts, I fear…)
    From my dance-circle-skirt days, hanging for weeks to months was often recommended, or soaking the skirt and hanging it to dry to speed up the process. Mind you, those were floor-length chiffon skirts from a minimum of 1.5 circles… there was a lot to hang out :)
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  • A Sewn Wardrobe - This is SO beautiful. I simply adore the fabric. You’re inspiring me to make a circle skirt soon!
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  • Kat - Wow, that is a fantastic skirt. The lining is super cute. I’m sure you’ll get a lot of wear out of it. It might just be cheaper in the long run that your other clothes. Love your blog.
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  • Alessa - I love the chevron your front seam creates. Also, I dig the bright, lacy underskirt. And the shoes…! My first sewing project, ever, was a circle skirt… though executed not half as professionally as yours, of course…
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  • Corinne - One of the nicest I hace seen,looks absolutely great on you!
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  • Kara - Beautiful! I like that you put the seam in the front to show off the matched plaids. It creates such a cool detail. And I love the punny name you gave it. :D
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  • Kris - Such a stunning skirt! I love the attention to detail. :)
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  • Ruby Slippers - beautiful, little bit retro I really love circle skirts in heavier fabric, so nice to still look girly even when it’s freezing outside. I really like seeing what you have come up with, your not afraid to use a bit of colour or a print and having recently dyed my hair red I look to your colour choices often for ideas and inspiration :-)
    x Ruby Slippers
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  • lakaribane - I love circle skirts but I’ve never used horsehair. Bias tape, on the other hand…But I do understand the weight angle.
    And I went further in my bias myself. Made my aunt a lined, white on white windowpane pattern long circle skirt last summer and I used these tablecloth weights to speed up the process. I hear you can also do that by ironing in the direction of the bias(?) but my energy issues are, sadly, unresolved so I try to do things low tech.
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  • jayne - Ok Ok I promised myself I’d finish the pencil skirt first ;-) This circle skirt is wonderful to look at. I found them especially fun during the winter-trudging through snow, fun to wear with boots, easy to move in…I really like your extras ☞ the lace edged silk slip with horsehair braid ! never heard of it but that’s why I read your blog. What better way to treat myself? Fun sewing with new ideas and fun to wear….ok ok I’ll finish the pencil skirt…:D
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  • Angela - It’s beautiful!! I love how you have it styled, too!!
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  • Christine - Gorgeous!!! And I love the plaid color. I’m obsessed with plaid so I’m pretty jealous about this creation. Looks great!
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  • tokie - Love this.
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  • Eilane - Linda saia, absolutamente vale o investimento.
    Abraços
    Eilane – Brasil
    Beautiful skirt, absolutely worth the investment.
    Hugs
    Eilane – Brazil
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  • Amanda S. - (I missed this post somehow.) It’s a super pretty skirt! Love the fabrics!
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  • juebejue - thanks for the inspiration! i just bought some fabric and am gonna make one for myself this week!
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  • denise calhoun - Gorgeous. The plaids match and everything. I am in awe!
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  • Mezzocouture.wordpress.com - Now THIS is a beautiful skirt. Love the plaid. Love the circle. LOVE the lining and lace! Beautiful. Just beautiful!
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Well, you’d better run right over to Patty, The Snug Bug’s blog and enter to win one, because she’s giving away one of my colorful little Tailor’s Hams. It’s the first time this has ever happened, at least with hams anyway. It’s rather monumental if you ask me. And don’t forget to check out the interview she held with me about my shop. I haven’t really talked about the shop much, but I finally got a chance to. Gush.

Thanks Patty! Happy Halloween to everyone! Hip Hip Hooray! Now go and fight to win your HAM!

  • Erika - I love my ham! but i’m an idiot and didn’t buy the matching seam roll when I had the chance!
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  • Kara - I love my ham, too! And my seam roll. Any plans to make ham/seam roll sets with coordinating pin cushions? I’d love to get a set for my mom for Christmas!
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  • Amanda - The ham and seam roll are so cute! Do you sell them individually too? I would’ve loved to have purchased a set, but I already have a boring ol’ ham. Your idea of having a shop of handmade sewing notions is fantastic! Looking forward to your future creations.
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  • Karen in VA - I agree with Kara, the 3 piece coordinating set would be awesome!! I’d buy it in a heartbeat for myself, esp. if the set were purple….love your blog and your shop…go for your dream!!!
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Oh the things we do for….fitting! Right? Well after I graded up this delightful jacket, I had to at least make one muslin to test the fit, and make sure that everything lined up just right. Hip hip hooray, it did for the most part. The front piece needed to be a little longer and other than that, I made a pretty good grade for this pattern. Shocking, yes! because this is only the second time I’ve done this and because it was a jacket.

The muslin fit quite well actually. It felt just a little baggy in the bodice, so I trimmed 1/2″ off the sides. Suprisingly, I had to make the sway back adjustment on this jacket as the waistband was a bit droopy. Not an adjustment I usually do, but hey, will be watching for that more now. I also needed a little more in the shoulder area. Yup, even with that pleat in the back, still not enough room in the yoke! Linebacker shoulders, I tell ya. Other than that, feeling pretty good about the overall fit and look of this pattern. I thought the collar would be a bit overwhelming, but I like it. It goes well with the puffy sleeve.

I’ve also decided to leave out the flap pocket. Sometimes, for me, things like that are just silly. But I might add one of those back belt-ish things with the two buttons on each side. Can’t remember what their called. And pockets like the ones on my mom’s jacket to boot. I think I’m more excited about the details of the jacket than the actual jacket itself. OK, back to my sewing machine. More to show next week, maybe even finished!

If you have an eye out for a jacket or coat, this book will give you step by steps on the fitting issues for jackets. Really this book, you cannot live without.

  • Laura - Wow, the collar and puffed sleeve combination is looking really fresh and modern to me! I went from digging on the 70’s kitsch of my childhood, to seriously dreaming of making something similar in corduroy maybe. Your muslin looks fab, and I think your choice on the flap pocket is a sound one. Especially working with a napped fabric you can really run the risk of it looking overworked no matter how much care you take.
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  • Peter - I think this looks great, Sunni. Can’t wait to see the finished jacket!
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  • Laura - Such was my frenzy that I found this pattern on ebid, and I’m going to just pretend this is a Boyfriend’s Jacket sew-along if you don’t mind. The grading post is also going to come in SO handy as well. I hope you don’t mind me jumping your train! Thanks so much for the inspiration..
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  • Tasia - Cute! I like the pleat along centre back, how it opens above and below the waist. What a fun project!
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  • B @ Sweet Limes - Seeing this it makes me want to see if I can find this pattern too, but unlike Laura I haven’t had the same luck to find one. :( I think it’s going to turn out to be drool worthy though.
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  • Eilane - Hello Sunni, the muslin was very good, amazing how a model can be as current vintage and beautiful.
    Hugs
    Eilan – Brazil
    http://www.eilanevidacostura.blogspot.com
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  • Uta - This will be so cute, Sunni! I have to fight the urge to throw out the already cut out short jacket I’m making and start over on a boyfriend jacket…
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  • Liz - This is such a cute pattern. I like it better on you than the pattern picture. Can’t wait for a potential sway-back adjustment post… :)
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  • Jill - I love the puff in the sleeves. Just call me Anne Shirley.
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  • juebejue - aww, i love the back! i think i will love itmore once you are done with the adjustments!
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  • Wanett - How could you know that I needed EXACTLY that book! I am trying to use a Burda Mag coat pattern and you know that’s like flying blind. Thanks!
    And your jacket looks awesome so far, too! ;O)
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  • Tamsin - Hi, This looks great. I am sewing a muslin for a dress (I have never done this before). I think that I need to take in the side seam under the arm – should I do this before I set in the sleeve or after – to see how the sleeve sits as is?
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  • Sherry - Oooh this looks lovely! The sleeves and collar really go together – can’t wait to see your finished one!
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  • Faye Lewis - Thank goodness I have the book, and I treasure it because it was gifted to me! It’s helped me a lot with my Lady Grey project. I love the fit of your jacket and the fact that you are really good at grading. I will refer back to your post for future projects. I love the pattern and I use to have a suit so similar to it in baby blue and it was gorgeous.
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  • The Cupcake Goddess - Hi Tamsin,
    I made the alteration to the tissue first and then cut out my pattern pieces. Heres the problem: If you take in the sides its going to affect the ease on the sleeve. So youll need to take in the sleeve the same amount you did for the sides and blend the edges into the sleeve seam. Does that make sense?
    If youve already stitched up both the bodice of the jacket and the sleeve and havent yet set in the sleeve, I would adjust the sides of the jacket and then set the sleeve in. You might have to take in the sleeve just a bit though too.
    Hopefully this helps. Let me know if I can help further.
    xoxo,
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  • Tamsin - Hi thanks – I’ll try the second one and see how that goes!
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  • denise calhoun - I’ve often looked at that pattern and wondered how it would make up. It’s gonna be gorgeous!
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  • Bunny - I actually like the way the back waist belt curves. I would just adjust the peplum so the two diagonal folds disappear, probably just a matter of lifting the peplum at CB. Great design.
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  • Angela - What a fun jacket! it looks great so far!
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