Monday, October 20, 2008

Days 4, 5, 6 and Beyond!

We were now ready to sew the main seams of the jacket by stitching on the basting threads. These large rectangular chunks of fabric looked nothing like a jacket and I could not imagine how a good fit could ever be established with 4 inches of excess fabric in every seam. But leave it to Susan and it was done. After the fitting we began the very tedious job of trimming the excess seam allowances and folding and pressing the lining seam allowances. All the lining seams are done by hand with a fell stitch And then came the sleeves. Oh my gosh, the sleeves. Set by hand and beautiful but definitely labor intensive.

At this point the class was over but the jacket not yet finished. Once at home I decided my sleeves were too tight so I took them out and remade them --twice. As soon as my trim comes I will apply them, yes them, I am using three different trims. (And yes of course they are applied by hand.) Then all I have to do is make 4pockets, sew on 10 buttons and sew in the chain at the hem and I'm done! Yes done,
D O N E! I now have 100 hours of time invested in this project. Should this jacket be the death of me I will wear it finished or not as I lie in my casket.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


The next step as shown in this picture was to lay the fashion fabric right side up on lining fabric, pin and then cut large chunks around the shape of the jacket pieces. And then the fun started, we stitched the lining to the fabric by stitching lines one inch apart from top to bottom of each piece. Long thread tails were left on the top and bottom of each stitching line and later they would be pulled between the layers and tied.


On our scond day we pinned the muslin pattern to the fashion fabric and cut but not in the usual way. Remember the seam allowances have all been trimmed away from the muslin so we cut around the pattern leaving at least two inches of fabric on every side. This basically ended up being large rectangle of fabric with the muslin pinned on the right side. The next step was to hand baste using contrasting thread all around each pattern piece. This resulted in a basting thread marking all stiching lines on each piece. No piece was recognizable shape. This is thw amazing part-- this took 9 hours and then some. I had to take 3 pieces back to the hotel and finish basting.

Monday, October 13, 2008


I arrived in St Louis Monday morning about 10 am. Our first task was to have Susan check the fit of our muslins which would later become the pattern. I knew I had a slight problem in the back thanks to the previous picture. This was corrected by adding a center back seam. This was the perfect adjustment for my curvy backside and I will use this trick again. Some jackets had center back seams others did not depending on curve or flatness of the back. Susan also thought I needed more shaping to the jacket and really nipped in the waist and made the armsyce smaller and higher for tighter fit in the sleeve. This proved to be a problem and when I got home I ended up taking my sleeves out because they were too tight! There were a few other slight ajustments that ended up making a big difference in the overall fit. It was easy to tell that Susan has done this many times and had a very good eye for all details of the fit. We then marked all the adjustments on the muslin with tracing paper and cut the 1" seam allowances off the muslin. The muslin pattern pieces looked so small now and it was strange to see a pattern piece without a seam allowance. Couture relies on stitching lines instead of cutting lines and I loved this way of doing it. It was much more accurate and of course more labor intensive but worth every minute spent.