A few posts ago I showed you a reversible straight skirt I made from some suede knit with a rayon knit backing.
I decided that I wanted to make a jacket to go with both versions of the skirt for my travels. I was hoping for something that would look sort of suit like, despite the fact that my daughter has told me about two million times to stop matching things.
I figured that when she was around I could switch the skirt to the grey side and I would be O.K.
In addition to clandestine suit wear I also wanted a jacket that could double as a sort of spring/fall jacket, meaning that it would not be so fitted that I couldn't wear a sweater under it if I wanted to.
This is the pattern I chose, a new season Butterick from Katherine Tilton, B6596:
I liked the asymmetry of the zipper placement in the jacket and the fact it called for a knit. I usually don't like unlined jackets but in a knit that's just fine and in a two-sided bonded knit even better.
I am very happy with this jacket and will probably at least another one, it is that comfortable.
That said there were some definite surprises in this project.
First is fit.
Going by the back of the pattern envelope, I am between a size 16 and 18 bust, a size 22 waist and between a 16 and 18 hip.
Because I always choose pattern size by my high bust, I cut out a size 14, and added two inches to the hip and two inches to the length (these patterns are drafted for 5'6" women and I am 5'9".)
This meant of course that I was sewing a jacket that was drafted for someone with a bust 3" smaller than mine and with a waist 6" smaller than mine.
Here is how that size 14, with additions only a hip and length looked like on me:
Really not tight at all is it, in fact I might even have gone down a size, although this is fine for an over something else jacket. Next time I make it I will not add anything at all to the hip area and not add to the length.
Can you imagine what this would look like on me if I had made it in a size to match my measurements?
No wonder so many sewers have given up on the Big 4 and gone Indie.
And this is another case study of why I always work off my high bust, rather than my full bust when using the big pattern companies.
I have a pretty clear idea what happened.
The first clue was simply that the instructions were so nuts for a for knit pattern.
If you read them, all the stay-stitching and clipping and turning and pressing and easing, a person would swear that this pattern was drafted for a woven fabric and that the instructions were written in an 1968 home ec class.
No mention of sewing a knit with a serger (or finishing with a cover hem or twin needle) or even with a stretch stitch or small zig zag on a sewing machine. It is as if the last 50 years of knowledge in how to sew knits never even happened.
Most weird. This sort of breaks my heart for the new sewers out there who are diligently following pattern instructions and not understanding why they are a struggle, or why they produce garments that look home made.
It really makes me wonder how much input the designer has into these patterns or if they do a sample and the team, at say Butterick, just cuts and pastes in stuff that they have in the generic instruction bank.
Even more odd is that there are two distinct voices in these instructions.
Most of the steps are as I have described above, textbook woven techniques, and completely ignoring the fact that this pattern was supposed to be sewn in a knit, but then suddenly there are some really wonderful, detailed and quite original instructions for sewing in the invisible zipper pockets. That section seem totally out of character with the rest of the text.
It was as if the pattern editor couldn't find any way of explaining these rarely atypical pockets and asked Tilton herself to write something and then dropped that particular text into the middle of the guide sheet.
Here are the pockets BTW:
|A demo of how to put your hands in a pocket|
|A demo of how to unzip a pocket|
These internal pockets are sort of pattern envelope size and are to be set up high, about three inched below the armpit in each side panel.
I actually made up these pockets and was about to put them in when I realized what I was doing - getting ready to sew in some big pockets to go one under each armpit.
I reminded myself of Miss Heidi when she was asked to stand on a balance beam in gymnastics "Why?" (actually what she actually said was "why do you want me to stand on a piece of wood?")
What is a person supposed to put in these pockets?
Conceal and carry sandwiches? Library books to read on the bus? A cell phone under the right armpit and a pack of cards under the left? Passports for the whole family and the plane tickets home?
Nothing about these pockets made any sense so I left them out. Maybe you should too, unless their purpose is clearer to you than it is to me.
Not all details were this unusual.
The zipper front was easy to install but I did have to work with the zippers I had locally. I really wonder sometimes if it s within my rights as a mother to ask my son, who is happily living his life in Berkeley, to move back to New York for the sewing notions - zippers in particular? Wonder if he would go for that?
In the end I was pretty happy with how the jacket went with both sides of the reversible skirt as hopefully you can see in the shots above. Ignoring the pattern sizing and instructions were worth it.
This is a very wearable garment and hopefully the shots show that.
Speaking of photography I will end this post with an out take just like they do at the end of some movies - all the things they leave on the cutting room floor.
I have to saw that neither my husband or I would say that these photo taking sessions are the high points of our martial experience. I generally want to know why my husband holds the phone in such a way to make my head look small and my stomach look fat and my husband wants to know why if I want the top of my head in the shot I don't tell him.
I also know that my loyal husband thinks I am not helping him reach his creative potential. If for example you are wondering how I actually look when the suggestion is made that we shoot my sewing projects from the drone in the sky - so my readers can see the garment from all angles - well wonder no longer: