Sunday, August 7, 2011

Grey summer suit - it's about time, you say?

Well, for heaven's sake, I wonder what took The Sewing Lawyer so long?  It may have been the intervening allure of Vogue 1250.  Or her week away on holidays.  Perhaps she was slightly discouraged by that mid-project anxiety which often strikes during a longer-term more-complicated sewing project about whether it would fit, or suit her, or be easy enough to wear to be a go-to outfit on hurried weekday mornings.  Or maybe it was just the summer heat and doldrums, of which there has been plenty.  Whatever the cause, the delay has been overcome.

The Sewing Lawyer is pleased to present to you ... (drumroll) ... her grey summer suit.

Happily, it does fit.  And it seems comfortable enough.  The jury is out on whether it will be easy to wear.

The last jacket that The Sewing Lawyer made with a peplum was definitely NOT easy to wear.

It was her attempt to fix the Hot Patterns jacket pattern known as the Metropolitan Jacket.  You can read the whole long, sad saga here (if you are a paying member of PatternReview).  She sweated and swore at that thing for what seemed like months.  Come to think of it, it  really was months, And then she hardly ever wore it.  Too fussy.  Not The Sewing Lawyer's style.  Or something.

It (and its matching skirt and pants) have been donated.  I hope someone is enjoying them.  A lot.

Back to Vogue 8718.  I feel cautiously optimistic about it.  It isn't gathered.  I like its lines.  I still really like the sleeves, which are sort of puffed but not at all in the same way as the HP jacket.  I think with time I can get over the fact that the fabric (very thin, hard surfaced wool suiting with a slight sheen) is really hard to press, so there are apparent wrinkles and puckers everywhere if you look really closely.  This is one of those problems that may well disappear in the closet, if given enough time.  (You know, those sewing flaws visible only to the creator...)

So... what else to tell you about this?  How about some more photos?

The princess seams of the skirt (which is the same as many other skirts in The Sewing Lawyer's closet, a true TNT pattern) are more or less in the right place in the front to flow on from the pleated peplum.  I notice that in the back, they are too widely-spaced.  Oh well.  As I showed you before, the major seams are edgestitched and topstitched because double lines of heavy topstitching thread are an interesting contrast to the extremely smooth fabric.  I think that was a good call.

The pattern called for four medium-sized (3/8", or 9mm) snaps to close the jacket.  I disagreed.  Snaps would be bumpy, and very visible on the underlap side when the jacket is not closed.  Covering them to make them less obvious would have made them prone to opening spontaneously. The jacket did not need a closure below the peplum seam (which is slightly above the natural waist).  So I sewed on three hooks, on the overlap side, and made thread bars for the underlap.  Here are some photos.

I am very happy with how this solution works.  The thread bars are worked with a sort of button hole stitch, over about 4 foundation stitches.  I used the heavy topstitching thread which is a good colour match.  The hooks are ugly but they are under the overlap side so cannot be seen.

As you can see (or not) in the photo below.





Other construction notes.

I found the sleeve hem opening was much too wide.  I narrowed the under-sleeve seam by approximately .75" (2 cm) on each of the front and back sleeve for a total narrowing of double that amount on each sleeve.  This is perfectly fine, and I don't think my arms are unnaturally slender.

I am really happy that I used stout ribbons to pleat the sleeves instead of following the pattern instructions, which were to sew the lining pieces to the upper sleeve before pleating, and then fasten the outer sleeve to the sleeve lining to create the pleats.  I just do not think that lining fabric is strong enough to support the sleeve pleats.  Plus, using a ribbon allows you to get the pleating right before the jacket is totally lined.


The only dedicated lining pieces are for the sleeves.  Otherwise, Vogue instructs to cut the lower and upper CF pieces as facings out of the fashion fabric (as you can see above), and the rest of the body pieces out of lining fabric.  In retrospect, I wish I had thought to make a CB piece with a lining pleat, and to add a touch of length to the lining, for ease purposes. As it is, I sewed the lining with slightly smaller seam allowances, and hand-felled the lining at the waist with a seam allowance of maybe 1.2cm (1/2") to give a bit of ease in the length.  Using the same pieces for lining risks having a lining that is too short/tight and will pull on the fashion fabric, disturbing the line of the garment.

The other truly weird thing about the Vogue instructions relate to the collar.   This is TMI unless you are puzzling through the pattern instructions, but I mention it here in case anyone out there in blogland is sewing this jacket.  They say to sew the facing/lining layer to the jacket body before the collar is sewn on i.e. leaving an opening for the collar, and then to sew the collar on with the outer SA pressed up to the inside, and to hand-fell the collar to the jacket side.  I could not for the life of me figure out why...  Too complicated and risks a truly Becky-Home-Ecky and bulky look.  I sewed the collar, ignoring the instructions to press the lower SA up on the outer collar layer.  I first topstitched the collar, and then attached it to the jacket shell before attaching the lining.  I finally sewed the facing/lining to the jacket/collar at CF/neck from one peplum seam to the other in one pass, enclosing the collar seam (which had to be trimmed). Just ignore Vogue.  Sorry I took no pictures of this.  If you have questions, ask in the comments and I'll do my best to explain further.

One more thing - I used a fusible tape to snug in the CF edge by maybe 1cm (3/8").  Even though the lower CF piece is more or less on grain, and the upper piece is fully fused, and even though I was reasonably careful with the iron, I found this edge stretched out when I was pressing the seam attaching the facing/lining to the jacket.  This was a little in-progress retrofit.

I do like the sleeves.  Very much.



27 comments:

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous. I love this on you, especially those killer sleeves. I hope this gets lots of wear. :D

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  2. Oh my that is just wonderful!!! Love those sleeves! It looks great on you :O)

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  3. Fabulous job on a difficult assignment. I like this pattern a lot, but fear that the sleeves would emphasise my already large upper arms.

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  4. Beautiful, and the sleeves are great. Love your ribbon solution. Vogue has some very strange ideas now and then. I wonder if it'sso you won't truly replicate a designer's look. Probably not, but really, why? Great job, and it does look much more your style than the HP jacket.

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  5. What a lovely result! It looks great on you.

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  6. It looks terrific on you. I like your sleeves, and using a ribbon makes much more sense now that you point it out.

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  7. Well done, fabulous jacket!!

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  8. Congratulations on getting it finished! It looks fabulous. Not at all your usual grey suit.

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  9. I must add my Congrats as well! It looks fab - what a great suit. I've been making some pencils skirts to wear to work - I have a timeline to make a suit (before I turn 50) - in just over five years!!

    Congrats again. Fantastic. And I am going to look up your Hot Patterns review - the jacket too looks great. Very feminine.

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  10. It's lovely, but I think it would be perfect if the waist were an inch lower

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  11. A HUGE success! Well worth the effort, the fit is great and suits you well and I love the sleeves. Congratulations on finishing this suit it really was worth the end result!

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  12. wow, that is a real stunner. You wear it so well - all the interesting design features are wonderful on you.
    And I didn't see too many wrinkles - liked your phrase "a problem that disappears in the closet"
    :D

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  13. Yes, the sleeves are great! But I think that the waist is too high for you, don't you agree? Sometimes it could be not confortable at all. We start to pull down the jacket... But the result is fantastic! If you don't have mentioned the princess lines I couldn't noted them.
    C'est chic!

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  14. It's great on you! What is it with Vogue and instructions? They do lend themselves to that Becky Home ec look.
    I hate pressing hard finish thin wool suiting. One thing that I have found to be helpful is to press on a hard surface. I have one of those wooden forms with a curved top and straight bottom. It's about 2" thick. I cannot for the life of me remember it's name but I saw it in an old Threads article on pressing and my dh cut it out of piece of butcher block we had left from a sink cutout.

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  15. It suits you perfectly, and is gorgeously made. You have plenty of summer left in which to wear it, too!

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  16. Wow! It's beautiful, the fabric drapes really nicely on the sleeves, and the colour is wonderful. It's a great style to wear to work and out for the evening.

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  17. Very classy suit--and those sleeves are the coolest!

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  18. A lovely summer suit and the sleeves take it outside the box so to speak.

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  19. Super cool! I agree with you on the sleeves. They are awesome and really bring it to a whole new level.

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  20. Beautiful! I LOVE it. But OF COURSE I do - it's an Akris, and Amazingly Akristically executed!

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  21. the sewing lawyer looks good in that suit.

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  22. What a fantastic job! The sleeves are just adorable.

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  23. Wow! Excellent work.

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  24. Great work - I love your suit and love your enhancements to the pattern. Yours looks better than mine!

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  25. Beautiful! And I hope that it does end up getting a lot of wear because those sleeves are fantastic!

    Carolyn
    Diary of a Sewing Fanatic

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  26. I would FIGHT you for this suit! It's gorgeous! Makes me annoyed I spent a slew of money on a stack of poly blend suits last month :)

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  27. Glad to see this turned out as it did. I bought the pattern because I loved the body of the jacket. But in white on the pattern envelope I did not like the sleeves. Now that I see them in grey on you, I do like them. I never would have tried them based on the photo on the pattern.

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