Tuesday, March 27, 2012


Finally, I met a group of sewists in real life that I never would have known it weren't for the magic of the world wide web and more specifically Pattern Review! Even without the guest of honor (Deepika's plane was delayed) the evening was great fun. I was so glad that I was able to drive with Bernadette (cleverkitty on PR) because I'm not very good at going to things like this all by myself. We talked sewing, blogging, and Pattern Review in the car, at dinner, while shopping at Janie's Sewing Corner (our host), and again in the car on the way home.

The Cleveland PR Group at Janie's Sewing Corner
I had so much fun with my new sewing friends that I finally made the effort to attend a sit-n-sew at Janie's where some of them are regulars. I've had a hard time forcing myself to go somewhere else to sew because I like my sewing area and when the kids are gone I don't really have that many interruptions. Well, it turns out that I can get alot more done than I thought when I'm not at home. I added the waistband to a pair of pants and put together a lined straight skirt, except for the hem in about four hours. I cut out and interfaced the waistband pieces of the skirt at home so I could just zoom away on my machine.

This is the only picture I took as shopping and talking became more important that documenting the evening. You can check out some of the other pix at the Pattern Review blog (scroll down to sewpatty's entry).

Sunday, March 25, 2012

RTW Jacket Sew-Along


The Back Story

What's so funny about this jacket?
Once upon a time I attended a workshop about sewing jackets by Mary Rohr. It was one of the best workshops I ever attended and changed my whole perspective on how to sew a jacket. One of the primary tips I took away from the workshop was to find one basic (i.e., not trendy) jacket pattern to include in your wardrobe. So, I tried out two different patterns. The results: I loved them so much they are both still in my wardrobe and I still wear them! (To put that into perspective – I made them when I still lived in MN and have now been in OH for 17 (yikes!) years.) However two years ago when one of my more fashion-forward students laughed at me every time I wore the brown one (right), I decided that it was time to send it into retirement, well, semi-retirement. Sometimes I still wear it as a mid-weight outdoor jacket, but not to school!

So here's how my favorite of the two jackets fits now.
When it came to deciding what to make for the RTW sew-along I knew that I had to revisit my basic jacket. In addition to updating the style of the jacket, I've been stuck many mornings when I thought I had my whole outfit picked out only to find that I just needed a basic black jacket to finish it off. Hard to believe, but I didn't have one in my closet. So I've got my basic black jacket that I also figure can fall into the "boyfriend" jacket category. :)

The Pattern(s)
The funny one

The good one

The Process 
Before making the tucks in these pictures I automatically added width to the waist and the hips. I also took the shoulder slope down 1/4" from the front and back to adjust for a small shoulder pad and made took 3/4" off the sleeve cap.
For the construction I followed Sherry's (scroll down to find the RTW sew-along) excellent instructions with two exceptions. One was for the sleeve lining. One of my least favorite parts of securing the lining is attaching the sleeve hem and this method makes it much easier. The other exception was the welt pocket instructions. I used my TNT method here.

I didn't have any sleeve heads but I do have this padding (sorry, I can't remember what it's called but I bought it at JoAnn's). So I traced the sleeve cap and markings and drew the lower edge freehand. I also used this padding for the "filler piece" on the picture below.

So, that's all the good stuff but there are cons. The con's start with the overall look of the jacket. My first thought when it was done was that a) the shoulders still look huge, and b) it's not even close to being as fitted at the waist/hips as my original jacket. This is probably due to the fact that I don't have the same shape I had back then! And, then there's a big sad face for that back collar/neckline. Why is it like that? When I looked at my original jacket after this one was done I noticed the back collar did the same thing – that is, it doesn’t cover up the back neck seam. (Yes, I see the yukky puckering too. Double sad face.)
I'm so glad that Sherry decided to host this sew-along because, even though I finished about 9 months behind, it motivated me to take my time and update a favorite old pattern. FYI - all of her instructions for the RTW Sew Along are posted on her blog so when you feel motivated to put your jacket together, go take a look!

** Apologies for any editing mistakes and crappy pix! Life is just BUSY and I needed to post something.