Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Progress on the jacket

I'm moving along with the jacket, albeit more slowly than I would like.

Monday night I had the house to myself for the evening, which meant I could sew to my heart's content. On the other hand, I had the house to myself for the evening, which meant I couldn't try the jacket on him every time I felt the need.

I thought about switching projects and starting to sew something for me but I restrained myself, took a deep breath, and sewed the collar.

Last time I attempted this jacket, I knew what I was doing and therefore completely screwed up beyond all rescue (the upper collar was leather, just to make it even more impossible to fix). This time, I slowed down, admitted that I knew nothing and I was powerless against the pattern, and read BWOF's instructions word for word, letter by letter.

The instructions still made no sense, and I followed them anyway. And, apparently while non-sensical, they can build a pretty good collar.

I took all their suggestions, plus everything I've learned myself, from books, experience and Patternreview. The under-collar is two pieces, cut on the bias. The collar bands are also on the bias, which not only looks really cool, but it made the collar fit in much better.

BWOF's instructions were really bizarre. After the basic structuring of the jacket, you attach the facings, but only turn the corner onto the lapel by about an inch (there's a mark). Then you leave it open all around the neck to the other side.

Next, BWOF said to construct the collar, so I did. Collar bands to collars. Collars together, trim seams, turn right side out, press. Admire the fact that I got very nice points since I was so concerned about the rest of the process I wasn't obsessing about my collar points.

After that is where it got truly weird. You take your nice completed collar, which is by now one piece, and you treat it like it's two pieces. Starting at the mark where I left off sewing the facing, I pinned the under-collar to the neck of the jacket. Once that was basted (by hand), I sewed it in and checked for bubbles, wrinkles, creases - all the usual evils. Nada. For the upper collar, same deal in reverse. Starting at the facing mark, pin the upper collar to the facing (there's a back neck facing so the facing goes all the way around), end at the other facing mark.

Miraculously, everything was the same length and fit, end to end, like it was supposed to. I basted, I sewed, I trimmed and clipped. I turned right side out and pressed.

Ever put so much of yourself into a process that when you're finished you're almost sick to your stomach? When I got that collar right side out and saw the facing and the way the collar fit into it, I was so happy I did a little dance in the workroom.

Of course it wasn't perfect. There were a few spots where the seam was a little off, and I took another deep breath - not entirely sure I'd breathed out since the first one - and carefully unpicked the stitches and redid them. There's one tiny spot at the joining corner of the lapel that isn't as perfect as I would like, but I have given permission that good enough is good enough.

Once he got home and I put the jacket on him and walked a few feet away, I couldn't tell which side it was, and no one else will ever think to look.

And here we have Lily, agreeing with us that those pleated pockets just weren't the thing. She's holding them down for me so I don't accidentallyl sew them back on.


Elaray said...

You have experienced what I like to call "The Freakin' Collar"! The first time I tried that @(#^$ collar, I threw it against the wall. Be very proud that you made it out alive!

Digs said...

Really beautiful collar and lapels, very well done indeed. Mister will look like a million in it. I love the bias collar band, made a mental note to steal that idea for next time...

gwensews said...

Notched collars are not easy. Yours looks terrific. Nice sewing!

Little Hunting Creek said...

I honor you for making a man's jacket. I am too chicken/lazy/scared. It looks beautiful already!

Gretchen the Household Deity said...

Very snazzy collar!

Skitzo Leezra Studio said...

You are so lucky to have your own 4-legged in-house quality control officer