Thursday, February 09, 2012

Wearable Jackets, At Last

I bought this jacket pattern in 2007, and started altering and experimenting with it. I made full bust adjustments and a couple of muslins, and thought I was in business. About that time, some work obligations and the new house project intervened.

Recently, I decided to try again. Making a lined suit jacket with shaped lapels is a big time commitment, so I thought a wearable test garment would be in order--unlined, with simple, self-faced, button-to-the neck lapels. I made a new pattern piece for the center fronts, selected a jacket-weight navy blue fabric from my closet, and sewed it up. Once the buttons were in place, I could see the fit was good except in the shoulders. Home-made shoulder pads fixed that jacket, and I narrowed the shoulders on the pattern pieces. I don't have pictures of that jacket because the fabric proved to be unwearable--the loose-woven polyester attracted every stray hair, feather, and dust fleck on Droop Mountain. I salvaged the buttons and wrote that jacket off as another "muslin."

This time, I pulled out velvet upholstery fabric my mom bought in the 1970's. It's a pretty color, and, because I haven't come up with any better use for it in 30+ years, it will do for a fourth "muslin." The fit this time seems just right, and I'll probably use it for outerwear in the spring and fall. I slapped a pair of patch pockets on the front, because I didn't even want to think about making welt pockets in this coarse, ravel-y fabric.

I was so pleased with the simplified, unlined version of the jacket that I tried it again in this cotton velveteen yardage I had previously dyed using a low-water immersion technique. The serged seam finish is so tidy and attractive that lining would not add that much, and I think the button-to-the neck lapels and patch pockets are the right look for these casual jackets. I believe I'm going to cut out this same pattern in wide-wale corduroy next.

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