Sunday, 29 May 2016

In Theory, Yes : Vogue 8916 Jacket

In theory I should be very fond of this new little jacket:

but even though I love the fabric (a small and sparkly cotton/ viscose/ poly remnant from Tessuti fabrics ages ago - stripes AND sparkle!), and love boxy cropped jackets in general, something about the way this fabric and this pattern have come together doesn't work for me.

And yet I look pretty happy in these photos, don't I!

Well, I was happy! I was thrilled to discover a new and secluded photo location at home, after another of those frustrating afternoons of trying to take blog photos at different places in my garden and discovering neighbours in all directions, monitoring my suspicious antics (well, more like gardening and being curious about the weirdo taking photos of herself).  SUCH a relief.  Though it's only secluded if I sit down - when I stand up I become visible to a few neighbours again.

The jacket itself - well, let me tell you the positives...
  • The pattern (Vogue 8916) itself is a positive - an extremely easy jacket pattern that comes together quickly and neatly, with shoulder darts and princess seams that would let you work on fit without too much hassle. 
  • Oh and the fit on this jacket was pretty good for me without any fiddling. 
  • The fabric is very interesting - it has stripes AND sparkle, as I mentioned above. The side I've used as the fabric outer has silver flecks, and the reverse side is matt with the stripe colours reversed. 
  • I love the midnight blue silk I've used to line the front panels of the jacket, and after interfacing, these pieces felt like a good weight for facings.

  • Due to fabric limitations (I had just 0.95 metres of the striped remnant) I went for a "misaligned stripes" look and was surprised to find I like that look.  
  • I love the little pockets I've included on the jacket. The original pattern has small pockets that are set into the princess seam at about waist level, but no matter how I moved my pattern pieces around, I just didn't have enough fabric to make them. So instead I decided to try making pockets in a new horizontal seam in the front panels - and I think they worked really well: 

  • I ran two strands of white thread as a hand stitch around the sleeve opening and all the lower jacket edges except the front panels and although my hand stitching is a bit chunky looking, I like the result. It does an OK job of holding the lining at bay too!

And now for the negatives: 

  • My lovely fabric is too stiff for the pattern, This pattern would look much better sewn in a linen or wool.
  • My lack of fabric. The front facings are meant to be made from the same fabric as used on he outside of the jacket, but my 0.95 metres wasn't enough to include facings. I also didn't have enough of the blue silk to use it for anything but the front facings. 
  • A simple and quick to sew jacket pattern means shortcuts. I wish this pattern included a neckline facing pattern piece, and that the lining lengths were shorter - I could have drafted a neckline facing for myself, and I could have cut the lining shorter but didn't think of it :(. And to me, lining fabric that comes right the edge of a garment looks a bit shoddy. (Edited to add: Though both amcasey and Sharon have pointed out to me in the comments below that lining to the jacket's edge is what Chanel did, so I guess it's more my own lack of skill in finishing the jacket that's annoying me - I hate the way the lining peeks out at the end of the sleeves and at the back of the jacket!)

Put it all together and sadly, I'm not a fan. I'll keep the jacket in my wardrobe for a little while in case distance from its sewing helps me overlook its shortcomings, but for now, I suspect this little jacket is just not going to get many outings. Oh well, they can't all be winners, can they! 

Happy sewing!

- Gabrielle x

Monday, 9 May 2016

Summer's End Top + Pants

I've whipped up a top and some black work pants - and I'm feeling really happy with them both.

The pullover top is sewn from an 80s pattern (Vogue 8313) and some vintage fabric (quite possibly from the same era).  For all that it's an old style it doesn't look particularly dated to me... and yet it's pure 80s.  In fact my mum had a top with very similar lines to this one when I was growing up, though hers was made from white linen with navy trim inset around the neckline (and no buttons), and had a matching skirt - much more of a classic look than this :).

I found the buttons in my stash - wasn't I lucky to get such a good colour match! 

I modified the pattern slightly to narrow the neckline and to make the buttons decorative rather than functional; I didn't think my loose weave fabric - a lightweight hemp perhaps? - would have stood up to buttoning, and I don't usually have any problems getting pullover tops on. The pattern also called for top stitching to hold the facings in place around the neckline, but I opted instead for lots of 'invisible' hand stitching under the buttoned corners and wherever else I could hide a few stitches...  I love this "no stitches" look and wish I'd thought of it when I was sewing the sleeve hems. 

The top is intended to be a little more cropped than mine but I wanted it to cover the waistline of whatever I wore it with, so I added a few centimetres to the length and cut the front and back with the selvedge in place of a hem.  I can *just* tuck it in too when I wear it with high waisted shorts:

I should have realised such a loose fabric would be slightly transparent - I will have to bear that in mind next time I wear it...

And the black pants are the pants from Vogue 1264 by Anne Klein, described on the pattern envelope as "semi-fitted pants with tapered leg has side invisible zipper" and reviewed here on PatternReview. They're basically just cigarette pants - no pockets, no frills!

Black is so hard to photograph!  

This pattern is a really good basic pants pattern - simple to sew with an invisible side zip and waist darts, and giving a surprisingly decent fit right out of the envelope. My only intentional adjustment from a straight size 14 was to taper the pattern to a size 16 waist, which turns out to be a bit loose on me and makes my pants end up sitting lower than my waistline and makes the pants legs look longer on me than they should (I normally lengthen Vogue pants legs by at least 5 centimetres). 

I also forgot to follow the instructions, and that led to my unintended omission of the cute side slits that should be happening just above my ankles. I'll definitely have to include them next time - they're very easy to sew. and with a nice deep hem they should have enough weight to stay in place and not flop askew.  

I've lightened the next photo so you can see the fit in the back of the pants with my top hoicked up. The fit isn't perfect, but it's a million times less saggy under the backside than all my RTW work pants and would probably look even closer to "spot on" in a drapey wool crepe (these pants are sewn from a stretch cotton):

The pants have a plain facing at the waist and no waistband, and I think this is good for those of us (like me) with a short waist - though I guess it may not work for those who need a belt to keep pants in place. Although I've sewn my pants up with too loose a waist, my impression is that the pattern is also a good starting point for those of us with flat-ish backsides (like me) - the crotch curve looks relatively shallow compared to some pants patterns I've tried.

Extra room for ice cream, right?

Next up I'm hoping to show you a winter dress that's turned out to be more "va-va-voom" than planned (I have no idea whether or not it is going to look alright in the daylight and in photos, but it's looking OK in the weak late-night light...), and then a cute but seasonally inappropriate jacket.

These photos with their varying backgrounds were all taken at Bicentennial Park on the foreshores of Rozelle Bay a couple of weeks ago (thank you mum!) with the exception of the shorts photo (thank you tripod).  I hope this doesn't feel like an excess of photos!

Thanks for reading

Gabrielle xx

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