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Sometimes I make great strides in a project, to which progress photos can attest.  Then I feel like I’m properly Getting Things Sewn So That I Can Write A Proper Post About It.

Dreaming about my 1930s Butterick jacket pattern.

Dreaming about my 1930s Butterick jacket pattern.

Other times I make great strides in a project but the progress isn’t so visible. But it’s still there.

So, yes, since last time I did sew in the sleeves of my test garment, and it does look more like a jacket than before.  But the real progress was getting the input of an expert for a few crucial minutes.

No, wait a minute.

The real progress was when I stopped thinking, “I should know how to fit and alter patterns myself.”

I know–I’ve had a patternmaking genius for a sewing teacher for ten years.  Don’t I outsource the fitting and pattern alterations already?  Yes, pretty much.  But when I called Edith yesterday to get her opinion, I didn’t reach her.  And I had a post to write.  I had to make progress. Otherwise, my readers would think, “Ha. She is not Getting Things Sewn.”

I’d tried on the test garment, with shoulder pads that were, admittedly, probably too skimpy. On the fronts, near the armscyes, there seemed to be a little too much fabric. Was there? Or was I being a neurotic sewer?  Was I veering close to overfitting? My test fabric was a polyester, not behaving like the linen I’ll use for the real jacket. I needed someone’s expert eye.

Too much fabric next to the armscye.

Too much fabric next to the armscye.

Luckily, I had recourse to expert advice at Treadle Yard Goods, a great (and increasingly rare) independent fabric store, in St. Paul, not very far from where I live.  Treadle has frequent “sewing salons” where sewers can bring their projects for on-the-spot advice.

In under fifteen minutes Michele had sussed out the problem, sketched a solution and supervised my cutting my pattern front and taping it in its new position. Then I trued the new armscye and side seams so they were smooth and elegant again.  Done!

Cut and slide over 3/8 inch to tweak the fit.

Michele’s solution: cut and slide over 3/8 inch to tweak the fit.

No big deal, right? Yes and no.  The alteration in the pattern was minor. But the alteration in me was major.

I’m seeing that a big part of my getting things sewn will be planning expert help into my process.  It might be live, individual hands-on help,  or a local class, or an online class, or a DVD.  I’ve underutilized these resources in the past. I’m going to be downright strategic from here on out.

I don’t see a reason to finish this test garment. So I’m going to start cutting out my linen tomorrow. Onward!

The goal.

The goal.