I finished my linen jacket today. Overall I’m really satisfied with how it turned out, especially since this was the first time I’d made up this pattern.
What worked well?
- The fit. This jacket really does feel like it was made for me. I like the length, the sleeve length, the fit in the shoulders, the high underarm allowing great range of movement, and the close fit without binding. Being a student of Edith, I made a muslin.
She checked it for fit and made some minor adjustments. When I put together the wearable test I thought there was a little too much fabric creating a hollow between the lapel and shoulder seam. Michele at Treadle Yard Goods pinched out the excess and showed me how to adjust the front pattern piece. So before I cut into my beautiful linen, I had a fair chance at a good fit.
- The fabric.
This blue and white cross-dye linen is such a perfect partner for the muted blue of my vintage buttons. It’s also a wonderful weight for the garment. I bought this linen in 2012 at Treadle Yard Goods in St. Paul, MN.
- The silk organza underlining. It weighs almost nothing but gives body to the linen. Several Threads magazine articles and Claire Shaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide recommend using silk organza to reduce linen’s wrinkling. I’ll be sure to let you know if that turns out to be true for this jacket. I will also underline the matching skirt I’ll make.
- The patch pockets and flaps.
- The red flat piping inserted between the facing and lining.
It took practice to stitch it in very evenly, but was worth the effort. It’s one of those touches I’ll enjoy every time I put on my jacket (–or take it off ostentatiously).
- The notched-lapel sewing went well. Notched lapels used to intimidate me. Now I’m alert yet relaxed when I sew them.
What would I like to improve on next time?
- The bound buttonholes. I’m not dissatisfied with these; they’re just tricky little busters to get consistently right. I was especially concerned about making them durable.
The linen is ravelly, and any loose stitching could eventually come out and the buttonholes would come apart. I went to possibly extreme lengths to use a finishing method on the facing side that would stand up to a couple hundred wearings over the years. I may advocate slow sewing, but making windowpanes in the facings that align with the buttonholes in the fronts would test many a slow sewer’s patience. The results were mixed at best. I’ll research other bound buttonhole methods for next time.
- The positioning of the top buttonhole.
I used the location on the original pattern piece, but the pattern seems to be wrong. The lapel doesn’t sit quite right. I may end up leaving the top button unbuttoned.
What’s next? Follow-through:
- Reading all the notes I made, and summarizing the lessons I learned and best sources to consult so I can slash my cutting and construction times in half.
- Sew a simple, contemporary skirt from the remaining yardage.
- Plan ensembles around this garment. Too often I’ve sewn garments without enough thought to making complete outfits. More on this subject coming soon.
- Have good photos taken in June when I’ll see my photographer, my sister Cynthia.
- Wear it and enjoy it!