It’s been a good week.
You know one of those rare occasions where social, work, family and me-time all seem to work out. Well, I’m lucky enough to have had just one of those….now, why can’t every week be like this?
I’ve sewn three tops to go with the plum/lilac/lavender needle cord skirt for SWAP ’14 but have no photos to prove it so you’ll just have to believe me (photos soon) and I have now left SWAP behind for a while and ventured into new territority. For the first time ever in my life I’ve joined a sew-a-long. It’s over at Sew Maris and all about Style Arc’s Ziggi biker jacket.
I had to wait for fabric to come from England, and pattern from Australia and zips from America but at last everything arrived and I got stuck in at the weekend. While waiting for bits to arrive, in preparation I’ve been measuring the quilting on students’ biker jackets, inspecting their sleeve zips and scrutinising the lining and collars – they think I’m bonkers! Maybe I am. My problem is that I’m too impatient.
I completely understand that a sew-a-long has to consider those who sew once a week or are new to various techniques etc etc etc. and I’m glad for that as I was two weeks’ behind the start date due to having to wait for my stuff to arrive. I took the best part of the weekend to get caught up and then I couldn’t stop.
I’m adding my tuppence worth to the tutorials and advice on the interweb in the hope someone else will benefit from my sewing experience because I’ve certainly benefited from Shams and Maris.
First – Size! Australian women must be blessed either though genetics or evolution to have large breasts – personally my heritage is northern European and hence am comparatively flat chested so the Aussie sizing thing doesn’t quite fit me.
Size 12 – Bust – 38″ (97cm): waist 31.5″ ( 80cm) : hips 40.6″ (103cm)
Seam allowance is 1cm – wow that’s narrow and not much room for manoeuvring there.
I ordered a 12 (technically one size up) and cut out as is and decided to use 1.5cm (5/8″) seam allowance – I figured the two would cancel each other out and still give me space to let out, if needed and give a good fit. Check out the Style Arc size chart before ordering your pattern as the pattern comes in the size you order – not multi-size.
Next hurdle – cutting the pattern pieces from the Donna Karan sized sheet of paper. Move to the floor and just get on with it and don’t use your fabric scissors! Kitchen or household are perfectly acceptable at this stage.
Quilting the shoulder yokes and sleeve tops: Do this before stitching anything.
Rough cut the pattern pieces – larger than required
Make a sandwich with shell fabric, padding and cotton.
Mark on the cotton 1″ squares (from a very reliable source -thanks Eve!) at 45 degrees to the straight of grain.
Sew with a large stitch (3mm) along the marked lines.
Re-position pattern pieces on the quilted bits - keeping the straight of grain – and cut to size. Remember to reverse one of the pieces!
Now ALL the pattern pieces are cut and ready to go.
Biggest hassle: Front pocket zips
I really can’t improve on Shams’ or Maris’ advice (see links above) and tutorials on this stage of construction but I would like to add just a slightly different take on this very reliable technique.
I’m using faux-leather for my jacket and so I can’t pin except within the seam allowances and can’t tack (baste) – the holes created will be obvious on the finished garment.
Instead of using organza as a backing fabric for the zip windows – use fusible interfacing. When pressed, it holds the stitched edge in place and also acts as extra stabiliser for the zip. Stitch it in place as per Shams’ instructions but with sticky side up to right side of fabric. What you see below is the sleeve zip window – but the same works for the front pockets.
Clip to the corner and fold (manipulate) the interfacing to the inside. Press well to fuse the interfacing to the inside of the fabric making sure all the interfacing is on the inside and not seen from the right side. Take your time!
Insert the zip as normal.
I couldn’t resist this section. It’s not actually part of the pattern but Sham’s included it and it really adds to to the finished jacket. Once again, the tutorial that Shams put up is excellent and difficult to improve upon but with 1cm seam allowances – it’s hard. One of my sleeve zips is inserted using Shams’ version and the other is inserted using this..
Cut and make your gusset following Shams’ technique but instead of sewing it in after the zip insertion, include it in along with the zip. Pin the two together and sew.
I’m not saying this is any easier but it saves on sewing and trying to fit the gusset to just the zipper tape. Trim the gusset after sewing in place.
I’m just glad this jacket is lined – look at the state of that…
Anyway…. I was on a roll… I couldn’t stop once I’d got started and didn’t wait for sew-a-long instructions. I sewed the jacket seams, sleeves and added the collar. I put in the front zips and am now ready to attach the sleeves.
The quilting at the sleeve tops has created bulk and stiffness and I’m not too sure that there will be any room to ease them into the arm scythe, so I might just wait after all – here’s one pinned in place…..tune in next time to find out….Did she wait or did she jump?
I must say that I’m enjoying this sewing make a lot – I mean, it’s exciting, new and very challenging – and I have to think about things and techniques. I’m loving it! I’ve even ordered more fabric for the next one and this one’s nowhere near finished!