Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Drat That Nap!

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Paco’s Unique Jacket
Sewing with faux fur
Darwinian December (early)
Thinking that I know what I’m doing

It seems that Friday evening has become my night for cutting out and prepping the next sewing project. So in keeping with this new tradition I cut out and prepped Paco’s Unique Jacket pattern and fabric on Friday.

I have a few thoughts running through my mind that must be exorcised before I can begin today’s post:

1. When I sit down of(in) an evening and order vast amounts of fabric and stuff on the internet I must try to remember where I’ve ordered the stuff from. This is important for delivery purposes. If you have been reading, then you know I need organza as an underlining for the vintage tailored jacket – that was actually the real purpose of buying online on the night in question. But…. you know how it is.  While searching for organza I also happened to come across some faux fur that I couldn’t resist, so that was ordered too (along with other stuff I won’t mention yet). So, some stuff came from England (faux fur) – two day’s delivery at most: the rest comes from Europe, five days average delivery time (organza & other stuff).

The organza has yet to arrive (Europe), so to keep myself out of trouble and arguing with the husband this weekend, I took the faux fur and Paco’s pattern and made a start on the Unique jacket, instead of the vintage. See No 4 below.

2. As Paco’s patterns don’t come with instructions you either have to figure them out for yourself or find a blog tutorial on the same garment. Now, lucky for us mortals there is a goddess in Portugal whose job on this earth is to inform and instruct the earth bound beings on construction techniques – her name is Tany. I often wonder why she hasn’t given up her day job – she is absolutely brilliant at sewing and I’m somewhat ashamed and abashed  as to try to make the same garments that she has already made.
3. If you have purchased Paco’s Unique Jacket pattern and wish to make it like a goddess, then leave this site NOW. Go to Tany. So if you want a really professional garment then follow an excellent and detailed method to make Paco’s jacket by stop reading this and go directly to Tany, she is so much better than me. She’ll satisfy all your needs. If you are mortal – stay tuned. What follows is the common man’s version………unlined and relatively quick.

4. Finally, I am officially intimidated by Vogue’s vintage jacket. See this and say no more. There is more than one goddess out there – beware! I am cognisant of copyrights and so forth so I credit 100% to Lauramae. I have nothing but admiration and awe (with a little bit of jealously) and praise for her work.

Right, now that I am cleansed – down to business. Here is the faux fur (ff) and it is a quite remarkable fabric. The dark brown ff is on one side, but it is lined with a peachskin which is embroidered and sequined. Sandwiched between these two layers is wadding for warmth and adds a luxury to the furry side. All the layers are quilted together with a fancy line of stitching. How could I cover up those sequins with lining? But the Unique jacket is a lined jacket – mmmmm…….

Paco’s pattern – as usual, comes with a colour image of what the garment should look like, a Paco Peralta label and a line diagram, along with the hand drafted pattern pieces. This is the extent of the instructions – you’re on your own from here on.

A small word about nap….

Some fabrics have “nap” – this is when the fibres on the surface of the fabric have a right way and a wrong way of lying. Velvet, fur, moleskin and some fleeces are the typical fabrics that when the fibres are brushed the wrong way change colour and the lie unevenly. When making clothes in these fabrics the nap must go in the same direction for all pattern pieces, otherwise you end up with a light and dark shaded garment and just doesn’t feel right when you run you hand along.

Nap brushed the right direction

Nap brushed the wrong direction.

The problem comes when you fold the fabric to cut out the pieces – depending on how you fold it (selvedge to selvedge) the nap runs the right way on one side, but the wrong way on the other. To correct this, the fabric must be cut into two pieces and these then lain one on top of the other so that the nap runs the same direction on both bits. Take care – do not place fur side up on both pieces and cut or you’ll end up with two right-hand sleeves! Either position the pieces right sides together or wrong sides together – or do it the long way and cut one pattern piece at a time for extra insurance.

My fabric was an odd width – neither 115cm(45′), or 150cm (60″) but somewhere in between. Added to which there were a few faults at the edges so I had to avoid those when placing the pattern pieces.

The upper front pattern piece is too wide for this fabric when folded, so it had to cut one at a time.

This is the moment when I thought I knew what I was doing – oh a little confidence is a bad, bad thing. And you’re reading this blog looking for advice?

I’d cut the fabric in two halves go get the nap thing sorted – fine. Merrily cut out all the pieces apart from the upper front which wouldn’t fit and so was leaving this till last to cut twice. All the previous pieces were perfect – straight of grain, nap etc. Took the last piece of ff and placed the last pattern piece on it – NOT ENOUGH FABRIC. No matter which way I turned, flipped, folded or otherwise manipulated the pattern I could not get two fronts with the nap running the same way on both.

Pondering the folly of my ways and how to get two sleeves from one too small piece of fur.

Here is the problem – as the sleeve lies at an angle, half of it is hanging off the fabric: if I angled the pattern then the grain and the nap would be off. I wasn’t going to stop now and if I ordered more fabric it would arrive after the organza and everything in the sewing room would be chaos. So, I patched the sleeve with an extra bit left over from the previous cuttings making sure to match the nap and those quilting lines.

 View from the right side.

At least the patch falls to the inside of the sleeve so may not be too noticeable to the unobservant passer-by. If you meet me wearing this jacket please do not point this out.

Dear readers, learn from my mistakes, do not make them yourselves.

Lessons learned…..

1. Order enough fabric in the first place – you need more that the pattern states when working with nap.
2. Lay ALL pattern pieces out BEFORE taking scissors to the fabric.
3. Accept the fact with grace and decorum that you are human – not Tany!

Jacket is progressing otherwise unscathed. I am making a tutorial, hopefully in PDF, for the construction order and things to take care over for this unlined version of the jacket. that’s if you trust me after this. Update pictures available soon.

Thanks for reading. Ruth


One thought on “Drat That Nap!

  1. Hi Ruth,Glad you like my blog. I will have to check in on yours when I want to something really industrious like a RIDING that is WAY too intense for this girl and I'm from Texas. I like instant gratification and serging with abandon…thanks for stopping by my blog!dorcas

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