Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

Unforgettable and Unpredictable


Oh thank you all so very much for keeping me sane and all (most) admitting that you too remembered Rive Gauche – you really have no idea how reassuring all those comments were after that surreal episode in the fabric shop.

And to make me even happier Anon has stopped commenting too. So thanks for the advice on that front too.
So back to Rive….
A cotton/linen mix in soft black. I’m not a big fan of black but I’m trying to introduce it gradually into my wardrobe, especially when I see the creations that Shams and Margy produce in monochrome. I know that black on black does not work for me so I always aim to add a splash of colour somewhere to lift it.
The pattern is a long jacket – McCalls 5938, sadly OOP, but still available on their website.

Semi-fitted, lined jacket with welt pockets and flaps, back princess seams, notched collar, two-piece sleeves with button trim, shoulder pads, back vent opening and below hipline length.

I added three buttons to the front and made the ones on the sleeves work properly – my construction  was somewhere between home sewer and tailoring – damn you Ms Schaeffer! I must now tape my front edges and padstitch the collar: my linings must be fell stitched in place and my vented sleeve buttons must open. I used a fusible interfacing (first time ever) for the fronts and lapels and I did try a new technique for the sleeve heads too and was mightily impressed with the results. 

You all know that the hole the sleeve goes into and the sleeve are two different sizes and shapes? And you do all that stuff with gathering stitches and easing and pins and stuff on the sleeve? Well try this….you either need a mannequin or a live person.

Hang the jacket on the mannequin (or model) with shoulder pad in place and pinch the excess fullness at the back. Using a hand worked chain stitch distribute this fullness over the sleeve head creating little puckers as you sew. Press these little gathers out with steam and the sleeve head will shrink to this shape.

 See the pic below. On the left – stitched and steamed and fitted to the mannequin. On the right – as nature intended – baggy and loose.

While the jacket is cooling and drying, gather the sleeve crown on the sleeves with a loose running stitch. Pull the threads to create the familiar gathers and secure them. Now press the crown, shrinking out the gathers to create a smooth and curved shape to the sleeve.
Hopefully by now, the two are a better fit for each other – the sleeve head and the sleeve crown – so carry on and insert the sleeve in your preferred manner. One word of caution and that is keep the sleeve hanging straight – don’t twist it or pull it.

Sew in the shoulder pads for real and always, always, insert some wadding in the sleeve head for shape and structure. See a good tailoring book on how to do this properly. These books are worth their weight in gold for this instruction alone and even if you are only making a casual jacket, like this one, a perfect sleeve is worth it. 
And there is it – no puckers or gathers – went in first time and hangs beautifully. 

 And the Rive Gauche blue?

For the lining, my dears, and the working sleeve hems to roll up and reveal the flash of colour. And I’ll look just like Claudia Winkleman from the Great British Sewing Bee.

 Vented pockets with flaps

Three buttons, not one

I have a similar coloured blouse made years ago which accidentally matches well. So I have my black and my colour.

Long to hide the behind with a centre back vent

 Do I look like a Rive Gauche bottle?


29 thoughts on “Unforgettable and Unpredictable

  1. That is one beautiful sleeve! and a great jacket! It looks like perfection.

  2. Beautiful Those touches of blue are gorgeous. Thanks for the sleeve insertion tip – your sleeves are marvelous so clearly it works very well.-Sewingelle

  3. Love the length and the showy lining. 🙂

  4. Gorgeous! You look much better than the Rive Gauche bottle! That sleeve cap is just perfect!

  5. Stunning Ruth – you could feature in a new ad for Rive Gauche, I love the way you wear that jacket such panache!

  6. Beautiful jacket and that blue is stunning on you!

  7. Just gorgeous and I love that blue lining!

  8. No, you do not look like the Rive Gauche packaging! Very stylish jacket and it really works with the blue. I'm like you, black on it's own doesn't work for me, the blue lifts this and really suits you. 🙂

  9. fantastic looking jacket and I agree you don't look like the RG packing, I was expecting something striped, but love what you have done – the black and blue looks wonderful and the style suits you so much

  10. Great hint about shaping the armhole. Jacket looks beautiful, and the aqua lining and blouse work so well with it.

  11. Look at you! Gorgeous jacket. I thought perhaps a lining, but no clue that it was for such an ambitious jacket. I love the lines on you, so classic. Your detail work is lovely, not just the sleeve head. The buttonholes, cuffs, pockets. A black jacket should be very versatile in your wardrobe, would be stunning over some of your trousers.

  12. I'm hoping it will it be a casual spring/summer go to jacket but we'll have to wait and see. Thanks Linda.

  13. The blue is nice isn't it? A bit of a surprise.

  14. I love the length – I can wear anything below now. Ta Elizabeth

  15. Maybe I have a waist?

  16. Thank you Angela – very kind!

  17. Do they still make it?

  18. Thanks Diana, I need a bit of colour.

  19. Oh thanks Suzy – we're just heading into spring/summer so hopefully, I'll get my wear out of the jacket by ringing the colour changes.

  20. I'm sorting though the scarves too Jacq to see what will will work around my neckline. I look like a corpse with black head to toe.

  21. Emm Pauline – I think I warned you before about procrastinating on the web when you should be busy with other things….. but thanks anyway, I appreciate your time and opinion. I don't do literal.

  22. Your colour advice couldn't have been better timed – thanks Sarah

  23. The pattern was fairly straightforward but I just couldn't help myself from entering tailoring-land and doing the handwork stuff. It actually pays off in the end. Thanks Coco, I wish you'd been standing behind me in the fabric shop queue!

  24. I was sort of hoping you'd embroider YSL on the lining for us…..

  25. The touch of blue really makes the jacket pop and it looks so good on you!

  26. You look better than Rive bottle. Love that blue.

  27. Thank you for giving us the details about shaping that armhole and sleeves…it makes such a difference, and well, the finished jacket is to die for! Nothing like a smashing colored lining! Claudia Winkleman has nothing on you…your fringe/bangs are so flattering….hers are NOT. You always look like you are having fun in your photos…she does NOT. How they got her to host a show about something she knows nothing about…it is a mystery…she didn’t know the term “bias” from her bum….next time version 2 is shown maybe the sewing skills will be kicked up a notch?

  28. Pingback: May be May! | corecouture

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