I have always admired other people who sew for clients – Mrs Mole, Ann to name only a few; their patience, skill and ability is staggeringly far from my own. During a try on of DH’s jacket this week I now completely understand why I teach for a living and not sew!
Sleeves are too long: is it suppose to wrinkle at the shoulders like that?: can you put three buttons on the front not two?: Can you add another inside pocket? etc etc etc
Look – I’m an amateur – I’m doing my best. You want shorter sleeves – go to Saville Row and stop bothering me. Actually, he was right. I had found many more issues with the jacket than he did. I had hoped the thing would be nearing completion this weekend and I could get back to sewing for ME, but I looked at the problems and thought ‘good enough is NOT good enough” and deployed the seam ripper with a vengeance. I did however make some progress towards completion.
The collar is attached with NASA developed laser guided accuracy. Men like that.
Real connoisseurs of tailoring look away now – I machined the collar on the wrong side aiming for the perfect join between collar and lapel and the elusive symmetry – I achieved this but I didn’t realise the consequences of this technique on the inside! Damn those NASA engineers….
I had to hand finish the corners to keep the collar from fraying and to help in tidying up the join.
The linings were cut and sewn by hand to the shell jacket and the back facing was then fell stitched to the finished inside edge of the collar. Usually there would be plenty of seam allowances to sew onto but because of my ‘NASA” technique, this had to attached with teeny tiny hand stitches and strong ones too!
The end is almost in sight now and it’s time to move onto the sleeves…..
I cut straight from the pattern and made up the two sleeves: that involved two machined seams and hand inserted canvas along the hem, vents and a bit of catch stitching – total of one hour per sleeve. Radio on, threaded needles at the ready, almost relaxing and meditative, certainly a lot more quiet than my day in class but not as good as an Indian head massage.
Sleeve vents are almost perfect. A good pressing later and four button holes were made (by machine) ready for cutting and sewing on of said buttons.
I decided that I would insert the sleeve before the buttons were sewn as they would only add extra weight and make it a bit more awkward to sew in the sleeves. Just as well I did….
Look at the state of that! Puckers, wrinkles, gathers… shapeless and pathetic.
DH said it was fine!
He complains about a few un-ironed wrinkles in the fabric and thinks sleeve heads like that are OK? (I think was just being a wee bit kind though)
Thing is – I wouldn’t wear a jacket with sleeve like that, so why should someone else?
Before going to sleep each night, I pondered the crapness of these sleeves. I came to a number of conclusions:
1. The shoulder pads I had made were too pliable and soft for a man’s jacket.
2. The sleeve heads weren’t stiff enough
3. The arm scythe insertion was simply atrocious. I did learn however that there is more ease in a man’s sleeve than a woman’s.
4. Fix it!
I ripped the whole thing apart. Sleeves out, shoulders pads and sleeve heads out, lining seams ripped, front canvas attached to shoulder and side seams ripped out. Two new sleeves cut and made all over again – ever heard of a jacket with four sleeves? – Here’s one!
DH kept insisting that he wanted a ‘soft’ shoulder and didn’t like the 1980s American footballer look. This highlights the fine balance between keeping the client happy and knowing what is the right thing to do – the shoulder pads definitely needed more oomph. So they were taken out and remade using canvas and cotton for shaping and not just cotton wadding as previously used. They also received the pad stitching treatment for shaping and structure – equivalent of an Indian head massage for shoulder pads.
So, yes, I’ve undone a lot of the work so far but the new and improved results are, at least, giving me a restful night’s sleep. Although this sleeve is only basted in – look at the difference!
I’m seriously considering hand sewing these wretched sleeves in – any and all advice very gratefully received. Do I sew with a backstitch or a chain? Do I use just a small running stitch? Should I go ahead and attack with the Janome?
Not quite back to square one, but no where near as far on as I thought I’d be.
Slainte to those who sew for others.