Monday 29 October 2018

autumn sewing: the triumphant completion of my white leather jacket (and bonus Vogue 9199)


I'm not going to lie, when I got to mid-October and still hadn't even started this I thought it just wasn't going to happen. The test version was super-draining to my sewjo in general, particularly when I realised that it was too uncomfortable to actually wear, and I still haven't quite recovered (as my much less frequent posting has probably given away). When I put it on the list in the first place I knew that making a second jacket so soon would either clear away all the residual YARGH and let me get on with things normally again, or would stall me completely and utterly. And for ages, it was the latter. I made plans for getting everything going again nearly a month ago, made the Magnolia dress and then stopped. A week later I spent the entirety of Monday sitting on the kitchen floor cutting out a dozen things. Two dresses, a pair of trousers, a HUGE pile of jersey tops... and two versions of this stupid Burda jacket. Two. What is wrong with me? But it turned out to be motivation enough to get on with it.

Thankfully, this version is WAY better than the test one. The fabric is much thinner and softer, so it's comfortable to wear and isn't such a pain to do up, the hem isn't wonky, the sleeve heads aren't huge and puffy, and the zip is the right length. Also, all the zips match this time. I bought the front and sleeve zips from the same eBay shop I used last time, but bought the pocket zips in person to make sure the teeth were the right colour.

I bought this fabric from I'd been dreaming about it for a few months before I bought it, but I misunderstood the description and thought it was actually embroidered. It's not, it's just a pattern printed on. It's very different from my first fabric - it's a super thin, super soft plastic-like sheet bonded to backing fabric, which seems to be more the norm than the other faux leather, which was just SOLID. Much to my immense confusion, though, the backing fabric is 100% unresponsive to Superglue. It absorbs and dries the glue literally instantly, leaving you with a small hard crusty spot that won't bend. This was a problem I just hadn't anticipated. No glue, no pins, no tacking stitches. I just about managed to get round that for attaching the zips, but for the hem I literally had to resort to tit tape, and I don't think it's worked that well. My third piece of faux leather, also a thin sheet on backing fabric, has no such issues with Superglue, so I don't know what the hell this stuff is made of.

So, having now made this jacket again with some idea of what I was doing and only one major fabric issue to deal with, I feel more confident in saying that Burda instructions really aren't very good. Certainly these ones weren't. Everything I've read prior to this suggested that the biggest Burda point of contention was the lack of seam allowances on the pattern pieces (I get both sides of the argument - my biggest problem is that I cut out/trace on autopilot and always forget I have to add stuff), and instructions were only mentioned as being "sparse". I don't feel like I'm in a position where I need too much hand-holding, so I wasn't concerned. If I get stuck on a thing, there's usually a more in-depth tutorial lurking around somewhere. However, these instructions weren't so much "sparse" as they were "confusing and occasionally outright wrong". At one point it instructs "sew lining to jacket" when what they mean is "sew lining to facing" and they absolutely do not want you to sew the lining to the jacket, because you haven't done the collar yet. I'm also really not a fan of the way they put about three hours' worth of work under a single bullet point. It means things that sorely need diagrams don't get them, and it's really easy to miss out a step. I didn't topstitch the collar and lapels when I was supposed to because it was under the "Hems" bullet point and I'd finished all the hemming. Luckily that wasn't too hard to correct after the fact.

I'm much happier with the overall construction of this jacket, but a lot of the finicky details still aren't great. I don't have a ton of pocket lining showing this time, but you can see way too much zip tape. The stitching line on the lapel isn't quite where it should be because I wasn't sure how to effectively work round the zip stop. The lining is right at the bottom edge of the jacket, presumably because I don't fully understand the hem instructions. Or possibly it's just that the tape didn't work. I've nearly finished version three and I'm planning to put a leather-look ribbed waistband on that one instead of wrangling with the hem again, but there's a horrible, horrible part of me that wants to try making a fourth version, out of a cotton I don't really care about, so that I can work on the techniques in a fabric that will allow me to pin stuff and potentially work out where I'm going wrong.

This is not the most practical thing I've ever made, but I think it's great. I've got a lot of neutral stuff I can throw this over, and also because there are so many colours in the print it actually ties in well with a ton of other colours. I enjoy having the occasional piece of statement outerwear (see also this) and it brightens up the "black top and silver jewellery" phase I seem to be going through at the moment. I do need to make a different style of trousers to wear it with, though, because it doesn't work so well with giant waist sashes.

Also, what I'm wearing underneath:

This is the remade version of the black Vogue 9199 I made last year (I never blogged that one, but here is my original dress), which was super useful but also made of terrible fabric. It got to the point where I was putting it on and taking it straight back off again several times per week because I so badly wanted to wear a simple black dress that would be a good backdrop for accessories, but the actual garment hung so unattractively that I couldn't face wearing it outside. It lost shape within a couple of months and then just became a giant hole in my wardrobe. I've been looking for the right fabric to remake it ever since, and nothing had presented itself until I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show a few weeks ago and found Stoff & Stil selling precut lengths of very black, very substantial ponte. So I bought one. In hindsight I wish I'd bought three.

Full disclosure: the fabric is not 100% perfect for this dress. It's got the thickness, the colour and the stretch, but not quite the drape. It's a quibble not a dealbreaker, but it does mean I'm not going to buy the fabric in every colour it comes in to buy more. (I am, however, almost certainly going to buy more of this exact stuff to make some smart-looking slim fit jersey trousers, which I didn't know I wanted until I saw this fabric.) I adore this pattern, but fabric choice is absolutely key to making it work. I've made more than one version of this dress which were totally unwearable because the fabric was a tiny bit wrong. Not quite enough stretch, not quite enough thickness, not quite good enough recovery. 

You can see above that I ended up doing a vaguely high-low hem on the skirt. I feel like this dress needs to be mini-length on me - more than once I've cut the pattern pieces longer to make a more versatile dress, and every single time I've cut it right back off again because it just looks frumpy. However, if a skirt has any amount of flare or fullness whatsoever I need to be careful about how short I make the back, because I have got a LOT of ass. In a fabric like this that doesn't have a ton of drape, if I made the skirt mini-length all the way round (even making it longer in the back so that the hem looks even when it's on) there's not enough fabric to cover my bum and then drop down straight again, so it just kind of stays sticking outwards, resting precariously on a bum-shelf that then opens the door to a world of potential wardrobe malfunctions and embarrassments. So after a couple of hours of pinning and re-pinning the hem to see if there was a happy medium place, I just gave up and went for the look I wanted in the front and the coverage I wanted in the back. It's a tough world for a super-curvy woman who actually really likes the shape of her thighs. 

I think I'm going to get year-round wear out of this dress. It's a great shape for me, it goes with everything, and I can wear it with bare legs or extra thick black tights and boots. It does make me want a bunch of really long silver necklaces, which I now don't feel like I can go out and buy because I can make simple silver jewellery myself. Maybe if I get a few different lengths of chain and work out a set of themed pendants? I don't think I have enough time left in my current intermediate class but I could probably book a studio day at some point. 

Next up: for the first time in ages, I'm actually a week ahead of myself in posts, so I'll have a pair of trousers and a top to show you next week! Hopefully I can keep the momentum up now that the stupid jackets aren't hanging over my head. 

1 comment: