I’ve been spending a lot of time this last year trying to learn how to make my patterns fit properly. Its a huge problem I’ve always had with sewing. I love sewing, but I’ve never known what adjustments to make and so I’m always frustrated when things don’t fit. I gave up sewing for myself over 20 years ago. I sewed for my daughter until she got to be about 14. She’s very tall and large busted, so again, I didn’t know what to adjust to make things fit her.
Well, I found a pattern company, Silhouette Patterns that has helped immensely. They make patterns already adjusted for B, C and D cups. Its owned by Peggy Sagers and she also posts webcasts every two weeks about different sewing issues and/or ideas. I’ve really learned a lot from her.
Starting in January, she started a webcast sew-along for jackets. In January, we did a lined, shortish, princess-seamed jacket. Max’s Jacket, pattern #1950. She took 2 1-hour webcasts to explain things. I made my first lined jacket since 1984, and it looks beautiful. Although, even after fussing with the muslin, its a little big across the bust. I think I’m going to have to take in some seams just slightly. But I’m very pleased with it over all. It looks professionally made to me and I’m super proud of it.
Then, in February, she walked us through an unlined jacket, pattern #1750 Robin’s Jacket. The body of this jacket is the same as the previous jacket, so we were able to make the same adjustments to the pattern, without having to do a lot of muslins to get the fit right. I’m ready to cut mine out. I’m just waiting on the fabric. (Its in the washer)
I bought two fabric lengths that I’m debating over for this jacket. The one I originally intended to use is a polyester basket-weave suiting. It is a reddish-violet with black basket weave threads. I like it a lot. When I got it out to start the project, I noticed the tag said “dry-clean only.” Horror! I hate having to dry clean clothes.
Here’s the two fabrics I’m thinking of.
The first is a violet-red basket weave polyester. This picture looks more red than it actually is.
And here’s the second. Its a purple, slightly stretchy suiting. (the picture looks a little on the brown side, but it is really a gorgeous plummy purple.)
Well, I got out my handy-dandy rotary cutter and ruler and cut out a 4-inch square to put through the laundry. To see how the fabric reacted, you understand. Since I had this other purple suiting fabric I was also thinking of using, I cut out a square of it also. I just took them out of the washer and measured the two pieces. The basket weave looks like it might have lost about an 1/8th of an inch. But, even though it was pinked on the edges, it has raveled terribly. It probably lost about 3/8 inch due to raveling. Even if I decide to wash it, the garment is going to have to have the seams finished well. The other piece did fine. They are in the dryer now, so we’ll see if that has any impact.
They’re out of the dryer now. The purple held up really well. I’m thinking I will use this fabric for the jacket.
On the other hand, the basket weave fabric is going to take some thought. It did not shrink or ravel any further in the dryer, but it does have a slightly felted look now. I like the way it looks right now, but I don’t want to take a chance of further felting/shrinking/raveling if I make my jacket out of it. I really like the look of the raveling, however. It makes a very nice fringe.
My thoughts at the moment on the basket weave: I would really like to use its fringing capability as the edging on a jacket. I’m going to look for a jacket pattern with straight lines and squared corners to use it with. It would have to be unlined so that the edges are free. I could just sew a tight zig-zag or something similar about a 1/2-inch in from the edge to prevent further fraying and then just fray the edge when the garment is finished. I’m considering washing the fabric before cutting because I like the slightly felted look, but then hand-washing or dry-cleaning the finished garment so that it doesn’t felt up even more. The Silhouettes pattern of the month is #1819 Sheila’s jacket. I think it may fill the bill for this fabric.
Anyhow, I need to start laying out this pattern, so I will say ta-ta for now!