Saturday, March 8, 2014

Simplicity 2153 - Tweaked

As intended, sur le safari
The "wearable muslin" of S2153 that I gave my daughter has seen a lot of wear, but still looks great.  She loves it, and it really does suit her.  It works as a shirt, or a light jacket, depending on the weather.  I had nearly given up on making one for myself, as I just couldn't find fabric suitable for my intentions.  Honestly, I don't think I knew what I wanted.  

...Until I came across this wool twill while looking for coating, and fell in love with it.  Many colors are woven together: blacks, browns, white, even some blue and a little rust.  The overall effect is a heathered greenish-brown.  I was shocked to find something I liked so much in a local chain store.  On sale!  

It has a bit of spandex or lycra in it, and is probably better suited for a pair of trousers, but I didn't need wool pants.  Or maybe I do:  I considered buying an extra 3 yards, or the rest of the bolt.  I regret that I did not.  It's a lovely wool.  Soft, great drape, great color.  This is such a comfortable jacket!  
The photos make the fabric look browner -- it's actually more green.

My version of 2153 included the following changes:
1. Sized down.  The wearable muslin was a 14, with no alterations, and it was a bit on the baggy side from the waist up, even though that's where my high bust measurement placed me.  I started with a 12, but after a few more adjustments, I was nearly down to an 8 in the shoulders.  I still have plenty of room.  
2. Swayback alteration: took an inch out of the middle lower back (horizontally). 
3. Narrow shoulders: removed about 3/4" from the center back neck, as part of truing the swayback adjustment.
4. Drafted a lining and neck facing; expanded the front facing.  
Can still seem my chalk marks in the photo!

6. Zipper pockets: moved the pockets that I added in the first version to the front facing, behind double welts.
There's zippers in them thar welts!
7. Widened the waist casing, and included loosely gathered 3/4" elastic, as well as leather drawstrings.  Personally, I think this is more comfortable than just a thin drawstring.
8. Raised the armscyes 3/8", narrowed the sleeve to match, and tapered down to a size 8 at the cuff.
9. Added more interfacing than the pattern suggested: behind the pockets and zipper and in the collar.  This was to bolster the wool.  The cotton twill of the original version didn't require it.  Looking at my finished version, I should have included even more interfacing in a few other places.
10. Added the pocket flaps as in my first version.  
11. Created a pleat in the center back to control the gathering.  
Pleat in center back

This is a simple pattern, with not-so-complicated changes, but I was riddled with anxiety (from non-sewing issues) while sewing, resulting in a comedy of errors throughout the project.  Because I ripped out more than a few seams, the project took me more than a month to complete.  There were even a few instances when I thought the whole project was a loss.  

Error example #1: Collar was cut too small and installed unevenly.  And I didn't realize it was off kilter, until AFTER clipping AND trimming the seam allowances AND understitching!  How would I ever restitch this with clipped and trimmed seam allowances?  I saved it by making a tissue copy of the facing and collar patterns, pinning them to their fabric counterparts, and aligning the restored "seam allowances" for sewing.  The tissue ripped out fairly easily after the seams were resewn.  I could have cut a new collar to a larger size, but I decided to leave it as-is.  I'm still not convinced I made the right decision.
It's fine with a scarf, but I do wish I'd re-cut a larger collar.

Error example #2: Sewed the sleeve tabs to the sleeves before I put the lining in.  Didn't realize it until I thought I was completely finished and wondered what was moving around inside the sleeve lining.  Easy save - open the sleeve lining, remove the tab, close the lining, sew it back in place.  Not really a fatal error, but just an example of one of my many boneheaded sewing mistakes.  There were several.

Error example #3 (and the most painful): lost control of the seam ripper, running it into the facing and ripped a nasty hole in the fabric.  AT THE VERY END OF THE PROJECT.  After mulling this one over in my head several times, and deciding I didn't want to re-do the entire project, I just used some fray check, some hand-darning and covered it with a lovely hand-embroidered "S".  It's not great looking, but it is on the inside.

So my biggest lesson learned from this project was: FOCUS MATTERS.  If I'm thinking about something other than what's in front of me, come back to it later.  Thinking about my idiot brother while trying to attach a pocket flap is going to result in a misaligned, ugly pocket flap that I'm just going to have to rip out anyway.   Obsessing about my daughter's scholarship applications while I try to sew a lining together will most likely result in the wrong side of the front sewn to the right side of the back.  Yep, just set it aside and have a glass of wine instead -- it will actually be more productive, since I would have saved myself the time of ripping out and resewing.
Wearing it with my Vogue 1378

I am taking a short timeout from sewing to focus on our tax documents.  After that, I hope to have some boucle selected for another cardigan...hope I can keep my mind on taxes!  

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