Monday, August 6, 2012

Jacket prep

Vogue 8804 - I won't be wearing mine on a motorbike!
In the second-last round of new Vogues, I was immediately drawn to V8804, Claire Shaeffer's latest jacket pattern.  It's an obvious riff on the classic Chanel jacket - tweedy, boxy, little inner structure and quilted lining.  The instructions are, as usual for CS's patterns, long and detailed.  Handsewn buttonholes.  Oy!  Assuming I intend to try them,  these instructions would be a great starting place.  (Along with 10,000 hours, far more than I have, to practice.)

Needless to say, I have suitable fabric in stash.  It has been sitting on my cutting table, mocking me, since around the time I started on my turquoise dress.  It's a rather roughly-woven silk tweed.  It is so old (acquired from the stash of a lovely lady in her late 70s, who probably bought it in the 1960s) that it seemed a little limp.  So I threw caution to the winds and the fabric into the washing machine.  The bath and a line dry seems to have made the fabric tense up - it feels more beefy than previously and though it lost a little red into the wash water it has the same colourful intensity as before.  I think it will soften again with handling and wearing, but I like the result.

The patterned fabric at front is the same China silk I used to line the bodice of my dress.  I figure it will be seriously cheerful inside a Chanel knock-off jacket.

Anyhow, I made a muslin.  I cut the 10 and it is too big.  When I pinned it out at approximately the size 8 dimensions, it seems much better.  Still boxy, but not hanging off me.

Muslin - size 10 pinned to approximate size 8
The shoulders are still at the size 10, so will be somewhat less extended than you see here (pins at the shoulder seam raise the whole jacket approximately .25", which is a good thing).

The jacket has a very narrow side panel (it's about 4cm wide).  There are no darts designed to be sewn in the outer shell.  All the body shaping is supposed to be via shrinking the fabric with an iron, coupled with having darts sewn in the lining (to which the fashion fabric is attached permanently via machine-sewn vertical "quilting").  I'll have to test my fabric to see how well it shrinks in before committing to this technique.  In particular, the amount to be shrunk at bust level into the side panel is rather daunting.  In my muslin, it is somewhat gathered, and too low for my shape to boot.  I intend to raise the point of the gathering and may sew a narrow dart there too.

In the muslin version I've sewn the 4 narrow back waist darts which in the finished version would be in the lining only.  The jacket is, as advertised, boxy.

To finish, here's a side view of the muslin.  See that unattractive line from bust, angling downward?  The bust shaping comes from that general area.  Yeah, too low!

For sewing references, I will be referring regularly to the beautifully detailed in-progress photos of Ann Rowley and the discussion about this pattern at Artisan's Square.  Ann is wonderfully generous in documenting her impeccable sewing for our use.  She wrote, on the Artisan's Square thread:

The main reason that I make series of instructional photos like this is for educational  purposes - I am passionate about sharing skills between people who sew; this is my contribution.

I have absolutely no reservations about you downloading these photos and their captions for your own personal use.   However I would ask you not to post the actual photo, on a blog, or anywhere else, but just to provide a link. This can only be a request on my part as I don't want to stop personal downloads by altering the copyright.

And for when I'm at the point of deciding on trim, I'm going to refer to the instructions posted on another Artisan's Square thread for crocheting your own (hoping the link takes you directly to page 7 post #234 - if you are interested, scroll down through the next few pages).  I haven't been hanging around that site much recently, and don't know anything about Bonnie (btriola) who posted these instructions, except that she obviously knows what she's doing!  I am especially drawn to the trim which shows as #19 in this compilation of btriola's postings.


  1. That jacket will look great, and I can't wait to see it made up in your silk! I see Vogue is still using that $@#!! upper chest block. I had to take about 3 inches out between the bust and shoulder, and it seems to be a standard of theirs. The nice thing is that the pattern has shoulder princess seams, so it's pretty easy to take all that extra ease out.

  2. Thanks for the reference link to the crocheted trim! I have a teal/charcoal/with a touch of cranberry Harris Tweed that I'm contemplating committing to this pattern/project. I'm letting it continue to taunt me from my sewing table!

    Yours will be beautiful! The firming of the fabric with a launder fascinates me. I would have anticipated a further softening.


  3. I have many suitable fabrics for a jacket like this but not ready just yet to put the time into it. Will follow along with yours. Ann's jacket is wonderful, and that crochet trim is interesting.

  4. I have this pattern, but must admit to being somewhat intimidated! Thank you for sharing your process photos.

  5. Same for me. I bought it with a long-term project in mind, and I'm even more intimidated after reading the above. I didn't realize that it was quite that complicated even after reading the instructions. I even bought some boucle from Mood for it, which is on the way. Hope I'm not sorry. I'll keep tuned.

  6. I am embarking on this jacket as well (and also creating my own trim) and am still assembling my materials. Wonderful to know that I may pick up some tips here as well as on Ann Rowley's photo set. Thanks for sharing, and I selfishly hope you post a lot! This week I want to get my muslin fitted.

  7. Thanks so much for sharing this process with us. It's going to be a stunner.

  8. Thanks for sharing Ann Rowley's photo tutorial - this in an invaluable resource, simply incredible.
    I think your fabric selection is beautiful and am waiting to see the next installment already!