As it is a new year, of course I must begin this post with a hearty Happy New Year exclamation to you all! I have been absent from writing for longer than I intended, indeed for the usual reasons that a change of routine in the holidays brings, and also for some other reasons which I won’t go into here. Needless to say, I do hope you all had a lovely holiday season, and are refreshed and renewed for the new year ahead.
I am starting my first post of 2016 with the last sewing project I finished in 2015 – a hooded jacket and a matching A line skirt. I made the jacket from a 1939 original bed jacket pattern (the hood of which I also made-up to match this outfit here). Yes, I know it is a bed jacket pattern, but with the exposed zipper, nipped-in waist, and of course the hood; I just thought it would lend itself superbly to an actual daywear jacket. And really, even though I have a few vintage bed jackets, I would never actually wear them to bed/in bed anyway. On this rare occasion, I decided not to do a toile. I’m not sure why, as I usually always do a toile test-run, but this time I just dived straight in. As you can imagine, this caused a few problems. Not fitting problems as such, but just general construction problems which, if I had made a toile version first, I would have figured out by the time I made the final version. Oh well.
As the pattern is an original from the late 1930s, this meant that it is completely unprinted, very delicate, and the only markings are perforations which indicate the straight of grain, cutting on a fold, darts etc. I am used to working with patterns of this kind, so usually it is not too much of a problem. But, I did make a mistake on this one.. At the hem of the sleeves, there were perforations in the shape and style of a dart – which of course I thought was odd – why have a dart at the sleeve hem? But, knowing that some 1930s and 1940s patterns have horizontal darts at the elbows, I just thought ‘let’s go with it’. Ooops. So I made a vertical dart in each sleeve hem, even though I still thought it was weird.. and then I read the instructions. And realised what an idiot I had been! The perforations were to indicate a SLASH in the sleeve hem, onto which a sleeve cuff with buttons is supposed to be sewn. By this point I had already lined the jacket – putting the silly dart in the sleeve lining also. So, on this occasion I left the darts in, and altered the cuffs accordingly. But I shall certainly ensure I read the instructions next time I embark on sewing from a vintage pattern which I have never sewn before!
I also did the waistband twice, as felt it needed more structure and interfacing than the first version. After trying on the jacket, I took the waistband off, and re-gathered the jacket hem to make it fit me a bit better. Then added the interfacing to the waistband.
Now let’s talk about the fabric. I found this fabric in London during the summer, and initially I was intrigued by the colour – which is difficult to describe. It’s kind of a brown base, with hints of pink/lilac/minky brown. I then ran my hand across it, and knew I had to buy some. It is so so soft and light, it truly feels lovely to wear. The problem was, I only purchased 3 metres. So by the time I had cut out my jacket pieces – including the hood, and those sleeves are pretty huge on the flat also, I had hardly any fabric left. I just about managed to squeak out the matching skirt, but even the skirt was actually supposed to be 2 inches longer than I made it, as the pieces only just fitted onto the fabric. So, with the situation as it was, I knew I would have to line the hood and make the sleeve cuffs in a different fabric. Which I know is a huge shame, as I really wanted to use the same fabric for the entire outfit. But, on the plus-side, I got to use-up some printed cotton that I had in my stash for about 2 years now, waiting to be used!
As I talked about at the end of my last post, with this sewing project, I have managed to use mostly materials that were already in my stash, indeed the only item I had to purchase whilst making the jacket and skirt, was the metal zipper for the jacket. I already had – the main fabrics, lining fabric, zipper for the skirt, button for the skirt waistband, bias binding, thread etc.
I can definitely see me wearing this outfit frequently, both together and separately! As I am trying to sew projects that are informed by my wardrobe, and what I am lacking, I may sew more slowly this year – putting more empathises on planning each item and project.
Until next time dears!