Monday, May 20, 2013

Cooking up the Belgian Chef's Jacket

Bloggers, do you feel guilty when it's been a month since your last post? I do! The reality is that there really hasn't been much time for sewing.

When I'm not out llama trekking with my son in the Smokey Mts.....

I've started building a small sailboat. Don't ask!

Anyway, today I decided to tackle the muslin of the chef's jacket. I'm considering this for the purple velvet that I picked up in San Francisco. It felt really good to be back sewing again. I traced all the pattern pieces onto my Swedish tracing paper as usual. For fabric I'm using someone's Christmas tablecloth that I picked up at Goodwill for $1.99. Yard for yard, Goodwill is the best source for muslin material anywhere.

I'm always glad to be making a muslin because it helps me discover a pattern's quirks, and this one has a few.

First is the sleeve contruction. There's a two piece sleeve, but the undersleeve is just a wedge shape. Interesting how it doesn't go all the way to the cuff, like on a man's suit jacket. There was some easing required to make the pieces align (good to know ahead of time), and the overall shape of the sleeve is quite pleasing. The instructions call for flat felled seams everywhere, but I won't be going that route. Topstitching and velvet? Um... No.

The turned up cuff is really a facing that's edgestitched into place. I don't have a lot of material to work with, so this could potentially be a contrasting fabric. Just a thought at this point. The whole junction of the sleeve seam and cuff is really awkward and messy. Yet another instance where I'm glad that I'm making a muslin. My plan is to line the jacket which should make this area neater. It will just take some thought and planning.

Man, there are some curvy seams on this jacket! Here I'm attaching the center front panel to the side front panel. This is really the critical design element of the whole piece, so it has to turn out well. I eased the center front by pulling up a thread. It worked great on a tablecloth, but will it work on velvet?

The rest of construction was straighforward. I have to say that this pattern is very well drafted, and the instructions are clear and easy to follow. The collar fit in perfectly and the sleeves were a breeze to set. It's always nice to know that some things will be easy down the road!

Next post I'll try it on. Cheers!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Handmaker's Factory -- Maker Men

I was truly flattered when Nichola, of Melbourne Australia no less, asked me to participate in her series, Maker Men. Afterall, I'm just a crazy man making my own clothes in the middle of nowhere on the coast of Maine.

So if you want to know more about me here's the link. As you'll see, I'm in with some pretty illustrious company! I also hope you'll consider joining Handmaker's Factory. The recent tragedy in Bangladesh makes the mission more poignant than ever.