Slow Progress 4 – The final – McCalls 5860 finished!

I worked this afternoon to tie up the last details on the McCalls 5860 Jeans jacket and have finished! I really underestimated the time that was needed to finish yesterday – but finished today within an hour. I am very happy with the jacket (though looking at the photographs I see I am going to have to move the bottom button a little). There is no-one home to take a photograph of me wearing it (but I like it!) so the model is wearing it.

The pattern was very easy to follow – although I did change a couple of details. The collar and cuffs have been done slightly differently to the recommended instruction but overall I think it is well described, with clear instructions. I think I may make this again – but not for a little while as I think it would be good in a summerweight fabric.

McCalls 5860

Love the buttons!

McCalls 5860 Front View

McCalls 5860 Front ViewLove the buttons!

McCalls 5860 Back view
McCalls 5860 Back view

I am thrilled that I can move my ticker on to the ‘3’ marker – pathetic though that is. I might get started on a 4th jacket but I think that will be my limit this year. I will be sure to keep up the ‘last half hour a day for me’ routine as it is working really well.

Progress – slow – but still progress….(McCalls 5860)

'The chosen one'

Following my last post I spent about a week circling the fabrics. I changed my my about which colour velvet to use for the McCalls jacket about every half hour. Eventually I made up my mind. I went for the beige tweed – bet you didn’t see that coming! I checked the wardrobe and decided that if I used the tweed  I would be able to use the jacket with stuff I already have. But I still want to make trousers in the almond velvet.

Having finally made the choice I prepared my pattern. I hadn’t used a ‘Palmer/Pletsch Perfect Fit’ pattern before so was surprised to find a whole sheet dedicated to preparing the pattern.There was lots of good, encouraging information on the sheet which  helps  to get the best fit possible. Just follow the words and don’t try to overthink and you will get the desired result.

I cut the size 16 and made a full bust adjustment before shortening the body and sleeves a little (I am 5’4″).I was fairly sure that Gigi had mentioned that this jacket was a fairly close fit but I rarely wear thick jumpers with a jacket so I was happy to go with that ( I have checked her blog and can’t see where I saw that – maybe I imagined it!). Having sewed the backs and fronts together I can confirm that it is a close fit  but I am happy with that.

 I will be lining the jacket  so that it slides more easily over t-shirts etc. and was delighted to find in a little ‘pro tip’ box the instructions for doing it. The suggestion is to simply cut the backs, fronts, and sleeves and baste to the jacket before sewing the collar, cuffs and hem Simple and effective. There are a number of these little tip boxes in the pattern which I think is really good.

 Because I have been very busy with client  work I decided to do 1/2 hour at the end of each day to make this jacket. That means it will take a while – but at least it is progressing from the little pile of pieces it has been for about a week. Yesterday I managed to sew the body together to check the fit again and I plan to sew the pocket & flaps, and sleeves today.  I will report on progress as I can.

M5860 Front



M5860 Back

As you can see this didn’t get as far as the ironing board before being flung on Bessie to be photographed – I will be pressing the seams before they are topstitched. Hopefully it will look more presentable next time!

An apology to Patrones – After reading Melissas blog I realised that the ‘Extra’ issues of Patrones are actually collections of patterns from previous issues (in the one I was referring to they are for the ‘larger lady’). If you are aware that they are published in this way then that is probably the better way to buy these special patterns. Now that I understand I felt I had to apologise for the last comment I made.
Edited on 2/12 re Melissas comment: It would seem that SOME paterns are repeated in the EXTRA editions, but some are new. It would seem worth checking contents before purchase if you can.

Patrones and planning

Yet again I am the lucky recipient of not one but 2 Patrones magazines! My dear friends came back from Spain with these issues last week and I have spent hours poring over them.

I absolutely love the neck detail on the cover picture of issue 308, and the grey dress on page 11 (2nd down, first column on the middle picture) is simple but lovely. I am also looking at several pairs of trousers to try a pair in a wool tweed to go with my next planned jacket – but more if that later!

The other issue was a ‘Patrones Extra Tallas Grandes’ Issue 8. Not quite so much in this issue that I really liked until I got towards the back. Pages 42-45 looked appealing – but also strangely familiar. I trawled my past issues and, sure enough, found these designs in Issue 274 (Especial Fiesta).

Same model, same garments – actually same photographs. Did they think we wouldn’t notice? I love Patrones magazine but this does rather cheat its buyers don’t you think? I still like the first and last tops in the pictures and may make them at some point – but I still have the patterns from Issue 274.


Enough of that – I have finally got to the end of my computer course and passed the exam (Hurrah! I hear you say – perhaps the quality of the blog will improve! – don’t hold your breath) so I have a bit more time to sew for myself. I have long planned to make McCalls 5860 – which I first saw on Gigi Sews site. Gigi made a lovely version of this jacket and I lusted quietly after it – silly really since the pattern was available and I could make my own (not quite as good as Gigi’s) jacket. I thought this would be a very useful ‘anytime’ jacket – the sort you can throw on to go shopping or dress up to go out. The fabric I am intending to use is the stretch velvet  I have in the winter collection. Now all I have to do is decide if I want blue or almond…….


How many?

Bessie:  How many months are there in a year Kim?

Kim: 12 Bessie, everyone knows that!

Bessie (Sighs): Really Kim? And how many jackets have you made for your JAM this year?

Kim: Hurrah! 2 now! OH! Now I see what you mean…….

Bessie: Yes Kim. 10 left. Not 8. 10.   

Kim:  !

Bessie:  Better get a move on then.

The Birthday Jacket – Finished!

I have spent time this week finishing off the birthday jacket (Vogue 1263) which I love!

Showing what needs to be trimmed from under-collar

On monday I trimmed the under collar so that it would sit properly in the fairly thick fabric I am using (you can see how much difference  the ‘turn of cloth’ makes  on the photograph) and sewed the lining together so that it resembled the whole jacket made again in lining with just the facing in fabric.

Lining and facing


Hem showing 'wedge'to be trimmed

I installed the lining by the ‘bagging out’ method – machine sewing the sleeve linings to the already hemmed sleeves and sewing the hem in two installments. As I had cut the lining pattern myself I knew that I wanted to sew from the  front seams towards the centre of the jacket by machine and close the last little bit by hand. The lining is obviously the hem depth short where it joins the facing but by pinning the lining, level with the hem from the first dart toward the front seam, it is possible to show how much of a wedge needs to be trimmed away to make a neat turn when you reach the facing (which is now sitting at an angle), whilst also allowing it to fold a little with the lining. The last thing to do was to topstitch around the fronts and collar – not so much for decoration in this case but to give it a ‘stiffness’ on the very edge that just finishes the whole thing.

The pattern was described as ‘easy’ and I would agree with that. The only thing that I would change is to put a simple in-seam pocket in place of the one provided. I know I didn’t help  by using lining fabric for both pieces, but I feel that it is not lying as well as it could. If you just follow the instructions and dont line this jacket it would be a very quick and easy project – I love it!

 I took photographs of the front and back on Bessie as I wasn’t expecting to be able to have a photograph of me wearing the jacket – doesn’t it show! Now I need to decide what to wear with this jacket for our theatre visit.

(Hurrah! I can move my JAM counter on to a whole 2 jackets made for me now – only 8 behind. I have discovered a new enjoyment in sewing for myself again so I think I may have got my mojo back).

The Birthday Jacket

As I explained in my last post, I have been invited out to the theatre to celebrate a very good friends special birthday. When I saw Vogue 1263 I knew I wanted to make it, and that it would be perfect for the occasion. I have not used ‘envelope’ patterns for many years as I have been drawing my own patterns (I am what might be described as a ‘difficult figure’). However, this seemed like a great re-introduction.

The style is described as very loose fitting and as I was straddling two sizes I opted for the smaller size. If you are in the same situation I would recommend doing the same. This is a generous jacket! The pattern pieces are easy to understand (despite having to tape two pieces together to get the massive main piece) but as I had decided on a fabric with a nap I decided to make enough pieces to cut it all in one flat piece (clear the furniture – she’s coming in!). I had also decided that, although the pattern would be fine as it was in a fabric that could show the reverse side without blushing, I wanted to line the jacket.

 It is going to be an easy exercise to make a lining – I will use the main pattern piece with the collar piece overlaid to show the remaining area I need to cut as the lining for the body (not forgetting to allow for the seams on the new piece, and take off the hem allowance). After that is done all I need to do is cut all the remaining pieces as the are with the exception of the sleeves which again are cut without the hem allowance. I will show how I put it into the jacket in a later post. The problem I have at present is that I have black satin lining in my stash – just not quite enough. Trip to Birmingham coming up.

Dont sew to a point - make it blunt

So far the only thing I would slightly change in the pattern instructions regards the pockets. The instructions tell you to sew down to the marker point and pivot before sewing straight back then slashing to the point before turning through and pressing. I prefer to make one stitch at the end (although I made 2 on this as the fabric is fairly bulky) which helps turn through without all the trouble at the point. I know it seems counterintuitive but this blunt end, to what is supposed to be a pointed seam, makes the finished turn much better (try it on a pointed collar).

I  made a slight error in cutting both pocket pieces in lining (again, I wanted to reduce bulk) and now find that the pocket back is slightly visible when wearing the jacket – not enough to worry about but I will remember for next time. I have passed the ‘abracadabra’ point where the whole mess suddenly turns into something you might eventually be able to wear by sewing the shoulder and collar seam, and set the sleeves in to try the fit. I am happy that it is all fine so when I get the necessary lining fabric I will continue to finish.

So far I like this jacket very much!

And the Patrones winner is….


I wish I had 3 copies I could send out but using a very scientific method (I asked the husband to pick a number since you ask) Helen came out the winner. So Helen, if you would like to e-mail me at   themateriallady’at’ I will be glad to post it out on monday.

We have just got back from a lovely week on Scotlands Isle of Arran which was a lovely place to visit – even hard on the heels on hurricane Katia. Lots of walking, lots of eating and drinking….  I may need to give Bessie a bit more padding. Ooops.

Anyway, on the sewing front I have come back ready to make a start on a jacket – after all I am only 8 short of my jacket a month target. The jacket I have chosen, Vogue 1263,  is described as ‘loose fitting’ so even carrying the extra timber I hope to lose now that I am home I feel safe in making it now. I have  decided to make this in my black embossed flocked quilting  (519). This will be a perfect start to an outfit for an evening out to celebrate a very special friends birthday (I will ofcourse need something to wear under it but thats a problem for another day!). I will be measuring the pattern tomorrow to see if I feel I need to make any major alterations – I hope not but I can’t remember the last time I used an envelope pattern so I will give it my full attention. Once the laundry is done.

Lovely isn't it!

Black embossed quilting - 519

               Wish me luck!

My mum said….

Bessie wears the trench

Bessie wears the trench

….you should always finish one job before starting another. A message so deeply ingrained I have been unable to start anything fabulous from Patrones magazine until I finished the trenchcoat. I have finally finished the trenchcoat and can at last move the Jacket a month ticker on one space!(About time since we are now in month 4) I will also be counting this as part of my SWAP as it featured several very rusty techniques.

It’s a long time since I sewed bound pockets and I used the ‘Threads’ low bulk flap method (shown in News from the Trenches). There was also a load of topstitching which isn’t difficult but required more concentration that I often afford my own garments. 

I can’t remember a project that has caused as much angst for a long time. I really started off badly when I didn’t check that I had all the ‘bits’ I needed to complete the whole job – something I have learned from and will not do again. 

Proving I have pockets

I like the finished garment but I think I will like it more when it gets more of a worn look. Needless to say the last few days (and the forecast for the near future) have been beautiful spring sunshine. No need for a showerproof coat.

Better get started on something seasonal.

The back.

One of my clients thought the lining looked as though it had goldfish on it – hadn’t thought so until she said!

Goldfish on the lining? (Flasher pose!)

More News from the Trenches

After a week of catching up on everyone elses work I have spent the weekend doing more of my trenchcoat. I have now finished the pockets, front and back flaps,collar and stand, belt loops and have made the belt and straps ready to have the eyelets put in by Harlequin. Photos below.

It now feels almost finished, although there is still a fair bit to do. I wont do any more until the belt/straps are back and I get the buttons which are now ordered. I managed to get buckles from a friend who is a harness maker. I will have to remember her as a source for the future – Thanks Madge!


I am getting to the point where I really want to make something else now but I have to be disciplined and finish this first. Boo hoo.

News from the Trenches

Life seems to have got in the way of this project. It’s not that I haven’t been sewing – just not for me (again). Progress has been very slow although I have now tried the body on and am fairly happy with the fit.It looks better on me than Bessie. I have used fine sheer fuzing to interline the cotton – it is giving just enough support as I didn’t want to have a ‘stiff’ coat. 

 I have used a technique from an old issue of ‘Threads’ magazine. In issue 75 there was an article on ‘No Bulk Envelope Welts’. I remembered thinking it looked like a good idea but had never got round to putting it in a garment (although I had sampled it). As you can see it relies on mitres to move the seam away from the sides of the flap so there is much less bulk under the needle when you sew the pockets to the garment. I have done things in slightly the wrong order so that I could get the placement where I wanted which means that I am going to have to work the pockets with the garment almost together.

I would have had to make a major ‘full bust adjustment’ in any commercial pattern but since this pattern was cut from my own jacket block/sloper (Made from the instructions in the Winifred Aldrich pattern Cutting for Womenswear book) I just had to make the darts I needed look reasonably attractive. I divided the volume between three darts in the side/front seam which I am fairly happy with. All the seams are to be topstitched (in classic denim fashion) so I stitched the darts down too.

The other slight irritation at the moment is that I found a couple of buttons in my stock that were just perfect. Except there aren’t enough for this garment. I have searched locally and not found anything I am as happy with so I am going to have to go to Birmingham where the choice is larger. It is my plan to send the belts to Harlequin to have the eyelets put in – they do such a good job I don’t think it’s worth me messing up the work I have put in trying to do them myself. If I can’t find suitable buttons I may have them do edged covered buttons which will look fine.

I am hoping to find some time tomorrow to continue this. Perhaps I was a bit optimistic to think I could finish this in February! (And the curtains…… don’t ask.)

P.S.  Me-Made March is going well but it has highlighted how many ‘tops’ I make rather than skirts/trousers. Will have to address that.