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.

Not quite a peacoat….

                                 So……..I really wanted to make a Burberry style peacoat in some wonderful claret red wool coating that I had in stash. Or the forest green wool…. Make like a donkey between carrots for several days (or more). Eventually it becomes clear that since it is now almost the end of february a lighter option may not be a bad idea.

Enter the Burberry style trench. I cant remember a time when a trenchcoat was undesirable (unless you count the hand-me-down that I was given while at school – didnt imagine that it would be such a classic – I hated it) so I was quite taken with the denim style trench on the Burberry site. Sadly I can only aspire.

 However, on checking the stash I found a piece of nicely matured ‘teflon coated denim’ (100% cotton). I bought this from Pamela at Material Matters longer ago than I care to admit but that just proves how right I was to keep it in my stash (please tell the husband!).100% Cotton teflon-coated denim

Now while there have been a multitude of trench patterns in the BWOF magazine and a nice one available from McCalls (M6246) I feel that I would be as well to draft my own pattern and fit in some of the details I would like to feature. I particularly like the collar stand – giving the opportunity to use that nice little tab to keep the wind off your neck.

Now I really should be finishing painting my lounge and starting to sew the new curtains (3 huge pairs – soooo boring) but I plan to start drafting this pattern tomorrow. Who knows, I may even finish one jacket before the end of month two. But I cant promise.

First Post

Hi! Anyone who is out there reading this will have to be a little tolerant of my lack of computer skills. I have started this blog to share my dressmaking output with whomever is interested! I have been sewing for as long as I can remember and am a City and Guilds qualified dressmaker. However, I LOVE buying fabric.Can’t help it. I have loads. Stash city.

To help remind me that I can sew for myself I have joined Stitchers Guilds SWAP2011 challenge. And the Jacket a Month 2011. That should see a reduction in stock – provided I dont buy more. If I ever work out how to get one of those nice ‘ticker’ things you can even chart my progress. I have already finished one garment and will photograph that soon and fry my brain trying to upload it here.

Wish me luck!