FINALLY, the Tilton Raincoat (Vogue 8934)

This is a project that started, in some sense, when the pattern was released in 2013, and I still lived in DC.  I bought the pattern and the fabric right away.  Then I hedged on lining, which I finally bought a year ago.  At that time I sewed right up to step 26 of 35, and put it away.  Then every excuse in the book couldn’t get me to start again.  Then when I did a month ago, I procrastinated.  Hurricanes, work, the fact that it doesn’t rain here in the fall, etc. What was it really?  I hate making machine buttonholes.

I made the plain coat, version B, in a size small.  I would normally wear a size 12 (medium) but this felt big when tissue-fitting, and I’m not likely to wear heavy layers with it.  Here in Florida, it’s a winter coat more that a light raincoat.

After I took these pictures, I realized I did a terrible job pressing those darts.  Must fix.

The Fabric:  A long sold out nylon supplex, that I purchased from Marcy Tilton’s on line store. This a tightly woven synthetic, that should repel water. It is one she recommended for the coat.  I like the color, but the fabric was challenging – a hard fabric, difficult to hand sew (i.e., hems), difficult to press.  The lining was also Marcy Tilton, also sold out, a black Valentino synthetic.  It was fine for the project.

What I changed:  I cut the collar facing out of the fashion fabric.  With the wide open collar, the lining would show.  Since my lining was nothing special, I switched it out.  I wish I had done so for front facing as well. I lightly interfaced with tricot the right fly, even though the instructions didn’t call for it – I needed to do this for stable button holes.

I made a cutting error (more below) on the shoulder seam, so I edge-stitched the shoulder seams to strengthen the very narrow seam I ended up with. I also knew within one inch of ditch-stitching the collar and band seams that it wasn’t going to work with the nylon supplex.  So, I edged-stitched here as well.  Both small changes, but they did add a little something to an otherwise very plain jacket.

Construction & Instructions:  Generally speaking the directions were fine, with one major exception. I read the instructions for the right fly, buttonholes and facing (steps 26-30) at least five times.  The illustrations don’t match the text well, especially in step 29 (which seams to be in error).  I thought I had puzzled it out, but in the end, I did it wrong.  The jacket looks fine in the end, but it’s not quite what they ask you to do.

You should take extra caution when cutting out the coat.  View A and B naturally use the same pieces.  The challenge is that View A’s placement lines for the patches are very close to seam lines, especially at the shoulder.  I must have been tired because I cut along the wrong set of lines.  I’m not a big fan of multi-size patterns when the markings are very close together anyway, but this was annoying.

What I learned: Well, I can do button holes, but they still look ugly. Is it me or my machine?  I really think it’s the machine. It’s very basic.  I think I’m going to practice hand-worked buttonholes for the future.

Overall, the jacket is fine, but I don’t see it being one of my favorites. Well, off to sew the Rucci jacket, which will be a far more interesting project in an amazing wool gab.

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Quick Sew – Style Arc Harper Jacket

To keep from getting burnout and frustrated with the Rucci suit, I decided to pencil in simple projects and UFOs between each piece.  Today, it’s the Harper Jacket from Style Arc.  Later this week, I hope a UFO, then the muslin for the Rucci jacket.

Easy, throw on waterfall jacket
From the Style Arc Website.

I purchased the Harper-Skye-Sammi trio to make a dressy/business casual outfit.  I made the Skye top, but I really don’t like it know that I’ve worn it a few times (needs major fit alterations, I’ve decided).  The version for the outfit was going to have a Skye top in a gold silk charmeuse, so it would drape better, perhaps I’ll make it once I figure out how to improve its wear-ability.

The sourness on the outfit continued, because the blue knit I ordered doesn’t really work with the navy-dusted-with gold tropical wool suiting set aside for the Sammi pants. But I decided to make it anyway, just because.  Oh, my sourness continued, because I’m not terribly fond of raw edges.  So imagine my surprise – I like it.

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My dress form no longer stands up straight, the jacket really is even from left to right. 

The fabric:  The pattern calls for a stable knit or a drapey woven.  I went back and forth between this one and a St. Johns doubleknit (which I think I would have preferred).  It’s a viscose/wool boucle knit (60/40). It’s not thick, per se, but it does have some loft.  While it’s beautiful, and has the perfect drape, this is going to be a warm jacket.  Considering our winter is very short, I’m considering keeping this one at the office to battle the frigid A/C!

Construction and Instructions:  Style Arc keeps their directions to a minimum, but they do have additional instructions printed on the patterns.  Pay attention – the default seam width is 3/8″.  In general, if you can sew, you can make this very easy jacket (in an afternoon).  I always find it helpful to keep a copy of the Vogue Sewing guide just in case.  Still, I never quite figured out what they meant by mitering the corner turn. By the way, this jacket is very similar in construction (for the body) to the Rucci blouse (1437).

My only real quibble is with the back neck seam.  First, the directions suggest a French seam here.  Not really possible with this knit (too thick).  Second, I found that I didn’t like the collar up, but folded over – your seam will show, so choose carefully.  I ended up doing a messy flat-fell.

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Small details:  I used a clapper to get seams, especially crossing ones, flat.  I also top-stitched the shoulders, back, neck, and side seams 1/4 inch. I like it, and it helps keep the insides more finished.  I serged the armhole seams. I also decided early on (from others’ reviews) that I wasn’t going to use the hook and eye closures.

Fitting:  I made a size ten, and it fits beautifully, hitting right at the top of the high hip in back (very nice).  I normally wear a 12 in the big 4; Style Arc’s fit guide suggested a ten.  The front drapes nicely, but doesn’t hang like in the drawings.  I don’t mind high back collars, but without interfacing, this neck slouches, so I folded it over.

What I learned:  go ahead and try something out of your comfort zone.  This is a nice jacket, if I bit casual.  I still don’t like raw edges.  I’m not sure I will make it again, as I have other jacket styles on the list.  But it will keep me very warm in the cold office.

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Thought I got that dog hair.  Yes, this is the fabric my dog decided was his.

The Rucci Suit, part 1 (Vogue 1437)

This suit caught my eye when it was first released.  I kept waiting and waiting for my fave on line fabric retailers to offer the fabric I had in mind, and now a year has passed!  I finally found what I wanted (though paid dearly).  I love the look of this suit – refreshingly modern.  I’ll be posting as I complete the ensemble, and I started with the easiest piece, the top.

Line art for Vogue 1437.  This post is for view B.

 

The fabric:  I purchase a few yards of a sueded silk crepe, in black a couple of years ago for another project.  That project never came to be (I wanted to copy one of Amal Clooney’s outfits). The weight is heavier than a crepe de chine, lighter than a 4 ply.  It is heaven on the skin, and much easier to work with than lighter and slipperier fabrics. I still had some novice issues, so I basted all seams first. For the lining, which is used for binding the long front shawl-like collar and for hong kong seams, I used a slighter lighter crepe de chine. Both were from Gorgeous Fabrics.  I will buy more of the CDC, and if Ann offers more sueded silk like this, it will be in my cart.

Construction and Instructions: Basting gave me more control over the fabric.  In addition, because I didn’t want to damage the fabric by ripping out poor quality top-stitching, I hand top-stitched the lower hem and armhole facings with a running stitch.  I also hand stitched the “stitch in the ditch” part of the Hong Kong seams.  It was a lot of work, but I got a superior look than if I had done it with the machine.  I enjoy hand work – find it peaceful, as long as my hand-stitching sessions don’t last too long.

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Hand-stitching on the hem.

In general, the instructions were quite good – though I can see why some over on Pattern Review had issues.  The front and back are joined with sharp right angles to the yoke/at the shoulders.  (Basting really helped me here, getting the angles just right.)  Later, you fold the shawl collar and stitch-in-ditch to the shoulder neckline. I think it would have been better to clarify exactly how this is done.  When you stitch in the ditch to that seam, you’ll have a 5/8″overlap if you follow the fold line from the pattern (which I did and preferred).

Several people had issues with a wonky and unprofessional hemline.  I think this is due to the instructions not being exactly clear – it’s almost as if they copied/pasted the instructions over from the binding.  It’s a facing, not a binding, so the raw edges should be aligned (not said, but if you note they ask you to trim said edges in the next step.)  Then the superfluous line, “trim raw edge of binding close to stitching” could lead to confusion.  There is no raw edge if you complete a facing, as it’s encased by the top-stitching, and it’s not a binding.   The instruction doesn’t belong there.

Last, it has you press, but don’t press the fold line.  I did, and you can see from the pictures that I need to press that out from the shoulders down.

In all, this is an easy top, but for one or two places.

Fitting: Several reviewers suggested this ran small – was tight across the back.  I made it in a size 12, my regular size these days.  The muslin, which has less give, suggested a ever so slightly snug fit.  I did nothing to adjust here, and in the silk, I don’t feel any snugness.  I’m happy with the fit.  I do suspect that you could have a wardrobe malfunction if you don’t watch your posture in this top.  I’ll be wearing it with jeans tonight, and we’ll see how many times my husband points out the lack of modesty…

What I learned: Basting is my friend.  It’s much easier to sew a basted seam than a pinned one.  Takes a little more time, but I didn’t rip out a single seam, so maybe it doesn’t take more time.  I will say to be super careful pulling out the basting; I damaged the fabric as you can see in the picture.  Black is hard to photograph – and it also hides mistakes.  I also learned to take my time.  I need to sew more often to work on my skills, but I was pretty pleased with the quality of my hand-stitching – not perfect, but I’m gaining the confidence to tackle more difficult items… like the jacket, which is next (after two other things on the sewing table).

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Ack! I pulled a thread on the fabric!

This looks better on, than on the dressform, and black is very difficult to photograph.

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Fuzzy, and you can’t really tell how it looks, but it does look fine untucked with jeans.  I’ll be wearing this tonight with jeans and a tan leather jacket.