Some are born great, some achieve greatness, and some have greatness thrust upon them. Shakespearian pick up line? Maybe. But it’s also true, in my experience. And while I would LOVE to think I was born great, and would be willing to state that I, on rare occasions, achieve greatness, more often than not, greatness is thrust upon me. And that’s exactly what happened with my latest, and rather ambitious project, a jacket. You see, just over a month ago, I was contacted by Lisa who works at the fantastic Onlinefabricstore.net. It’s a lovely website full of amazing fabrics whose prices decrease as the amount of yardage in your chart increases (a devious trick, but I can’t say I hate it, oh, no, I simple MUST buy more yardage, the discount!). And Lisa offered me fabric if I would make a jacket and post about it here. She said something to the effect of, “that’s one of your goals for the year, right?”. And I had a moment of, ummmm, is it? Sure. Why not. Jacket. I will just do that. No big deal. But then I actually started thinking about making a jacket, and tailoring and technique and whether or not I was ready for this and then the beautiful fabric came, a linen burlap Lisa requested I use, and it was gorgeous but totally see-through and frays like a live wire and I just thought, oh, holy hell, is this actually something I can do? But then I just went ahead and did it. Because you have to jump in, or risk being pushed. And I would rather be the one making the choice. You dig? And I have to say, for a first jacket, I’m pretty damn pleased with this thing. (Slightly more picturesque shot amongst the ivy. You will note that the notebook matches the dress, which isn’t surprising given that I made the dress and covered the notebook with the same fabric. Jealous?) The pattern is Simplicity 4494, a Vintage 1940’s pattern. Let’s take a look at the cover art, shall we? I went with view II, the collarless one, but I used full-length sleeves because honestly a jacket with 3/4 length sleeves just feels ridiculous. It LOOKS cool, but I can’t imagine ever having occasion to really wear the thing. And here is what I came out with: I must say, I’m pretty pleased with this jacket. For a first try at a lot of things I think it turned out very well, if I do say so myself! The arms are a little baggy, but otherwise the fit is nice. I made a muslin, of course, no way I would cut into this expensive fabric without a tester, and found the fit just a touch closer than I wanted for a jacket, which, presumably, has something going underneath it. A normal person might have re-sized this pattern. I just used slightly smaller seam allowances, 1/2 “, rather than the 3/4” noted in the pattern. Worked like a charm. Who says cheaters never prosper?
Because the fabric was so loosely woven, I had to underline ever piece of linen. You know what I didn’t know about underlining? It’s insanely easy. You literally baste the underlining to the real fabric and use that piece as one piece. It was so helpful in this case, because marking the linen was impossible, but the underlining, plain black cotton, I would mark with ease. And because the jacket is lined, I didn’t have to worry about those markings washing out! I used vintage white and blue striped cotton shirting for the lining, which I got from my Grandfather’s attic. My grandmother had bought something like 20 yards of the stuff. God knows why. The black underlining came from my stash, as did the button. I might replace this at some point with something fancier, but for now this is fine, and I really wanted to use my stash as much as possible. I am really quite pleased with the fit of this jacket. There is enough ease to be comfortable but the princess seams make it fit smoothly and nicely over my curves. There is a bit of baggyness around the upper back near the arm areas, I think you can kind of see where it’s pulling and not lying flat to the body. But it fits in my (admittedly broad) shoulders. The 40’s is a great era for me, I don’t even need the shoulder pads, which I omitted, because my swimmers shoulders are that prominent. I also made a bound buttonhole. It’s not great. No, you can’t see it. I hide my shame from the world. Instead, look at how nicely it fits at the waist! Focus on the good! See? All better. Happy face! I love my new jacket, guys. It may have taken me 5 days to make, or at least 20 hours and it may not be perfect, but it’s my first foray into the exciting world of tailoring, and I have to say, I can’t wait to do more! Gertie is offering an amazing jacket class….anyone want to buy that for me? Anyone? Bueller? Thank you so much, Onlinefabricstore.net for this gorgeous fabric that I never would have gotten to use otherwise. And to all you reading, I would advise you to check out the website for your spring sewing needs, they have some amazing stuff on there! And it’s extremely well-organized, which I honestly can’t say for a lot of online fabric vendors. And they delivered my order within two days, which is unprecedented. So go to Onlinefabricstore.net and browse their silks and satins, cottons and wools, linens and knits, because I promise you, it’s worth it! Consider this your chance to have greatness thrust upon you! See? It’s totally a pick up line. Seriously. Malvolio? More like MalvoliHO! Or maybe just ignore that and look at my pretty jacket. What? I always read standing against a wall of greenery in a hand-made jacket. Don’t you?