Blue victorian jacket (assembly 1)

It took me a couple of months, BUT, I finally managed to take out the sewing machine and sit down to it and start piecing together the blue victorian jacket!!

And I keep thinking I either cut the pattern wrong, or it’s made wrong, because it has come out for a HUGE version of me. Not my size at _all_! I am reluctant to alter the main pieces, but I have begun alterations to the sides. See below putting through a second (inner) seam on the side, as the original one (although fairly deep to begin with) still yields a gigantic jacket on me.

Double side-seams

Not helping at all, is that the seams of wool + fleece x2 (4 thick layers) are quite huge.

4 thicknesses of fabric

But now that it’s been assembled and put on the doll, I can see it better.

Blue jacket (front)

The back flap _is_ a bit big… But it’ll make like a delicious apple-bottomy bustle. So that could be very cool. As long as I successfully make the waist to be my size and not some tube. Even now, on the doll, the waist is much too big. I’m thinking I’ll take it in on the back seam, so the princess seams down the back will be in a better position instead of being tugged to the sides.

Blue jacket (back)

It will need quite a bit of decorating (I’m thinking khaki ribbon and brass buttons in slight military style) and fiddling. But I can already see the shape of the jacket. I will need to adjust it more, make it much narrower and so on, but it’s a good start 🙂

Purple faux fur jacket and the V&A

I didn’t make this one. I found it at the Woking Hospice Charity shop (for £12!!) and decided to alter it. At an over-generous size 12 from Oasis, it was huge on me.

So I put a seam down each sleeve to make them more narrow. And a seam down each side of the body at chest/waist height, to make it narrower there too for a warmer, tighter fit.

I also moved the hooks it has for closures from the edge of the coat to the side, turning it from a single-breasted jacket to a double-breasted one. There are no buttons to emphasize this, just a thicker front. Amusingly, the side pockets overlap right on the front. Thankfully, I’m not too scared of looking too padded, so I’ve happily been walking around in it all weekend. It’s much warmer than my French Connection wool & cashmere coat, despite being 100% synthetic. I guess the thickness of the fur makes up for lack of good materials!!

Bottom line is that if you find such a jacket for sale anywhere, altering it is incredibly easy (took me less than 30min while pausing to watch Adventures of a London Call Girl on tv) and definitely worth it!

Oh, and this weekend I dropped by the V&A to see their decode exhibition. Some cool interactive things, but nothing to really make me go WOW. Aside from one exhibit which allowed the users to upload pictures and participate that way in the “art” being shown… If they have an IPHONE. I’m a user / visitor too. And I was not allowed to participate.  And that’s everything that’s wrong with Apple and its fanatics. I’m a user too. Why segregate?

On the bright side, there was a goooooorgeous dress on show. Can’t remember from whom. Oh, right, Christian Lacroix. Of course. 🙂  Too elaborate to truly be worn, and yet so surprisingly desirable…

Christian Lacroix gown at the V&A

Planning a “Tuxedo Tuesday” with friends. Loosely inspired by Barney’s “suit up” line on How I met your mother, combined with us girls’ perpetual desire to dress up but not having sufficient occasions for it. *sigh*. Maybe some day soon!! Anyone ever tried it? Where did you go? We were thinking a pub, or hotel bar…

Blue Tuesday…

Very very blue…

Not in the mood for anything much, and didn’t want to think. So I plotted my next project: a jacket. And then, of course, I went out like a happy bunny and bought the fabric required for it. Spent a whopping £48 on teal wool/polyester blend (50-50, which is a good blend), basic beige fleece, and a very very very pretty striped lining that Helen from the Woking Singer shop showed me. I’m generally scared to death of stripes, but I liked it so much, I’m going to brave them!!

So last night I laid out the fabric and started cutting. That’s cutting through 6 (yes, SIX) layers of fabric. 2 wool, 2 lining and 2 fleece. Let me tell you, it gets tough on the fingers! I’m mightily proud of my scissors, and grateful that the table isn’t in overly sensitive polished wood and can take the pressure.

I only managed to completely cut 2 of the 3 pieces you can see laid out above. Tonight I finish off the last one and depending on whether the table is required for Xbox surgery (M$ refused to fix the red rings of death, BF tried on his own, managed, but a week later it bust again so he’s planning a repeat…) or not, I will cut the remaining… 6 I think. I doubt I will have time to begin assembly before Sunday, as we’re feeding some friends on Saturday and will need to clean & tidy up the place a bit before.

Well, at least I’ve made a good start on the jacket. Looking forward to picking out buttons and frills for it, possibly adding pockets both internally and externally (Will have to do the internal ones before I start putting it together!!) and then, of course, wearing it 🙂 It’ll be a while before I can do _that_, but at least I’m planning to have quite a bit of detailed sewing fun until then!! And that’s why I decided to do this in the first place. Hurrah!! (sort of… it’s only a sewing project…)

How to keep going…

The tiny Singer shop in Woking doesn’t have any red cotton jersey (or at least not as much as I’d like) so I can’t make the freeflowing red dress I was hoping to wear to go shopping at London Fashion Weekend (one needs comfy clothes that slip off easily. And I like red.)

The pattern I’d ordered from the same Singer shop before Xmas never made it into their order, and I’m still waiting on last week’s Vogue pattern order I put in myself from the USA. So I can’t make another dress I want. Thankfully I have found the perfect fabric to make it in: a beautiful teal weave (now that _does_ exist at the Singer shop… I might line it in yellow!

While I wait for either the fabric for the red dress or the pattern for the blue dress to show up (I do have 2 alternatives, whichever gets here first) I am going to buy myself some delicious velvet, fleece and lining to make this decadent not-so-little piece. And I am referring solely to the jacket. The fleece will be to use as interlining to keep me warm. Jackets that are purely decorative should never be made, or allowed to be sold. Unless they’re called cardigans or fit under a *real* jacket.

I am not sure if I’ll add scalloped lace edging to the sleeves, but I am looking forward to putting in the shiny lining in a nice fabric. I’ve seen some pretty burgundy velvet, but perhaps, if they have something in green, I’ll go for that instead. With teal lining, perhaps? I haven’t decided, it will depend on what’s available. But for 2m of fabric, I think this is one of the coolest jackets one could have. I am immensely amused that the pattern is being sold as a historical costume, when jackets with a similar collar, buttons and sleeves are flooding the marketplace in 2010. The bottom flaps are shorter on the ones being sold, but you know what? I like my bum warm, so this will be just perfect!

Well, here’s to hoping that getting my hands and brain busy will dispel the clouds hovering over my head, at least temporarily, so I can breathe. And on the plus side I’ll end up with a beautiful jacket, too!