The beginnings of a French jacket or two....

The beginnings of a French jacket or two....

My husband asked me when I arrived home this weekend if I had received a DNF ( did not finish) or possibly a F on my report card from Couture Camp when I emptied my bag on the table... (obviously we don't really get graded!) but it did look fairly pitiful.

Can I start this post by stating that I was the only one not to walk away with a almost completed jacket....everyone else had arms attached and some even had trim on them!

This was always going to be a very technical coat to attempt and I knew going in I would not get much of the actual sewing done.    It really came down to getting a pattern that would be structurally able to support all the beading and muslin but not lose any of the interesting angles and lines with the weight I was adding.   

I started with Vogue V7975 which is the one Susan recommends...I used it last year in my first class and it works beautifully as a pattern. 

I did a lot of draping at home to get the basic shape, as we are required to turn up with workable muslins..

Vogue v7975

and from that,  this is what we eventually came up with......

From L-R - two piece sleeve changed to the Chanel three piece, center back, side back cut right down to reduce bulk at bottom, using center back for main support.  Front side cut into two so the angle can be manipulated without pulling center front forward  and center front which remains the same.

So here  is a summary of my week, obviously we all move at different speeds and I kind of stayed at day 4 for most of the week!  If this had been my first class I would have been freaking out, but I knew what I could get done at home so I was very relaxed and just enjoyed the process :-)

Day 1

Is always a trip to Mendel Goldberg for fabric and then off to M&J Trimmings, to match trim and buttons to the gorgeous boucles we have all just spend $$$ on!  I got distracted in Mendel by the most beautiful Valentino Swiss embroidered cotton/organza I had ever seen and eventually got a really good deal, I have to share this beauty! Its heavy like a duck cotton as there is so much embroidery on it ,  I have no idea what I will make with it, as there are so many possiblilities...I just keep staring at it!


Day 2

Muslin fittings, which are always fascinating to watch.  I have learnt so much by sitting and watching Susan work her magic.  I hope one day to be that intuitive towards mine.  Once we have a workable muslin, it can be laid out for fashion fabric cutting and then lining.

Day 3

Once all is cut and thread traced...its time for quilting, this is done by pining the fabric to the silk and marking with chalk on the right side, lines about 3/4" wide and inch in from the seams.  This takes a while!  

Then every single thread top and bottom has to be pulled into the middle of the lining and fabric to be knotted off.  Its actually very relaxing once you get into a rhythm .

Day 4

Is basting jackets together with machine's and trying on for fit.  This is where I kind of stalled, working two jackets side by side meant each adjustment had to be duplicated four times.....and the pattern altered.  I also added strips of torn muslin each time to make sure that proportions were correct.  It took a while!

Day 5

I spent most of day retrying jackets, altering and then requilting areas that needed it after reducing and increasing seams, for the record I love this process!

Day 6

For me this was the  fell stitch day.  This is actually a nice meditative cut your seams right down to where the quilting starts, and then start reducing lining so you can fold one side over the other to pin in place.

Once all the seams in both jackets are done, you use a fell stitch for every single seam.    It took the rest of the day but its so pretty!

This is when the shoulder seams get joined ready for another fitting...but instead it got thrown into a bag so I could head home.

The fitting and pattern making for me this week was so informative, and the women  so incredibly nice and funny...its a pleasure to sit for a week with people as obsessed by fabric and sewing as I am!   I came away with so much more knowledge and confidence.

As  I have already made a jacket using this method I can get both of them ready this week to a point where I can start adding the decorative trim on the shell. I plan on dying the muslin and burlap to match as I know I won't find anything close enough.   I am just going to take my time with this, a hour here and there while I continue with my Marfy challenges...

I have a class booked in June so that is when I will have the sleeves fitted.  Its impossible to do these without Susans help as she pins them on the right side while you wear it, and you actually sew them in from the right side to.   Its very counter intuitive but the way they drape once she's finished is extraordinary...they just flow.  I will take lots of pics of that process at the time , as its fun to see.

I took most of the weekend off,  I was sewed out......but tomorrow I will start putting the jackets together so I can put pictures up in my next post of progress as well as show my finished  dress, Marfy 2826, which I am so excited about.  I did spend some time today cutting the skirt apart, and changing a few thing as well as adding inverted pleats.  It looks SO nice.....its shaping up to be my favorite project so far this year...I never thought I would say that about leather and lace!

Wishing you all a lovely week!


Marfy 2826...the Betty inspired dress....

Marfy 2826...the Betty inspired dress....