Category Archives: Jacket

The 3rd Layer

I had given up on making a 3rd layer for my Spring 6PAC.  I couldn’t choose from amongst the large number of possibilities. Every time I imagined my fabric in one of those, I’d see a big blanket somebody forgot to leave in the bed. I’m a short woman, but no longer small.  Like most of my ancestors, OK maybe only the aunts and uncles I remember, as I have aged I’ve added width. While not the biggest in the room, I’m still substantial. A very bright fabric will make me look like a walking easy-chair or bed-blanket. Normally, I mull things over, make a decision and cope with the result good, bad or ugly. Partly because I love this fabric and want to use it to best effect, this time I just couldn’t reach a decision.

So one slapped me in the face. Well, what happened is that I love the Fit For Art Jacket and Tee patterns so much I’ve been contemplating what would be necessary to convert them to sleeveless versions. I’d come to the point of realizing that I would need to ditch the sleeve and reshape the side piece. Yes the side piece would need to be longer,  raised to a decent point in the underarm area, but would also need some changes so that it filled in the side-boob area. I don’t know how many times I looked at and dismissed the Swing Jacket alternative

Swing tops have a limited presence in my closet. They are a nice variation but I don’t want them to dominate. Just don’t.  So I skipped over this swing version until I realized that with the vest,  FFA has already done some of the work needed for converting the pattern to sleeveless blouse.I saw enough here to make the purchase. Cha-ching!

I think there is a 1/4 pattern-sheet. Not much tissue and not many pieces.  I’m not interested in the neck and sleeve flounces. Because of the alterations I make, the flounces will need to be redrafted. It is a waste of time for me to copy the flounces when I’m going to redraft anyway.   I’m not interested in guides for cutting bias or a straight band.  Hello?  I make a better cut with rotary cutter, ruler and dimensions that a light, easily blown about and small tissue piece. (Long skinny tissues are even worse. I can knock them to China and back with no effort at all.)Honestly,  if this doesn’t work for me, I’m going to feel I paid much too much.  Especially since there wasn’t a straight side piece. Why was I thinking there would be?  My bad. Definitely my bad. But I was able to figure it out how to create a straight side piece for the vest.  I pressed the tissue and pulled out my side piece for comparison.

I think my side piece is 2″ shorter than the swing side for the vest.  I traced the upper oh 4″ of the vest piece then laid my side piece on top to trace its long sides

Finally, I trimmed the excess from my tissue

I marked both the large and medium sizes and measured the difference (1/2″ on each side) because I plan to use the large for vests and the medium for blouses.

Now it was a matter of cutting and stitching fabric. I used the originally selected boucle. I want my vest to last. I’ve noticed the vests which wear the best; the vests that look good year in and year out, are heavily interfaced and lined.  Well, I didn’t want this heavily interfaced.  I don’t want to stiffen the boucle.  I want a relaxed vest. I looked for lining but didn’t find anything I thought would work well with my 6PAC plans. I opted to fully interface the vest pieces with fusible tricot.  I was looking at a lighter fusible (I wanted to retain the soft drape of the boucle) but decided upon this slightly heavier interfacing because I’d already decided no lining and this tricot was slick. I want a slick lining.  Well what I want is a lining that slips over whatever is underneath and doesn’t catch or cling. The tricot was a better match for that characteristic. I cut interfacing first so that I could immediately fuse the boucle when it was cut.  I returned the boucle to the cutting table after fusing; placed the pattern tissue back on top and trimmed boucle+interfacing back to pattern dimensions. Then I stitched darts and shoulder seams.  I finished the long side seams (front +back) with a quick run through the serger.

I mucked about with the front band.  Part of me saying “Hurry so this will be done within the 6PAC time-frame” and part of me saying “Relax. Lot’s of 6PAC’s  are posted after the end date”.  Part of me knows the real ‘win’ is getting a coordinated wardrobe; but part of me wants to beat the deadline at all costs. The logical side won. So I mucked about, eventually deciding I wanted a band that wrapped the front edge with a 3-button closure.  I cringed when it came to cutting bias from the boucle.  I know that cutting the band will leave large remnants of fabric virtually unusable. Least, I never seem to find a use for them. I considered cutting a band cross-grain but this band must follow the curved neck.  I know from experience that a woven fabric, especially a woven without any Lycra, will not stretch around the neckline and I will have an uncomfortable neckline. Eventually, I remember the 1+ yard of fabric left from my Second Blue T. I had gleefully placed it in the stack I think of as “Summer Tanks”.  It’s a wonderful weight fabric that works 4 seasons of the year.  I cut a small strip and started experimenting with wrapping the edge.  I wanted a french binding. You know, one large strip folded in half sewn raw edges together; wrapped and top stitched. The small strip (1-3/4″) was widened to 2-1/4″ and finally 3″ before I liked the results.

Even with the sample, I wondered if it looked OK.  Did it look cheap?  I double checked with DH who wouldn’t know couture if it bit him in the rear. But, he does know when something looks cheap, haphazard or other wise not flattering.  With his approval given, I trimmed the back neckline 1/2″ deeper.  My rounding back results in necklines creeping forward and being uncomfortable. I was afraid that between that and having 2 necklines fighting for dominance (vest and blouse/sweater), I would be unhappy. So I trimmed the neckline and then bound the entire edge from hem up, across neck and down the other side to the hem.

The pattern comes with extensive directions. Enough to make me fall asleep. I’ll give it to them. They are thorough and I should not complain.  I skipped over most and went directly to the vest instructions. Reading carefully before I even adapted the tissue for a straight side from the flared side.  I was surprised at how the armscye was finished. If I read this correctly, the underarm of the side piece is bound; the side piece sewn to the front and back and then the armscye bound. Well this could be useful for some artistic touch but I wanted an easy clean application with emphasis on easy.  I bound the armscye edge of the side piece  and serged its sides before stitching to the  back and front sides.  I added a little SAS in the armscye area of the back and front, folded to the inside and carefully pressed. Using the cover-stitch I topstitched nailing the side seams and the armscyes into place. I should mention that I used the coverstitch to top stitch the long front binding and again when I hemmed the vest.  I used the coverstitch more than the serger and sewing machine put together.  But I didn’t do anything new or unusual with it. I like the way it nails things into place and catches the edges.  Had I used the sewing machine, there is a chance a few edges would have escaped.  My thread matched so well that you won’t see my topstitching in any of the pics.

As shown earlier, I had attached pony-tail holders on the right to function as button loops (I hate making buttonholes in boucle even interfaced boucle) now I added the 3 buttons on the other side.

These are fabulous buttons. Fabulous enough I wish I was a better photographer.  They are artist glass. A half-globe set onto a gold ring. They change color as the light strikes and could easily have been used with a different colored fabric – like purple. However my photo skills are lacking and of the 3 pics this is the best which is wholly unsatisfactory IMO. At least it is clear and you know you’re looking at buttons.  Total time start to finish, about 3 hours. I did note that the side piece is curved, but the finished armscye looks very square.

I made one big mistake with the vest.  Sort of an oversight.  I’ve noticed that all my vests really need to be refitted. My back is rounding so that my vests pitch forward as well as creep up the back of my neck. This is corrected somewhat by adding an RBA (already done for the TRJ and TRT). I also think that I should add a front closure to all my vests so that  my vests won’t hang oddly in the front especially noticeable in side views. Well, I added the front closure but I didn’t think to compensate for the smaller, vest-circumference.  My vest, when closed is obviously too small across the waist:

Left open, It fits fine from either side

No falling forward or back front wrinkles. I am once again surprised at the back

having those 2 diagonal lines. Swear, I haven’t been noticing them on other versions of either the jacket or tee. Was I blind?  Did I pull things out-of-place when taking pics?  Do I need to make further pattern alterations?  For now, I think I’ll make it a point to take pics during subsequent wearing of these troubling garments (vest and T2).  I’ll gather a little more data before making changes.  It is possible that I have fabric issues but I hate to fall back on that old excuse. Especially since I’m complaining about 2 very different fabrics.

I have to say I don’t love the vest with my Print T

My Print T doesn’t contain this bright blue. The vest looks fine with both my blouse and T2 because they contain the same color.  Again, my mistake. However, I don’t hate my vest either. Plus, I have another vest in my closet that I can wear with the Print T. So not a big loss. Just not a big win. Well, except that I did complete my Spring 6 PAC on time!!!!

Tabula Rasa Shirt Variations

I realized at the first fitting of the jacket, that I wanted help converting it to a blouse. I ordered the Shirt Variations immediately and continue to finish my first TRJ.  Usually my orders from PR take close to a week. I was pleasantly surprised when the package arrived about 3 days later.   I read the directions and looked at the pattern pieces.  Now if anyone wants to say $12 plus $5 shipping is a bit high, I agree. I purchased through Pattern Review because, thank God, I’ve been ordering through them for years, long before whatever validating programs have swept the on-line retail market causing so many places, Fit For Art included, to reject my address and thereby my orders. I’ll stop there because that’s a long story of its own but please don’t tell me to purchase direct from FFA. They won’t let me.

So what did I get for $12

  • Huge booklet of instructions. Well 8×11 sized pages  that were folded in half; and quite a few to page though I   didn’t count.
  • 2 sets of pattern pieces – 1 for sizes L to 3XL the other sizes L-XS which include
    • curved cuff
    • stand up collar
    • flat collar
    • back facing
    • front facing
    • front template

Because of all the fitting changes I need, I never use someone else’s facings. I always alter my pattern and then copy the pattern to make facings. With shirts/blouses I rarely use the back facing. I prefer bindings That makes 2 less pieces (back facing and front facing) applicable to me and  I won’t even trace.  I’m unlikely to use the stand up collar or the curved cuff.  I might someday but cuffs are so easy to draft and I rarely, like almost never, use a stand-up collar. I don’t like the way a stand-up collar rubs my neck. So that’s 2 less pieces for me and again, I didn’t trace . I in fact paid $17 for

  • Booklet of instructions.
  • flat collar
  • front template

It seems like a lot of $$ for what I’m actually going to use and I’m reconsidering my interest in the other FFA variation packages. Despite the cost and the inclusion of pieces I’m probably never going to use in the end, I am pleased. Why?  Because it made conversion from jacket to button front blouse incredibly easy. Just incredibly.

I traced a size medium blending to a large at the hip. Yep back to the original pattern and trace it once again because I had decided the size large makes a nice jacket but seemed a little large for a typical blouse. I also traced the flared side panel. It’s so easy to make that into a straight panel but to start with I wanted to be sure I had enough ease across my rear.  Next, put the jacket pattern  away and pull out the variations pattern. Trace the flat collar . Slide the medium Blouse Front Template beneath the jacket front tracing and added the appropriate lines.

It was amazingly easy. No measuring or pulling out the curve. Just slide the template into place and trace.  I moved from the drafting stage, which I don’t want to do, in seconds.

I still needed fitting alterations so the size medium just traced I made

  1. 3/4″ shoulder slope. That’s an increase of 1/8″ which I did because I still had a hint of back diagonals.
  2. 5/8″ RBA rotated to the shoulder.  FFA recommends rotating to the neck. I resist working with the neck as much as possible. It’s far to easy to stretch out of shape. Besides rotating to the neck looks like you don’t really know what you are doing. Rotating to the shoulder is the golden standard. There is a possibility, strong possibility, that the shoulder dart can be moved to the shoulder-neck or shoulder-armscye. I’m taking this one step at a time. While the experts seem to think a dart can be moved anywhere, my personal experience says there is a limit.  I want to know if, when and where these changes go wrong. So I make changes step by step. Rotate to the neck worked.Now I want to know if I can successfully  rotate to shoulder.
  3. 1/4″ lower back dart. Not sure what else to call that.  I’m very round and need a back dart opposite the bust dart.  I’m always bemused that it works because I have to make the side seams match and so immediately
  4. 1/4″ added to the back seam length at the hem.
  5. Increased length of front, back and side panel 2.5″
  6. Decreased that long sleeve cap 1/2″.  That may not be enough. I walked it and it seems enough but I removed 1.5″ (3/4 on front armscye and 3/4″ on back armscye).  Because I removed 1.5″ length from the armscyes I should need to either remove 1.5″ from the sleeve cap or add some back to the armscyes.  Sigh, ATM I’m doing what I can measure and not relying on mathematics alone.

It seems like a lot of alterations but there could be more.  I haven’t narrowed the shoulder. I measure the medium shoulder, subtracted the seam allowances and decided not to do an NSA, yet.  I also did not make a BWL (back waist length adjustment). Both adjustments are like 2nd nature to me. I nearly always need an NSA. The BWL is nearly always needed if there is any side seam shaping.  There is slight shaping along the side seams but I haven’t needed the BWL for either the Tee or Jacket. For now, I’m not doing a BWL, yet.

A quick walk of the seams and I proceeded to stare at the stash.  I’ve got enough fabric to set up shop in a 3rd world country. But when it comes time to choose a test fabric I stare and stare and stare.  I want this test fabric to have a similar weave, drape and weight of the fabrics I’d commonly select for blouses. For me that’s rayons and most cottons. I’ve got nothing in the muslin pile.  Either the fabrics are too heavy and stiff or they are knits.  The wrong knits. I couldn’t use most of them for musling the Tee. So I’m staring at the regular stash looking for a sacrificial fabric that will make a good muslin. That means no knits,no strip matching; no dark fabrics. Some of the fabrics I just can’t sacrifice.  I really want to wear them. Finally I do find a 2.5 yard by 60″ wide rayon.  Purchased 13 years ago, the print is slightly outdated.  But I love the colors and the rayon is exactly what I want to test. So rayon it is.

 

Tune in tomorrow when I test the fit.

 

 

 

Tabula Rasa JACKET

A hunt through my stash for fabric completely changed the my thinking since I did the pattern comparison on Feb 27.   I discovered a voile/lawn fabric languishing in my resources room for about 20 years. Lined or unlined it would make a nice blouse. It’s too transparent to be worn unlined, unless used as an over blouse or jacket. Ah perfect! Instead of immediately trying to convert this pattern to a blouse, I decided to trace and cut the size large jacket. 

I made few changes to the large tracing.

  • I traced the A-B cup even though I successfully used the C cup front on the T.  I’m just not certain that the C-cup did anything for  my barely-B cup body.
  • I immediately made a 5/8″ slope adjustment to the shoulders
  • Added a 1/2″ RBA rotating the RBA to the neckline darts as per Fit-For-Art’s instructions and video(I apologize I lost the link.  When I find it again, I will update this page.)
  • Learning from my previous issues with the T, I made two 5/8″ darts in the sleeve cap to offset the changes made to the shoulder slope.

This is the kind of fabric that kind stretch out of shape before you get to the sewing machine . My first step was reinforcing necklines and shoulder seams with bias tape.  I’m using the flared side panel because I think it has a slightly feminine effect and decided to further that by adding trim along the neck-band.  I skipped the WST this time choosing to baste with 4mm stitches all the seams at the 5/8″ designated seam allowance before the first try on.

The first try-on said I was very close.  I need shoulder pads. I waffled because they can be seen in this fabric. My standard is adding 1/4-3/8″  shoulder pads to my blouses. I think my blouses look much better with shoulder pads.  Without the shoulder pads 2 deep diagonal form. The diagonals that indicate shoulder slope or round back adjustments are needed.

otherwise, as a jacket or 3rd layer, I think the fit is fine. I proceeded to finish without further adjustments and I was able to spend extra time trimming the band

I attached a 3/4″ wide lace and couched a decorative thread on the public side.  Ran out of lace, so on the private side I skipped the lace but couched the decorative thread.  When the jacket is worn, it is rolled at the collar and trim shows whether looking at the public or private sides.

This was a 2 day project (each session taking about 4 hours).  I half-way expected success because of FFA’s instructions to make the same changes to both jacket and T. Still I was delighted to find out they told the truth.

 

So, I’m not wild about the final garment. It’s OK b-u-t

I really don’t like the shoulder pads showing.  It’s a fit issue. I need the shoulder pads. Will want the pattern to stay drafted for shoulder pads for other garments. This lawn/voile, not a good idea.  The fabric clings.  It is an over-garment that doesn’t want to go over. During pics, I realized the sleeve is  too long.

It’s in the magic closet for now.  There are weeks to go  before I would choose the wear this ‘jacket’. Despite the pics above, I do think it fits and works as a jacket.

I’m really glad I made the jacket version and didn’t try to immediately make a blouse.  I realize that it’s going to take more than just adjusting the circumference to make the jacket into a blouse. While I don’t anticipate buying the sleeve and cuff variations, I did order the Shirt Variations which will make it easier to transition the pattern to a blouse.   I might order the Rain or Shine Variations and the Sporty Details the later for the instructions on narrowing the pant leg something that I fail at repeatedly.  I’m almost sad FFA doesn’t offer more variations and more patterns.  I think this pattern line really does accommodate my curves.  I like the idea of buying a pattern for which I won’t need massive alterations.

 

TISSUE Issues

  • Changes made:
    • Trace Size Large
    • 1/2″ RBA rotated to neck darts
    • Shoulder slope increase 5/8″
  • To do:
    • Narrow shoulder adjustment 1/2″
    • Trim seam allowances to my standard 1/4″ and 1/2″
    • Shorten sleeve 1.5″

 

 

 

Fit For Art Jacket

My Tabula Rasa Jacket pattern arrived on Friday. Wasn’t expecting it before Monday and not planning to use it for at least a week.  I couldn’t help myself. I had to find out what the differences are between the Jacket and the Tee.

I purchased the full set, which includes both size ranges and cost $30 plus shipping. While the jacket is interesting I’m more likely  to use it as a blouse. For a jacket I’m probably a size Large. As a blouse?  I’m thinking I may go down a size. Can’t tell yet.

I tried taking pictures and am posting them. It’s not easy to tell the Jacket tissue from the T tissue.I’m comparing large size to large size because that’s my T size.Overall the jacket pieces are  wider and longer than the T tissues. Which should be so because the jacket is an over garment, a third layer.  The jacket has to be bigger than the garments beneath.

The necklines are very different. The jacket is intended to be worn open and has a separate neckband to finish a V shaped neckline.  The blouse had a scooped neckline with template for V. Personally, I think this is something I could easily do myself.  Starting with the T front, add 1/2″ ease, then using a curve create a lower front neckline; cut long, narrow rectangle to be folded off and serged to neckline.  Even if I didn’t make exactly the same neckline, I’d have something acceptable for a jacket.

Ignoring the A-B front,  I compared  CD front with CD front also because that’s the front I chose to use for the Tee.

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Left is the jacket pattern alone, right the T front placed on top the Jacket front.

If you are a 3X, you definitely want to purchase the jacket pattern. On the T, 2X and 3X are the same. On the jacket they are clearly 2 different sizes. The Large-3X jacket has 2 bust darts. I didn’t unfold the XS-Med and don’t know how many bust darts it has.  The T has only one bust dart (for sizes Large through 3x).  Circumference wise, the jacket sizes and T sizes are very close. But the jacket is longer both at the shoulder and at the hem.  The jacket pattern contains the HBLS whereas the T has only grain lines.  I think you were expected to buy the jacket first. Do all your fitting with the help of th e HBLS and then  purchase the T.  I did it backwards.

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Jacket on left, T on top of Jacket on right.

Other than the being longer, there is not much different between jacket backs. Of course, the hems are different. The T has multiple hem options to add a little interest. The jacket is straight across.  It’s a supporting player i.e. your audience shouldn’t notice the hem but the wonderful things you do on the jacket panels.

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The Sleeve however tells the a different story. Had a heck of a time photoing the sleeves and did not get a decent  photo of the jacket sleeve alone. Above the T sleeve is placed on top of the jacket sleeve. The jacket sleeve is both much taller and much wider than the T.  I think even if I could have altered the T into a blouse, the sleeve would have killed my process. It’s really that much different.

I concluded that I really needed the jacket pattern as well as the T pattern.

The circumferences are such enough  I would use a large if I wanted a jacket. But I want  blouses. Blouses of woven, non-stretch or hardly-any-stretch fabric.  Fortunately, FFA includes a finished measurements charts. Looking at that chart, I will start with a Medium add my sloping and narrow shoulder adjustments and 1/2″ round back alteration. I’ll need to do something tocreate a button band. Have not decided if I’m going to use the CD front. I’m really not a C cup. I’m Barely-B.  I chose to work with the CD front on the T because the CD was longer than the AB. I’m always adding at center front.  I thought starting with the CD would take care of that. To my surprise, I still needed to add 2″ CF length.