The sewist at Stitchers Guild have done it again. They’ve started a thread: “Jacket a Month for a Year” or “12 Months 12 Jackets” (my personal preferance). I doubt that I will make 12 jackets. Certainly not the traditional tailored jacket. However the term jacket was expanded to include nearly all layering pieces. While I have little need for the traditional jacket, I do need those outer layers. I already know that I need 2 February-weather worthy jackets/coats; and even though summer is months away, I’ll want something to cover me up and protect from the sun’s blistering August rays. Point is, I won’t hold my feet to the fire for completing 12 jackets. But I was pretty sure I can easily make 6 and contribute to the fun.
So this morning I get to share my first “jacket” and a really wonderful pattern. The Sewing Workshop’s Joplin Pullover
I purchased the pattern last summer during SewingPatterns.com sale. All the Indy patterns, or nearly all, were onsale for 30% off plus free shipping. I couldn’t pass that one up! Now a lot of The Sewing Workshop patterns (SWP) are too avant garde for my corner of the world. For example people wouldn’t think I was “smart” wearing oh say the Lotus skirt – a very lovely design IMO. Nope, people in my corner of the world would think the doctors had uppped my hormones too high and would advise DH to “get that looked at”. The Joplin design is so simple and elegant that even my country gentry can appreciate it.
The Sewing Workshop is renown for making patterns that teach. So when I got my order, I pulled out the instructions for a good read. It was then that I discovered, and entirely my own fault, that this was not a zip front hoodie. Now why I thought it would be when the pattern is title “… Pullover” ??? I don’t know. But I was initially disappointed. I thought I was buying a zip front hoodie that would have unique twist. I put the pattern away but didn’t forget about it. At some point I realized that with the seam up front, I should be able to add a zipper, if that’s what I really wanted. And then I “found” this fabulous fabric ———— in my stash. I’m not sure where or when I purchased it. I’ve got some clues for the fibers involved and it is entirely fascinating. Both sides are knit, so it is a double knit. One side is a thin cotton T-shirt like surface. The other is knitted but slick and feels water resistant almost like rain wear. But it’s not. No it readily absorbs water. But I thought this is perfect for the Joplin.
I must stop and rave about the felled seam instructions. This is the easiest method for making felled seams. Even a felled foot couldn’t be easier or more sure. The procedure is well described with clear and appropriate illustrations. I had abandoned felled seams when I got my serger. Once I had my serger I much preferred to serge the seam, press to one side and top stitch or double top stitch. The serger method is very quick, equally sure, but does not produce a true felled seam. SWP did a fabulous job on the instructions sharing an easy way to make perfect felled seams.
The process of sewing the jacket is easy the only tricky part being inserting the sleeves. My fabric, despite being a double knit, had little stretch. The instructions called for easing the sleeve “if necessary”. Mine didn’t ease. I had to trim. But the completed sleeve is excellent. Between the “shoulder stitching” and the shape of the sleeve, you have a very nice fitting garment. The hood simply comes into being when the shoulders are stitched.
Beautiful. SWP has you fold the hood edge 3/8″ twice and then topstitch finishing the hood. But I know from experience that if the hood is to be useful, I’ll need a cord to hold it in place when actually worn as a hood instead of a big floppy collar. I serge finished the edge; marked a starting point for buttonholes and placed one buttonhole on each center front right above collar bone level. Then I created a channel for the cord by folding down the front edge 3/4″ and top stitching at the edge (done concurrently with the zipper application). I haven’t run a cord through yet. (Can’t believe that there’s anything missing in that stash of mine, but there it is. I’ve got cord toggles but no cord. How’d that happen?)
Onto the zipper and front closure I purchased a 22″ seperating zipper – not the heavyweight just normal nylon separating zipper. I knew that the eye would automatically focus on anything wrong with the zipper. If there was ever a place to be perfect, the front exposed zipper is it. I used Clovers water soluable tape to baste the zipper in place, then realized that I’d be toasty and comfortable everywhere except the zipper teeth. Oh yes, I’ve had this experience before. Wind absolutely will race right through zipper teeth. Rain takes a little longer but it make it’s way through too. So I needed an underlap. Would you believe there isn’t a single jacket in either DH or my closets with a separate underlap? Yeah, some of them have fronts extended to be underlaps, which makes sense when you’re planning ahead. I wasn’t. So what to do. I cut an underlap 6″ wide and 23″ long; folded in half lengthwise, stitched the 2 short ends and then turned inside out and pressed. Pinned into place and enlisted DH’s aid. He doesn’t have a wide range of clothing, but what he has, he is very particular about. They must have the right closures, pockets. Everything must be perfect for him (I’m good fudging here and there or getting pretty close.) But I knew he would have a definite opinion about how my underlap should look and function. He did. Took 30 minutes to explain and show similar underlaps. But he had the answer. I cut the now folded underlap to be 2.5″ wide; serge finished the raw edge and again basted into place using Clover’s tape.
Just a word here, I use Clovers tape, Steam A Seam and a Misty Fuse tape (purchased from Louise Cutting). I use all in part because different widths of tape are needed for different applications. Then there are times, like now, that I really don’t want to press the fabric again or add steam. Clover’s tape is excellent for those times. I don’t use it exclusively because it comes only in one width and darn-it-all, it’s just hard for me to remove that paper backing without pulling the whole dang tape off. For this application, I could have used any 1/8 or 1/4″ wide temporary fusible.
Again I knew this had to be perfect. I carefully marked 5/8 from the edge from the hem of one center front, up across the hood and down the other center front to the other hem. Then I put my zipper foot on and edge stitched the zipper into place. That was a 3 step process. 1)using zipper foot edge stitch up center front to where the zipper ends. 2) Change to straight stitch foot, continue edge stitching until arriving at the other zipper. 3) put zipper foot back on and edge stitch down the other side of the zipper. I did this because my Designer Ruby’s zipper foot guides itself along the edge of the zipper producing a perfect, equidistant line of stitching along the zipper. However when I get past the zipper, the foot doesn’t have something to ride on and I needed my straight stitch foot to guide me. I also used the straight stitch for the 2nd line of topstitching 5/8″ from the edge. But for the 5/8″ top stitching, I guided my straight stitch foot right on my marked line. The finished look is 2 unbroken lines of perfect stitching and yes, it’s lovely.
What’s a hoodie without pockets? Why did I assume there would be pockets on this pattern? I can’t answer the 2nd question. I think I was seeing what I wanted in that pattern instead of what was really there. I wanted to add traditional front patch pockets. But didn’t have enough fabric. My second choice for front pocket was an angled welt. But This isn’t a pocket that I’ve really mastered. I didn’t have enough fabric to “do over” anything. I actually had to put this aside for an evening just to think about it. My solution is D shaped pockets opening on the side seam with straight welts stitched into place.
The result is nice but getting there was something else. I promise you, I carefully pressed the fabric and pattern before cutting out. I also carefully marked all the dots and dashes. I folded as required using a ruller to get accurate measurements; stitched where directed, matched notches and circles where directed; the only trim -fitting I did was to the very top of the sleeve, both sleeves. So why were the side backs longer than the side fronts; and why was one side back longer than the other? I don’t know. Because I didn’t disover this until I had serged my pockets to side backs and was trying to pin the side seams together. At one point I used a gathering stitch to ease one of the side backs. Well that was just ugly as in oooogggggllllliiiiiiieeeeee. I’d already interfaced my hems and pressed them into place. In desperation, I ripped off the offending pocket (only was was a real issue), measured and stitched it into place which created an terribly uneven hem. I cut a little more than an inch off tapering to nothing right about the center back. I loathe doing things like this. Chances are this garment is now off grain and will not hang right. It looks OK on Mimie (dressform) but time will tell the real story. One the side seams were stitched, I fused the pockets in place and top stitched them. One of course if perfect. The other is OK. Probably no one other than myself will realize there is an error.
So the garment is wearable.
I tried it on, just quickly. I don’t get real upset over the length of my jackets, but the sleeves are another issue. So glad I did. I took 3″ off the sleeve. Normally I need to shorten the sleeve pattern by 1″. I didn’t do that. (Must have been a brain fart) would have been a waste of time anyway since I had to remove 3″ total. I wouldn’t criticise the pattern for that. I cut this at a size large, even though my suggested size was medium. I wanted to wear it as an overgarment, you know with other garments underneath, like another Tshirt. I wasn’t quite sure that the medium would have had enough ease for how I wanted to wear my Joplin. Normally I also do a 1″ narrow shoulder adjustment. So between my 2 normal adjustments, had I made them, the sleeve could have been good or at least OK.
Now another word of priase for my machine. I love Ruby’s straight stitch foot. The edge of the foot is a scant 3/8″ but there is a divot and a mark at the 1/4″ distance. I did not use a double needle on this garment. It would have meant ***threading for double needle, inserting needle, stitch a few inches and change back *** repeate from *** to *** about a dozen times, maybe less. Because of Ruby’s neat little foot, I stitched my first line carefully keeping the edge equidistant. The second row and zoomed down just lining up the previous line of stitching with Rubys 1/4″ mark. I’m sure I saved time doing it this way. Honest. I’m one of the first to recommend a double needle for everything. Didn’t need it this time.
Of course the big question is will you make this again or recommend it for others? Hard to say if I’d make it again. I’d like make it again without using the felled seam construction at all. That’s the only place I figure I could have gone so wrong to have created my hem issue. However, I don’t have a single hoodie in my wardrobe and haven’t had any in several years. When I see hoodie, I think lazy. I know that’s wrong. But it is the truth. This “hoodie” with the Tshirting inside is comfy, but the better quality fiber on the outside moves it up just a notch. I actually could see making another classy, or dressy hoodie for myself and several for DH. He likes to wear the Tshirt hoodies underneath when hunting. That way he has his Tshirt on and if he needs a hood, it’s right there too! But note, he wears his hoodie as underwear. But, you knew this was coming, the “unique shoulder construction” feels odd when worn and looks odd too. The shoulder seam stands proud.
I went back and read the instructions carefully. I kept expecting to be told to fold the seam down and stitch flat. But the instruction never say that and never show the seam flat. It’s always shown standing proud. I tried folding it down which resulted in odd drag lines across the back and upper front. I think the seam is intended to stand straight up. I will wear this version several times before making a decsion about using the pattern again. But I will keep the instructions forever. I’d recommend purchasing the pattern just for the felled seam instructions. They are that fabulous.
And now a paragraph about my 2011 Goals:
1) REORGANIZE THE EMBROIDERY THREADS
My embroidery thread collection began with purchase of my Deco 500 embroidery machine. I did love the Sulky Rayon threads, my only complaint being that they faded in the laundry. I loved the metallics, but my Deco did not; and that along with a limited budget and thread availability meant that I collected little spools of Sulky embroidery thread slowly; over the years. My goal was for 3 shades of each color (a light, medium and dark). I did purchase one spool of nearly every metallic marketed during the last 20 years, hoping that the Deco would change it’s mind and acutally use metallic threads. Alas, hasn’t happened. I traded the Deco for a Janome 9500. I wanted wanted wanted that 5.5×8″ hoop. I was hoping the Janome would like metallic threads. Nope. So I’ve kept collecting metalics hoping that some day some manufacutor would have the magic formula and produce metallic threads my machine would use. Shortly after I bought the Janome, I became frustrated with my limited collection of threads. I needed 7 yellows. I didn’t have 7 that would work together as intended. Fortunately Marathon offer a beginner cabinet with one 220 meter spool of every color in their polyester threads. Yep 200 little spools of thread all in one cute little cabinet. Oh yes. I jumped on the polyester band wagon leaving unused but not discarded the fading Sulky rayons. As I used polyester colors I would keep track and then order one mini-spool (1000 meters) of each color in use. The beginner cabinet really was a cabinet in which each spool happily nested until called upon to perform. The mini spools however wouldn’t fit. They did fit in the same “race car” carrier that I used for the Sulky’s and I happily purchased more car carriers. After 4 years of using Marathon threads, which I love, love, love, I have a 9-drawer mini-cabinet and 17 Toy Car Carriers. OK some of those car carriers are holding my regular sewing threads and decorative threads for the serger and sewing machine. The mini-cabinet is about half empty. When I first got it and looked at the colors, I suspected that I would make use of only a third or half of the colors. I just simply don’t use some colors at all and some are used but slightly. I have the Marathon color guide. The good one with the thread samples as opposed to the color chips which are never 100% accurate. They can’t be. Thread and ink reflect light differently. The point is right now I’m spending lots of time checking the thread sampler, then mini-drawers and finally looking in the car carriers for the thread I think I want to use. I want to consolodate the remaining trial spools with the mini-cones, Sukly threads and various metallics I’ve collected. I may put the decorative threads in the same carriers. That’s if I organize by color instead of thread number. Before getting the Marathon threads, I organized by color and found it to be very efficient. In fact I think I would use some of those unused spools, if I could see them with similar colors instead of spread out by number order. The thread sampler is organized by color and contains a cross reference to number. I haven’t clearly defined what I want to do. I know that I’m dealing with at least 400 spools (probably more if I count all the threads). No matter what I do, it’s going to be a big job and take time. But it’s my goal for this year. Part of keeping the sewing room organized. It really helps during the creative frenzies if I can find all the parts, including these stellar threads. So it’s important to organize my threads in a manner that works for me.
Psst— my Ruby loves metallics. I can fianally use all those metalics I’ve been buying.