Weight and Balance

Today I’m thinking about the look of my jacket. First, I see that there is waviness in the weave at the bustline. And I think I can at least partially fix that with additional stabilization. But it could be that what I really need to consider is weight and balance. Here are photos of the front and back of the jacket. Lining is still hanging out. It has not been applied yet.

Note wavy lines in tweed at bustline.
The back hangs fairly evenly.

I am looking to have the jacket slip on and off like a dream. I want to be able to wear anything under it, wear it open or closed, and have everything hang straight, as if that was the natural order of things. I see problems. The lining is not applied yet, and I know that will improve the overall look of the jacket. But the major issue is the waviness in the front. The jacket has that waviness because the front of the jacket weighs more than the back. It hangs forward too much. No surprise – the front edges overlap, there are pockets and they are lined, and there will be buttons and snaps that add weight too. Of course it weighs more, and there is nothing on the back.

Sewing in the lining will definitely help the weight. It always does. Lining transforms the mundane to the ethereal. Lining should get rid of the waviness in the back hem too. Especially if it is sewn in by hand to all of the seam and hem allowances, which I did, after these photos. It adds the weight I love to see and feel in my garments.

I think I will need to sew chain to the back hem. That will add weight to the back where it is needed. I’m hoping that this will encourage the jacket to hang evenly – balancing the weight of the fronts to the back. I have a heavy chain and a light chain – in this case, I think the heavier chain will do the job. And I will continue to keep a lookout for balance as I go along, as it plays a very important role in the success of my jacket. More to come including how I sew in chain. For now, I’ll take it one step at a time – next is lining.

Opening Edges

I have been enjoying the process of making this jacket! I’m a lot further along than my posts would show. I’m working to get the posts caught up now. Funny thing happened on Sunday – I was sewing the lining in, which I’ve been working on for a few days, and I finished. That may not sound unusual to you, but for me, it is unusual. Ordinarily, I’m counting down to when I’m done – one sleeve lining done, another sleeve lining to do, hem to do, etc. But this jacket is so friendly. The weave is so loose that threads don’t get tangled while hand sewing. Nice! It kind of surprised me that I was completely done with the lining.

But let’s get you caught up. Way back, about a week ago, I turned the opening edges. That’s the fronts, the collar and the hem. I think it works well when they are all done at the same time. I do this by hand. It’s a process and here’s how it goes.

First, I sewed in the interfacing. And I did some experimenting to see how the tweed folded. It was good. It made a nice, almost crisp fold. But the tweed needed interfacing for stabilizing. I did a running stitch along the opening edge and a catch stitch of the inner interfacing edge. And at the fold line, I did a smaller running stitch. The goal here was to make sure that the interfacing went well down in that fold. Here are some photos.

This photo shows the process well. First I pinned the interfacing, then I did a diagonal basting stitch (not shown). Then I sewed the edges – running stitch on the opening edge, running stitch at the fold line and a catch stitch to the inner garment edge.

This is a photo of the opening edge at the hemline. Same process, pin and diagonal baste, followed by running stitches and catch stitch.

Next, I turned the edges inward. This second picture shows exactly the corner where the turn is to be made. I inserted a pin at the marking, folded the edge inward, and I mitered the corner. As you can tell from my basting, I turned the front edge in 5/8″. Same for the collar. Then a larger turn for the hem. I basted the edges in place and then did a catch stitch of the whole thing. It worked for me because of the fabric, but something to think about – baste the fold first. Then, when you are satisfied with the fold, baste the inner edge. Then catch stitch the inner edges to the garment. That’s guaranteed to work perfectly.

I could have inserted a twill tape or bias binding at the opening edge. And if I’m in my couture classes, that would have been a requirement, pretty sure. To do that, measure the opening edge of the pattern piece and cut the binding or twill tape to that measurement. Then insert it on the fabric using a running stitch on the fold line, making sure that the fabric has not already stretched out of shape. If it has, schmooze it back to the proper measurement. In my jacket’s case, I had already put in the interfacing and sewn it to the fold line. I made the decision that I didn’t need the additional binding.

More on inserting lining and further stabilizing to come next.

Take care,

Peg

Tweed Collar

Today I want to discuss the collar. My goal is for the standing collar stand up, not flop over. I want strength to make it stand up and flexibility to make it go smoothly around my neck. First, I decided to double the interfacing which will make it strong. But I also I cut the interfacing on the bias so that it will be flexible. Next I trimmed away the interfacing from the seam allowance to reduce bulk in the seam.

This is the wrong side of the collar – 2 layers of interfacing lightly pinned to the collar
Next step was to diagonally baste the interfacings to the collar.
This is the collar, still basted, trimmed to clear the seam allowance. I did a catch stitch to attach the interfacing at the edges. The collar edges were already stabilized from when I cut it out.

I am planning to line the collar, and the rest of the garment, to the edge. Silk charmeuse will be lots more comfortable on my neck than the wood tweed. For now, I stitched the collar to the jacket and turned in the edges

This is the wrong side of the collar, all seam allowances turned in with catch stitch. Corners mitered.

I trimmed the underside of the tweed seam allowances to reduce bulk. I was careful not to trim too closely to the fold, for maintaining the stablization.

I think the collar is good and it will get even better with the additional stabilization that the silk charmeuse will offer.

Have a great day! Send comments or observations!

Take care,

Peg

Stabilizing Tweed

I was chatting with my son Charlie yesterday, going over in a bit more detail the notion of finishing the edge of the tweed. I realized that the goal is to stabilize it. The first step is to finish the edges – stabilize that edge so it doesn’t unravel. But there are other steps too. The next step is to stabilize the garment pieces. Claire Shaeffer covers this quite well in her classes and in her book. It’s Chanel all the way. The concept is to mount the tweed to a firmer fabric on the back. A silk lining works well because it is both comfortable to wear and it has a firm weave. But any firm fabric will do.

The goal in mounting the firm fabric lining to the tweed is to have a completely flat mount – no wrinkles, edges lined up evenly. To do that, I started with the front pieces. One at a time, I laid them flat on my table. Then I laid the lining on top. I pinned the lining in verticle lines starting a few inches from the top and going straight down to within a few inches of the hem. The I did a diagonal basting stitch, removing pins as I went along. Then I stitched the lining to the tweed using a somewhat relaxed stitch, something that I hoped would vanish on the right side of the fabric. Do a test to see what vanishes best on your tweed. I’m using a dark grey thread, which blends well with the lining – a silk charmeuse. Below are pictures of the wrong side and right side of the front piece. (pardon the crosswise fold – the fabric is sinking in to the table’s crease).

The lining is mounted to the inside of the jacket front
The stitching is not visible from the right side!

I love that I cannot see the stitching on the right of the fabric. Tweed is so forgiving that way. Working with tweed can be complicated but at least stitching can be less than perfect and work just fine. Notice that the stitches are parallel, about 5 inches or so apart. Your project may require more or less support than mine.

There is more stabilizing to do. I’ll get in to that next week. Have a great weekend.

Peg

Tweed

My latest project is a real thinker. You’ll see why in the picture below. It’s a loose tweed with rich, deep colors of olive, rose, white, grey, and more.

It’s heavy and wants to sag. It’s a perfect challenge. The most useful style for me is an overcoat. Something without a lot of detail, no darts that would add thickness. And I’m a casual person. With some elegance too. I prefer an unstructured look generally. Soft. So that’s my goal here. I picked a jacket that I’ve made before. Usually I’ve made it with structured fabrics, so this will be different. But at least I’m confident with the fit.

My tweed fabric from B & J Fabrics, New York
My Butterick Pattern, I’ve used it for years. View A

What steps should I take to make this fabric hold it’s shape and yet be casual, relaxed?

Today, I’m thinking about how to cut the pattern pieces. I am worried that the threads will unravel. But how fast? If It will hold for even a few minutes, I can cut it out one piece at a time, going immediately to the serger to finish the edges. If it won’t hold at all, I need to thread mark the pattern pieces and cut at least 2 inches larger. Then I can serge the too large edges. I did an experiment – I cut a small piece and looked at the edges. Although it was obvious that it wanted to unravel, it was holding its shape enough to get to the serger and finish the edges. So I cut piece by piece, serging each piece as I went along.

I could have used the selvage as a trim, but looking at it, I didn’t think it was interesting enough to do that. Sometime we can discuss what would be entailed in doing that. It’s fun to add trim from the fabric, and not hard, just time-consuming. Here’s a photo of the selvage. For now, take a look, I think you’ll agree.

The selvage of my tweed fabric

There are so many more things to discuss. Be back soon. Thanks for reading and I welcome input.

Peg