Monday, May 26, 2008

Burda World of Fashion 01-2008-103

Pattern Description:
"There's nothing prim here! Cut short, close-fitting and with a back peplum, this club jacket is elegant and bewitch-ingly feminine. The white piping emphasizes its very fashionable lines."

Pattern Sizing:
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Right down to the gold buttons!
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Oh boy, these might as well have been in greek. I took them to coffee in the morning and STUDIED them. (Wish I'd studied this much in chemistry class). After reading several dozen times they started to make some sense.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Love love love the piping - very trendy right now (see Nordstroms). Love the creative lines of the jacket with the piping, the front pockets that are actually pockets and the decorative sleeve flaps.

There is heavy labor involved - sewing the piping in, and a lot of top stitching, including all of the piping and some of the seam lines.
Fabric Used:
Navy blue stretch poplin from Joanns. It has textured lines through it.
Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
Sewing the piping in was not that difficult, believe it or not!

  • Absolutely make a muslin first - this jacket is meant to be fitted and I needed to make a lot of adjustments to fit perfectly. There is a front piece with large dart, side piece, side bottom peplum and back with a large bottom pleat. With the botton peplum piece, it makes it a little more difficult for fit.You want to get the top pieces fitting perfectly before you sew on the peplum and do all of the top stitching.

  • Joanns only sells cotton piping, this jacket absolutely needs satin piping so I made my own. Use thin polyester satin, cut in bias strips and sew over the cotton piping and voila.

  • The collar - was extremely difficult to fit the way they have you do it. The instructions call for you to stitch the upper and lower collar on to the jacket, then bla bla bla (about 2 or 3 confusing paragraphs to muddle through). I could not get it to sit flat correctly using their method and it was difficult to get the piping to line up at the corners. After ripping out the collar several times, and hopelessly fraying the fabric, I recut the collar pieces and used the standard method. I sewed the upper and lower collar together with the piping, turned right side out and attached it to the neck edge Click Here. The collar laid flat and the piping was easier to match up with the piping on the front edge.

  • Some tricky hand sewing was involved under the collar to get the piping to meet up exactly

  • Pattern calls for hand sewing the sleeves hems before sewing one of the sleeve seams. I sewed both sleeve seams THEN machine sewed the sleeve hem. With all the top stitching, I thought it looked just fine.

  • Not a hope of the sleeves fitting! I chopped about an inch and a half off the sleeve cap and they were still a little bulky. Lots of ripping out and adjusting until it would fit correctly. The pattern calls for shoulder pads so I found the thinnest ones I could find to boost up the sleeves slightly - which did the trick.

  • Piping adds a lot of bulk and even with pressing the back pleat it would not lie completely flat. I tacked each side of the pleat on the inside at the bottom.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Now that I have a perfectly fitting muslin, I may make the other version - without the piping. I would recommend it, but not for the faint of heart!
Not all fun to make but I love the end result and it fits me perfectly. Not sure if I would call this a college blazer jacket, I think it looks too flash for that. Trying to decide what to wear with it. I thought white linen pants would look sharp, but my husband - started humming the theme from the Love Boat! Oh dear, it does look a little like Julie, the cruise directors outfit! Now,where's my clipboard?!

Friday, February 22, 2008

My Little Friend

Hello possums,

Been on a bit of a hiatus from sewing so I thought I would start off with something to make you smile.

I needed that vacation from the houndstooth jacket but I will be back to tackling it soon...after I get rid of this nasty flu. Between being frustrated with my sewing of late and feeling sickly, I needed a pick-me-up, something to get me out of this slumber. And I got it in the form of a little package named Tim Gunn. Yes ladies, you too can have a little Tim Gunn of your own. Place him on your sewing table. When collars have you in a bundle, hems are puckering or you want to gouge out your eyes with the stitch ripper, just press the button and get a little dose of Tim Gunn to light a fire under your butt!


Sunday, February 3, 2008

Houndstooth Jacket Update

Sometimes you just have to call it a day and move on.
Obviously I did not make the wool contest cutoff in time on Patternreview. It was taking me forever to match up the houndstooth and then I had some fitting issues. And then I had to leave for Los Angeles. Then I deleted my previous post - oops. By the way thanks to whomever mentioned Mood Fabrics. I didn't end up going. 
I don't think I have ripped out stitching as much as I have with this jacket!
A lot of the fault lies in the design of the back of the pattern. The back pleat will not sit flat, it pooches out. Someone else reviewed this pattern and she had the same issue. I am debating whether to take out the pleat completely as my only way to salvage the jacket or chuck the bloody thing.

I think we need to spend some time apart before I decide whether to continue with the relationship.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Progress Report - Butterick 5145

I am starting to put the pieces together, but first I wanted to point out some more of my cutting technique with this pattern. The pattern envelope is a little deceptive:


It clearly shows a houndstooth pattern and the pattern appears to go very evenly along the middle horizontal seam

If I had cut the pattern exactly as the pattern pieces, that line would angle up, not go straight across. Something to keep in mind.
This is the front piece, with tape measure to give you an idea of angle

With the dart closed, the pattern still angles up, and the houndstooth would not go across evenly.

To solve this, I cut the bottom straight across, rather than angled up. It changes the shape only slightly, but gives a nice horizontal line across.


I did the same with the side pieces and back piece. Incidentally, I made the back piece one piece instead of 2 pieces with a middle seam.


On to putting the pieces together!

Friday, January 11, 2008


I am now 'houndstooth obsessed' from working on this jacket. I decided to dig up some facts about this particular pattern. Where does the name come from? And does it really look like a hound's tooth?I turned to Wikipedia first :
Houndstooth or houndstooth check is a duotone textile pattern, characterized by broken checks or abstract four-pointed shapes. Houndstooth checks originated in woven wool cloth of the Scottish Lowlands. The traditional houndstooth check is made with alternating bands of four dark and four light threads in both warp and weft woven in a simple 2:2 twill, two over - two under the warp, advancing one thread each pass.

They include some interesting graphic illustrations of the check:

Houndstooth check weave.png

And who knew (I didn’t) that there is an online textile dictionary where some of this information came from. According to this site:

Houndstooth has stood the test of time. Considered a classic, houndstooth has been a fashion trend several times in history, with peaks during the 1930s, the 1970s and then again in the first decade of 2000. Often used in woolens, houndstooth is also found in cotton and silk fabrics.

It is often used for coats, blazers and other outdoor wear, and also dresses and skirts. In the early 1800s it was found in scarves and hoop skirts. But over time, it became popular for home item and accessories, such as handbags, headbands and umbrellas. It has even become popular for trendy animal care items, such as collars and bowls.

In the late 1960s, designer Geoffrey Beene mixed the classic pattern with lace in dresses. Also in the late 1960s, Chevrolet used a black and white houndstooth pattern to upholster some of its Camaro line of vehicles. In 2005-06, houndstooth made a fashion comeback when designers such as Chanel, Emporio Armani, and Louis Vuitton featured the bold pattern in their designs.

This winter, houndstooth is very trendy, it’s showing up in jackets:

St. John Collection Houndstooth Jacket & Pants
St. John Collection - $1295.00 (gasp!)
Gallery Houndstooth Wool Coat
This style is eerily like what I am making. Wish I could see the back

Soia & Kyo Belted Houndstooth Wool Coat

tres chic

Mackage Wool Houndstooth Capelet

Houndstooth Lamp

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Butterick B5145

Back from our not so great holiday to Squaw Valley and feverishly sewing. What have I been working on for my first project for 2008?

image of B5145

This cute jacket, the short version. With a lovely 1/4 inch houndstooth wool purchased last week at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley.

houndstooth.jpg I've never sewn with houndstooth before so the first thing I did before cutting was study the fabric. I realized that houndstooth is a very distinct pattern that has a direction. And much like pinstripes, it has vertical lines. But it also has vertical lines, like a plaid. This was going to be interesting....

First thing I did was I ACTUALLY MADE A MUSLIN! Just of the top portion of the jacket. Having been sewing BWOF patterns the last several months has made me a little wary of bust fit correctly out of the box. But this Butterick pattern fitted my C cup (wearing my bra) Diana perfectly:


I decided this fabric should be treated as a plaid - and also all of the pattern pieces would need to be cut in one direction to match. The houndstooth was small enough that matching it perfectly wasn't an absolute must, but in my case, I thought I would give it a shot.
I looked on the patternreview message boards about cutting houndstooth and I found a post where someone mentioned Sandra's Betzina's method of cutting plaids. (Coincidentally, Sandra Betzina has taught some classes at Stonemountain and Daughter). They mentioned cutting a single layer of the fabric for each pattern piece, then flip the pattern piece over, match up the lines with your cut piece and cut the second piece. Of course, this is a longer process, took me about 3 hours, but I'm glad I did it:


Cut Piece 1 matching a line of the houndstooth to a notch for reference


Flip piece over and cut out piece 2 matching vertical and horizontal

Taking this extra time to cut out the fabric has helped enormously when putting the jacket together. I have to say that although I love BWOF patterns, this Butterick has been an easy vacation from them! It is extremely well drafted and the instructions are easy to follow WITH PICTURES (ahhh). This is going to be one sharp looking coat. I just noticed that Patternreview has a new contest for wool fabric - I just may enter. My first contest!