Wednesday, 6 January 2016

A quick repeat and the return of Operation: Outerwear

I have kicked off my sewing this year with an easy project made as a gift. The fabric for this was a total purchasing error on my part. Suffice to say that to my dismay in December I accidentally ended up with 2m of very light, slubby knit in a shade of pinky-peach that I despise and never wear. However, my mum does like and wear this colour, so when I was whining to her about my fabric-buying idiocy, she said she really liked it and I should make something for her with it for her birthday later in January.

I decided to use a pattern I've made up a couple of times before, the free Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan, as my mum always liked the two previous versions I made in late 2014 (one for me, one as a gift for my sister-in-law). My own version of it is still in rotation, although I wore it so much the first 6 months I owned it that it looks a little shabby these days.

Pale pink Swoon Scarf Neck Cardigan. It's a little oversized on Flossie and therefore doesn't hang too well.
Inevitably, my mum needed a different size than the two previous versions I've cut so I had to print out the pattern and stick it together again, which was no more fun than the previous two times I've done it. I also glanced over the instructions because I wanted to double check the order of construction and was reminded all over again of the hilarity of the pattern creator thinking I am going to French seam a knit. Just. What? Why would anyone ever do that?

It's so weird that the actual cardigan is so great but the pattern instructions and some of the details of the pattern pieces are so peculiar. Why is the crosswise grainline given and not, you know, a grainline I can actually use? Why would you EVER suggest French seaming a knit?! Why are you given a half a sleeve piece and told to cut it on the fold? (Not that I put the sleeves on the fold, I've made an actual sleeve pattern piece every time.) And other burning questions.

At any rate I do like the outcome, it's a free pattern so I am not going to bitch all that much about the peculiarities of it all, and more importantly my mum really liked it once I took 8cm off the length of the sleeve, which I hemmed on myself in her absence, for her little short T-Rex arms. (Her interpretation of the same requirement: I have monkey-like long arms and hers are the normal length! :D) In fact she liked it so much she told me I could make her several more, which, no. I love my mum very much and I was happy to make her a gift but I am not a cardigan factory. D:

Burda 08-2010-110
Meanwhile I would currently describe myself, rather cautiously, as being in a reasonable state of health. Also, the weather here has swung from unseasonably warm in December to record-breaking levels of wet over Xmas, and now, finally, to something approaching normal for the time of the year, which is to say, moderately cold and wet. This inevitably leads me to the thorny problem that I STILL don't own a casual winter jacket. Thus, since I am well enough to get things done at present, I have kicked off Operation: Outerwear, and started tracing the pattern today. Hopefully I'll get to the point of a muslin over the weekend.

The pattern I'll be working on is this lined, rather boxy jacket from Burda 08-2010, pattern number 110. My biggest concerns at the moment are doing my normal bust size manipulations (FBA and also lowering the bust point) on that French dart as I've not worked with one before. I need to check with my fitting books on how best to proceed. Other than that I'm mostly trying to convince myself that making a jacket like this is really not that much worse than making a woven shirt. If I can make a decent shirt, I can make a jacket, right? And three of my favourite and arguably most successful things I've ever made for myself have been woven shirts! So it'll all be fine, right? :D? :D? D:

The other thing I keep telling myself is that it really doesn't matter if the fit is only mediocre. Sadly, my existing RTW coats are all varying degrees of appalling in how they fit me, so nearly anything is going to be an improvement on the worst of them, and I don't have to achieve very good fit to have produced something that is about as good as the best of them. I realize this is a rather low bar to aim for -- "not worse than a really terrible thing" -- but it's a starting point!

My last line of internal pep talk is to remind myself if I'm going to start sewing the things I really want to sew (more structured clothes, more fitted clothes, outerwear, blazers, fewer easy knits) then I just need to start somewhere. Best case scenario: I end up with a jacket for whatever remains of winter! Worst case scenario: I never manage to make a wearable jacket, I'm down by some fabric and other bits and pieces but have learned lots of really useful things. That is not a great outcome, but I could live with it.


  1. Replies
    1. I am definitely going to give it a try! What is the worst that could happen if it fails, anyway. Pretty much nothing bad will come of a poorly executed coat.

  2. Lots of wins with your mother's cardigan -birthday present and selfless sewing and finding a use for useless to you fabric - a great solution all round.
    Good luck with the jacket - it has some interesting design features- love Burdas for that.

    1. I was so happy my mum liked that fabric, or I knew it was doomed to lurk forever in my stash!