Saturday, March 23, 2013

Let's make a matching jacket (Simplicity 2938 - View C)

In our last project, we made a sleeveless sundress and a contrast color tie belt. The pattern comes with a little raglan-sleeve cardigan jacket that would be a nice way to finish off the outfit. (View C). So let's make that!

Confession: While I have made view A a few times, this is actually my first time making view C, so there will be considerable more head-scratching and "this is how I figured this out" in this post. I have made a similar cardigan before, so this isn't completely foreign to me.

The requirements for view C are fairly simple. You need your fabric and matching thread (naturally), and you need a single ¾" button for the front, and you need a bit of lightweight fusible interfacing. That's it!

Pattern, fabric, thread, button(s).
Not shown: Interfacing

I actually cut this out when I cut out View A since I wanted that piece 6 for view A (the tie belt) to be in the contrast color like this jacket will be. And like the sundress, the fabric I got for the jacket was "extra-super wide" meaning I was able to economize on how much of the length I used by getting more of the grainline-matched pieces to stack against each other.

Obligatory posts if this is your first effort (really though, this should probably not be your first effort, I would suggest doing View A or Simplicity 2262 - View D first):

Step 1: Stay-stitch front and back neck edges 1/2" (1.3cm) from cut edge in direction of arrows. This stitching stays in permanently and helps prevent stretching on curved edges. Stay-stitching will not be shown in the following illustrations.
You're almost old-hat at this by now.  Just like we did in the last couple of efforts, you want to sty-stitch those neck edges. Pay attention to the diagram!

For more on stay-stitching, see previous projects.

Step 2: Fold loop in half, lengthwise, with RIGHT sides together. Stitch a scant 1/4" (6mm) from fold edge, stretching loop while stitching. With needle, attach a strong thread to one end of loop.
This step is fairly straightfoward -- you want to fold the loop in half with the wrong side out so that it's long-and-skinny, then stitch as close to the raw edge as you can, pulling on the fabric while you sew (this puts more stitches in the fabric). It's not a bad idea to trim the seam a bit if you've got more than an eighth of an inch allowance.

For the needle part, you want to put a needle through a single thickness of fabric at the end of one of the openings. By "End" I mean at least a half-inch in, because if you put it too close to the raw edge you risk ripping through during the next step.

Step 3: Draw needle eye forward, through fold, turning loop RIGHT side out.

This step is tricky just because the opening is so narrow. You're basically going to feed the needle and thread through the loop and then use it to pull the loop right-side-out. It might need a little help "turning in on itself" at first, but once you get it going it will be fairly easy to pull through. When you've managed to do this, you can of course discard the needle and thread, and it's not a bad idea to give it a quick press, making sure that the seam is on the side.

Step 4: Pin loop to RIGHT front centering ends over small dots. Baste.
When you're doing something asymmetrical like this, it's not a bad idea to lay your pieces out so that you're looking at them exactly as the pattern image is telling you to. It's not the end of the world if the button loop is on the wrong side of the jacket, but you might as well get into the habit of double-checking the diagram to make sure you're working on the correct side. With the wrong-sides down (right-side up), lay out each front piece on the table as if you were looking at the finished garment, and then pin according to the diagram.

This is only tricky in that there is so little purchase for the needle. Go ahead and use a single needle for each end of the loop, and when you baste, use a regular stitch, not a long stitch because the loop is so thin that a baste-stitch will just fall right out at the slightest tug. You don't have to fix the stitch, but start off the loop, stitch across the loops, and then stitch a few stitches off the other side before you cut -- this will keep your loop in place while you put the rest of the garment together. The baste-stitch will probably be covered up in a later step, so it can stay in if it needs to.

Step 5. To make pleat in back, on INSIDE, bring broken lines together. Stitch along broken lines. Press pleat flat bringing stitching to center. Baste across raw edge.
This sounds a lot more difficult than it is. Basically, you want to take piece 8 (the back), and fold it in half so that the wrong side is out. Then, using your pattern, you want to trace where the broken line is down to the dot. Stitch across this line, fixing at the dot.

Then, take the piece over to the iron, and open it up so that the middle of the piece is sticking up (or flopping to one side) and press it flat so that the pleats form. Finally, along the neckline, about where you did your stay-stitching, you want to baste-stitch along the pleat to hold it in place.

Step 6: Stitch front to back at side seams.
This is where we're going to break out our french seams for the first time. Because this is a jacket, and a might not be completely enclosed, there is a chance that the jacket could "flap open" exposing the unlined interior. If this happens, plain seams will look at bit shabby. A french seam will neaten up the inside considerably, giving the jacket a more professional look. So rather than do the usual "put the rights sides together and stitch from to wrong side" we're going to mark our 5/8" seamline on the WRONG side of the edge in a black tailor's wax that won't iron off. Then on the RIGHT side, we'll mark a 3/8" seamline  in white tailor's wax. Matching our notches, we'll pin baste the front to the back with the WRONG sides together, and then stitch along the 3/8" line. Then, we trim down the allowance to as close to 1/8" as we can (we don't want our jacket to have a seam-mustache). Iron the trimmed-down allowance to one side and then fold the RIGHT sides together and press again, getting your existing seam on the edge of the fold. Finally, you want to pin-baste and stitch along the black line (this will be about 1/4" but since this is the seamline that counts, we need to use that black line because that's the 5/8" allowance from the original cut the pattern is expecting). Now we've got a nice tidy seam on both the inside and the out.

Step 7: To form inset and stitch sleeve seam, with RIGHT sides together pin sleeve front to sleeve back matching fold lines and large dots, having raw edges even. Starting at lower edge, machine-baste along fold line to large dot. Stitch seam above large dot; back-stitch at dot to reinforce sea. Press seam and extensions open.
For this step we pretty much have to switch back to plain seams, which is ok because this is the top of the sleeves, not the underarm which might be exposed. The other important thing, especially if you're using double-sided fabric, is to lay out both sleeves so that they're facing each other and you know you're not going to end up with "two left sleeves." Start by doing your finishing stitch -- either overlock or zig-zag, and then take the pieces over and arrange them.

Laying the front and back of each side on top of each other, we're going to pin-baste along the fold line up to the dot, and then continue pin-basting a regular 5/8" seam from there. At the dot, it's not a bad idea to put in a cross-pin.

When we take this over to the sewing machine, from the bottom (along the fold-line), we're going to baste-stitch up until the dot, at which point we're going to switch over to a regular stitch. Back-stitch at the dot (fix it and then fix it again!) to reinforce so it doesn't pop out, and then do a regular 5/8" seam from there out. Finally, go and press your seam (including the basted part) open like you normally would. This might feel a little tricky at the shoulder curve, but don't sweat it -- at the moment you don't need any special equipment to get that seam open.

Step 8: On INSIDE, with RIGHT sides together, pin pleat underlay to sleeve extensions matching large dots having raw edges even. Stitch long edges and across upper edge of underlay, breaking and reinforcing stitching at large dot, as shown. Do not press underlay seams open. Remove basting.
The pleat underlay will lay across what is basically the allowance of that tabbed area that you just machine-basted. Go ahead and finish the long edges and the "point" of the sleeve underlays, and then take them over and lay them down on top of your sleeves where you basted. It should fit pretty much perfectly. Pin it in place, being careful only to pin through the "allowance" from the basting, don't get the underside of the sleeve in there as well! Then, take it over to the sewing machine and stich it into place, making sure you reinforce your stitching at the point by using the sewing machine's reverse button to back up and re-stitch that area. Make sure you only stitch the allowance from the baste -- don't stitch through the rest of the sleeve. This will take a little extra-effort. For the reinforcement, I just did a short, straight stitch through all the layers at the dot. The underlay seams don't need to be pressed open, but go ahead and break that baste stitch and watch 'em unfurl!

Step 9: Stitch underarm seam.
Now we're going to stitch the underarm part of the sleeve together, creating the "tube." For this, we're going to switch back to French Seams, because if you think about it, when you go to take off a jacket there's usually a "peek" at the underarm area.

Follow the same steps that you did for Step 6 for this part, making sure before you stitch that all of the seams will be on the inside of the final product.

Step 10: Press up hem. Clip pleat seams to stitching at top of hem. Press seams open below clips. Press under 1/4" on raw edge. Stitch close to inner pressed edge.
According to the pattern piece, the hem allowance is 1¼" with a ¼" underturn. Clipping your seam allowances for the pleat underlays to the stitching at 2½" will allow you to press open the allowances for the hem while leaving the rest of the pleat underlays un-pressed. Otherwise, it's just a regular hem. Because poplin is very fray-happy, I hand-overlocked the exposed edges of the seam allowances in the sleeve after I clipped. Be super-careful when you clip -- if you break the seam, you'll really mess up the sleeve.

Step 11: Turn sleeve RIGHT side out. Hold garment WRONG side out with armhole toward you. With RIGHT sides together, pin sleeve to armhole edge, matching undearm seams. Stitch. Stitch again 1/4" from first stitching. Trim seam below notches close to stitching.
OK this is our first sleeve, and it's not terribly tricky as far as fitted sleeves go because of the way the shoulder sets, but we are going to make it a little bit trickier by doing it "in the french fashion." Again -- no messy plain seams if someone takes the jacket off!

This is a little tricky on the second seam. I've noticed, first of all, that I was had to basically break my stitch at the underarm seams, and then resume again. I was also getting a little bit of a beard poking out from the allowance at the underarms -- not terribly attractive. I trimmed that down as best I could with a pair of snips, then re-stitched over that part as best I could.

Step 12: Pin fusible interfacing to WRONG side of front and back facing sections. Cut diagonally across corners that will be enclosed with seams. Fuse in place following manufacturer's directions. Stitch shoulder seams of facing sections. to EDGE FINISH unnotched edge, stitch 1/4" (6mm) from edge, turn under along stitching and stitch OR zig-zag over the edge OR overlock/serge over the edge.
We've done fusible interfacing before in view A. Go ahead and snip off the corners of the long pieces just before the scoop, that part will be enclosed and the interfacing will make it too bulky. As usual, make sure you fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the matching piece, and trim down any interfacing that's slipped off the edge of the matching piece when you're done. When you match the front pieces to the back collar piece, make sure you match the notches -- they're going to make sure that the piece attaches to the body of the jacket correctly and you don't end up with backwards-town going on there. It wouldn't be a bad idea to overlock the matching edges before you seam them. After that, it's just the usual 1/4" turn-under that we did in the last interfacing piece.

Step 13: With RIGHT sides together, pin facing to garment, matching centers back and shoulder seams. Stitch across facing exactly 1-1/4" (3.2cm) above lower edge, then 5/8" (1.5cm) from front and neck edges. Trim facing below stitching. Trim garment to within 5/8" (1.5cm) of inner edge of facing. Trim seam and corners; clip curves.
This part's pretty similar to to how we attached the interfacing in the previous project, except we're clipping our corners and the bottom of the front openings. With the garment right-side-out, lay the facing piece so that the interfacing side is facing out and pin it into place, working your way around the collar. I always start by matching my shoulder seams, and then notches, and then ends.


Step 14: To understitch press facing away from garment; press seam toward facing. Facing side up, stitch close to seam through facing and seam allowances as far as possible.
Again, this is pretty much how we did the understitching on the previous project -- the only difference here is that it gets a little difficult to get the understitching up near the clipped corners. Don't bother getting right up to the edge, just fix your stitch when you feel the fabric trying to pull and bunch in weird ways and break and start after the corner. I ended up with about an inch that wasn't really understitched at each corner, but that's ok. The next step will take care of that.

Step 15: Turn facing to INSIDE; press, pressing up hem. Press under 1/4" (6mm) on raw edge. Stitch hem in place starting at opening edge. To keep the facing from rolling to OUTSIDE, secure it at the seam allowances by tacking by hand, stitching in the ditch or using a small piece of fusible web.
The first time I did this step I was totally stumped. I couldn't figure out how I was supposed to fold the interfacing in so that it would be enclosed. Then a friend showed me that I wasn't folding, I was basically turning the interfacing inside-out at the corners and folding in from there. The 1¼" hem is already started for you when you do this.

For securing, I would recommend stitching at the ditch in your shoulder seams. Obviously, you can't stitch in the ditch at your pleat. I recommend using the double-sided interfacing (fusible web) for the rest of it but really, with the next step, that's unnecessary.

Step 16. On OUTSIDE, starting at lower edge, top-stitch 1" (2.5cm) away from front and neck edges. Bring upper edges of front together and sew button to LEFT front under loop.
This is a topstitch to reinforce the lines of the jacket and give it a nice, finished look I would definitely recommend pressing the centers of the jacket (the openings) to their facing pieces so that edge is nice and clean before you do this, and even pin it into place if you're using a material that's iron-resistent. Otherwise, starting at the bottom of one side of the jacket front, use a bit of tailor's wax to make a 1" mark all the way up to the collar, around the back of the neck, and then back down the other side front of the jacket to the hem. The nice thing about this is that it helps to doubley-secure the facing into place, making extra tacking unnecessary.

Finally, you have to sew the button on. To do this, just bring the collar openings together where the button loop is and mark where the button loop opening is on the other side. Stitch a button there.

Unofficial Step 17: Clean out your machine, pack up your pattern, trim stray threads.
The usual.

That's it! You've made your first jacket. Go try it on!

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