Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Jacket Muslin Fail

Margy's fabulous Dotty jacket

This is a story of failure, or an almost failure. My failure, not Margy's.

Have you seen Margy's fabulous polka dot jacket, which she calls Dotty? It's awesome, right?

Actually, I have the same fabric. I purchased it from Gorgeous Fabrics, right after Margy received hers and pronounced it droolworthy. It's a really nice textured polka dot brocade - Margy has a knack for finding such treasures.

We decided to do a little challenge. An uncomplicated challenge where we would both sew up the same fabric. Margy knew right away which pattern she wanted to use. We gave ourselves a deadline of the end of May.

This challenge sounds easy, but for me, not so much. I can really angst over choosing a pattern, and this was no exception. I have lots of jacket patterns, and narrowed it down to a small pile, but didn't want to choose the final pattern until the fabric arrived and I could grope it firsthand. It's a lovely fabric and had more drape than I expected, for a woven brocade.

I decided to make New Look 6855. I like the princess seams, which end in a raglan seam. I also thought the notch in the neckline at center front was cool. A very nice design and now OOP.

I grabbed some ugly fabrics out of my "muslin worthy" fabric basket. (That basket is starting to get woefully empty.) I started with the short version of the jacket in my usual size - 18 - and did the minimal pattern alterations: a hefty FBA and removing some (but not all) of the hip shaping due to my straight hips. I knew I'd have more altering to do, but this is a good starting point. I quickly sewed it up and, the next morning, ran out at 6pm in the fog to take a couple quick pictures, because I was sharing them with Margy.

No, I don't iron my muslin fabrics. ;)

Oh, DEAR, you are probably thinking. I can't disagree. However, I want to point out that this is typical of my experience with Big 4 patterns. The shoulders are too wide by a couple of inches. Despite my hefty FBA, I still need more bust room. The sleeves are too long, and the hips are still too big. The back is too narrow. The raglan seams in back pouf out in a funny way when my arms are down. Even more disappointingly, I didn't really like the neckline as much as I thought I would. I decided that I just didn't like this result enough to keep going down this path.

(By the way, should I mention that when I mailed Margy these photos that early morn, that I bcc'd myself, or so I thought. I actually sent them to the head of the dance department at my daughter's university. She has a similar login to my work login — auto-completion bites again. It figures I'd sent her these pictures instead of more flattering photos!)

Back to the drawing board. I have been wanting to make up the Style Arc Coco jacket.

I thought it might work nicely for this fabric, but I wanted to make some changes. I started with my usual size - 18 - and eliminated the bottom band, did a hefty FBA and removed some of the hip shaping. Pretty much the exact same alterations as I did for the New Look pattern. I grabbed another piece of fabric from the "muslin worthy" basket (getting even emptier) and sewed this one up.

Interesting, yes?

I usually avoid horizontal lines on or near the bust, but I knew I could eliminate that horizontal seam by extending the princess seam to the shoulder. But I think you can see why horizontal seams in that area aren't so great for my uber bust. This pattern fits better, from the start, than the New Look. The sleeves are a good length. The shoulders are too wide, but only by about 3/4". I need to tweak the fit at the hips, and at the front princess seam (very normal for me after a large FBA), and take in a bit at the waist so that it is less boxy. I need to widen the back (again, quite normal). The alterations are not that different than the alterations for the New Look, but it will be less work than fussing with those raglan seams in back.

But I decided I didn't want to use this pattern for the polka dot fabric, either. Margy was on vacation, but had her jacket shell completely constructed and I didn't even have a pattern selected. I was starting to feel rushed and a bit frustrated, so we decided to forgo the challenge. When I am feeling more inspired, I will try again. I may go in a completely different direction.

Instead of working on the jacket last weekend, I made something fun. I'll post it when I get some good pictures. We've had days of heavy fog here, typical for a San Francisco summer and not that unusual for a SF spring.

By the way, if you wonder what I am wearing in these pics, those are my PJs. I bought this wonderful African fabric at JoMar's a year ago in April, when I took my fabric road trip with Peggy.