Friday, August 5, 2011

Heading Into Fall (and, hopefully not heading for a fall)

You wouldn't know it from the weather (hot, hot, HOT!), but autumn will be here before we know it -- and what better way to usher in the change of season than with a new wool jacket?

So, in (more or less) real time, here's how the journey to jacket goes. I hope to finish up with a photo of me wearing a finished jacket that fits and flatters -- but if not, you'll see that too.

I've chosen a pattern by the Australian company styleARC -- the "Janet" jacket.

It's a close-fitting, princess seamed, lined jacket. No buttonholes -- front edges are meant to be closed with a hook and eye or frog closure, and no complicated welts -- that should up my chances of seeing the project through to completion. The shoulder princess seam is generally flattering, plus the more seam lines the more opportunities for fine tuning the fit.

DAY 1 - Pattern Adjustment

My experience with the styleARC Sara blouse pattern revealed the need for me to make a full bust adjustment. It's a typical pattern adjustment for me, but I pull out the Palmer/Pletsch "Fit for Real People" book to refresh my memory of the steps needed. OK, that's done, now to test it out. I'm going to make a muslin (trial garment) to test the fit. I cut out the body of the jacket, minus facings and sleeves, from a discarded bed sheet. The weight of the sheeting (it's a heavier sateen) approximates the weight of the wool I am considering for the jacket, plus it's a non-stretch fabric. Queen sized, there's plenty of yardage even cutting around the worn areas. As it turns out, there's plenty to make a second muslin -- luckily for me, because the first version reveals 2 problem areas.

Problem #1 -- the adjustment I made for fullness was fine, but, how to say this delicately? The fullness needs to be lower down -- gravity has not been kind. Back to the drawing board -- re-trace the pattern pieces, lower bust fullness, then redo the FBA.

Problem #2 -- I mentioned before, this is a close fitting jacket. styleARC patterns (at least in my limited experience) seem to have less ease than the major US players (Vogue, Butterick, etc.). So, while the jacket technically may fit, i.e. it meets where it should with no gaps, strains or bulges, it's just too close for my personal comfort. I want to be able to wear a regular top (i.e., not a tank top) underneath and still have breathing room. I like the neck/shoulder fit, so I'll be leaving that area alone and just adding to the waist/hip area.

Whew, that's enough for DAY 1!

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