28 March, 2012

Jalie jacket revisited

A little over a year ago I wrote about my trials with Jalie 2795. The fleece I picked was too thick and unyielding, the pattern consequently too unforgiving.   I enlarged the upper sleeves and chest area to match a jacket I long had and loved, and repeated the exercise more successfully with a nicely patterned poly knit with a soft brushed inner side.  The jacket turned out comfortable and cuddly warm, and served its purpose very well through Kandahar's winter and Canada's subsequent fall, except for one thing:  the fabric pilled so horribly that barely a year after the making of it, the jacket looks badly worn and very tired. It's become so ugly that it's no longer wearable. Not to complain or anything, but this was an expensive fabric, and whereas I don't object on spending good money on good quality, I feel badly misused when my purchase doesn't live up to its implied promise.  

Fast forward to now: Jalie 2795 number three!  

For this one, I used Jalie's body seaming to fashion advantage, and colour blocked it.  As well as widening the chest area, though only half as much as the previous version, I shaped the seams a little by taking in the waistline. 

The grey is a boiled wool-rayon blend from Fabricland - only 1.1 m sufficed for the front, back, and sleeves, and that's after 10% shrinkage to prewashing.  The black is a crepe-faced wool knit which I "boiled" myself by washing it in hot water on a long cotton cycle, and air dried.   

I re-drafted the multiply-seamed sleeve into a front plus back joined by a 4-cm wide central band from neckline to wrist.  
There are in-seam pockets on the front-side front seam, lined with grey active wear mesh fabric.  The left front has an inner zipped secret pocket.  To avoid front face draglines, I built a free pleat into the bottom of it - hence the apparent droopiness. 
The  back:  colour blocking, top stitching, and the lay of the back collar.  I had to shorten the sleeves  by 8 cm!
How do I feel about this version:  so far so good!  I hope the use of natural fibres will prevent large scale pilling, for a start.  I wore it on a plane just a couple of days ago, and it's lovely in wear, not scratchy, breathable, very comfortable.  Given my penchant for black slacks and shoes, it creates a sporty yet chic look -  a perfect urban casual for me.  I like grey as a counterpoint to black more and more - it's a softer, kinder neutral.

I really ought to give this little garment a playmate:  something like a new pair of black jeans.

15 March, 2012

Anatomy of a boucle

It's spring break here at home, so I have a bit of time to play.  Over the past couple of days I gleefully reacquainted myself with my "tiny" stash.  I pondered various colour & fabric combinations - one seemed too automney, another too summery... This one, in grey with pink and blue (mostly) thrown in to cheer it up seems like the perfect between-seasons fabric.  It's lovely and soft, lightweight, and, of course, wool.  Wanting to get enough of the pink and blue fibres to get a Pantone match, I frayed out a few of the threads.  The result surprised me:   
The bottom loopy thread is a boucle'd pink yarn.  The three rows above it are very fine yarns that grade from a cream to a dark grey at regular intervals.  My biggest surprise was the "blue thread. It's actually a highly complex concoction of thickish blue and beige yarn punctuated by little "self-lumps", and completely encased in a "stocking" made up of two very fine black yarns.  
And that's only on the warp. The weft is mostly black and a rusty sort of beige, and some of those threads are also spun together from very two different coloured fibres. Wow.  I had NO idea that boucle could be this complicated.  
I have the threads lying on some grey wool crepe, of which I seem to have a tonne.  A jacket and grey crepe wool dress would be a nice start.... then maybe matching slacks, a skirt?  The pink is the dominant non-neutral, and when separated, it's a surprisingly clean, bright, cheerful pink.  I don't have anything very lightweight in this colour, but I do have some light pink linen - so the grey boucle could work nicely as a coverup for my refrigerated office in summer, with a linen dress underneath.  

Right now I'm working on another knit wool dress in Missoni.  Third time's the charm.  Of the two I made previously, I really like the bias cut, so I'm repeating that here.  Because it's much easier to place bias layout pieces individually, I made the full complement of complete pattern pieces out of cotton broadcloth.  

I got 1.5 yds of this fabric, which is perfectly enough for both a bottom band and a wide cowl.   

So:  that's tomorrow's project. Goodnight, Miz Scarlett:  tomorrow is another day....

12 March, 2012

Grey linen jacket: pattern answer for Unknown

 A while back I posted an action shot ;) of my grey linen jacket in "A different kind of embroidery".  In that post, I called it a Montana jacket, as it turns out, wrongly.  It's in fact a Sandra Betzina pattern, Vogue 7610.  It's an old, old pattern, not available from Vogue any more, not even in their out of print category, but I spotted a copy on ebay today, so obtaining it isn't entirely out of the question!

There's a lot of seaming in the body, per the line drawings:  fitting opportunities, anyone? 
I omitted the breast pockets but left the pocket flaps, updated from a traditional to an asymmetrical trapezoidal shape that I thought played well with the seaming lines below it.
Trapezoidal pocket flap

Nice pointy back yoke....

The second jeans jacket  I made, in peach-tan linen, was also a Betzina - not Montana :) - jacket:

Vogue 1036.
This one, Vogue 1036, is still available in the Today's Fit category.  It has rather less seaming on the body, but more than makes up for it with the very fanciful sleeves!  I particularly liked its between-the-seams pockets, so I borrowed that detail for the grey one as well: 

Bottom waistband is at left: I rotated them, but blogger rotated them back, grrr!
 I used a mixture of serger and french finishing.  Serged vertical seams of the body are held down with topstitching.  I gave the yoke some nice hand-basting TLC, and frenched both top & under sleeve seams. Since sleeves might be rolled up on occasion, I wanted them to look finished.

This poor jacket and its matching slacks spent six - count'em! - months stuck in an unaccompanied baggage barrack box, and arrived home only recently.  Judging by the water staining here & there, they got a little wet in transit. They're now soaking in a hot solution of oxy and borax, getting ready to face the summer season.  In March?!  Why not summer in March, asks the eternal optimist.

26 March: a small update to show jacket in full, front and back.  It's  freshly out of the washing machine, spanking clean, very wet, and very unabashedly wrinkled. Dried like this it'll be easier to iron when the time comes.