Friday, January 28, 2011

Earning My Stripes

Thanks for your suggestions on how to get past the distraction of too many potential new projects. I liked Valerie’s the best. “I think you should take a month or more off from work and get them all done!” Sigh, I wish! What I actually did was promise myself one of the new projects when my jackets were complete. Then I made a list of the sewing tasks remaining to be done on the jackets. Once they were written down, they weren’t so overwhelming and I finished them.

Why was I making two jackets at once? I recently lost two pieces of one of my older SWAP wardrobes. A pair of pants ended up miniaturized because of a poor laundry decision and a jacket had to be thrown away because the trim, made of faux leather, started to deteriorate and flake off the knit fabric backing. I replaced the pants using a TNT BurdaStyle pants pattern.

The fabric I wanted to use to replace the SWAP jacket was maroon wool with faint tan, pink and dark maroon stripes. So I was looking for a jacket pattern that could be made of a striped fabric. During my holiday break, the Jan 2011 issue of Burda Style arrived. The picture of Jacket #127 showed a high hip length, fitted jacket in a solid color. Closer study of the drawing of the pattern pieces revealed that it had a back peplum that was an extension (cut on) of the jacket front.


If the front of the jacket was cut out of a vertical striped fabric, the stripes in the curved peplum would be on the diagonal and they would chevron at the center back seam. I love details like that. Also the vertical dart on the jacket front has one leg parallel to the grain line /stripes and one at a slight angle. When the dart is sewn, the stripes to the outside of the dart would angle slightly up and outward. A nice look.
I have noticed that BurdaStyle often shows striped or plaid fabric in tops with the waist bust dart. I assume this is because this type of dart does not cause the eye jarring distortion of stripes and plaids like a side bust dart would.

There was another piece of striped fabric lying on top of my fabric heap that I also thought would work well with this pattern. In a burst of energy, I decided to cut two jackets using the same pattern, vaguely remembering this recommendation in a sewing book of "Time saving Techniques and Shortcuts for Busy Sewers". It said use fabrics that can be sewn with the same color thread, double the interfacing and lining so you cut the pieces for both jackets at the same time. Sew the jackets simultaneously repeating each step for both, with the real time savings coming from not having to read the directions or think through the construction steps on the second jacket. I reread the book after making the jackets and discovered there was a line I had forgotten. The author goes on to say "It seems a little tedious while sewing, but I always remind myself that in the end I will have two new jackets" Tedious is too nice a word to describe sewing multiple lapel collars, and setting in 8 sleeves, 4 in the garments, and 4 in the linings. And because stripes require careful layout and cutting, I think all the theoretical time efficiency was lost.

Both jacket fabrics were uneven stripes. An uneven or unbalanced stripe repeats the stripe pattern in only one direction on the fabric. An even or balanced stripe repeats the same pattern on both the right and left of the dominant stripe.


For a garment made from a vertical uneven stripe, you can choose to have the stripe repeat around the garment or be a mirror image on each side of the garment. For a repeat, cut the pattern pieces using the with nap layout which is with the fabric folded double with selvedges together, all garment pieces oriented top to bottom on the fabric.

For a mirror image, it is recommended that pattern pieces be cut out of a single layer of fabric. And the left side pattern pieces be in the opposite lengthwise direction as the right side pieces. Uneven lengthwise stripes will chevron only if mirror imaged at the seam.
Rather than cut out each pattern piece from a single layer of fabric, I chose to fold my fabric in half horizontally, making sure the stripes on both pieces were exactly aligned, and cut out each piece double. It achieves the same result.


The wool jacket has subtle stripes. The only one easily seen by the eye is the pink one and it repeats evenly across the fabric. So I used the with nap layout. The jacket works well with my old SWAP blouses.


The second jacket was made out of a 1.3 yard remnant of 54” cotton lycra green and burgundy stripe. I had to use every layout trick I knew of to get the jacket out of the available fabric. All seam allowances are 3/8 inch. The sleeves are ¾ lengths. And the upper collar and front facings below the roll line are pieced together from scraps.


Some of the stripe matching that a perfectionist would do was not possible because of limited fabric. The stripes at the shoulder seams and at lapel collar lines are not matched. I just went for symmetry of stripes on both sides of the jacket. This jacket is more casual and will be worn in warmer weather, if it ever gets here.



Even though my spring Vogue patterns have arrived, I will probably do a couple more winter sewing projects. The cold and dreary weather makes me want to sew warm fuzzy wools and flannel.

24 comments:

Digs said...

Nice pattern - I love the way the cut-on peplum results in a chevron pattern. And - 1.3 yds?! I'm humbly relinquishing to you my Stingy Cutter crown!

Lisa said...

What a beautiful job you have made of both of these , very professional looking. The layouts for stripes is very imformative , thankyou.

Carolyn (cmarie12) said...

Those are two beautiful jackets and thanks for explaining so well what I do intuitively with stripes. Now I know why my eye likes them better one way vs. the other!

And I understand about sewing for winter still, I am having the hardest time trying to sew garments for my trip to the DR because it is so cold & snowy!

Tanya said...

Awesome jackets.

Angela said...

Those are great jackets!! Fantastic job!

Irene said...

Lovely, lovely jackets! The back detail really makes them special.

SEWN said...

Love your new jackets. They look amazing! And thanks for the great explanation.

Shannon said...

Both jackets are gorgeous! I might have to give that pattern a try.

meli88a said...

It can be tedious to make multiples of a pattern but the result in your case is lovely. Those stripes are great! Thanks for your explanation of layout as well. Very informative.

j.kaori said...

Lovely jackets! Thank you for your explanation of the stripes and the tip about folding horizontally rather than cutting a single layer --- great idea. I can't believe you were able to sew a jacket out of 1.3 yards of fabric!

Sharon said...

Your jackets are stunning and love the use of the stripes. Thank you for the detailed explanation.

Vicki said...

Love them both. The back peplum looks so cool with the stripes.

Gail said...

Your stripe matching is done to perfection! Love this jacket pattern and will definitely make one of these when Jan Burda arrives in Australia (always 3 months behind).

Carol said...

Love,love, love the green stripe jacket and I am going to make this jacket if ever this issue of Burda makes it to Australia. I am currently on October 2010. This is a great pattern.

Mary Nanna said...

So chic, so adorable, I love the racy quality to these strips and that matching is really impressive.

gwensews said...

Those are both beautiful jackets. I like the way the strips chevron at the back band. Very nice sewing.

Sigrid said...

Love both jackets,fantastic work with the stripes.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic!!

Maria

The Slapdash Sewist said...

I did the two-at-a-time for my last two workout tops and was thinking, "I thought the assembly line made things faster?" It's true the only time saving is in not having to figure out how to do something twice.

LOVE your jackets. That little peplum in the back is great. Excellent tip on the layout for uneven stripes--I knew about the cutting out upside down thing but I never thought of just folding the fabric the other way. Genius!

Cennetta said...

Excellent!Both jackets look great. Thanks for the tips on how to place the pattern on uneven striped fabric.

Highland Monkey's said...

Those jackets are lovely, you can never have too many!

Jane M said...

Two wonderful jackets from such a seemingly simple pattern. Love how you worked with the stripes and how beautiful the back detail is.

a little sewing said...

gorgeous jackets. I just love that pattern and you used it to good effect with your striped fabrics. Thanks for the warning about sewing 2 jackets at once. It sounds like a bit of a nightmare, especially since you were short on fabric for one of them. But you reign victorious! well done.

Amanda said...

THANK you for this post! I am new to sewing and all of my reference books says to "mirror image" the pieces for an uneven stripe but I could NOT understand how that was different than just cutting on the fold. I was mirroring parallel to the selvedge and now I understand it's mirroring in the other direction.

THANK YOU.