|UPDATE: I wanted to add a few more snaps and links to "finish out" this review. |
First the pics...I have been wearing this jacket on a non-stop rotation with a few of the other jackets I've made. It's super.
My jacket with my new favorite cords!
I really really love the shaping at the bottom and the wider lapel.
Second, and really the prime reason for the update. I (almost immediately) made this jacket again because I wanted a version with longer sleeves. I wanted to provide a link to that review for anyone who might want to sew it. Specifically because in that review I added a step-by-step tutorial (with picture) of how to assemble the front pocket/pleat (the dread pirate awful steps 7-12 from version B). So click here for that review/tutorial.
And then I loved that jacket so much.... I made a suit!!! EEEK!!!
I haven't worn the full suit yet, but I have rocked the pants and jacket separately several times
Let me begin by saying....on the positive, half-full cup side....I love this little number, and think it's sass-tacular. I'm SUPER happy with how it ended up, the pattern placement, and the curved front hem is very sweet. The half-empty cup side is that I think this pattern isn't really that great. And it's Vogue. And Claire Schaeffer! And other people who reviewed it loved it. The damn thing should have sewed itself. But no, and I'll expound why below, I was really disappointed in it. Luckily, I only paid $3.99 for it, but if I paid full price for it I'd be maaaaaaaaaad. Okay, I criticized Claire Schaeffer....now I'm sitting and waiting for the sewing guild to knock on my door and confiscate my machine.
Apologies for the length of my review....as I started typing I realized I had a lot to say.
Claire Schaeffer's Custom Couture Collections: Semi-fitted, lined, partially interfaced below waist jacket with princess seams, slightly extended shoulders, shoulder pads (I didn't use those, my shoulders require no padding), side panels, and 2-piece sleeves with buttoned vents. View A & B are the same jacket. View A used couture construction & View B has more standard, machine-based, construction. I ended up referencing both sets of instructions.
6-10. I made the ten. It's good. Comfy. I can chase a dog in this jacket. If I made it again and wanted something more formal/form fitting I might try the 8.
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
I guess. After staring at the picture on the envelope I realized it was sort of equestrian. That's not really my style. I thought the only way this pattern might work for me was to make a statement jacket to go with jeans and such. So the shape is the same, but the "feel" is quite different.
Were the instructions easy to follow?
Okay, here's where things get really dicey for me. I'm really loathe to criticize, but I think they were kind of bad. Or at least mediocre, and at times difficult to process. Other reviewers just raved for them, and maybe I'm just being really dense, but they were a hot mess, for me. And truth be told, I'm no couture sewer, so much of those details are not something I would use. I love my machine. It sews way better than I do. But normally I'm an written instruction junkie. I've never been able to take a class in sewing or pattern making, and I taught myself to sew from books and patterns over the last two years. I love an instruction. I'm that kind of girl.
There are 106 steps for View A, and 55 for View B, plus a bunch of Claire's Hints. I'm pretty comfortable making jackets/coats, but I read them all just for educations sake. I liked some of the tips, so that was interesting; however, a good deal of the instructions weren't very clearly written, and a few of the illustrations to go along with them left me thinking "what the heck is that supposed to be?". I found myself going back to the couture version directions to see if that would be easier to process. And they really weren't much better.
Steps 7-12 for View B literally drove me to drink. It's the portion where you create the small pleat on the front panels by the pockets. It's really the only real unique feature of the coat - the rest is pretty standard jacket construction. I swore a lot. I read them over and over (both A & B's instructions, which were different), and tried them several time and NOPE. I got so frustrated I drew the lines directly on the wrong side of the self with a pen, aaaaaaaand NOPE. I eventually had to trust the actual pattern (which is drafted well), trust the geometry of it all (knowing I'd be right when I arc in the front panel lined up properly), and figure it out on my own. This is where the glass of wine came into play. And I did. There is one tuck, and one fold - and none of the lines on the original pattern lined up properly. The original lines are in blue (a little hard to see), my notes in red.
One Tuck, a basting stitch, a line of stitches to enclose the pocket...
That flap on the edge folds in to make part of the pocket (It's like a folded-in facing). So in this picture (here) the left side of the "pleat" is the tuck, and the right side the fold, creating the pocket. Sorry to be so wordy, but this took me FOREVER to figure out, and I thought maybe it could help someone else......
GWAAAAAAAARRR!!! My poor husband retreated to his man cave during this process in fear for his life. You know, kind of how you see people slowing backing away from a wild animal on television? Kind of like that. Curse you steps 7 thru 12.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I'm in a jacket/coat phase right now. And I saw this at Joann's during a sale. I bought it because it was Vogue. And Claire Schaeffer. And $3.99.
I got this cotton from Joann's Red Tag section. Cost about $6 total. Add buttons and lining fabric (which I got from an old lining bundle from Fabric Mart) and this jacket comes in under the $15 mark, which is pretty flippin' awesome.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:
Here is the good side of this pattern. The pattern draft itself is solid. What I really didn't care for were the instructions and assembly. What I changed, I changed out of preference. I didn't like how she attached the lining to the jacket. I prefer to have a complete shell with an attached facing, and a fully assembled lining (with sleeves inserted) so when I bag the lining the set of stitches run along the lining edges against the facing and the collar base. Her version bags the lining at the outer edge of the lapel/collar of the shell and the full lining (facings and lining attached as one piece). I don't dig that so much because I like to have the collar and lapel completely done and to my liking. Then just take that last step to bag the lining (which will be a seam on the interior of the jacket, and finish the hem.
So I redrafted those pieces to insert them that way. It's not too difficult to do. The facing and side front lining together are basically the same as the front panel with the dart and the excess piece for the pocket removed (check it out ). I closed the dart and slashed the side open, then laid the two lining pieces on top to make sure they lined up (like this). Once they did I redrew a new stitching line and then the two cutting lines on either side, and traced off my new pieces.
Once I got to attaching the lining to the facing/collar, I felt pretty confident about my pattern re-draft, but to be on the safe side I used steam-a-seam to attach the two.
Steam that seam!
It allowed me a test run to see if things lined up, and to try it on. If I was off I could just pull them apart and re-adjust with my fingers. Luckily it worked just fine, and then I could just stitch them up permanently without using any pins.
I would have lengthened the sleeves 3" if I could have, but I squeeze this pattern out of my fabric with just scraps to spare. Honestly, the sleeves are too short for me now, so I'm most likely going to roll the cuff for a 3/4 length effect.
The other big consideration was pattern placement. All I knew is that I wanted the circular main pattern to run down either side of the front, down the sleeve, and directly down center back. The rest I didn't sweat too much. Although, when I was cutting I did cut out in a single layer and then cut the second piece out so I exactly mirrored the first. That way everything would be symmetrical throughout the jacket. It wouldn't be perfectly lined up everywhere, which is fine by me.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
You know, I'm not sure. I love the jacket, but the fact that it took two days of sewing makes me cranky...but now that I have the redrafted bits, and marked the proper tucks/folds/etc for the front pieces...I'm very tempted. I've worn this coat for the last two days and it very flattering.
This was actually just a wearable muslin for me, but I ended up kind of loving it so much I'm just tossing it in the ring for the contest this month. It's a little different, and so am I - so I guess that's a perfect fit.