July has been heavy on the sewing but unfortunately, a tad light on the finished garments front. That is because I was working on a more complicated unselfish sewing project, which was full of firsts for me, so I had quite a big learning curve to deal with, plus a very active social life, which didn’t help very much either. But all ended well, so I can go back to selfish sewing and some show & tell for you soon!
Earlier this year, my mother-in-law was complaining that she can’t find a suitable cover-up for a wedding she was going to in July, which fitted her and also worked with the dress she was wearing. So in jumps the dutiful daughter-in-law with a sewing machine and I offered to make her a bolero jacket to match her dress. I love helping people with my sewing skills and seeing them happy with the final result makes me all warm and fuzzy, but I always forget how much I actually dislike the process of getting time to fit and the stress of making things absolutely perfect. Every time I say I’m never going to do any unselfish sewing again, and then I succumb repeatedly! Nothing doing, I did offer, so now I had to deliver!
I have this weird thing that the longer I have to complete a project, the more I procrastinate and the more chances there are of a frantic last moment finish. I refer you to the wedding dress madness last year, where I was sewing pretty much 24/7 3 weeks before the wedding, though it took 2 years from when we got engaged to when we got married. And of course this is exactly what happened here. Sandy, my MIL, got this lovely raw silk fabric in Cambodia at the end of last year, and it’s been sat in one of my fabric cupboard for ages. Then I March, I decided to get in gear and started looking for a pattern. We did a first toile in April and then a second one in June. The wedding was yesterday, so of course I thought that from end of June to end of July I had plenty of time. But then I went on holidays and had a bunch of other travel and social engagement, and before I knew it, I only had a few weeks to go and still at toile stage…
So, time to get my behind into gear! From making the toile, I knew the pattern was pretty easy to put together. It’s a bolero type cropped jacket, with princess seams, a shawl collar and long sleeves (view A).
However, I really wanted a lined jacket (self fabric was quite see-through) and this one didn’t have lining. So I decided to learn how to draft and add a lining to an unlined pattern. I had been planning to make a lined jacket for ages, but never got around my procrastination to choose a pattern and do it. So there you go now, motivation!
I turned to Sara Alm again, via Craftsy. Her third course in the Mastering Construction series is about facings and linings and among a lot of other very useful info, she covers fully lined jackets.
There were two things I needed to sort out here: drafting the lining and sewing it. Normally, for a hanging lining, i.e. that is not attached to the hem of the self fabric, you just cut out the self pattern in lining fabric. However, for the bagged lining, all pieces need to have horizontal ease added in, which will allow for the body movements. You also need to add vertical ease to the back, so you can move the arms. So that means that all pieces need to be copied out with all these alterations made.
These are the back pieces for comparison (white is lining, brown self fabric).
I used tracing paper I had in my stash for ages. I made a 1” tuck in the width of the sheet and copied the pattern over it. This way I had built in the horizontal ease into the lining pattern. For the vertical ease, I just added 1” to centre back.
As the pattern has facings, I had to deduct the back and front facings from the lining pattern, which I did for the back but only occurred to me to do it for the front when I sewed it all together and had some massive amounts of fabric not matching. Duh! So please make sure you do remember this step when copying the patterns. Also, very important, you must remember to add seam allowances (dependant on how the facings are meant to be finished in the original pattern). Mine had an edge finish, so I decided not to add seam allowances at all and just sew the facings to the lining at 1/4”. There were a lot of curves going on, so that saved me the trimming part as well.
The construction was not complicated at all. Only a bit tedious, because you pretty much have to do everything twice. I somehow managed to cut through the self fabric as I was cutting the lining (serves me right for not tidying up my sewing table). It took me longer to fix it than to sew the whole thing together in the first place. Initially, just thought I can sort it out by sticking some iron on interfacing on the back, the fabric was dark enough. But I wasn’t paying attention (it was around 11 PM by this time) and I ironed it on the right side, duh again!. So I just cut the entire thing off on both sides and sewed on another piece and called it a design feature. It was in the corner of the side seam, so not very visible anyway because of the sleeve. Disaster averted, whew!
One last note on the construction. When attaching the sleeves of the lining, there is no need to gather the sleeve cap, just make a few tucks to handle the fulness. Also, sew the 1″ added vertical ease at the top and bottom, from about 2″.
And now I got to the fun part of assembling the whole lot. Not sure how you do it, but Sara recommends to sew the facings first and understitch as far as you can, before sewing in the lining. Then start from the centre back and pin downwards, leaving the lining open at the bottom. Easy peasy, but of course I had to pick and unpick loads until I figured out why it wasn’t going in properly and then removed the facings real estate from the lining.
I also added facings to the lining, because I felt the lining horizontal ease was not enough and it was a bit taut inside the sleeve.
When joining the lining and bottom hems (or lining) Sara recommends to stick some interfacing on the hem and then bling stitch the hem to the main fabric at the distance of your seam allowance. I am really rubbish at blind hemming, so I skipped this step, but I can see the logic, especially in the sleeve. Before closing the bottom hem, she also recommends to sew two swing tags between the SA of the sleeve self and lining, to keep the lining in place.
Then I turn the whole thing inside out through the opening in the sleeve and slipstitch it closed. And all done!!
I had a bit of a panic when I tried it on, as it was a tad tight and the sleeves a bit short, but it turns out that it was just me, as it fitted Sandy very well. Whew!
Here are the details:
Fabric: raw silk 2m at 80 cm wide (bought from Cambodia), cupro lining from Calico Laine, 1m; woven medium weight fusible interfacing, 0.5m (you won’t use all of it, but the collars are long pieces and you will need the length).
Pattern: New Look 6080, view A, size 8
Modifications: added lining
Verdict: The pattern was perfect for what I had in mind, the ‘customer’ loved it and it was easy to sew. I could have made life easier for myself and paid more attention, but it was a great one for learning to put in the lining. I probably won’t make one of these for myself, but glad Sandy loved it and she said she would get loads of wears out of it for other events, so win/win overall!
Now back to selfish sewing, I have a list as long as my arm to finish before the summer ends!
Thanks for reading and have a great week!