Slow Progress

Thank you, first off, for all the wonderful well wishes and prayers. I’m really touched and grateful! Now, on to sewing!

Yes, I have actually been working on the Chanel jacket. But as you probably guessed from my lack of posts, it’s been slower going than I had anticipated. There are two reasons for that. First is that I have been rushing about trying to catch up from losing two days (and then some) to general anesthesia and recovery. The second is that my energy level is just now getting back to where it normally is. I decided to get zen about it and not rush. It will be done before spring, which is when I need it.

So where am I? Seaming and catchstitching! I’ve been slowly getting the seams of the jacket sewn. This takes more time and care than usual because the lining is already attached, so I need to make sure I keep it out of the way. Also, before I start stitching the pieces together, I’ve been tying off all the quilting on the lining side. You’d be surprised how much time that adds. But it’s worth it. This baby is going to be, as Susan Khalje puts it, the world’s most luxurious cardigan.

Let’s talk a little about the process that goes into making this type of jacket. The first thing I did was to make a fitting muslin. Once I had perfected the fit of that, I ripped it apart and used the muslin pieces as the pattern for the final jacket. To do this, I removed all the seam allowances, and with Phyllis‘ help, thread traced the stitching lines. You can see one of the resulting pieces here.

Notice that the seam allowances are really, really wide. I will trim them down later (sooner in the armscye), but for now, they are at least an inch to two inches. I observed something really interesting in Susan’s class: a lot of folks had a really hard time wrapping their heads around the idea of wide seam allowances and seam allowances of varied widths. I think it’s because we’re taught from the moment we thread our first needle that seam allowance are 5/8″ wide, and we are warned never to stray from that by the sewing pattern companies. But in reality, the seam allowance means nothing. It’s the stitching line that is important. If you know where you will be putting the needle into the fabric, the seam allowance is just extra. You can make it as wide or as narrow as you like. Changing your focus from the cutting line to the stitching line gives you more leeway for lots of stuff. You can use a really ravely fabric (like I am here) without worrying about it unraveling into your stitching line. You can give yourself wiggle room for alterations down the line. Once you free yourself from the seam allowances a whole lot of possibilities open up to you. The important thing is to match the stitching lines:

Once you have sewn the pieces together you can go back and trim/finish the seam allowances the way you prefer.

That’s where it’s at today. I’ll work on it more this afternoon and hopefully have the shell sewn together by the end of the weekend. Hopefully…

Parting shot – Fuzzies
This fabric (a Linton tweed) tends to shed little pieces. My lint roller has been seeing a lot of use.

This isn’t the worst of it. After trimming one seam, both I and my ironing board were covered. Ah, the things we do for couture!

Happy sewing!

About Gorgeous Things

I own an online fabric store, Everything else you need to know about me is what I tell you on my blog, darlings!
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