Sunday, May 1, 2011

Skirt and Jacket Progress

The skirt is from Kwik Sew 2956, an old favourite in my pattern stash, for a 6-fore skirt that is miles too long for me. I had previously folded out 2" on this pattern, and took another 1" out, but it is still long. I am probably going to chop off 3" from the bottom (skirts are definitely shorter these days than in previous years) but I will wait until the jacket is finished so that I can check the skirt length with the jacket that I will wear with it most often. The fabric is a linen/rayon blend that washes well. It is still a little stiff but I know it will soften with wear and washing and will become a favourite skirt.

The jacket is Simplicity 2227, a pattern that caught my eye when I fell for the 5 Simplicity patterns for $5 a couple of weeks ago at Fabricville. The fabric is a tencel denim from the stash. I have made a skirt from this fabric before, as well as capris, and it is a beautiful fabric to work with and to wear. Not all tencels are equal; this one is great.

The only alteration I made to the pattern was to use Sandra Betzina's method for reducing shoulder width. She advises tracing off the original shoulder and armscye, then placing it on top of the pattern, bringing the end of the shoulder line to where you want it to be, and lining up the side seams of the two patterns. This brings the bottom of the armhole up, but keeps the armhole the exact same size so that the sleeve is not affected. I find dropped shoulders look really sloppy on me and this should correct that issue.

I don't tend to use a lot of sewing gadgets, but this one by the Clover company has certainly proved invaluable. It is a corner presser, and it really helps to get nice rounded corners on pockets, flaps, collars, etc. You place the correct shape on your piece and then wrap the seam allowances over, holding them in place with the little corner gripper. Then press the heck out of them. After pressing, you can trim the seam allowances down and press again. This sure saves your fingers from the steam.

The last thing I want to share is a tip I got from Jan Bones, a sewing instructor I met probably a dozen years ago in Toronto. Her website is Sewing Lingerie and Jan is an instructor, pattern maker, and lingerie expert. She had a little booklet called Pockets that was available in the lecture I attended at the Toronto Needlework Show.
She had a great tip for sewing patch pockets on garments and getting the positioning correct. Pin one pocket in place and check that it is correct. Then place the second pocket on top of the first pocket, right sides together, then place the garment piece for the second pocket on top of the pocket, and pin through that piece and the pocket. Then lift the garment piece off, and the second pocket should be in the identical place on this piece as the first pocket is on the other side. Sometimes, I have measured, double checked with the pattern and still something looks off. This method is a further check to be sure that your patch pockets will be symmetrical.

This jacket is very simple to sew, and the pockets and flaps are probably the hardest bit. So it should be fairly quick sewing from here on, and I hope to have this outfit ready to take with me when we go to Maine and then on to Ontario for the grandchilden's First Communion on May 15.


  1. Great work so far on this outfit. I like how you put the pattern into the skirt and the plain for the jacket.
    Great tip for pockets -- similar to the one I use for embroidery. Will be using this tip when I need to do pockets. One thing Ron Collins told us was to use Steam A Seam to hold the pockets in place while top stitching.

  2. Ron is such a perfectionist, his advice is always worth following. His attention to details like hems, pockets, corners is beautiful.

  3. Referring to your previous post, Hannah's dress is a dream.