Friends, sewing a linen blazer isn't hard.
The problem, however, is that you're usually not sewing. You're cutting pockets, or sizing shoulder pads, or creating sleeve heads, or measuring undercollars, or evaluating fit... You get the idea. The to-do list for a blazer is a long one and sewing is a rather small -- albeit critical -- part of the process.
There are two resources I'm finding extremely helpful, one a book, Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket (Creative Publishing International, 2005), and one a DVD, Jackets for Real People: Tailoring Made Easy! Featuring Marta Alto (Palmer/Pletsch Inc., 2006).
I love sewing books, but for very challenging projects with techniques that are new to me, nothing helps me as much as video. Jackets for Real People isn't intimidating; Marta Alto isn't trying to recreate authentic Neopolitan tailoring. She fuses interfacing, bags linings, and talks shortcuts. But she's extremely skilled and her projects look great. If I want alternatives, I can refer to my book, Tailoring: The Classic Guide, which outlines three methods of tailoring: the custom method, the machine method, and the fusible method.
This is too complicated a project to use only the original instructions or, for that matter, a tailoring book like Roberto Cabrera's Classic Tailoring Techniques, written for professionals. The Marta Alto video is an excellent fit for where I am right now and I appreciate her warm, reassuring presence.
The jacket looks good so far, but I haven't performed the "turn of the cloth" -- turning facings out to create lapels -- yet, or inserted my lining, or cut my (patch) pockets. I am not going to bag the lining: I don't have a working knowledge of the pattern yet, and in a mens jacket, the lining really has to fit snugly. Any inaccuracy is going to affect the drape of this very drapey linen fabric.
Want to see something interesting? Below is the back with only one shoulder pad (the left shoulder). BIG difference.
I may actually use a slightly larger shoulder pad for my right shoulder, which I tend to hold slightly lower than my left (a common problem; the shoulder in question depends on the person). Linen droops and needs a lot of support. (I don't have sleeve heads inserted in these pics either.)
I learned a fantastic new technique for easing in a sleeve using a strip of bias (approx. 1.5" wide; I used a strip of linen). You stretch the bias -- which extends over the top of the shoulder between front and back clip points -- as you stitch (at the 5/8" stitch line), and when you release it, your shoulder ease is created. You then insert the sleeve pinning directly on the stitch line and check the fit.
This is how the sleeve looks with just pins:
Then you stitch. You can see how the ease is created in the seam allowance:
The sleeve fits very nicely.
Readers, there is so much to share, and I hope to go into detail about other techniques I've used in the days ahead. For now, I think I'd like to get back to work.
Hope your projects are coming along well. Are you familiar with either of the tailoring resources I mention above? Any others you like and/or recommend?
Have a great day, everybody!
|Get that dog off my fabric!|