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Mar 9, 2013

The Benefits of Slowing Down



Friends, are you fast?  Let me rephrase that: do you like to get things -- sewing projects in particular -- done in a hurry?

Partly because I have a lot of time to devote to sewing and partly because I am impatient by nature, once I get started on a project, I'm usually anxious to finish it.  When I'm on a roll, I can literally sew all day and (almost always regrettably) into the night.

But I'm trying to convince myself to slow down a bit.  Case in point: my jacket project.

Remember how I told you that Mood didn't want me discussing my work-in-progress before I posted the final results on their site?  Well I was wrong.  So remember this swatch, a Marc Jacobs poly silk taffeta with a soft-focus photographic daisy print?



Well I now own two yards.



The plan is to create a windbreaker-style jacket and matching shorts.  I know it's a bit over the top but I'm going for it.

The jacket came together in no time.  I had the perfect matching YKK separating zipper from Sil Thread (which they cut to order for $1 extra).  Total: $4. 



The details of attaching it are too tedious to go into (it took hours) but once it was in, I didn't like it.  It's going to be exposed, so it has to be really, really nice.  This zipper, while it matched perfectly, didn't feel substantial enough once it was in.  So I unpicked the whole thing and am going to upgrade to a better quality zipper.  I'll use this one for something else.

Because of the bold print, I've decided to go with a very simple jacket design.  Something like this, only in daisy-print poly silk taffeta.  And raglan sleeves.



I haven't decided on how I'll deal with pockets.  A patch pocket -- the original plan -- will interrupt the pattern.   I should do a single welt diagonal pocket, which will look cleaner.  I just don't like the idea of an exposed pocket bag in what will be an unlined jacket.  (I bought lining just in case, but it doesn't feel right in the jacket, which has a lot of body already.)  Also, the idea of cutting open the jacket front scares me.  It's taffeta, after all, albeit extremely sturdy taffeta (it also doesn't water spot).

Honk if you love daisy prints.

So I'm taking two steps back and allowing myself to take a break from this for a few days.  If I want, I can start on the shorts, which should be more straightforward.  Since the fabric is so unusual, decisions that seemed final are changing.  The biggest challenge is that this not end up looking like a rain jacket.  The sheen and stiffness of the fabric gives it that quality.  Lord knows what Marc Jacobs did with it.

My other challenge is that I am likely to use every last bit of yardage.  In the absolute worst case I could purchase more, I suppose.  I hope not to have to, so I don't want to mess up.

In closing, friends, do you ever have to talk yourself into slowing down for the good of a project -- when you're racing for no reason other than some combination of enthusiasm and impatience?  Does your project end up looking better as a result?

And how about zippers?  Do you splurge for the fancy ones (like Riri's) or are YKK's good enough?  Before now I never gave zipper quality a second thought.

I still have a week to get this done, which sounds like plenty of time.  Maybe I need to make some more vintage underwear...

Have a great day, everybody!

43 comments:

  1. I've never been sorry when I took more time on a project. Sometimes a cool solution comes to me when I am doing something else. Or a BETTER idea. Can't hurt

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  2. I sew during my daughter's nap time so it's very limiting time-wise. I find myself rushing sometimes and that always leads to disappointment. I am someone who wants a very clean finished look. All threads pulled to the inside and corners turned perfectly. Stepping back and slowing down is something I regularly have to do. :)

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    1. Oh, I feel you - my sewing time is nap time, too. I have become a much slower sewist.

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  3. Wow! ...from muscles to flower print taffeta, in a blink!
    Yes...I've slowed down in my sewing as I strive for better quality.

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  4. Slowing down does give you more time to think the problem through. In my sewing world, this usually results in a better solution :) Good luck!

    And zippers! I am stuck in the land of only Coat's and Clark as an option, so a YKK *would* be the high end for me :)

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  5. Of all things home dec sewing has really taught me to slow down. Home dec projects are on public display for a good long time, so I've come to the conclusion that it's worth it to use the best you can afford and sew well. I made some curtains out of this zigzag striped fabric which required me to match the pattern horizontally. It was not fun getting everything to line up properly, but I look at those curtains now and I'm proud of how professional those seams look and the length of the task is long forgotten.

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  6. I've been going too slow. We were in LA over the summer and I purchased some wool to make a jacket for my son at Mood LA. He wanted something since his sister and I were going nuts over silks. I've drug around all winter and have not made it. Now it is practically spring here. I am so intimidated. I've loved watching you go through all your muslins for your jackets. I've pre-shrunk the fabric today and plan on cutting it today. I am so scared of making a mess of my expensive, nice fabric.

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    1. Believe me, I had to steel myself before I could cut mine. But cut we must!

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  7. What Marc Jacobs did with the fabric:
    http://fromthefloor.nordstrom.com/.a/6a00e54ef9f4568833012877acce2f970c-500pi

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    1. Please don't add poufs to that jacket, Peter....

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    2. You didn't tell us that Cathy was modeling for Marc Jacobs. She looks cute in the longer hair extensions btw.
      As for the jacket, it will be perfect with jeans and a white beater. For after swimming when the day cools off. Good luck. I sew very slowly, because I usually make the pattern, then change each feature as I make it. Every step is open to interpretation before I complete it, and so consideration is key. Then I step away to let the disgust settle, then I come back and continue until the next design problem must be solved. Eventually I finish something that is good or even very good.

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  8. Sounds unanimous - slow is the way to go! As I have aged I have slowed down all my sewing projects, in fact I try really hard to never finish a project in one sitting any more! I like to break it down into toile time which typically takes 2-3days of pattern drafting and/or cutting and fitting; then its onto the real deal (my fashion fabric) and no matter how quick the project might be I always hand sew some part of because it helps to slow it down. When I get out of control obsessed with a project I try to remind myself to "focus on the journey and not the destination."

    As for zippers all my local stores only sell Birch zippers, they haven't let me down yet?

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  9. I splurge on Riri zippers. They are like jewelry and worth every penny. They also work better. I put a 2 way Riri in my leather jacket and it just works better.
    I am not a fast sewer, and if I am uncertain about how I want to do something I will work it out or even take a break to give it some time.

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  10. Slow is right...the minute I get tired I start making mistakes. I know I'm tired, not because of feeling tired or losing enthusiasm, but because I'm making mistakes.

    On the pocket, do you have enough fabric to make the design on a patch pocket match the design on the jacket? That should make an almost invisible patch pocket.

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  11. A slowpoke here. That fabric is fabulous. Your jacket is going to be great.

    I love what Marc Jacobs did it with that print too.

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    Replies
    1. What did he do with it? I would love to see. Post a link!!

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    2. It is posted up above by anonymous :).

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  12. Does the jacket have to have pockets? If you plan to wear it with jeans maybe you don't need them?

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  13. I like to go fast, but if I get frustrated I take a break. Because, I find, it's when I'm annoyed that I start ripping holes in things! However, details like welt pockets I always attempt sloooowly.

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  14. Now...I might be the other way. I'll take some time, but only to plan out exactly what I'll do before I get started. There's always room for a little deviation in the plan when things don't work out or you see a better solution while working, but I feel it's best to stick to the plan and get on with it. Perhaps just not in a single day.

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  15. I'd just like to add...anyone not comfortable and assured cutting out welted pockets (or pockers of any description) needs to spend 2-3 months making pockets and only pockets to sweep that obstacle out of the way.

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  16. Hi Peter - I am new to your blog and just love it! I am brand new to sewing and everything seems to take me forever. I only wish I could sew FASTER. It takes forever for me to understand and execute each instruction. I am usually left with my seam ripper repeating steps a few times before I am able to get it right!

    Great jacket!

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  17. I'm of the slow sewer camp
    . If I rush I make mistakes or just get sloppy.

    Zippers? I haven't needed to buy a particularly special one however, when I get to working on my Minoru jacket I'll put a lot of thought into it. BTW, I put a lot of thought into each aspect of my projects: interfacing, thread colour, buttons, etc.

    Peter, that is going to be a spectacular jacket, so just pick parts commensurate with the quality of the fabric.

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  18. I am slow, slow, slow. Usually muslins and a wearable test before I cut into the good stuff. But then the result is usually quite good. I am deliberative by nature, so that won't change. I am working toward deliberating faster.

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  19. I like to work slowly. :) When I was younger, I would rush through enthusiastically, hurrying to see the finished product. But that usually meant mistakes, and I would rarely wear the garment I had made. Now I like to enjoy every part of the process. Anyways, I love that fabric. Is there any way you could do a partial facing or lining that would cover the inside pocket bag?

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    1. There's already a partial facing but it's relatively narrow. I mean, if the pocket bag showed, it wouldn't be the end of the world, right? I've seen jackets like that.

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  20. I'm a very very slow sewer...part of that is because much of what i sew has hand embroidery and lace edging and inserts that don't allow speed. Whilst my projects are tiny (for babies) the amount of work is not relative to the size of the garment. Sometimes the entire garment is constructed by hand - fast flying needles don't make for teeny tiny French seams.

    I love the fabric...but i'm not sure about it on you...you and the jacket seem to blend together IMHO

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    1. Like you I do more hand-sewing than machining and even though it's time consuming (and thus slower) it always feels like I'm going pretty fast if I've finished e.g. attaching lapel facings and the facings of a trouser waistband in one day. Hand-sewing allows you to pace yourself, rather than necessarily going slow or fast. Don't you think?

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  21. If you have enough fabric too match the pockets, rendering them invisible, that would be awesome. A daisy print jacket with matching shorts- that's why I love you.

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  22. You could apply patch pockets to the inside with a welt opening (like a giant buttonhole)on the outside; this won't interrupt the design as much.

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  23. I'm glad to see that there are other slow sewers. I'm a baste -a-holic so everything takes twice as long. But I'm OK with it. Sharon Spurlock's comment got me thinking about Vogue 2736, A Pierre Cardin jacket. It has what I'd call a teardrop shaped patch pocket with a vertical double welt pocket inserted into it. You could match the patch to your jacket front, and the pocket bag would be sandwiched under it. Don't you love how we've come up with all this extra work for you?

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    1. I don't think I have enough fabric to match if I want to make the shorts. I'm thinking I'll do an standard diagonal double welt pocket with inside bag like you'd find on a windbreaker.

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  24. I think time is the best investment you can make in home sewing, I definitely belong to the slow sewing movement !

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  25. Why not put a gold metal zipper?

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  26. Midnight sewing; been there, done that...always seems so reasonable at the time, and so appalling in the morning. I, too, have to make myself slow down to get a better job done. As for zippers; like buttons, the best one can find/afford is usually worth the effort/money. LOVE Serge's gold metal suggestion: quite a chunky zipper to offset the delicate print?

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  27. My projects either languish, or are a completed in a sewing frenzy. I need to embrace the slow steady pacing.

    I say buy more fabric, and make the shorts. Consider these two pieces the MENsemble so many of us could be inspired by.

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  28. There are times when delays frustrate me--real life gets in the way, or something's not working. I usually find that the delay is beneficial--I come back to the project with new eyes and things work out.

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  29. My son's favorite jacket has a traditionally sized pocket bag behind a diagonal welt. However, the side of the pocket bag closer to his torso is much larger. It tacks to the back side of the zipper and to the am allowance at the sideseam. This keeps the tons of stuff in his pocket from stretching the jacket as much as would with a detached pocket bag. He also uses it as a spare hidden pocket.

    Beth

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  30. Ooooooooooh, tortoise !

    (And of course, as a devoted owner of tortoises, I endorse slow speed everything. Heck, if I could hibernate, I would).

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  31. Alex in CaliforniaMarch 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM

    I needed a separating zipper but did not like what was available at my local fabric store. I went to a thrift store and found an old, faded derby jacket and harvested a quality 22" metal separating zipper. $2.50

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