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Oct 22, 2014

Digging Out the Faux Python



When I first started sewing five years ago, I used to shop at two bargain-basement fabric stores on 35th St.  One is gone for good and the other seems to have changed hands: I haven't been by in a long time.

Both stores would get bolt ends of some terrific fabrics and they rarely charged more than a few dollars per yard for them.  This is where I found the fabric for this suit, among other early projects.

I also found four yards of python print vinyl, which has been sitting in my sewing stash ever since.  Well, I've decided to use some of it for my 1930's jacket muslin, which, I am hoping, will turn out to be wearable.  The fabric is backed with a black synthetic knit.



To line the jacket (which may turn out to be a fully reversible if I can figure out the correct sewing sequence) I'll be using some of that cotton Ralph Lauren floral bedding I found at the Salvation Army last year -- or was it the year before that?



I have never worked with vinyl before.  I sewed some samples and realized immediately that I was going to have to address the sticky nature of the vinyl.  It would not feed smoothly under my presser foot.  I knew I could purchase a teflon foot, but the foot might take a week to arrive.  So I dug around the internet and found a great tip: just stick a piece of Scotch tape onto the underside of the foot.  It worked like a charm!





As of today, I have most of my pieces cut and I've started putting the major components together.





In a certain light, the vinyl looks very plasticky, but overall I'd say this is good quality for what it is.  It has a lovely texture too -- like real scales.





I bought a black separating zipper today at Sil Thread, but the machine they use to shorten zippers was out of order, so they gave me some zipper stops I could add, with pliers, where I need them.  (I'll have to figure out how to do that.)  Otherwise, I can simply fold the extra zipper length into the body of the garment and, once the seam is stitched, trim the extra off, if that makes sense.  I did this with my blue parka and you'd be none the wiser looking at it.

Actually, if I want the jacket to be reversible, I'll need different zipper pulls too.   Maybe I won't make it reversible!





Meanwhile, MPB reader Gail generously sent me a yard of poly knit ribbing she uses at work.  I'll cut this for my cuffs, collar, and waistband.  It's very sturdy stuff!







And that's it! I'm looking forward to seeing how this turns out; please cross your fingers.

Have a great day, everybody!

21 comments:

  1. It looks great. If you do make it reversible you do need a different zipper. I am not sure if it is only the pulls that are different.

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  2. Looks like it will be a fun jacket to wear. I look forward to seeing the end result.

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  3. Can't wait to see the jacket finished! Awesome fabric!!!

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  4. I gotta say it - that faux snake skin is creeping me out!

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  5. Love the material! Should look great as a jacket. The lining makes a great contrast, if you wore the jacket unzipped the combination would be striking.

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  6. As I mentioned yesterday, if you're interested in making a reversible jacket, this is the style for it. However, I wouldn't recommend it with this choice of fabric. Do you really want to wear plastic against your skin?

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  7. Hi Peter -

    You and I are the same size and I was wondering if the sleeve length of that pattern was okay, or did you have to add to it?

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  8. oh, Peter. i've got my fingers AND toes crossed for this one!!!

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  9. Stylin'! If you are planning on wearing it, find a ventilation point at the armpit (simple seam gap would do it). You may be making yourself the jacket version of the reducing belt. Vinyl is unforgiving.

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    1. I agree, Vinyl is really uncomfortable to wear, especially as a jacket. It's like wearing a sauna suit when closed up, it never regulates your body temperature very well. Either too hot and sweating, or cold and freezing.

      Vinyl cuts out on tights/skinny pants have show up in for example, Joe Fresh collections, in lieu of using real leather (due cost of materials etc)

      You could also do what some jackets have done for a ventilation point, small grommets just bellow the armpit or just wear the jacket open and never done up.

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  10. Peter, I have question about your kenmore sewing machine that you use alot. Is the needle position for a st8 stitch position in the center of the zigzag slot or is it to the left? I use a Kenmore 1803 which I love, but when the zigzag foot is on, the needle position is to the left, which kind of drives me crazy. I like it with the st8 stitch foot on it, since it looks normal.

    I would love to know what machines you use for what task/project.

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    1. The Kenmore I recently sold, which had belonged to Michael's mother, had that left needle position thing. Hard for me to get used to. Right now I'm using both my Kenmore 158.141 and my Singer 15-91 for the vinyl project.

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    2. Thanks, so your kenmore has the center needle position .. I have 2 15-91s i use for heavy duty work and i upgraded a 15-90 with a 1.5 amp motor .. at high speed it shakes the table but will punch thru anything i throw at it and keep doing it .. i am using them for a leather jacket with lining and interlining in polar fleece ...

      my kenmore .. i just hate the left needle position but love the machine the 201 gets used for garment construction and i think it could handle a servo motor .. it just sings at high speeds it take time to get know the ins and outs of a machine .. what it can do and not do

      good luck with you vinyl jacket .. its a tough wear ... and i hope you can wear it without being too too hot

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  11. A couple of my husband's silk shirts have an interesting feature that you might want to consider. They are summer shirts and they all have embroidered eyelets in the underarm area for ventilation.

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  12. When I saw your first post of the floral pr int I found some Thai silk fabric that is much the same design. I made the husband a bomber jacket from the fabric. The pocket configuration prevents it from being reversible, but he gets rave reviews when he wears it. I eagerly await your jacket!

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  13. When we shorten zips at work we fuse some of the teeth together with a soldering iron. Works every time.

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  14. I don't like any animal print fabric and especially not snake skin. However, I am looking forward to the end of the project before I judge and will take my bias out when looking at it.

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  15. Let me add to my comment about eyelets. I would use the metal type on vinyl.

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  16. I am working on my raincoat and the fabric doesn't ease either. I lowered the armscye too to get rid of the ease. I have to lower my armscye anyway and didn't compensate for that in the sleeve. Hopefully it will work. I have made patch pockets in leather and I think that it is easier to work with than the faux leather you are working with.

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