Sunday, December 8, 2013

Crystalline Potential

OK, here it is 5:30 and this day has been full. What have I done so far? Well, I made the Bolognese sauce (smells awesome!), did yoga, sewed my second Harper jacket and took some photos. Oh, and now I'm writing a post.

Let's just say there's a glass of wine with my name on it. And while we're at it, get yourself one, cuz I have lots to say - with pics!

Look, I like both jackets but I much prefer my second version. Partly this is because I made it using a seriously revised pattern that came from the alterations I determined while sewing the first. Partly, I really just don't love the blue double knit with this garment.

Before I start with all the photos, please keep in mind it's practically the darkest day of the year. My walls, visible in the background, are not beige, peeps, they're yellow. It's impossible to see colour with accuracy (at least not with my gizmos and interest level). So with that in mind, know you're not getting the best view.

I'll also say - which I realize raises the question: Well why don't you model it, Kristin? - that this kind of garment is all about how it looks on a real human being. If I didn't look like a chia pet, if I felt more energetic (posing is all about energy for me), then I would. But seriously, I'm not in a selfie phase.

Harper Jacket 1 (Blue Double Knit):


Keep in mind, my shoulders are narrower than the dress form's. Even though it appears to fit the form, the top is a better fit for me. Also, see how much volume there is at the centre front? It's inches more than required.

I don't love the raw edges everywhere. That's what the pattern calls for but in my second version, I cover stitched a half-inch hem at the waist and sleeves. It still fit just fine because, depending on fabric, this thing is still going on an inch too long by my proportions.  I feel that these might be the right dimensions for a woven version of the jacket.

The left shoulder seam has an eye for the hook on the right centre front.

I'm always reminded of the terrible posture of my dress form. And it's kind of lopsided, somehow. That's all I can see in this pic. There's still quite a bit of volume in the waist and centre back. I could definitely take an inch or two out over all the seams.

And here's how it is with the clip. I think I was supposed to use 2 clips?! Anyway, I didn't see the need. I always tuck the inside fabric into my bra, discreetly. It's entirely invisible and totally stable. I don't like it closed as much as open...

Harper Jacket 2 (Grey and Blue Striped Jersey):


Showing how it looks in 2 different lights...

I took 1.5 inches off each centre front and it improved things dramatically. Little frames don't need all that volume. I'd totally be able to close it, had I put in the hooks and eyes, but I didn't see the need. I can tuck one corner into the side of the bra at the front shoulder, should I so desire. I swear, it doesn't look weird because the open side falls over that area - but you have to wear an open neck top, natch, nothing higher than a low crewneck.

I also finished the seams (except on the centre front). I came up with a work around for the unfinished seam at the neck (don't want to fold under because that would affect the drape of the centre front and add bulk at an already bulky area. I just decoratively serged that section (the span from shoulder seam to shoulder seam at the neckline) and afterwards, top stitched the lower side of the seam around the back neck over the serged line (on the other/WS side of the fabric). Make sure the serged or raw or turned under edge is lower than pre-stitched neck seam. Then you'll be sure to cover the unsightly neck-meets-shoulder-seams unit. To make it look organic, I also stitched around the same side (back) of the shoulder seam. That adds to the stability of the garment which is especially relevant when made from a fabric having this little structure.

I used a lot of the fusible interfacing strips that Sunni at A Fashionable Stitch sells. That stuff is SO useful for everything and easy to apply. It's not the strongest knit interfacing but it seems to do the trick.

This Harper took me half the time of the other - and I had to seam match (which adds time). I'm starting to feel more comfortable with that process. It's not that hard. Just cut each piece separately from the RS of the fabric, starting with the RS of the pattern facing up. When you cut the second piece, use the first as a template, turned upside down, over a matched part of the fabric. Cut and you have 2 pieces, right side together, one on top of the other.

This fabric was slightly harder to control than the double knit but I found it easier to work with, somehow, perhaps because it's more manipulable. Can I just say how much I love this design with a stripe? Look at how pretty those bias stripes are. It was hard to match up the stripes because the fabric is limp. One side tended, inevitably, to stretch more than the other and, esp. with a serger (even going slowly) it's hard to attain perfection. Also, each piece is apt to be cut with slightly different tension which creates very small differences, all of which eventually add up.

A Final Word on the Pattern:

It's a stylish design, no question, but it's not unique in RTW. I actually think it was a bit clumsily designed. Unaltered, there's too much fabric everywhere. Unless you have a really broad back, I can't imagine you'd need it. Even then, size down. BTW, there's too much sleeve ease (which is stupid on a knit).

This pattern gave me a good starting point but I can tell you, the reason this will look chic on me is because I've made lots of changes and fit it to my body. I can see how someone could end up looking like she's wearing rags with all the extra ease, were she to use the wrong fabric.

I will definitely make it again. Sized for my proportions, it's quite flattering. Because I've got a narrow frame, small shoulders and small-ish arms, I don't look overly busty. I really don't recommend this fashion for women with broad backs or wide shoulders. Then, if you add to those things a large bust and short waist, the look can be boxy and unflattering. It's not for everyone (but then what is?).

So, whatcha think??

18 comments:

  1. both of these are beautiful! i love the blue, and i adore stripes in designs such as this because of how they fall visually. looks like a great success! thanks for the review of the pattern, i'm surprised that there was so much excess ease. then again, when *can* we ever get away with straight out of the envelope?

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    1. You know I love stripes - so what can beat nice, diagonal stripes on a sweater??

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  2. Love them both! And oy, I hear you on the light. And 2 of my 3 recent makes that need to get photographed are navy blue . . . But I do hope you will consider modeling these for us in the near future!

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    1. I will - I've just got to get through this phase where I have very little energy left after I do all the things that need to get done.

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  3. I love them both too -- especially because they can be clipped up! Great! I think the pictures turned out well. Congratulations! All I did this weekend was Christmas decor. .. I think both are fab.

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    1. Christmas decor is great (and time consuming). I'm so bah humbug this year (and traveling) so I'm not in the same boat.

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  4. In one weekend? Impressive! I love the striped version especially!

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  5. They both look great. And I agree with Gail: I want to see them on you, especially the striped one, all done up.

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    1. I'll wear it when next we get together!

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  6. I like them both. I hear you on taking out fabric from the fronts. I made a similar jacket (Simplicity 2603) earlier this year and took out 4", and there's still plenty of fabric left. Thank you for posting the picture of the pattern pieces - I will adjust my Simplicity front piece because I like the shaping on yours better.

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    1. Oh, just looked that one up and seriously, there is SO much extra front fabric on that pattern. And the tails are really long! Seriously, just adjust the proportions per the pattern pic I posted (wow, there's some aliteration!). I think it will suit you very well.

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  7. They look great. I wear jackets like that ALL the time. I'm often hot at work but you just never quite know the day it won't be hot and something like that is so easy to keep around. I love how it clips up. That is a really neat little detail. I sometimes push my sweaters like that when I'm doing up my coat so it's not hanging lower than the coat, but to add a little clip so it stays? Genius.

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    1. Thanks C! It is a neat detail but a bit fussy when the garment isn't done up. There's a weird little clip, just hanging out.

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  8. I love both of these jackets but the striped version really does show the fruits of your fitting labours. Gorgeous!

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    1. The striped version is really pleasing to wear. Next time (natch, it still needs refinement), I'll have to make the arms a bit less roomy.

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