There's a new luscious leather jacket ready to hang in The Sewing Lawyer's closet! Just in time for crisp spring days and for an early April long weekend in Chicago. Where no doubt there will be intense scrutiny of the wardrobe, inside and out, since the itinerary includes real time with Liana and Ann among other prestigious and prodigious creators of beautiful sewn things, including the entire membership of the Haute Couture Club of Chicago (or so much of it as attends the annual fashion show and luncheon on April 10. Phew! I've got to get back to it!
But not before leaving you with some photos. Sadly (for now) none of them actually include the jacket being worn. It needs (a) coordinating objects and (b) a model who's having a better hair day. I promise more later.
again) the invisible zipper pockets set into the side front seam. Below right is a close up showing that the lapels are indeed symmetrical and the topstitching worked pretty well.
As instructed by Kathryn Brenne, I laboriously paid attention when topstitching to the fact that the upper thread should always be on the public side, and the bobbin thread side is always hidden. This meant stopping and starting again (by inserting the needle in the hole left by the last stitch before stopping, if you please, and pulling the thread tails to the inside for knotting) at four separate points, since the facing side is outermost for the lapels but inner at the back neck. I'm pretty pleased that I placed the stopping/starting points quite well, just at the point where the leather is into the curve, so they are not visible. Because they are not perfect. (Let's hope that the ladies at the Haute Couture Club of Chicago won't be all over it looking for my boo-boos!)
One thing that is really great about this pattern (and let's not forget that there were lots of things that weren't) is the drafting at the collar/lapel. There is a perfect amount of extra length built into the under collar and front facing so that once you match the edges and sew them together (carefully stretching the other pieces to avoid any puckers) the lapel just does what it's supposed to. There is no guessing about where the roll should happen because it rolls automatically.
The upper back (and the fronts) are interfaced with a fusible weft insertion interfacing. The lower edges are pinked to avoid a show-through ridge. (But if you look hard, you may be able to see a show-through pinked line. Anyway, I could see it right after fusing. My lamb leather is truly thin, but lusciously soft.) The collar and facings are interfaced with a lighter but slightly crisper fusible knit. I did not have room in the jacket for shoulder pads, but inserted a single layer of synthetic batting just to cushion the shoulders and prevent bony shoulder show-through. I used the shoulder pieces from the jacket, and hand stitched the padding to the armscye and neck seams (using a glover's needle).
Oh - I should have said all body seams except the side seams, which were the last ones sewn and due to edgestitching, zipper pockets or other treatments the only ones still available for adjustment once I had the jacket sufficiently put together so I could try it on. It would have been slightly skin tight if they had been sewn as designed. I'm not sure what went wrong.
Let me correct that - a few things happened.
One. When Kathryn saw my muslin, which I thought was pretty good, she recommended that I reduce shoulder width (by something like .7cm or about 3/16") and take in the back seams even further. She pinned out the amount, and I faithfully transferred these further reductions to the tissue and then ... cut right into the leather. (There's something about being the student in a class taught by a trained professional that makes you just trust the said professional when she repeats, reassuringly, "It'll be fine". If I had been doing this at home I would have done some serious agonized thinking, and maybe sewn another muslin, before tackling the leather.)
Two. I sewed my muslins on my trusty treadle. I used a magnetic seam guide which I placed carefully to get exactly 1/2" seams. At Kathryn's I was using one of her Berninas, which have seam guide lines marked only in metric, I seem to recall. I sewed the seams using 1.3cm (the conversion on the pattern) which in actual fact is slightly bigger than 0.5"; 0.5118110236", to be exact. That extra .0118110236" works out to an extra 0.0236" (or so) on each of 7 seams, which isn't a whole lot but...