Sunday, April 21, 2013

A cord jacket for my SO

Doesn't he look smashing? Like so many of my projects, this one has been a long time in the making. I think the SO started asking me for a cord jacket back when we first moved in together, and I bought the fabric (for a song!) in Ithaca at SewGreen. When we went to visit the SO's parents last summer I found the perfect pattern for the jacket in a set of Burdas that were gifted me by one of my mother-in-law's friends (a retired seamstress), and I think I first started tracing and muslining the pattern sometime in July or August.

Fitting the jacket was actually quite easy -- I don't know if that's because menswear is easier to fit in general since it has fewer curves to accommodate, or if it's just easier to do fitting on someone else. I lengthened the sleeves quite substantially (more than two inches, I think), which is not surprising considering that the SO often has problems with arm length in clothes. I also took a tuck out of the back at the shoulder seam, essentially increasing the slope of the shoulder line but on the back piece only and not the front. Don't ask me why this worked, it seems bizarre to me. But I guess the advantage of doing pin fitting is that you don't really have to know the whys and hows of pattern alternation, you just take out extra fabric where you see it. I also nipped the jacket in at the back waist a bit along the two seam lines.

Actually constructing the jacket was in.credibly. time consuming. This was partially my fault, because I did all of the tailoring by hand -- many many hours of padstitching went into that collar (much of which I did somewhat passive aggressively while sitting with the SO on the couch, so that he could see exactly how much hand work I was putting in). The SO wears his clothes forever, though, so I figured it was worth it so that I wouldn't be looking at a floppy collar five years from now and feeling annoyed that I hadn't built it to last. The other time consuming aspect was working with the cord fabric. You have to take the directionality of the fabric into account (more than one piece had to be cut a second time when I realized I'd cut the piece with the nap in the wrong direction), you have to press it carefully to avoid flattening the cord, and the nap also meant that the pieces sometimes had a mind of their own when I was sewing them right sides together. It took me until about November to assemble the main body of the jacket and padstitch the collar, and then it was put aside for a bit while I worked on some Christmas presents.

I slowly picked away at it during the winter, in between other projects, and by the end of March I was able to put the finishing touches on it right before we went away for a trip over Easter weekend.

The buttons for the jacket were rather pricey, partially because I bought them at the lovely but not at all cheap Britex Fabrics, and partially because there was no way I was putting cheap plasticky buttons on this jacket after all the work I'd put into it. Many of the non-plastic button options that matched this green/brown/grey tones of the jacket were made of horn or bone, which seemed wrong for a jacket made for a vegan, so I opted for these buttons made out of a beautiful dark tropical wood.

I actually bought two lining fabrics for this jacket -- the first was a solid color that just seemed too boring, so I searched a bit more and came up with this floral paisley fabric. Much better! I also added an inside pocket to the jacket lining, which I was sorely tempted to skip because I was getting sick of working on the jacket by that point. The SO says that the extra pocket is quite useful, though, so I'm glad that went to the trouble of adding it. I drafted the lining with an ease pleat in the back, but I didn't add any vertical ease to the lining and I think that this was a mistake. Next time I'd but a bit of ease in at the jacket and sleeve hems to make sure the lining doesn't cause any strange bunching.

So there you have it! One very longstanding project done. Gives me hope that I might one day finish the processor quilt! A final fun fact about these pictures is that I actually gave the SO the hair cut that he's sporting in the finished project photos here -- he hasn't had his hair cut since probably sometime in 2012, and so I started threatening that I'd cut it myself if he didn't go to the barber. This bluff completely backfired when he came home the other day with a hair clipper kit from Costco. I was afraid that this home hair cutting experiment was going to end up an utter disaster, but to my surprise it's not terrible. Looks like I'm now tailor and barber for my SO!

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