Friday, December 13, 2013

Country Dressing, New England style

Now that I'm back from the Nashville ASDP conference, I want to post an update on the brocade and leather jacket. Finished in time to take to conference, and submitted to the members' fashion show for the board "Oh Sew Country" presentation that was requested
by our VP of Conference, Helen Haughey. (as if board members have extra time to make an additional outfit??)

Chanel-style cardigan jacket, poly-blend brocade with leather trim

I used Vogue 7975, a pattern I've sewn for clients before but never for myself. Changes made: the pockets have been turned sideways, to put the leather trim vertically - I don't need the horizontal line on my hips! The facings are basted flat to the jacket, wrong sides together, then trimmed down a scant 1/4 inch. Why? The jacket has 5/8" seam allowances on the front and neck, with no closure. I left the brocade untrimmed under the leather, and wanted to eliminate the extra seam allowance. With the turn of the cloth, my front edges could overlap at center front, and the neck is comfortable, essentially trimmed to where it would be if the facing had been applied in the normal fashion.

The leather trim was cut to 7/8" finished size and applied to the full seam allowance of both layers around the neck and down the fronts without additional interfacing. I stitched the leather with 1/4" seam allowance, using my walking foot, and guided the cut edge of the jacket at my machine's 7/8" mark. From my test samples, I'd determined that 1" was too wide, 3/4" too narrow, and I didn't want three layers of leather on the edge.

I put the binding on in three pieces: each front and the neck, and  mitered the corners as I went. This took some trial and error - pulling out my trusty Readers Digest Complete Sewing Guide to study binding techniques. My binding didn't fit any of the categories in the book - because I wasn't sewing with the edges even, I couldn't fold and stitch the miter easily. Because the application was closest, I ended up using the same technique to create the miter that would be used to apply a folded binding that's being sewn on with one step, adapted for my two-step application:

Starting at the hem edge on the left front edge:
1. Stitched the first edge, wrong sides together, up to a few inches from the corner.
2. Wrapped the leather as it would be when the binding was complete, leaving enough to create the miter, and smoothed it down the next side past the corner, turning the binding under where it would be sewn to the neck edge, curving the leather to follow the neck edge:jacket front edge.
3. After marking the inner corner with a pin, I continued stitching that first edge down starting a few inches away from the corner and sewed as far as the center back. The corner itself was left loose.
4. I repeated the steps, going from the center back neck to the corner at the top of the right side front, leaving the corner loose with enough play to create the miter. Finished sewing the first edge down the right front to the hem.
5. Going back to the corners, I wrapped the binding and determined the outside point and the inner corner on the facing side, then sewed the miter seam in a V, clipping where needed to allow the miter to lie flat.
6. After finishing the hem edges of the front bindings, the leather was wrapped to the inside, and stitched in the ditch from the right side.

Following the curve of the neck, stitching in the ditch. I really used my walking foot - but took the photos with the regular foot so it's easier to see what I was doing.

Approaching the corner before coming down the last front edge.

Here I am on the runway! That's my fellow New Englander, Rachel, at the left in her "Vermont leaves" country outfit
I kept it simple, wearing the jeans I'd made a few months back, and new pant boots that look a little like cowboy boots. My friend Donna wouldn't let me buy the real thing - not even while in Nashville, where the boot stores had such a deal: buy 1 pair, get 2 pair free? She's way too practical - insisting I'd never wear them again....

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