Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Anise Jacket in wool tweed

With the chill of Fall settling on the Bay Area, a new jacket was definitely in order.  With the classic double-breasted Anise pattern by Colette in mind, I selected this incredible Rose Madder and Plum Tweed Wool  fabric from Britex Fabrics.  I loved the striking color and texture of the fabric and it seemed both modern and classic at the same time. 
When I received the fabric I was a little intimidated! It’s absolutely gorgeous and unlike anything I’ve worked with before. My first concern was treating fabric that will eventually be dry-cleaned.  After some research, I opted to put the fabric in the dryer with a straight-from-the-washing-machine damp towel to steam-treat it before sewing.  After drying, the fabric seemed slightly loftier, but otherwise appeared unaffected by the treatment—perfect!
With the thick wool fibers woven into this herringbone tweed, unraveling was a very serious concern.  For each piece of the pattern, I underlined with muslin (as per the instructions) and then serged around the edges.  Not only did this keep the edges from unraveling, but gave the fabric more structure.  Even though none of the edges need to be finished (since the jacket is fully lined), it makes me happy to know that even the unseen bits are done right!
Initially when started the task of sewing a double row of bound buttonholes for the front panel, I was stumped; the texture of the textile is such that it’s nearly impossible to mark the fabric for the button placement.  But when I flipped it over, I realized that the underlining of muslin could be marked to my heart’s content.  Then, instead of marking each buttonhole according to the placement on the tissue pattern, I drew a grid on the muslin with the widths and depths exactly as needed for the buttonholes.  Running lines of basting stitches ensured that I could see the buttonhole markings on both sides of the fabric and they would be spaced just right.
With the thickness of the fabric, the bound buttonholes were a little tricky, but luckily, this fabric rolled right into place, created a lovely bound buttonhole.  Despite how much I initially dreaded it, the bound buttonholes were actually sort of fun!

For the pattern, I made a muslin in a straight size 2 and didn’t have to make any changes.  Normally, I would do a petite adjustment in the torso, but since the jacket is quite cropped, I opted not to shorten it further and I’m glad I didn’t.  The jacket is just the right length.
For the lining, I used a wine-colored rayon/acetateblend.  This lining fabric is a bit heavier than regular Bemberg lining, and had a twill-ish sort of texture to it, which made it much easier to handle and sew.  I pinked the edges to avoid major unraveling and it sewed up quite easily. 
Since I didn’t want to do as much hand-sewing as the Anise instructions suggested, I chose to do a sort of “half-bag” method of lining installation.  To start with, I sewed the entire lining together (arms included) and sewed the lining to the jacket facing.  Then, using fellow blogger Jen’s ingenious bag lining method, I sewed the arm lining to the jacket fabric at the cuffs.  The jacket hem was hand stitched, and then the lining fabric was folded and hand stitched to the hem. 

Aren’t those gorgeous buttons?  As luck would have it, I was able to run up to Britex this past weekend to see their incredible button selection in person.  These beauties are deep-red colored patent leather—a bit of a splurge, but so worth it!  One of the super friendly staff members (sorry, I didn’t catch her name!) helped me with the selection and I think they are just perfect.

By the way, if you are seriously considering making the Anise Jacket, I would highly recommend buying the “Anise Companion”.  Even as a fairly experienced seamstress, I found many of the tips and tricks really helpful. 

This jacket was definitely one of the most challenging sewing projects I’ve ever tackled, but I don’t think I could be more pleased with the result.  The wool is lovely and pattern is timeless.  Thank you to Britex for another opportunity to work with their fabulous fabrics!   

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Patent leather buttons

No, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth--just busy with a new class and a big project for Britex! The absolutely drop-dead gorgeous patent leather buttons, above, have a little something to do with it :) With a professional development workshop at SFSU on Saturday at 11, was waiting at the door of Britex before it opened at 10 a.m. and raced up to the 3rd floor.  A super kind and helpful employee (didn't catch her name, but she had beautiful pink hair!) helped me pick out this selection and I was out of the store by 10:13, arriving at the classroom with 5 minutes to spare--very exciting!

My garment for Britex is finished and I'll post about it around the 1st of November.  Any guesses as to what it is? :)