Thursday, February 1, 2018

Simplicity 1540 Ruffled Collar Jacket

This is my second project using Simplicity 1540 and this time I sewed view C which features a ruffled collar.

This wonderful sweatshirt knit fabric was purchased two years ago from Emma One Sock. It has a knit side on the outside and a soft fleece on the wrong side. Since it did not ravel, I knew it would work and I loved the idea of the white fleece providing a contrast from the wrong side. 

And because the fabric was quite thick, I thought a lapped seam construction was best. I loved how it turned out because it mimicked the look of a sherpa fleece jacket. I'm sure there are many tutorials on how to do lapped seam but I love this tutorial by Kathryn Brenne. I have tried it before when I sewed with scuba knit and I adapted the method to handle all the seams on this jacket, including the facings and front openings. I did used some shortcuts to facilitate the process. 

Lapped Seams

Instead of marking my 5/8" seam guidelines with marker, I just machine basted them. I found it faster because there was already a seam guide on the sewing machine.

Below are pictures showing the succeeding steps in the lapped seam construction:

Trimming the seam allowance from the overlapping seam.

Pinning the overlapping seam to the underlying seam. For straightforward seams, I did away with handbasting. 

Edgestitching and topstitching on the overlapping layers. When securing thread ends I had to take note of the 5/8" mark where the overlapping seam will be trimmed.
Excess fabric trimmed from the wrong side.

Closeup of the lapped seam in the right front area and armhole. 

Lapped seam used on the sleeve and sleeve band.


To finish the front openings, I bound the edges with one inch strips of self-fabric and topstitched. 

For the bottom hem, I just turned the hem allowance in and topstitched. 

For the snap closures, I disregarded the marked locations from the pattern and adjusted to fit. 
I sewed on a label to the back neck facing to secure the facing to the jacket. I also tacked the facing along the shoulder seams.

I love how my jacket feels! It is super soft and cozy. It has a lot of ease so I can easily wear a medium weight sweater underneath. 

I usually prefer lined jackets but this was one instance when a lining would not have been a good idea because it would have covered that soft warm fleece.

Back view.

And my favorite part, the ruffled collar!

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Vogue 1571--Anne Klein Jacket in Yellow Boiled Wool

I was so happy with my most recent sewing experience with boiled wool that I decided to make another one, this time using a designer pattern from Vogue.

This pattern by Anne Klein was part of the Vogue Winter/Holiday release 2017.  The description on the pattern envelope and website doesn't say much about the jacket except that it is very loose-fitting with back yoke extending into sleeves. It would be useful to know that this jacket:

*has no collar, no closure, no lining
*has a pair of inseam pockets 
*has bracelet length sleeves
*has gusseted sides

I posted a complete review of the pattern at the Pattern Review website so what I am posting here are more close up pictures of the finished jacket and its innards. 

I used the same fabric from last project but this time in a different color called honey yellow.

For the Hong Kong finished seams, I made my own bias binding from a lightweight woven cotton. 

To make it easier to sew the binding in the ditch I used the blind hem presser foot.

For a great tutorial on Hong Kong finished seams including how to make your own continuous bias binding, check out this Itch to Stitch tutorial. 

 Front sleeves are set a few inches below the shoulders.

No real back armhole seam.

Gusset that is an extended piece from the sleeve connects the front and back pieces.

That center back seam and yoke are actually extensions from the sleeves proper. 

Side view showing how the sleeves form the back yoke and side gusset. 

 View of the inside showing the Hong Kong finished seams.

 I love how the insides look smooth and clean even without lining. 

As mentioned in my review, there were a few things about the instructions that bothered me. However, I still love this pattern because of the clever design lines and can't wait to tackle it again. This jacket in boiled wool from Mood Fabrics is perfect for the warmer winter days when it is not  subfreezing! Because it is loose-fitting, it is also great for layering over a thick sweater. 

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sewing with Boiled Wool -- Simplicity 1540

Last month, my husband ticked off the one and only thing on my Christmas wishlist--a woven leather bag in the most gorgeous dusty rose shade. It inspired me to sew a matching coat or jacket so I browsed online for the perfect fabric match.

I found the perfect match in this solid boiled wool from Mood Fabrics. It is a blend of 60% viscose/40% wool in Deauville Mauve. 

I searched for coat/jacket patterns that had boiled wool as part of the recommended fabrics and settled for Simplicity 1540.

I was attracted to the unique collar options. I thought to myself since winter usually finds me wearing my outerwear most of the time, why not create a stylish winter wardrobe?

 I made view D which features an oversized pleated collar. 

Since I already posted a review of the pattern here at the Pattern Review website, this blog post will be about the challenges I faced sewing with boiled wool and how I tackled them.


   Dry cleaning or hand washing were the recommended method of cleaning the fabric as noted on the Mood website.  I have pretreated wool fabrics before by using steam or the dryer but opted not to pretreat this time as I was planning to have the finished garment dry cleaned. 

Pattern Layout

 My fabric had some nubby texture and a barely discernible nap. There was a definite right and wrong side. I marked the wrong side and the direction of the nap to make sure all pattern pieces were laid out correctly. 

Sewing tools

   *polyester thread
   *universal size 70 needle
   *longer stitch length (3) on Juki F600 and even longer for topstitching
   *walking foot

Tackling Fabric Thickness

   The resulting seams created by sewing this medium weight fabric were quite thick. I could not use hot iron to press them open because I did not want to distort the fabric or flatten the nubby texture so I had to rely on finger pressing assisted by my handy dandy pressing tool. 

To make sure the seams remained open after pressing, I topstitched the seams down. 

View of the topstitching from the wrong side. 

 I trimmed down the seams after topstitching. 

  The pattern I used involved a lot of pleating and darts on the oversized collar. To help lessen the bulk, I sliced the darts open to be able to press them open. 

View of the darts on the wrong side of the collar. 

I also used Clover clips instead of pins to hold the layers together prior to sewing. 

   To work around the bulk when sewing the pockets down, I just trimmed off the allowance around the pocket edges and did away with folding in as the fabric did not ravel. 

Stabilizing seams

   As when sewing knits, I stabilized certain areas of the jacket with seam binding. The fabric had a minimal amount of stretch and it wouldn't hurt to be proactive. 

Seam binding along the shoulder seams.

Along back waist seam. 

Sewing Process

I discovered while sewing through the thick texture wool that some of the fibers tended to snag on my walking foot. Strangely enough, it only happened to the left side of the walking foot. This was easily solved by putting a piece of tissue paper over the fabric while sewing. 

And as with quilting thick fabrics, I reduced the pressure on my presser foot by one notch. 


Going by the information provided in "Fabric Sewing Guide" by Claire Shaeffer, I skipped the application of interfacing on the front facing because my fabric was already thick and had enough structure. 

After all is said and done, I would say sewing with a fabric that did not ravel was quite enjoyable. I was tempted to add a lining to the pattern just because I was accustomed to a lined outerwear but decided to embrace the design intended for a nonraveling fabric. 

Jacket Closure

One last thing I'd like to share is the button treatment. The jacket only needed a simple closure in the form of snaps but I am not a fan of snaps. To dress it up a bit, I applied a couture technique to the snaps and wrapped it in a silk fabric in the same shade as the coat. It was easy to make, pretty much like making a  fabric yoyo. 

Here are more pictures of the finished jacket.