The Peacock Chic Collection 2008: McCall’s M5478 Jacket

Ok, the wait is over!!! Courtesy of bad lighting and the magic of exposure control and photo manipulation, I present to you the longest jacket EVER 🙂

Fabric: Red Plaid Worsted Wool/Cashmere Blend from the Scottish People
Inspiration:
McCall’s M5478 Jacket, View BSemi-fitted, lined, bias jacket with above hip-length. Has collar and lapels, princess seams, mock flaps, center back pleat and shaped hem; View B has full length sleeves and back belt with button trim, also has sleeve vent with button trim
Modifications: Mainly Tailoring modification to make it a more professional looking jacket. Tailoring style interfacings were used – Wigan, French elastic – and tailoring techniques – hand basting, tailor tacking, pad stitching the collar. Also the undercollar was separated into two pieces and cut on the bias.  The sleeve length was shortened a bit.
Enjoyment Factor:
7 – Due to the exceptionally long period of time to make this jacket
Time: 6 months!

The Good:

  • The learning experience –  When I signed up for this class I thought “tailoring” was synonymous with “alterations”. These are two different animals. Tailoring is all about the high quality handwork and meticulous construction of a personalize well fitting garment. This class was truly a revelation and worth the hard work.
  • It fits!! Yes, I know, I know. But it always makes me happy when IT FITS!!
  • The drama – Man this jacket has some DRAAAAAMA. The collar is out of this world and the plaid makes it scream “Look at me! I am FABULOUS!” I love dramatic clothes so this fall right into the closet.
  • The praise –  After all this work it was great to walk in the fashion show and have so many people genuinely oooo and ahhh over it..

  • I got to share this moment with both my sewing teachers. The one in yellow is my current tailoring teacher, the one in the black and white was my beginning sewing teacher that told me about tailoring in the first place. They were both so proud. Made me feel like I was in high school again.

The Bad

  • 6 months!! I am a patient woman but 6 months is quite a while. There were times when I just thought I would give up the ghost or that it would just never be done but I persevered. The fashion show really gave me the kick in the butt to get this complete and with two days to spare it was deemed complete.

  • Matching those plaids was murder!  Single layer cutting all those pieces out too SSSOOOOO long.  But it was worth it when you see the chevrons along the back.  Mmmmmm….matchy matchy.

  • The notions on this thing nearly drove me to the poor house. Those “must have” buttons were $50.00 in total which was just as much as the fabric. I also have a local tailor but in the buttonhole for $10.00.  In the end, they were all worth it though because I really think they add a lot to the jacket.

The Ugly:

  • My front lining edge leaves much to be desired. I was told by my teacher to “just work it in” and by that time in the process I was willing to accept this answer. But my normal nature is a semi-meticulous one so had she not told me to do that I would have struggled and succeeded in making it much more perfect. Alas, I have come to my senses and will have to make that look better. Later…
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How Much Would A Jacket Like That Cost?

Wow!!! Thanks everybody for the wonderful compliments on my first Burda shirt. That post had the most comments at once EVER! I am very happy you like it and very happy I made it.

The next item set for completion is my Tailored Red Jacket by McCall’s. I am putting the lining and the finishing touches on it now. This will definitely be just in time for the May 3rd Fashion Show (read:similar to an Elementary School Open House rather than Project Runway) at my school. I will give a complete post after its debut.

In the meantime, as I finished stitching in the lining, the following conversation popped into my head complete with the Mastercard commercial to match.

Fashion Savvy Woman: “Wow that jacket looks great. I love it! Where did you get it? I HAVE to have one!”

Me: “I made it!”, I say with a smile of pride. “It is a Peacock Chic Original” (ok, I wouldn’t say the last part, but I did in my head).

Fashion Savvy Woman: “Really?! Could you make me one? How much would a jacket like that cost?”

(Enter the Mastercard music and me looking to the sky as I have a mental flashback to making this jacket. Which, in real time, is actually right now for me)

Red Plaid Fabric….$50.00

Hand Stitched Ambiance golden tan lining…$12.00

2 Professionally made keyhole buttonholes…$6.00

10 “perfectly matched, had to have” buttons for Jacket…$50.00

Knowing that you worked on this tailored jacket for 6 months hand stitching this puppy to death and this person probably thinks they can buy it in some store in downtown L.A. for a fraction of the cost. Then looking at them smugly knowing that they cannot get THIS jacket at any store and knowing that there is no way in hell you are planning on making another just for it to go under appreciated in a closet somewhere. Then turning your back on them and whipping your hair as you turn like an America’s Next Top Model winner and proclaiming to them as you walk away…

“Priceless!”

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**Please Note: Author of this blog is suffering from post traumatic craft disorder (PTCD) from aforementioned jacket. Symptoms of making a jacket for 6 months may include overactive imagination, excessive pride, lack of humility, irrational anger at non-sewing people, perceived poverty due to notions purchase, and excessive wearing of said garment. Beware!

Ahhh!!! I am on Fire!!!

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For project Spectrum that is!

Just when I had given up on participating in Project Spectrum for the Fire Theme (FEBRUARY / MARCH – orange, red, pink) , up pops my inspiration all around me.

McCall’s 5478 Jacket

Remember this?

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Ok…I do understand that one mention of a W.I.P does not constitute a truly memorable moment on your part, but this thing has been a part of my life for over 10 months now. Yes, 10!! It is not because I am a bad seamstress or that I put this away in some dusty corner, but rather it is because this is a Tailored Jacket (also known as hand stitching hell). In a 3 hour class on a good day, I might sew on the machine for 5 – 10 minutes and the rest is some hand stitching exercise. Don’t get me wrong, this jacket is the bomb and I will love it when it is finally done. In fact, my love reached new heights ever since I put in the sleeves last week which brought this from a shapeless mass to actually resembling a jacket…go figure.

I will give you some more pictures in a few days.

Red Tech

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My other contributions to the fire theme are my new ipod and cell phone. As much as I would like to say that Project Spectrum was my inspiration for these purchases, it was not. Instead my inspiration was the desire to save money because my old technology conked out on me. Let me explain…

The reason for my new ipod purchase was the full hydro immersion testing I conducted a few weeks ago also known as I forgot my nano was in my pocket and only found it after a full 35 minute wash cycle. The sad part was that I kept pressing the button for a full day before resigning myself to the fact that ipods are not water proof. Cheapest option for replacement was a refurbished red Ipod.

My new phone was also a result of technology once again failing me, this time however it was not my fault. My old phone finally just refused to charge anymore. Within 3 hours a full charge it would beep incessantly and die within 30 minutes of the warning. Cheapest option for replacement was a refurbished red phone.

Either way it was fortuitous that project spectrum would fall on my door step with only two more days to go. Guess it was just meant to be 🙂


Finished Object – Aprons Aplenty

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I have been a crafting machine over the past few weeks, and producing some pretty kick ass gifts if I may say so myself…which of course I do. Not only am I crafting for the upcoming Super Holiday of Christmas, but there are also some birthdays and baby showers sprinkled in there for good measure.

So for my friend’s birthday gift, she wanted some aprons to wear when she has a booth at craft fairs. She specifically requested a Christmas and a Spring season color apron set. So here are the details…

Springtime in Craft land Apron

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Fabric: Urban Chicks “Summer in the City” Fabric for the middle and birds on the edges, JoAnn’s fabric for front side panels
Inspiration:
McCall’s 3979 Vintage Aprons
Size:
X-Large (20-22)
Modifications: Added side seam pockets
Enjoyment Factor:
9 – love the construction details
Time: 3 days

This was definitely my piece de resistance in apron making. I have loved this pattern since I saw it made in black and white oil cloth material. I had yet to make it since, although I love aprons, I have very little use for them. So when my friend asked me for aprons I knew this one would be topping the list.

Good:

  • I absolutely love the unique design of this apron. It was so revealing to make. Every time another piece came together I would say to myself…”ta da!!”. I just love new construction techniques.
  • I like the color combo which was inspired by the bird print that my friend likes so much. This is definitely not a color combination that I am used to working with so it took quite a bit of mental massaging to keep going and know that it would look good when finished.

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  • There is a secret addition to this pattern that I made. I added in-seam pockets between the second and third panels of the apron! My friend specifically asked that the pattern be a full body apron and have pockets. So after racking my brain for a few days I thought “a ha”. Only thing is that I had never done an in-seam pocket, let alone made significant additions or changes to a sewn pattern. So when I actually pulled it off it was probably the biggest “TA DA!!!” moment of the sewing process.

Bad:

  • Figuring out the proper size. Yes, this apron pattern has sizes but no measurements to tell you how to determine which you are. Does it use modern sizing or vintage sizing as the name would imply. Either way I knew I would need the biggest size to err on the side of caution because both me and the recipient are quite boodyilicious.
  • The 1/4″ seams they asked for were to big and were not covered by the double-fold bias tape when it was applied. I even double checked the pattern to make sure it didn’t require Extra-wide double fold bias tape and it didn’t. So I sewed the seams at 1/8″ and the applied the bias tape and sewed over it again. Unless she is making all her craft sales in quarters and putting them in the pockets of her apron, I think the seams should be fine. Just need to make sure you sew at the VERY edge of the tape so that you capture the most fabric.
  • I did notice that one of the seams for the side ties had come loose so I repaired it and then reinforced the ties my sewing another line of stitching right outside the edge of the bias tape. I highly recommend this to add stability.

Ugly:

  • Sewn binding is an unforgiving mistress that points out every flaw you make along the way. It may actually be IMPOSSIBLE to sew this stuff straight. I tried people, I TRIED and still it looked a little drunken at the end. Oh well, if you are looking that close at my friend’s body you may want to buy her a drink 🙂

Christmas Sparkle Apron

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Fabric: Christmas Fabric from Micheal Levine
Inspiration: Kwik Sew 2311
Size:
N/A
Modifications: Deleted single pockets and added one long pocket unevenly divided into two.
Enjoyment Factor:
7
Time: 1 day
I was not much into the idea of the traditional Christmas color combo of red and green. In fact, I kinda don’t like those colors together when they are put on your body, so I had to break it up with some gold and a more sophisticated print fabric to liven it up.

Good:

  • This was kind of a nostalgic moment for me because I made this same apron pattern as one of my first ever sewn object in last year. It went much faster than the 4 weeks it took last time 🙂
  • I added a bigger panel style pocket instead of the tiny hand pockets so that it had more uses than holding change. Plus the xmas panel was too beautiful to cut up.
  • Used the label method in Last Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts. It was simple, fun, and effective. I will definitely be using it again on future projects.
  • Super fast.

Bad

  • Same binding tape issues as above.

Ugly

  • Nada

On the Bias

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So as I have mentioned before, I am taking a women’s tailoring class. This class is pretty intense! Unlike my intermediate class which is all about learning the basic techniques and moving on, this one is about making the best alterations and changes to a pattern to get a “tailored” fit to the garment. Hence I will be focusing on the McCall’s Jacket above for 10 weeks.

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From this class I am learning so much about how to create more professional looking garments than the basic instructions of a pattern would yield. For this jacket, we did a paper fitting to get the closest match to my body, we had to add 1″ to the side seams to aid in easy alteration (see the white paper? That would be my bum area plus the extra 1″ for my hind parts which is a little bigger than the fabric tissue…eek!), I also shortened the sleeves to accommodate my personal length, we will also be using wool hymo and wigan interfacing instead of the Pellon easily found at Jo Ann’s. These are techniques that I just wouldn’t have known otherwise.

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One of the other big challenges was matching plaids! I got this great worsted cashmere plaid for a Scottish Fabric importer who came to our class on the first day and thought it was so pretty. Little did I know that matching plaids would be that fabric and time consuming. Since I am a borderline perfectionist I would move around the pattern pieces for hours to get maximum fabric leftovers. Why?? Because I have a problem people!! The other part of it was matching plaids on the bias. That is not any worse necessarily than just the plaid itself and actually looks kinda cool.

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Anyhoo, I have some sewing to do and tailor basting of interfacing to complete before my next class if I am going to be able to finish this in the 10 week allotment. I will keep you posted on the progress.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Finished Object – McCall’s M5053 Skirt

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This is the second time I have worn my new skirt. This was my outfit to my sister’s graduation. I got quite a few compliments and was very happy when I was able to say that I made both the skirt AND the sweater. Hee hee, I am such a sucker for a compliment but too embarrassed and self conscious to fish for them. That is probably why I blog.

Fabric: Flat Folds from M&L
Inspiration: McCall’s M5053 Skirt
New Tech: This was my first time making a sewn article of clothing for a real person, so all tech was new tech
Cost: Approximately $10.00
Enjoyment Factor:
9

The Good:

  • This was my first skirt ever. It was one of the three projects I am doing for my sewing class. I think it came out pretty good construction wise
  • The fabric was extremely inexpensive since I got it from the flat folds at my favorite fabric store M&L. The flat folds are the lower quality fabric areas of the store. It does not mean bad quality, but just not the heirloom quality you use for quilting. There is an area for those fabrics and they are still less expensive than the quilt stores. If you are ever in So Cal and just want to get tons of fabric, go to M&L. It is not a pretty store, but you definitely get a HUGE selection.
  • This skirt cost me about $8 bucks in fabric, the rest was the zipper and thread
  • I put in my first zipper, which should allow me to use my zipper foot with confidence for a knitting bag I want to make
  • It matches my new Apricot Jacket!!!

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The Bad:

  • The fit on the skirt is a little big. I always second guess my body measurements, with knitting I only have the deal with the bust. With this skirt I had to measure my hips and waist for the first time. Dear God!! This is my womanly self conscious area so I normally deal with the lower body with the adage “ignorance is bliss”. Well, I made the right size but just thought it might be too big because I kinda wrapped it around my body with clothes on it class. So I opened the yoke a little more. I should have left it as it would have fit better.
  • My bottom hem is a little wonky because it was a huge curved surface with a “neat hem” meaning it was rolled twice. My teacher gave me a technique to make it easier, but even then it took forever.
  • I had to hand stitch the yoke facing. It looks good, but it took the entire viewing of “Blood Diamond” to finish it.

The Ugly:

  • Nothing on the outside, but man the inside finishing is not all that great. My zigzag stitches for the clean edges is quite a bit away from the edge, so it will fray a little with washing.

Sewing Time: 12 hours – Not hard, but I only did it in class and had to learn all sorts of new techiques.