Friday, December 5, 2014

Denim Jacket Times Two


No, this isn't a photo of me, or my jacket. Wouldn't life be different if both were true?! This is Butterick 6106, a jacket I've made twice this year, with varying results. Here's the story:


Back in August I married this pattern to a mid-weight, denim-type fabric from Sawyer Brook (now sold out). I liked the striped version on the pattern envelope, as well as a plaid version Katherine Tilton posted on her blog. You know I like to add some paint to fabric whenever it's appropriate, so I jumped in and did it here. I laid the yardage out on my work table and masked off a 2 inch wide stripe about 6 inches from the selvedge. Then I took a brush and some pewter Lumiere paint and used light strokes to paint the stripe. I liked it so much, I repeated it at the other selvedge.

When I cut out the pattern pieces, I tried placing them where they would take advantage of the stripe. I didn't get fancy about matching stripes anywhere. I just wanted the stripes to appear in a balanced fashion. Not a perfect job, but I'm happy with it.


The fabric, which is all cotton, was a breeze to sew, and it stands up pretty well to the collar design. I was really pleased these buttons from Sawyer Brook matched the paint so well:


Sewing this design is like putting a puzzle together because of the asymmetry at the lower fronts. It's not difficult, but it requires patience and attention to detail. As I put the pieces together, I discovered two errors on the pattern. The first involves a mis-placed notch:


The notch at the top of piece #4 should have been about 1-1/2 inches to the right. I only figured this out when I went to attach it to the right front and found the notches were quite far away from one another.

The second error is on piece 13, the right front facing. The lower edge needs to be extended on one side and tapered to nothing on the other side, as shown below:


If you don't do this, you won't have enough fabric to cover a seam later on. So it's pretty important to fix it before you cut. You can see the problem if you lay piece 13 against the right front piece. It's just too short!

Aside from these two errors, the pattern sewed up really well, and was fun to construct. I really like this jacket and expect to get a lot of wear from it, since it's in a good-for-me basic color.


Oh, and one thing about the design of the lower left front. As you can see in the photo above, the lowest piece does "stand out" from the jacket. It's a bit odd, but I've grown to like it.

*****

Three months later, in late November, I decided to make the jacket again. 


And I'm not so happy about this one. First of all, the color is a stretch for me. Even though my eyes and hair are brown, it's hard to find brown that enhances my cool skin tone. I don't think this is bad, but it's not my best color. Agree?

The second problem is a larger one, and it involves an unhappy marriage of pattern and fabric. This is a lightweight denim of cotton, polyester and lycra. It is soft and drapey. Not the right fabric for this collar style. The collar can barely stand up, even with a facing and interfacing. And see the drag lines on the upper chest? Too soft a fabric.



And lastly, the fit of this jacket isn't good at all. I don't know why I didn't notice it back in August when I made the first one. The shoulders are just too wide on me. I should have cut this version in a smaller size. The style is loose, to a certain degree, but I don't think the sleeves should hang off the shoulder by more than an inch. I simply wasn't paying attention.

Oh well, on to the parts of this jacket I really like: the printing. 


Diane Ericson's  Bamboo Forest and Brush Alphabet stencils were a perfect pairing for embellishing this fabric. I used black Neopaque and copper Lumiere paints, which enhance those colors in the fabric (and the buttons, which are from Sawyer Brook). 


What a lot of fun this printing was! In fact, I love the printing so much, I'm not all that unhappy with the jacket. I just don't know how much I'll wear it because of the color, the baggy shoulders, and the drag lines. Honest opinions - would you wear this jacket if it looked like this on you? If not, what would you do with it? I welcome any and all comments!



20 comments:

  1. I love both jackets, and I agree the second one isn't a great fit through the shoulders. Have you considered adding shoulder pads? Something not Linda Evans in Dynasty sized, but maybe a raglan one attached with velcro. Might be worth a try.

    oh great, yet another pattern I must own....

    8-)

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    1. Thanks for the shoulder pad idea. It's definitely worth a try.
      Glad to hear I've enabled you to acquire another pattern!

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  2. I second the shoulder pad suggestion. But if you don't find the colour flattering, it's probably not saveable. The first version is a triumph though: better than the pattern envelope!

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  3. LOVE your painted blue jacket. You've given me a great idea of how to spiff up a project I'm working on.

    Re the brownish lightweight denim jacket - that fabric looks a lot like the lightweight denim/lycra that I purchased (two pieces) from Gorgeous Fabrics (normally get wonderful fabric from GF) several months ago. I used it to make One Seam Pants, but ended up donating both pairs. The fabric behaves exactly as you describe, plus (to me) it has an unpleasant cold, wet-feeling "hand". Your bamboo and calligraphy embellishment is lovely, and a small raglan shoulder pad might help the fit, but if you remain uncozy with the fabric, I'm betting the jacket won't get much wear.

    P.S. In this season of giving thanks, I want to express my appreciation for your blog. It is so great to read the thoughts and see the output of a sewist who not only shares my body type but also sews and wears arty, creative garments. Thank you!

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    1. Oh, SilverMom, you've made my heart glad! My purpose in blogging is to inspire others to get creative in their sewing, and to encourage other plus size women to sew for themselves. It's wonderful to know I've achieved that. Thank you for commenting!

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  4. Great jackets. You did a nice job on them
    Marciae from SG

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  5. I love the first one! That subtle stripe of paint is beautiful. What did you apply it with?

    I agree that the first jacket looks better on you. It's amazing what color will (and won't) do for us, isn't it? How about more paint up around your face and shoulders?

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    1. Hi Gayle! Thanks for your comments. I applied the paint with a foam "paintbrush". I used a really small amount of paint, and a light touch.
      I haven't worn this jacket yet, and I'm already redesigning it. Maybe a v-neck with a wide band around it, printed as the other pieces are. Could be a lot of work to redo the neck, the shoulders and the sleeves. I'll have to decided on whether the color is good or not, first. Some real life opinions should help.

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  6. Both jackets are appealing, and I especially like the 2nd one. You put too much work into it not to enjoy it. After all, when we are out and about, we don't stand still, posing for a community of critics. We reach, pull, push, hold, gesture; we are constantly in motion, most times. What will be noticed are your lovely artistic embellishments. If that were my jacket (oh!) and I couldn't stand to wear it as is, I'd unpick the seams and recut it, then re-sew.

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    1. Thanks, Carol, for your encouragement. I'm thinking about remaking the jacket. It won't cost anything but time and energy, and it might result in a garment I really love.

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  7. I especially like your first version of this jacket - the painted stripe works so well with the buttons and the weight of the fabric seems perfect for the pattern. When I look at the color of your brown jacket, I like it on you - but maybe it just looks different in real life? You are the best judge of that. If shoulder pads help, maybe it will be fine? I hope so, because you put a lot of work into it!

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  8. Quite interesting how each fabric worked up so differently. I'm a "silver" lover and that stripe on jacket number one is just the perfect embellishment. Your painting on jacket number two is quite awesome as well. I like Robin's idea of the shoulder pads. Also, how would this work as a light summer jacket that you would wear open with a tank? Just a thought. You did a great job on both.

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  9. What a great post, DIxie. And thanks for the heads-up on the errors. This one is in my stash and I just have not tried it.

    Your first version is just fabulous. Maybe the second was bound to be less, given the way the first one came together. I mean it's like having a beautiful older sister or something.

    BUT, like others, I would not give on version two. I like Gayle's idea of maybe more paint near your face. Might that give the neckline the needed body?

    I would also consider removing the sleeves and either trying to re-cut the shoulders, and/or make it into a vest.

    You are so imaginative. I know you'll do something wonderful.

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  10. Thanks for letting us know about the errors in this pattern, Dixie! (There shouldn't be any. Just sayin'.) I love the first version but agree the second needs some remedial action. It's not bad, just not as good as it could be. Though I love the surface design you added. Have this one and hope to make my own jacket one of these days.

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  11. Dixie, these are both beautiful but the blue suits you. How about doing major surgery on the second, and try to turn it into a vest? It would be pretty draping over a gold or black turtleneck.

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  12. Love love love your paint jobs (as always)! - and thanks for pointing out the errors, as this jacket is on my ToDoList. I agree that the brown may not be your best color, but the painting is SO gorgeous you simply must save this jacket! I do like shoulder pads, and what about popping that orange with some jewelry accents?

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  13. My thoughts, the dark brown works very well with your hair colour, but does seem a bit heavy and dark up around your face. I have a similar problem in that I like dark brown and wear it a lot but need something else in a top/necklace/scarf just to lift it near my face. Can you wind a pretty silk scarf into the neckline (you can microwave dye to whatever colours you fancy) or wear a loose turtleneck underneath in a more flattering colour e.g. a soft medium blue with a hint of green, if you added a little of this third colour into the painted embellishments on the jacket it would help that colour pop.

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  14. You do such beautiful work Dixie! The painting is perfect on both these pieces.

    Your blog has been forwarded to consumer services at Butterick so they can fix the pattern errors you discovered. I greatly appreciate you noting the errors and how to deal with them! If you don't tell me (or the pattern company) about them I never know...

    For a better fit I might try taking the sleeves out, moving the shoulder seam in line with your body's shoulder (see Marcy's method for finding the seam line with pins on her t-shirt fitting video on YouTube) and adding a small dart in the armseye to remove some of the extra fabric. You might even be able to ease the sleeve back in or make the sleeve seam a bit larger to fit it back into the armseye. The brown color is great on you and I think you'll like wearing it if you can tweak the fit a bit.

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    1. Thank you for your compliments, Katherine. And thanks for forwarding this to Butterick. Your recommendations for re-making the shoulders are also appreciated. One of these days I'll get the jacket out and see what I can do with it. Thanks!

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