Thursday, April 23, 2009

UFO Watch: Suit Jacket

I Want To Believe

So for the conference I ran in March 16-17 I had the idea of maybe making a new suit-like outfit to wear. My time was limited as I was needing to work on the weekends, so I wasn't totally optimistic (especially considering that jacket tailoring is not my usual type of sewing), but I figured I'd give it the college try.

I decided to cut into some really nice fabric I got at Paron about a year ago when I went to NYC to see Xanadu. It's a gorgeous color of crosswoven teal and peach that has a lot of depth. The fabric content is a scrumptious silk/cotton/wool/lycra.

I love the idea of dresses with matching jackets. I say idea because (1) I have never actually made or owned such an item, (2) I never wear jackets unless I'm speaking or meeting with opposing counsel, and (3) I really hate making jackets. There are so many steps involved and it's such a time-consuming project for something that I never wear and resent wearing when I do. I don't know why I hate having to dress in suits so much but I really, really do!

I actually finished the dress, BWOF 05-2008-128. I'd been wanting to make that one since the issue first came out, and when considering what would be a nice looking sheath to go with a jacket it immediately popped into mind. It actually didn't take unduly long and is indeed very cute. But I didn't get a chance to wear it because I did not have time to finish the jacket.

Line DrawingFor the jacket, I was drawn to BWOF 12-2008-116. I like the shoulder princess lines (easier to ease in a heavier fabric than an armscye princess) and the single button closure, which will make the most of the fact that I'm wearing a dress underneath. A jacket that closes higher up makes it hard to tell if it's a dress or a skirt.

I actually got pretty far on the jacket. I traced it and cut it out, which was quite a chore because I wanted to make the dress, jacket, *and* a skirt out of my not quite 4 yards. My reasoning for this was that I didn't want to feel like I could only wear the dress when I was also wearing the jacket. So if I had a skirt to go with the jacket, it wouldn't render the jacket useless to wear the dress more often and have it look noticeably worn/faded with the jacket. But getting all the pieces for all three items to fit onto the fabric was a huge challenge (and the skirt will have an interesting "design feature").

OK, done. Then I fused all the pieces, which is another boring chore. Then I sewed the body seams of the jacket and found it to be HUGE. I had to grade down a size because the smallest size is 36, which is fine and I did so at the tracing stage. The style doesn't look oversized but really it was gigantic. I had to take in all the seams 1/4" (meaning 1/2 inch total per seam) and I think it's still a little big. Ugh. It was a lot of ripping.

The next step was to put in the welt pockets with flaps, something I've not done before and I just ran out of steam. I was too stressed about the conference to undertake such a stressful sewing endeavor. And I am not at all confident that it's going to end up fitting well or looking good.

I have basically done nothing since (I made the pocket flaps, that's it), and it's been over a month.

However, I now have a speech to give on May 7 and am trying to motivate myself to turn this from a UFO back into a Work In Progress.

UFO or Work In Progress?

Things left to do
-Mark pocket placement and do all the fiddly markings on the welts etc.
-Put in welt pockets with flaps.
-Sew shoulder seams
-Figure out collar and facing
-Cut out lining (double/triple/quadruple ugh, as I have chosen a beautiful but fiddly silk that squirms around while I'm trying to cut it)
-Construct lining
-Insert lining


This is sort of compounded because I have not been sewing too much lately. In my end of year post from last year I said I might experiment with sewing less and I've been doing this. I'm not being any more productive in any other area of my life (*ahem* cleaning) so I don't know if I'm serving any particular end. It's not really a lack of mojo, it's just a slowdown. I don't want to feel obligated to something that is supposed to be a fun hobby! And since I'm not sewing as much as usual, I'm not interested in something tedious, drawn out, difficult, fiddly, and draining like a jacket.

But it would be nice to wear it May 7.

I will make a goal of doing the pockets this weekend. I will be at a volunteer event all day Saturday, but I should be able to find enough time the other days to do the pockets.

It will be a (re)start.


Myra said...

Good luck with it, did you post the dress?

Christina said...

I want to believe, too! You have done so much of the jacket already, you'll definitely be able to finish in time.

Adelaide B said...

I always want to want to make a jacket, but I never do. I sympathize whole-heartedly. However, you are almost done and it would be sad if you did not finish. Do a little bit at a time, and maybe it won't feel like such a chore. Good Luck!

Beth Conky said...

Well, you could leave the pockets off. Would be faster. Could just wear the dress and chuck the jacket. Or pull up your bootstraps and just decide to do it. Doesn't really matter in the scope of life which one you do. So do what ever sounds the best and don't worry about it. At least the dress is finished. Wear it with a sweater. I bet that color will look great on you and give a conservative outfit some of your unique flair. Let's see the dress.

Katharine in Brussels said...

Hi Trena--I concur completely on jackets! As a teacher I never have to meet opposing council so there's even less motivation for me to make one. Love your UFO graphic! It was a chore to cut and fuse all those pieces at once, but you keep plugging along--good on you. I too have noticed that BWOF's size 36 is unreasonably large in the shoulders for the intended size range. I have a 33" high bust and did a size 34 just in case, but had to take out over an inch! It's really not your imaginatin that Burda is big. Sending you motivation from chocolateland!

Little Hunting Creek said...

I can't talk, I have three UFOs on my desk now, looking at me and making me feel guilty. Good luck!

gwensews said...

I feel about sewing as I do about reading a book--if I don't enjoy the first part of either, I don't feel obligated to finish it.

Sewing is supposed to be fun. Challenging--yes, of course--that's keeps one motivated and excited. But, when sewing becomes a chore or a dread-the joy is gone.

Make what you love!

Capital Sew and Sew said...

Bring it to the next DC Threads sewing lounge and FINISH IT WITH FRIENDS!!!!

Good luck!

Anonymous said...

OMG you see it too?! The HOPE of a project getting done?! Well I see it too so it must be true. Good luck on the jacket

Sew4Fun said...

I believe, Scully. :) That poster made me lol. I'm a big, geeky X-Files fan from way back. You even have the red hair. :) Good luck with the jacket.

Faye Lewis said...

Hey, thanks for offering to trace for me. Angela is going to send the mag. I'm excited again!

Anonymous said...

I love the jacket, and hope to see it soon, but there's times you're not feeling it and that makes it a chore.

Vicki said...

Good luck. Me, I love jackets and have wanted to make them for a long time. (one day I will, really....). That style of jacket looks very versatile but not very you. Not nearly cute enough. Perhaps that is the problem.

Uta said...

Good luck with the jacket! Maybe you also have to let go of some perfectionism...? (Not that I doubt you'd make it perfect!) Unlike you, I love the put-togetherness a jacket affords me, so I'd better master the technique!

Reethi said...

Its actually odd that you think you haven't been sewing as much, because as someone who's been reading your blog atleast since last year, I'm amazed how much you are sewing (and actually feel like you are sewing more? maybe just posting more?) Anyhoo, I've a jacket in the UFO pile, and maybe this post will inspire me to pull it out and make it work.

Sue said...

I have just finished a jacket class and enjoyed making it much mre than I expected! Sometimes when you hit a speed bump (the pockets) you do just need to set a goal to do those without thinking any further ahead. Hopefully by the time they are done, you will be right back into it again!