The White Jacket: Bits and Bobs

(No, I’m not English but ‘bits and bobs’ is one of those useful phrases I picked up living with a ship of English folk for the last three years.)

I spent a good hour testing interfacings on the dupioni for my jacket. I always think I know which one is going to work, but then I get down to fusing and mysterious things happen. The supposedly lighter tricot knit inferfacing was so stiff and heavy, I wondered how I could possibly use it in any knit. A weft was a little too fluffy, but I had a yard of some warp-insertion that felt just right.

And gosh, I think I fused for over two hours. Yawn. During the process I watched an entire film, one of those gambles in Netflix recommendations. Remember Rob Morrow? (I loved, loved, loved Northern Exposure.) He wrote, directed and starred in this older indie gem, which features an early performance by the always lovely Laura Linney.

Anyway, I carried on and just have my lining left to cut, but I’m itching to sew so I might make the welt pockets first.

I’m already thinking about how to pair my jacket with some of my existing clothes, but it really needs a white tank, I think, so I’m plotting that as my next project. I’ve re-drawn the Lydia t-shirt pattern into just about every shape (a kimono-sleeve tee, a French stripey top, a bateau-neck dress) except a tank. That’s how I’ll dress it down–tank & jeans.

And for up, I love the original Stella McCartney look but then I saw this…

{from Vogue UK January 2011, via Proper Topper}

I don’t know who the designer is, but it’s an almost identical jacket. I love the white on black (and I’ve been in this nutty black and white mood for awhile), and the glamazon cuff! the silk 70s-ish jumpsuit!

Gertie wrote a sort of “to jumpsuit or not?” post this week and I couldn’t help but chime in, yes! yes! I’m an unabashed lover of jumpsuits. I won’t confess to how many I own, but bought my first one at a vintage store six years ago and I love how they solve a lot of fashion problems in the same way dresses do. Yes you have to unzip your entire self to use the restroom but I have done worse things for fashion.


The Number 6 Dress

A girl ain’t afraid to show her white gams.

Sorry, didn’t mean to blind y’all but I’ll blame it partly on the camera. I’ve been naively shooting white-ish things against black backgrounds, resulting in 1. blow-out which results in 2. lack of detail. I’m going to have to stop sewing and wearing white. Soon.

I’d intended to wear my cute leopard pumps with this dress. I already had the boots on and thought, yeah, now this is getting more sci-fi. (My friend says these are my steampunk boots. I geekily confess I didn’t know what he meant, but read on.)

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I Couldn’t Miss It

Spring is coming and going like a lightning bolt around my parts, partly due to a long drought that has carried on since the fall. It has been over two months since Austin has had any significant rain, and my wildflower patch started shriveling up almost as soon as it came into its beauty..

I’ve been busy still cutting and recutting pattern pieces for my jacket (I won’t go into an incident in which I spilled all the water from my steamer over half the pattern pieces–sigh), but I’m trying my hardest not to miss the brief appearances in the garden. This year, one of my antique roses, Ballerina, took off like gangbusters in the midst of all the shriveling, and I must’ve spent an hour trying to photograph its fluttering, almost weightless blooms.

This has nothing to do with fashion other than the fact that it is already “silk and bare skin” weather. D couldn’t resist taking photos of me taking photos in my favorite silk dress in my favorite shade of coral. I practically lived in this dress for the last two summers. (But trust me, normally I look much muddier in the garden.)


I Used to Be a Hacker

Despite the fact that my garden is in its most glorious state of the year, with wildflowers and roses blossoming in wild enthusiasm…

I’ve been forcing myself indoors. I’m in the throes of jacket-making in the sew-along and am determined to stay in it. To learn. I like crunchy deadlines and intense work periods. Followed by completely pooped out and distracted periods. I just learn best this way.

I learned to sew patterns right out of the envelope without any sort of altering, fitting, slashing, pivoting. Never had even heard of muslins. I had pretty hilarious ways of hacking as I was sewing to get things to fit. Like the ginormously high-waisted tuxedo pants I made in college; they got years of wear and deserve to be enshrined somewhere near my Doc Martens. The crotch was so low and dorky that I kept sewing and picking out and sewing until I had this even weirder baggy crotch and I took to wearing the things around with safety pins to hold the pants in the shape I wanted. And I wasn’t trying to be punk rock or anything.

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The Lady Grey

Have you ever worked on a sewing project for so long that you never brought yourself to wear it? Such is the case with my swingy, peachy silk Lady Grey.

I joined Gertie’s sew-along last fall, but my work on it dragged and dragged. Let’s see, the sew-along ended in November? And mine was done in January. And then it sat hanging on my door until our kittens (three, to be exact) took an interest in the sash.

I made a gajillion alterations to the pattern, then veered off course from the hand-tailoring to try something different. The fabric is a silk tweed from Gorgeous Fabrics. Because of the fabric’s thinness, it wasn’t suited for full-on hand tailoring with canvas interfacing and padstitching and all that. I’m not sure I’d ever personally need to use these kind of heavy inner details since I live in such a warm climate.

Instead, the coat was entirely machine-sewed and interfaced with fusibles. Somehow on the interwebs I discovered Judy Barlup’s site and her DVD Japanese Tailoring.The video is a bit older and its blazer sample somewhere from the 80s, but she is a very good teacher and the video impeccably paced and clear. You won’t get confused.

In her method, one basically spends some time altering the pattern and drafting facings and collars so it can be sewn much easier, much like Sherry is doing in the RTW sew-along.

It’s difficult to review the Lady Grey pattern because I changed it so much, first altering the front a great deal to accommodate a small bust while keeping the wide lapel. I also added an undercollar piece (which the pattern doesn’t include) and redrafted the front facing (which the DVD shows how to do) so that the seams rolled properly to the inside.

The sleeves had a gargantuan (to me) amount of sleeve ease. I’m just no good at sleeves so I did a lot of hacking to get them the way I wanted. But I absolutely love how it all turned out and really need to find a reason to wear it. Before it goes completely to boiling Texas weather.

Speaking of boiling, D likes taking oversaturated and high contrast photos in the dead of the Texas afternoon. From his photo shoot: