Cutting the pattern for the Harlequin jacket was pretty uneventful. Comparing my measurements (a distinctly pear-shaped 39-33-43) to the sizes on the envelope, I came out as an 18 at the hip and a 14 at the bust. I was leery of grading two sizes, though, so I ended up grading from a 16 up top to an 18 at the hip – the extra size around the shoulders can’t hurt, especially as it’s going to have to fit a lining in it as well. I opted for the long sleeves from View A paired with the square hem from View B. Here are my pattern pieces on the floor, ‘cos I’m organised like that:
So far I have mostly abandoned the instructions, as the pattern is unlined, my version is lined, and so it needs to go together a little differently. My plan is to make the shell and the lining/facings up, then put them together using this here tutorial from Jen at Grainline.
I started with the lining, because I was starting this project in a burst of SHINY NEW PROJECT energy and wanted to get the difficult bit out of the way first. I also wanted to road-test my French seam technique on the lining, which doesn’t really need it, before trying it on the shell fabric, which really does. It frays like anything, and does not take well to being unpicked, so I wanted to get some practice in on a more forgiving fabric first.
It looks pretty good! In that photo you can see a little bit of yellow thread, as well; that’s left over from basting in the difficult bit I mentioned earlier – contrast piping between the lining and the facing. After ruminating for a while on how to do it, I did the first half of the French seam (wrong sides together), then hand-basted in the piping (actually quite fast once I’d remembered to clip the interfacing out of the way), then did the final seam using the basting line as a guide. Once again the Internet showed the way – in this case, this tutorial from Caitlin at Coletterie and this one from Karen at Did You Make That?
Caitlin’s tutorial shows the piping pinned rather than basted; I just couldn’t get mine to stay in place with pins. It was a pain to pin round the curves, and as soon as I pulled the pins out the piping went sproing out of place again. Basting it was, though not nearly as neat as Karen’s. Also, I can’t remember where I first heard this particular sewing tip, but it bears repeating, as it’s one of those things I’d never thought of but which is painfully obvious when mentioned: when basting, use contrasting thread so you can find it afterwards.
I home-made the piping out of some ribbon and, not having decent cording, the rather less professional option of plain old string. I cannot emphasise enough how much of a lifesaver my narrow zipper foot was for this bit, both for making the piping and then for putting it in. No need to measure from the edge – just steer the foot until the outside edge was bumping up against the ridge made by the string, then let it follow that.
It went in like a dream. I was complaining to my partner all through the basting stage how pesky it was getting the piping to sit properly inside the half-French-seam and go round the corners, and then when I’d finished went bouncing over waving half a jacket and going “Doesn’t it look awesome?”
The only blemishes are the wibbly bits of thread that accumulated when I (as always) forgot to change the thread tension before starting, but the seam is holding fine and it won’t be visible, so I’m leaving it.
The next stage in the merry jaunt ever further from Instruction-land was sleeves. I don’t like setting in sleeves at the best of times and the prospect of doing them with a French seam was deeply unattractive, so I put them in flat to see if that would be easier. It was so much easier I think I’ll keep doing it that way.
It was at about this stage that I sewed over a pin – having gone over a dozen or so of its compatriots without ill effects – and heard the horrible crunch-twang as it broke in two. I found the head a moment later, was briefly mystified as to the location of the shaft, and then spotted the last millimetre or so sticking out of the machine, having disappeared down the hole into the bobbin compartment.
Lining is finished! Now to work on putting together the shell (should be quick) and putting the two together (probably less so).