Sunday, December 29, 2013

McCall's 5248 Bathrobe

Now, I get to show you why my jacket has been taking forever for me to finish. I stopped working on it to make some Christmas presents, including a bathrobe for my mother-in-law.

She wanted the bathrobe to be in velour, so I decided to make it extra fancy. I found some lovely stretch velvet and added gold piping around the collar.

The only other materials were interfacing and thread.


McCall's 5248

The pattern is very easy. I made the robe, but not the pajamas (maybe that can be next year's Christmas gift?...hmmm...). I would definitely recommend it for beginners, since there are only a few pieces and fitting is not too important.

Besides adding piping, I made a few other alterations. I added two large lower pockets, with gold piping (of course). 

I also added a smaller breast pocket. I had my friend with an embroidery machine add my mother-in-law's name to it.

I also increased the length by 12cm (~4.5"). Now, my mother-in-law can feel like royalty while walking around her house.

The only challenge I had was making sure the nap of the velvet all went in the same direction. It wasn't a problem when I cut out the pieces, but when I was busy struggling with piping on one of the pockets, I went and put it together upside-down. Boo... Luckily, it's not very noticeable.

I would post pictures of my mother-in-law wearing it, but they are all very blurry; she couldn't stop twirling when she put it on. This bathrobe really is more of a 'dressing gown'. It's just that fancy!

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Winter Jacket Sewing Order

My jacket is now in two main parts. The main jacket and the lining are complete with the main body pieces sewn together and the collars attached. Now, comes the time when I put it all together and it becomes one piece.

Something I had to figure out was what order I sew on my facings and zippers and to what sides of the jacket. I used an old jacket as a reference. 

Basically, whatever you can see on the outside of the jacket when it is lying flat is sewn to the outside. Below is the outside of my jacket:

My jacket has a facing and a zipper on the left side and no facing on the other (the jacket front extends to cover the zipper). First, I basted the zipper to the facing and then sewed it to the jacket.

I did the same thing for the lining:

I basted the other half of the zipper to a facing and then attached it to the left side of the zipper. The right side of the lining has a facing with no zipper. Optionally, you can make this facing in a soft fuzzy fabric (like microfleece or flannel), because it will be the innermost layer and make contact with your body.

Note: I found that my husbands jacket was the reverse of how I made mine (with the zippers on the right side when it is lying flat). So, like with shirts, I'm guessing men's jackets are the opposite of women's jackets.

If you are adding any velcro or snaps to keep the facing closed, now is when you add them.

The next step is to put the lining and the jacket right sides together and sew along the outermost edges.

I might also try to 'bag' my jacket. Which means, I would sew all 4 outermost edges of the jacket, while leaving a small opening that I can turn the jacket rightside out through.

After that is done, you can topstitch along the zippers to hold the facings of both layers together. However, I am doing one thing differently. If you look at my lining closely, you will see that I have already topstitched along the zipper edge: 

This is so I don't topstitch into my outermost jacket layer (which is the right front body piece of the main jacket). Instead, I am going to use fabric adhesive to keep the facings together. This means that I won't make holes, which could let in moisture, in the outermost layer. If you are not worried about the elements for your jacket, you can wait and topstitch through both layers when the jacket is together. [Update: I couldn't find an adhesive that would stick to the DWR fabric, so I ended up having to topstitch my facing into place. Not a big deal, it still looks really good.]

That's it for now. Until I figure out my snaps, buttons, or buckle issue, I'm leaving my jacket like this. But, hopefully I'll find something that will work soon!

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Winter Jacket Adjustable Waist Options

Decisions, decisions.... I'm trying to figure out how I want my jacket waist to adjust. Most women's winter jackets have an adjustable cord and toggle at the waist. However, I wanted my jacket to have the look and feel of a trench coat, but without a long dangling belt.

So, I added a waistband tab to each side of my jacket starting from the front princess seams to just past the side seams. The waistband tab sits at my waist, below my armpit vent and above a pocket flap. This is what my jacket looks like so far:

I have a couple of different things I could do with this. I need your help to decide.

Originally, I was thinking of adding snaps, as I had seen on other trench-like winter jackets. It would look something like this:

The problem with this option is that, because of my pocket flap and the stiffness of the fabric, all the gathering would happen in a small area between the snap and the pocket flap end, instead of between the snap and the princess seam.

This might look funny and/or cause the pocket to stick out.

Another option would be to added a third tab (like a belt) across the back and have it secured by buttons. Below is what this might look like (I folded the jacket over so I could use the other tab to demonstrate).

I like that it now looks more belted, like a trench coat. I also like that this would spread the gathering across the back. Another plus, is that I could have matching buttons on the pocket flaps. Although, I would probably make the pocket flap button larger, like in the original Burdastyle pattern example:

The third option would be to added buckles. This would still give me some adjustability. Some nice brass buckles like this could work:

It would also look more belted and spread the gathering across the back. Although, I do worry that the fabric is slippery enough that it would keep sliding out of the buckles.

So, my options are:
  1. snaps
  2. buttons
  3. buckles
What do you think?

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Jacket Collar Features

I'm getting closer to being finished my winter jacket! I've added the collar pieces to the outside and inside of the jacket. But, before I did that, I had to make a lot of little extras to the collar.

Here is the collar on the outside of the jacket.

If you look closer, you will notice a small pocket at the centre of the collar where the collar meets the centre back pieces.

This is a feature I copied from my husband's winter jacket. It allows me to hide away a zipper that will be used to attach my hood.

This half of the zipper has facings that make it stick out 1/2" from the collar. The other half of the zipper is already sewn into my hood. When I'm not using my hood, the zipper tucks up into the pocket and out of sight.

The ends of the collar have a pocket each. These pockets hold the ends of the hood in place.

Inside, there is velcro that matches up with the velcro pieces I sewed to the hood.

The order of the velcro goes: hook on collar piece > loop on inside hood > loop on outside hood > loop in on collar end pocket. That way, when the hood isn't being used, you still have one hook and one loop piece in the collar pocket to keep it closed.

On the inside of my jacket, I added a loop and a tab with velcro.

The loop, of course, is to make it easy to hang the jacket. The tab with velcro is to wrap around and secure a loop on an inner jacket.

Some inner jackets have loops on the outside. While some inner jacket will just have a regular inside loop, which can be used by turning the inner jacket inside out while using it as an inner jacket (and back to right side out when using it by itself). This keeps the inner jacket in place so you can take the inner and outer jacket off at the same time as one piece.

That's it for now!

Update: I almost forgot to install one other collar feature! The little pockets that hold the inner jacket collar into place. Here is what they look like on my husband's jacket:

On my jacket, I decided to go with a nice piece of flannel. This will feel nice and cosy on my chin.

In addition to keeping the inner jacket collar in place, it prevents the zipper of the inner jacket from rubbing against your chin and freezing you (if it's metal).

I'm going to add a half of a sew-in snap near the end of making my jacket. The other half will go on the inner jacket. I could also use velcro. I'm waiting until the jacket is one piece, so I will be more certain with how it will line up with my inner jacket.

Here is what the whole inside collar looks like now:

Hope you like it!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

A Hood for My Jacket

I finally finished one part of my jacket: my hood. The hood itself was fairly complicated. I copied my husband's jacket hood for the shape and some of the features.

Here is the wrong side of the hood lining:

As you can see, I added facings around the edges in the main fabric (the white is the DWR coating) and then used my polyester lining in the center.

I added a grommet through which I put an elastic cord with toggle to adjust the hood opening. I added twill tape to the ends of the cord to lengthen it and to make it easier to sew to the hood.

Here is a look at the right side of the hood lining:

In addition to the cord and toggles, I added a zipper and velcro on the ends. The velcro will secure the hood ends in little pockets on the collar. The other half of the zipper will be sewn into my jacket collar. Now, my hood will be removable. Also, the brim of the hood has interfacing to keep it's shape.

Here is a closer look at the toggle and velcro:

How did I get such perfect colour toggles and cord for my jacket? I looked down at my feet and noticed my slippers had toggles that I never used and would be perfect for my hood. Score!

Here is the finished hood:

Notice that there is also velcro on the outside of the hood. 

Not too bad! It's nice to have at least one part done.

Note: I topstitched through the bill of my hood and realized afterwards that it probably wasn't a great idea - that means moister could get through the line of topstitching. I probably should have topstitched the sides and stopped just before the bill. Fortunately, I am not going to be using this jacket in heavy rain, so I will probably be okay. Also, the main seams of the hood have been seam sealed, so at least the very top of my head will stay dry.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Cute 1940s Dollhouse

I was at an antiques and collectables show a few weeks ago and saw something really cute: a 1940s dollhouse complete with plastic furniture.

The house itself is made of cardboard. The furniture was lots of little plastic pieces that look familiar to me. Besides the appliances (see the large stove!), most of the furniture is the same kind of furniture I have in my house. And if you look closely, there is even a little treadle sewing machine!

Yes, it even folds away!
It also matches my 1940s sewing machine, which I will show you soon.

I was tempted to buy it, but it was too rich for me. Plus, it would just collect dust in my house. So cute though!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Armpit Vents

One difference between a winter jacket and most other jackets are the armpit vents. These are zippered (or sometimes velcro or snap) openings under the arm of an outer shell jacket to help control how warm you are. Getting too hot can be dangerous, since eventually you sweat and cool through evapouration.

Here is a picture of a typical ski jacket arm vent:

Armpit vents are basically in-seam zipper pockets. Since there aren't many tutorials on how to do an armpit vents or in-seam zipper pockets, I thought I would share how I made mine.

As you can see from the picture above, the armpit vent can go up the body of the jacket and into the sleeve seam. I could not do this with my jacket, since my side seams and sleeve seams do not match. So, I only added the armpit vent to my bodice pieces.

Step 1: Make a Box

Before sewing the side seams, draw a box where you want the zipper opening to be. I am adding the zipper to by side back piece. Again, as my sleeve seams don't match, I am doing this before I add sleeves.

One side of the box is along the seam allowance. The other side is 3/8" into the body (or however wide you want it to be). The top and bottom are how long I want the opening to be.

Step 2: Attach One Side of the Zipper

Pin and sew the zipper along the line that is 3/8" in towards the body. Make sure the zipper is facing down. Luckily, as my zipper tape is about 3/8" wide, I was able to match it up with the seam allowance edge for easy alignment.

Step 3: Clip the Seam Allowance

Clip at into the far corners of the box - don't go too far!


You can now flip your zipper right-way-out to see what it will look like.

Step 4: Make Vent Linings

Instead of a pocket lining, create a mesh lining. I added a facing in my main fabric to prevent the mesh from getting caught in the zipper.

You will need two of these for each vent.

Step 5: Add One Mesh Lining Piece

This is the tricky part - sew the lining piece to the side of the zipper you just sewed. Make sure you are sewing into the zipper facing only. You can match up the side of the lining with the side of the zipper. And don't worry about sewing far from the zipper teeth - this is just to hold it in place.

It should look like this, once you have sewn it:

The 'right side' of the mesh lining is on the inside of the zipper.

Step 6: Topstitch the Vent

Fold down the zipper and the mesh lining into place. The mesh lining should be ironed so that it folds near, but not on, the zipper teeth. Topstitch around the top, side, and bottom of the zipper.

Note: Don't worry too much if you have crooked topstitching (I always find it hard with my tiny zipper foot) - this part will be covered and no one will ever look there.

The inside should look like this:

Step 7:  Add Second Mesh Lining

Sew the second mesh lining to the zipper. Again, make sure you are only sewing onto the zipper facing.

Step 8: Make Vent Flaps and Attach

This step is optional, but it will hide your zipper (and any crooked topstitching) from view and shield it from the wind.

My flaps are curved on one end and will be held down by the sleeve seam on the other end. If you are making flaps that start on the body and end on the sleeve, you will probably want to make both ends curved and add a piece or two of velcro to keep them closed when you are not using your vent.

Baste the flap into place inside the seam allowance. Make sure that both mesh lining pieces are folded into the body and that you do not sew into them.

Step 9: Sew Side Seams

Now, as if the vents weren't even there, sew the side seams together. Again, just make sure not to sew into the mesh linings (note: a piece of tape can help you with keeping it out of the way).

It's starting to look really good!

Step 10: Topstitch the Side Seam

Press the side seam away from the side that has the vent flap. Iron mesh lining piece that hasn't been topstitched yet so that it folds near, but not on, the zipper teeth. Tape back each mesh lining so they are pointed in opposite directions.

Topstitch the side seam. I now have something that looks like this:

Step 11: Sew the Mesh Linings Together

Pin and sew the mesh linings together in an arc shape. Starting just above one zipper end, sew from one side seam edge out to about 1" from the zipper. Continue along and the sew back into the side seam above the other zipper end. Make sure you are only sewing into the mesh lining pieces. Trim excess.

Note: Before the step, I went back and made the facings of my mesh linings smaller. There were about 5/8" to 3/4" wide - this seemed too big. I shortened them to 1/2", which works better. I didn't want the facings to block out my mesh lining.

Step 12: Sew Vent to Jacket Lining

This step comes later when I sew my lining to my jacket. The opening in my jacket lining will be sewn to the facings in the mesh vent linings.

For now, this is what my armpit vent looks like with my sleeves attached:

vent open
vent closed
Considering this is the first time I've done this, I'm pretty happy with the results. My winter jacket is coming along nicely. Now, I think I could even make my own motorcycle jacket (they have vents, too). But, I really should finish this jacket. Winter is here and it's about -20'C (-4'F) today.