When I saw this swatch at Gorgeous Fabrics I thought it was going to be a shirtdress. Then I got the fabric home, felt its weight and texture, and decided it would be a hooded jacket. Once I’d cut the sleeves out though, and tried pinning them on, it became a vest with a standing collar. I am nothing if not adaptable.
The pattern I used for this is McCalls 5668, one I wouldn’t have looked twice at had I not seen Idunna’s version. I realized when making this up that all the jackets I’ve made so far have been either self-drafted, adapted from dress patterns, or pinched down from a relatively boxy fit. This is the first real fitted jacket pattern I’ve made (ok, semi-fitted), and it was a bit of a revelation. For example, the side pieces are longer than the center pieces in both the front and back, and that makes the jacket curve in at the waist in a way that I could never get my own pattern to. The back fit beautifully with only a minor adjustments to the princess seams. The pattern is designed for extra-large shoulder pads (one of the things that turned me off the envelope picture) but I looked up how to add shoulder pad allowance in Adele Margolis and worked backwards to remove it. Worked like a charm.
Of course I couldn’t leave well enough alone and had to go and draft my own collar. Partly this was because I thought I was going to add a hood, and had already removed the collar from the pattern (I think the pattern collar is okay, but if I were making it again I would change the angle a bit and make the points end higher). I am rather proud of this collar draft. I am always looking for good instructions on how to draft collars and am generally baffled by their geometry. One of my favorite collar types is a simple standing collar that flares open at the front. But the instructions for a standing collar generally tell me just to cut a rectangular band— and when I cut this out and sew it to the neckline it bunches up and folds awkwardly in the back.
For this collar I cut a rectangular band for the outside but a curved band for the inside. The curved band is shorter at the neckline and the same width as the straight band at the top edge. This lets the inner band fit inside the neckline without bunching. Look how nicely it curved into shape when pressed:
I also cut the inner band a little shorter than the outer at the back, and a little taller at the front. This is a trick I saw on Claire Kennedy’s website to make the collar stand up straight at the back and open out in front. My only frustration is that I think I cut the inner band slightly off grain. At least the stripe of the plaid hits the edge at different heights on the two sides. Grrr…
What I’m not proud of is my seam finish. Since I wasn’t going to line the vest I thought maybe I would try finishing the seams with bias tape. This turned out to be even more of a pain than I thought it would be. I trimmed the seams before adding the tape (a mistake) and the tape kept slipping off the fabric. Rather than pull it all off and start over I just patched it up where I could, leaving ugly double stitching all over the place. And I couldn’t for the life of me keep my stitching at a constant distance from the edge. I tried using one of those feet that maintains a constant distance, but this made it even harder to keep the tape wrapped around the fabric. Ugh. I didn’t have enough tape (or patience) to redo it. At least it’s on the inside.
I still have to cut and add facings to the arms and sew the zipper facings and hem down by hand. I admit I’m in kind of rush to finish this because I could sure use an extra layer of wool these days…