I hope you are all keeping well? MrA and I are loving our life with Eloise – Work is keeping us both busy and we are looking forward to a bit of time off over the festive season. Following up from this post where I expressed difficulties getting the colours I wanted when fabric shopping online… it seems I find it equally challenging in real life! I made a special detour to nearby Goldhawk Road recently, with a one track mind… I wanted some grey corduroy to make the Veste le Citadin jacket from Patrons les BG – the guys in charge had kindly emailed me a pdf copy for free and after seeing a few cool versions on Instagram I was looking forward to making it.
As well as the grey corduroy I planned on making a full lining out of an amazing wax-print that I’d just picked up in Shepherd’s Bush Market – but like all the best plans, this quickly went awry…
This time, the first shop I went in to, I asked ‘do you have any corduroy?’ And the guy said, ‘just this brown one…’ (I thought to myself; ‘I don’t want brown…’) ‘it’s quilted’ he says, (I thought; ‘I don’t want quilted…’) ‘do you wanna see it?’ He asks. ‘Yes’ I say. As he unrolls the corner he says ‘it’s already backed in this flowery cotton’ (and I thought; ‘I’ve already got my lining, it’s in my bag…’) but something about it was so lovely, as soon as I touched it I could see the image of my grey jacket switch (like a quick-change artist) into this brown quilted fantasy before my eyes! Gone were my plans of honouring the pattern and attempting to decipher the instructions (my Duolingo French is seriously slipping anyway) – I was going to have to make a few modifications.
This, of course hadn’t occurred to me yet, as I gleefully purchased two metres at £15pm. At the counter, while bagging up, I was thinking ‘hmm, brown… I don’t have much brown… hmm… have I made a mistake…?’ then the guy said ‘this is ex Liberty of London you know? It sold at £60 a metre…’ and I knew I’d made the right decision!
This was the first adaptation I had to make to accommodate my fabric. As it was already backed I wouldn’t be lining it so I was going to have to finish the seams with binding. This meant cutting off some of the seam allowances – obviously not the ones needed to attach other pieces to, but the others- this boiled down to being the main front and bottom edges, the tops of all the pockets, the bottoms (& sides) of all the flaps and the outer edges of the cuffs and collar. These edges would all be bound with my faux leather binding.
After a short practice, I found the best method for me and the look I wanted was to fold the binding in half and catch each side in one pass of the machine. It was a risky strategy, but I took it slowly and got there in the end without too many mucky bits in too many obvious areas! To try to keep the corners neat, I stitched right up to the end and re-folded the binding around the corner before continuing to sew the next edge. The photo above gives you an idea.
One of the cool things about this pattern is that it has so many pockets! Four on the outside and two more on the inside – sneakily tucked within the size of the outer pocket. I’d cut the seams and facing off the top of the pockets and bound the raw top edges. After folding the seam allowances under they made quite a thick sandwich to wrestle under the machine. In a vain attempt to reduce bulk, I used regular cotton bias binding on the inside pockets, but as you can see, the handy ‘hump-jumper’ came to the rescue.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen that I’ve got a new (on loan) machine from Pfaff – the Creative 3.0 – it’s an incredible piece of equipment and I’m really enjoying getting to know it. It powered through this project with the strength of 1,000 horses! But I want to hold off telling you all about it for now; it’s easy enough to use straight out of the box for ‘basic sewing’, but I want to try out some of the more advanced settings and stitches before I say too much. If you wanted a sneak peek, you could watch the live sewalong I did for FibreMood on their Instagram – It had only recently arrived and I’d had just a couple of hours to practice on it the day before, so I was finding my way around as I went along! Anyway, more on that another time, back to the jacket…
Once I’d stitched the pockets on, I took the executive decision to omit the flaps. There were two good reasons for this; one, that the binding was a bit overwhelming on them, and two that it was the first binding I had done and thus not exactly,,, erm… consistent. Don’t worry about them though, they won’t go to waste. You’ll see them again later on…
Now, I had to completely change the zip insertion method. The pattern has a nice little folding system that conceals the zip tape and adds a sort-of placket at the same time. I was actually looking forward to trying that out but it wasn’t to be. The thickness of my fabric just wouldn’t allow it. So although it wasn’t exactly difficult to work out and attach, it did take quite a lot of concentration to keep everything in the right orientation as I put it together. I wanted the binding on the opening edge with the zip behind it, all held in place with only one row of stitching showing from the front. Here’s a little sketch of what I was after…
First I cut the binding to size and with the right sides facing I line up the long edge of the zip tape to the edge of the binding. I stitch down the centre of the tape.
On the wrong side of the binding I chalk in the centre line, along the length. Then I pin the wrong side of the binding to the inside of the centre fronts, using the chalk line to match up with the centre front raw edges. It was really important to pay attention here to keep the zip orientation right.
I sewed it from the inside with the zip facing up, using the zipper foot this seemed the easiest way to sew neatly near the zipper teeth and the edge. To finish off I just had to fold the binding to the right side and edgestitch it in place. This would be the most noticeable bit of stitching so it was important to get it neat. I slipped off the edge on one side and ended up unpicking the whole thing and starting again with a fresh piece of binding. It was a chore, but worth it.
In the end I’m really happy with how the zip went in, the binding meets up nicely and while it may not be the most perfect stitching, in my defence I did only have a finite amount of binding!
By cutting out most of the pieces individually (and omitting most of the seam allowances and facings) I managed to get this jacket made out of 2m of fabric – just a small strip leftover … and of course those pocket flaps! Well, I couldn’t help myself, I made Eloise a matching windbreaker from the leftovers and used two of the pocket flaps to decorate it. It was a cold but sunny morning as we took our weekly stroll to the nearby Covent Garden Antiques Market and MrA grabbed a couple of snaps for us among the planters and Christmas trees…!
I didn’t use any of the faux leather binding on her version – it doesn’t like to be sewn around curves – instead I used a polyester webbing around the main edge where the curves are less acute, and cotton bias around the arms where the curve is tighter.
The front does up with velcro, the buttons (like the pocket flaps) are just for decoration. I know that faux buttons are frowned upon in garment sewing… but I don’t think it really matters for dogs…?
I’m really happy with how my Veste le Citadin turned out. Even though the fabric was thick and presented a few challenges, it took the sleeve easing well and I’m really pleased with how those went in. The pattern itself is a really comfortable fit and I’ll look forward to making it properly one day… maybe my regular-corduroy/wax-print-lining version will appear one day – with all those pockets it also lends it’s self to a safari-style… now I’m confident with 3D pockets I should give that a go!
Until next time,
Notes to self:
- Check your fabric’s suitability for the pattern before buying it.
- Consider making Eloise’s version first next time to get a ‘hand’ for the fabric…?
- Only do the above if you know you have enough fabric for the main project!
- I broke a few needles on this project (#80, #90, jeans needle, leather needle – the ‘last man standing’ was the Topstitch needle.