Introduction to the Sew Along (My Why)
There are a number of advanced level sew-alongs for this kind of jacket (search terms include – Tweed, Boucle, Cardigan, Classic, Chanel, Traditional, Structured, Little Black, et al.).
They are typically hosted by advanced and couture level sewists, many of whom have been to formal training or have taken courses such as Susan Khalje’s The Classic French Jacket.
I always felt that these sew-alongs were too advanced for my level of knowledge and going to one of the couture classes is just not in my budget. Plus, it’s hard for me to read and read, and read what to do next.
So when Craftsy offered the Iconic Tweed Jacket class and I immediately signed up. I figured I could take the class on my own, within budget, and the benefits of the video instruction.
The first thing I did after my purchase and receipt of the pattern was run out and buy fabric. It is beautiful and a bit pricey. As an intermediate sewist, the result was that the expense of the fabric paralyzed me. I was afraid of making a mistake.
I have been sewing for some time but my garment sewing is still evolving. So, in order to prepare for cutting that beautiful fabric, I decided to buy a very economical fabric and give it a trial run. A little over a year later, I ended up doing two economic trial runs.
My first jacket was made with a group of other sewists and was guided by an instructor. I bought all of my fabric and supplies locally and while I had the Craftsy class, I didn’t really watch it very closely since I had a real person helping me through the construction.
Even though my test garment or toile fit, my final jacket was a wee bit tight through the back, shoulders, and sleeves. The jacket is wearable but not what I consider to be comfortable.
If you look closely at this first jacket, you will see that the pattern in the fabric does not match up.
There were two factors that caused my issues. First was that I cut the first half of my jacket in the room where the class took place. I cut the second half in my sewing room which has very different lighting. I believe that in my sewing room, I simply didn’t “see” the proper lines and just assumed I had chosen the right lines.
The second factor was that the pattern in this fabric is actually fairly complex. I think that because of my inexperience, I just grabbed onto the first line that appeared to be correct and didn’t really study the lines too closely. I never even noticed my mistake until I had assembled the body of the jacket.
Fortunately, from a distance, and to the untrained (or unaware) eye, the jacket is still perfectly fine to wear out in public. As long as I don’t do anything but stand, that is, lest I rip out a seam.
Still fearing cutting into my fabulous fabric, I decided to make a second trial run. Once again, I purchased very economical fabrics and trims locally.
Before starting the jacket, I made adjustments to my original toile so that it would fit better. These adjustments I made based on advice from my sewing mentor.
The resulting jacket fits so I do not think I need to make any further pattern adjustments. I did make several mistakes that, once again, didn’t really appear until after the body of the jacket was sewn together.
If you look at the back view, you will see that there is a darker horizontal stripe that travels through the jacket. This actually looks okay – or at least I matched the pattern from piece to piece better than on the first jacket. What I failed to see when I was working with the fabric was that the weft threads are a variegated sort of weave. So what is pink in one panel is green in the adjoining panel. The result, if you are really looking at it, makes you think I didn’t get my pattern matched too well.
This isn’t such a big deal but it taught me that I need to really look at my fabric prior to purchasing it (for my 4th jacket).
My other mistake is in the lining. I’ll save that photo for a post later on when it’s a little closer to that portion of the project. I wear this jacket and like the way it fits (and as long as I don’t take it off, no one is the wiser about my lining mistake).
I followed the Craftsy course closely for my second jacket and found the class to be good but it also presented challenges for my level. Not because the sewing itself is challenging mind you, but because (I believe) that since the class is an “Advanced” level class, there are some assumptions the instructor can make about the knowledge of her students. Therefore, I felt some of the things the instructor did were not in my best interest – because I simply did not know better.
My goal with this sew-along, is to go through the class and discuss some of the areas that are not as obvious to an Intermediate sewer to help point out a few of the pitfalls before you fall into them like I did.
What I Learned
1: Fitting is the most critical, and difficult, part of this class.
2: Pattern matching is critical and can be challenging depending on your fabric.
3: The most difficult part of the lining is the sleeves.
4: The hand sewing isn’t as tedious or difficult as you might think.
If you really want to succeed with this project, it is helpful to watch the class and do a little research BEFORE starting the project.
Craftsy Class Sew Along Overview
The class consists of an Introduction and 9 lessons. My plan is to post every week or so following along with the class. My posts will consist of my progress, photographs, and some discussion about what worked and what didn’t and information that will be helpful for the upcoming lesson. The schedule looks like this:
Lesson 1 – Introduction
Lesson 2 – Fitting
Lesson 3 – Materials
Lesson 4 – Cutting
Lesson 5 – Getting Started with Sewing
Lesson 6 – Quilting the Jacket
Lesson 7 – Constructing the Jacket
Lesson 8 – Installing the Sleeve
Lesson 9 – Pockets
Lesson 10 – Finishing
Advanced? Yes and No. If you are an Intermediate sewer I would highly encourage you to take the class – and of course, follow along with this blog.
The picture below is a link to the class. Please note that I am a Craftsy Affiliate. This simply means that if you click this link, you will go to Craftsy. If, while you are there, you decide to purchase the class, I will receive an itty bitty bit of dinero. If you do purchase through my link – Thank you very much!
My next post will start with Lesson 1 – Introduction. I will discuss preparing for the class and will include some additional resources that may be helpful.
Before then, if you are considering joining me but need a wee bit of eye-candy to entice you. Go check out my Pinterest Board.
If you sign up, please let me know. I would love to share this experience with you.
Thanks for reading! V