Thursday, February 21, 2008
Vogue 2987 Anne Klein ultra-suede jacket
Whew!! I have finally finished the ultra-suede jacket I started in September. What an ordeal. I worked on it a lot, first at the Sandra Betzina week-long sewing camp and then during the week that followed at home. At that point I hated it and put it aside to sew Halloween costume for bambino and something else quick. Then it was off on several long trips, chaos, Christmas and another trip. Finally this week I picked it up again and just about decided to give up on it. Thanks to my friends Kelly and Barbara who were here, saw it and encouraged me to continue. They had several helpful ideas. Kelly suggested I use heat and steam to unglue the fused together seams that I needed to alter. That worked. And Barbara suggested I leave off the buttons and buttonholes as it looked best open. With these suggestions I moved ahead and mostly solved the problems. I'm still not crazy about this but I'll wear it.
What were all the problems? First, the only fabric suggested to use is Ultra-suede. I have made 2 or 3 Ultra-suede jackets in the past with no problems. This pattern was just not designed well for this fabric. The biggest problem is the sleeve cap. Way too high with too much easing needed. After several attempts to set the sleeve in, Sandra helped me and couldn't do it either. We decided to cut almost 2 inches off the top of the sleeve cap. Then using lambs wool to help, set in the sleeves. They are still not pucker free but much better. Other big problem, no interfacing. Now this might be okay if you use the heavy Ultra-suede but imagine how impossible the sleeves would be then. I used the light weight suede called Facile. I had the collar all finished before realizing it was never going to look good. I had to go back in and add the interfacing after having trimmed seams and all. What a pain.
The seams all looked awful and there are a lot of seams. So I decided to fuse them down with "steam-a-seam". That helped a lot by smoothing and reducing puckering. Unfortunately, I couldn't tell until the lining and facing at the bottom hem was added that the back stuck out hideously, like a peplum but ugly. That is when I decided to take in the back seams at the lower back. I never knew fusing to hold so well! At that point I gave up until Kelly suggested reheating the areas. Doing this I was able to open the seams and do the necessary ripping and alterations.
After getting things back together again I decided that the hand tacking that the pattern suggests as the method to hold the collar together was never going to look good. So I stitched in the ditch at the collar to hold it crisply. Understitching as suggested didn't help the facing from rolling out and all the outer edges looked bad. So I added topstitching all around. The lower back facing was to be stitched only to the lining. Well of course it hung and sagged. So I stitched in the ditch at the back waist seam there also.
I had cut out the sleeves as per the pattern with the buttoned vents. By the time I got to that point I was mad at the jacket and didn't want to go to that trouble. Then I decided to leave off the buttons on the front and it made sense to not have buttons on the sleeves. I just stitched the sleeve together and cut off the vent extension.
I can't remember ever having a pattern that I needed to change so many things just to make it work.