Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sewing Mojo Killed by Beast and Revived by Ralph Lauren jacket

(*UPDATE
I've gone back in yet again and taken in more of the lower sleeve armhole front and back to reduce the excess that still wasn't working. I think it's ready to leave the house now, just as the Indian summer departs and the snowblower man returns the machine from servicing.)

The 'beast' was the Roman Holiday Burda skirt that I have tussled with since last year. I finally finished it, but it is heavy to the point of unwieldy. Maybe Karen Blixen would wear it on safari, but if a lion tried to get at her, it would have to first chew through ten tons of cotton.

This is the rare occasion when I finished a project merely as a point of pride, and now own a garment that I will probably never wear. I could wear it with boots if it were in a winter fabric, but it's a heavy cotton that overwhelms the bare legs of summer. I underlined it in a heavy cotton and it weighs a ton, so all in all, a wash-out that killed my sewing mojo.

Which is a shame, since my son brought back some lovely baby blue crepe de chine from Hong Kong for a blouse I would like to make and my daughter brought me a 1980's Ralph Lauren tweed jacket she picked up in a vintage shop in London that sat around for months waiting for the skirt to make way.

Finally, I tackled the jacket, hoping to turn this, with its enormous shoulders, relatively high lapel fold and boxy cut:



into something closer to this 2013 iteration from Ralph, (minus the cutaway effect, which asks too much of my zipper and tummy area.)



Once I had opened up the jacket through the center lining seam, I realized that someone had been here before me, and that they'd made an amateurish job of hand-stitching into the shoulders after removing the gigantic pads we all wore back in the late 80's.

It took an afternoon of basting, pressing and testing,


and although it's not a perfect job,  the jacket is once again securely stitched at the shoulders and certainly a fine addition to my wardrobe for the autumn weekends walks in the pasture land above our farmhouse.
Lowering the lapel fold loses one buttonhole which I'll handstitch closed and disguise with an Annie Hall brooch or scarf/pashmina.
 I might still go back inside and try to reduce the armhole around the lower sleeve but for now, I think its a big improvement. (I hesitated  to cut down the armholes all the way around, as there simply is no way with a seam margin of only 10 cm on a size 14 to get it down to a size 12 under the arm without some tension in movement)

 I don't know what my daughter spent in the London vintage shop, but I'm sure it was less than Ralph is asking for the 2013 edition above.

5 comments:

  1. Oh My! What were we all thinking in the 80's? You have done a beautiful job..of teaching your children to bring you sewing gifts..and the jacket, which I would love to see modeled by you.

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  2. Glad you're back! Sorry the skirt didn't work out. Would like to see the jacket being modelled, I bet it looks great.

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  3. Oh man, I would so much rather start from scratch than try to alter anything, much less a tailored jacket! Your mojo really is strong. And you now have a totally fabulous piece for Fall, which is both current and about which you can say, "It's vintage" all nonchalantly (nobody has to know *what* vintage).

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  4. Oh man, I would so much rather start from scratch than try to alter anything, much less a tailored jacket! Your mojo really is strong. And you now have a totally fabulous piece for Fall, which is both current and about which you can say, "It's vintage" all nonchalantly (nobody has to know *what* vintage).

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  5. Totally off topic, but, in preparation for making a safari jacket, I just went through your safari series again. I wanted to say what a fantastic reference those posts are. I hope the safari police don't issue a warrant for me, but I am making mine in brick red cotton twill. Very glad to hear your sewing mojo has returned!

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