Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Finally, It's Finished

My leather jacket is finally finished. Am I happy with it?  With reservations.  

If you'll remember I used the center panels of one Burda with the side front, back and sleeves from a jacket I made a few years ago, that fit well btw.  I made two muslins for this and thought all of the fit issues had been resolved.  I still have sleeves that bind at the armscye. I scooped out the front armscye and lowered the underarm a bit.  I was afraid to do too much of this, so I left it. This is not the jacket that Kenneth King fit for me, but when I told him that my sleeves always bind at the front he added ease to the biceps.  I added ease to the biceps and it seemed to fit well in the muslin.  The only thing that I can think of is that I interlined the lining with cotton flannel for warmth and that that and the leather were took up too much of the ease I had added. Anyone with suggestions please chime in. I always have this problem with woven fabrics.  This is one of the reasons I signed up for the sleeves and collars class with Kenneth King. We are to draft sleeves and collars  for the slopers we created in his  moulage class. Hopefully, finally getting a sleeve that fits me.  Unfortunately the first class is this Saturday and it's canceled.  KK takes the subway to a bus to get to Queens.  The subways are not running and there's no date for their reopening. They will delay the three session class a week.  If they reschedule the last class on December 1st, I can make it, but if its on December 8th, we are going to be out of town.  We're going to spend Chanukah with our grandson Jake. My son's birthday is that Monday, so for the first time in years we'll be with him for his birthday.  He wanted to know if I was going to make him his favorite pie.  Well, naturally.

But back to the jacket. Other than that,  it fits pretty well and it has the extra warmth that I wanted. If this winter is as warm as last year I'll be able to wear it all winter.
I had 5 lamb leather skins from a Fabric Mart sale last year.  One more skin would have been better.  The skins were uneven in quality and for all this work I'd have loved having better quality and better matched skins.  Live and learn.  The two previous leather garments I made were from skins I picked in NYC and they were much nicer.  More money of course but a bargain is not always such a bargain.
The lining is a rayon acetate from Emmaonesock and the interlining is red cotton flannel from Joann's.  The zippers are my favorite Riri from Pacific Trimmings in NYC.  I love the two way zipper I used. It works better than any I've ever owned and I can unzip the bottom when I drive so the jacket doesn't get bunched up.  You can now order them to custom size on their finally working website.  

I used regular Gutterman polyester thread and a leather needle. I've heard conflicting information on whether to use a leather or a regular machine needle and I've done both. I thought I'd see how I like the leather needle and honestly, for thin skins I didn't see a difference. I did use a  size 14 leather needle in my Viking 6010 for topstitching since it did work better on multiple layers.  I have used black jeans topstitching thread on this machine for many layers of denim with perfect stitching but it shredded on the leather. I switched to some Gutterman nylon upholstery thread which worked perfectly.  I did have to tighten the tension, something I don't have to do on with other fabrics,even denim.

There are lots of tutorials around right now on sewing exposed zippers, including a very nice one the last issue of Threads magazine, but not one of them shows a good way to install an exposed zipper in a seam with the tape underneath.  Treina was nice enough to point me to Tany's blog for a great tutorial.  I had to adapt it for leather since you can't hand baste but glue and tape are a good substitute.  I used blue painters tape, mostly on the wrong side since it's low tack, easy to remove and if you take it off promptly doesn't leave residue.  

I made lots of samples for the pocket openings and found that just stitching around the opening and cutting and pressing it to the wrong side worked the best.  On fabric I'd use some bias silk organza for this but leather doesn't fray and the corners were clean. I edgestitched to hold the zipper in place.

This sample is sitting on my granite remnant and is the perfect place for pounding edges.  I also used both my wooden June Tailor board for the curved seams and my well used point presser clapper for pounding straight seams.  I used barge cement to hold seams that I didn't topstitch.

What would I change?
Other than the armscye sleeve fitting issues I wish that I'd fitted the princess seam under the bust a little bit more. It's a little too boxy; a closer fit would be more flattering.  I also am not happy with all the topstiching. I used the low gear on my Viking but it isn't perfectly even, which wouldn't bother me in the back, but the stitching on one lapel isn't the same distance from the edge as the matching one.  In fabric I'd have ripped it out. Obviously I didn't have that option.
While I've made a lot of jackets over the years, I don't make that many and my skills are rusty.  Before I make any other leather projects I need to up my skills  to be truly happy with the results.  

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Surviving Sandy

It seems that we survived Sandy far better than many others on Long Island.  The power never went out, we have internet, had cable, (it went out in the middle of the night) which I am sure we can survive, and the damage was minimal.  We were very lucky.
I wish everyone well and hope that the power returns more quickly than the power companies are predicting.  

Friday, October 19, 2012

You know how obsessed I am about fitting so when Craftsy announced a new class about pants fitting with Sandra Betzina and a pants construction class I was interested, but I didn't think that I'd learn enough to justify spending  the money. Then someone on PR announced and linked to a Giltcity deal on either one class for $18 or 3 classes for $40 I couldn't resist. I bought the two Betzina classes and one on dyeing fabric a subject I know very little about but I've been wanting to try.  

I've been watching the fitting classes over the last few days and I was right, I really haven't learned that much but if you are struggling with pants fitting I  highly recommend it.  She's a bit disorganized in a very familiar way. Her worktable looks almost as cluttered as mine gets when I am working on patterns.  But, she's very good.  She showed rtw pants on 4 (I think) different people with very different bodies and pointed out what was wrong with the pants in each case.  Then she shows you exactly how to alter for each case.  The class also comes with an oop pants pattern of hers, the princess seamed pant which she fits. The seaming is a real boon for fitting, since you can easily take out or add in both directions.  She will also show how to transfer all of the changes to a regular pants pattern.  I have actually made a couple of pairs of pants out of this pattern and it is one of the easier pants patterns to fit.
If you haven't taken any classes on Craftsy it's a great format. You can ask questions and get  prompt answers.  SB also suggests that you post pictures of any fitting issues you are having  and she'll give you advice on solving them.  That's an unexpected bonus.
I don't think that the Giltcity deal is still available but I get bombarded with emails all the time offering deals on classes so be patient and the class you want will probably be offered at a discount.  
No, I have not finished my leather jacket yet, but I am slowly getting to the end.  Something about this project has slowed me down.  More like paralysis but it's coming. I refuse to sew anything else until I get it done!  
Have a great weekend.