4 October 2010

Getting started on The Betty Draper Suit

Thanks for all your suggestions for fabrics for this suit. I ordered a few swatches, including a wool crepe which I very nearly bought. However, this weekend I practised sewing scallops on both the wool crepe swatch and a leftover scrap of gabardine from another project. Contrary to my expectations, the gabardine consented, turning out beautifully crisp and defined scallops, while the wool crepe went rogue! Something to do with the way of the weft or the woof (the what?) perhaps (no, I don't know what I'm talking about), but it did not like small curved stitching or being manipulated into curves with seams inside.

Bad wool crepe scallop! Good gabardine scallop!

More importantly, I find the texture of wool crepe a bit creepy. When the swatch first arrived I think I convinced myself I liked it because I wanted to branch out into unknown fabric territory to expand my repertoire, but to be honest I have to admit that I just don't really like it that much. Plus it's dry clean only - which is only worth the cost and the effort for a fabric you really love!. So today I went and bought some red wine-coloured gabardine (a nice beaujolais, if you will). A wearable muslin - potentially the real thing if it turns out nicely, but if I'm not satisfied I'll give some kind of wool another go. I've got enough new techniques to learn in the meantime, including scalloping, lining, bound buttonholes, and I might even try making some little shoulder pads...

While I was thinking about all this, I traced the fragile pattern onto Swedish tracing paper to make up a muslin. The muslin alerted me to a few fitting issues. I adjusted the side seams so that they were half an inch smaller at the bust, ascending to one inch wider at the hips (I avoided the temptation to take the sides in too much - I want to leave room for winter knits under the jacket). As usual I needed to accentuate the back darts to account for the arch in the small of my back. I also moved the shoulder seam lines to fit my small frame.

That's the new shoulder seam line scrawled messily in blue

Right, next job is to find instructions on lining the jacket (or maybe interlining it as The Wilted Magnolia suggested) - there's no lining in the pattern and I haven't lined anything before. Any leads on reading matter appreciated!

[Soundtrack: 'Peg' by Steely Dan]