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Sewing is therapy for me. I hoard fabric, patterns, notions, and spend more time shopping for fabric than I care to admit...

Friday, January 3, 2014

Silhouette Samantha's Double Zipper Collar Jacket

I finally made up this jacket pattern I have been eying for quite some time.  I recently had my interest sparked with it when I saw it on a sew-a-long that won!  I simply HAD to create one of my own!  I will tell you however before I start, that while I love the unique design, I had quite a few issues with the instructions which I'll detail below.



There is not a description from the back of the envelope, but here is how I describe it.
Ladies' lined, hip-length jacket with double collar with working zipper embellishments.  Two-piece shaped sleeves are set in with 1" shoulder pads.    

Sizing: this pattern is unique in that you base your pattern size on finished garment measurements.  I made a size 5.  You measure a garment you like the fit of and use that for your pattern measurement.  It actually makes a lot of sense, but caused me some anxiety as I decided to just cut it out and try it!  

Fabric Used: A home dec fabric from my stash.  I really love it.  It handles like dens100% cotton.  It is a burgundy-purple with a shade or two lighter marks along with gray markings.  Lining matched.  Fabric was purchased at Mill End Textiles in Sioux Falls a few years ago with the plan to create a jacket, not curtains or pillows. 

Did it look like the pattern envelope? 
Yes, sans sleeves it did/does.  At least I think so!

What did I like/dislike about the pattern?
Styling.  I mean, the double zippered collar is really unique a cool.  I found it interesting and challenging at the same time.  This definitely fits in with one of my sewing goals for the year of trying some more difficult patterns to stretch my sewing skills.  And, just so you know, this wasn't all that difficult, but does take some precision and thinking ahead before you sew. 
Cup sizes.  This is a nice feature.  After you pick your size, you next pick your cup size.  No need for FBAs! 

Here is where I had some issues.  I hate to sound so negative before I even start, but I really want to be honest about my thoughts on this pattern.
1.  There was no ease allowed in the lining pieces so I cut the piece on the fold and added about 1/2".  I've used patterns that don't allow for any ease with the lining and it ended up ripping!  I don't want to make that mistake again!
2.  I added interfacing on the main fabric where the welt pockets are stitched.  The pattern doesn't call for any, but I felt like that is a very necessary step.
3.  At first, I reduced the sleeve seam to accommodate a 1/4" shoulder pad rather than 1".  I remember wearing those in the early 90's.  It wasn't a good look then and for heaven's sake has no need to be resurrected.  At the end you can see I decided to completely eliminate the sleeve.  More on that below.
4.  There seem to be a lack of markings on the pattern tissue.  You are supposed to sew the 'other side' of the separating zipper to the jacket as shown between the center back and the bottom edge of the front collar.  There isn't a mark there at all to indicate where that is.  It makes it very difficult to figure out what is meant simply because the pattern directions seem to show the zipper stopping much higher than the photograph on the pattern envelope.
5.  The manner in which the lining and jacket hem are constructed leave very little to be desired.  I had to fiddle with the length of the jacket hem quite a bit in order to have it bag slightly as it met the upper edge of the hem.  In my opinion, the length of the lining needs increased otherwise there isn't enough fabric to have the edges meet let alone bag slightly.
6.  The finish for the zipper by stuffing into the opening and top-stitching is a little reckless.  Since I like the inside and outside of my garments to equally look nice, I can't imagine getting them both perfectly straight without hand basting.  I decided to put the zipper in differently.  See below.   
7.  I am not sure I love how the end of the collar zippers end and the front zipper starts.  I removed the excess teeth with pliers and then folded the zipper tape to the inside and slid and stitched it under the seam allowance.  I think there might be a better way but I fiddled with it so many times that I simply had to move on to something else before I cut the entire thing up into little tiny pieces. 

1.  My usual 1/2" swayback adjustment. 
2.  I left off the sleeves.  The amount of ease on the sleeve cap was hideous and I didn't want to deal with it.  I like the sleeves left off and bias bands applied on the outside.  I cut the bands on the bias 1.5" wide, sewed them on one side only, made a double fold and turned the bands inside.  I slip-stitched the bands to the lining. 
3.  I used three 24" zippers rather than 2-24" and 1-16".  I found an excellent tutorial on shortening a metal zipper.  Here is the link: http://liamsolomonsmummy.blogspot.com/2012/04/you-can-shorten-metal-zipper.html
4.  I mentioned earlier that the shoulder pad height was silly so I only modified the sleeve seam at the armhole and tapered it to match the neckline as in the pattern.  The total amount I took in the seam line was 5/8 inch. 
5.  Hemline--this was tricky as by this time I felt like I had already spent way too much time on this little vest.  The lining hem is about 1.5" shorter than the jacket itself yet from what I can tell the hem is only about 5/8".  Naturally the lining hem is going to be too short.  I ended up letting out the hem of the lining about 1/4 inch and then slip stitching it to the top of the jacket hem.  There is very little, if any, bagging at all. 
6.  Before I hemmed everything, I basted the zipper to the jacket fabric.  Next, I sandwiched the front zipper between the fabric and facing and stitched over the basting line with a zipper foot.  It gave me the clean finish I was looking for.  It also eliminated hand sewing.

Make a muslin if you really want to make this pattern.  I think the welt pockets are too high, but that is just my personal preference. 
Think about what finishes you like in your garment before you make this.  I like using interfacing before attaching welt pockets and stay stitching necklines so they don't stretch out of shape.  The instructions don't state any of these things. 
Mark where you want your zippers to end prior to stitching.  I thought I had missed transferring the mark of where the collar zipper ended rather than finding out later it just doesn't exist.
But your zippers on sale before creating this.  I spent more on the zippers than the fabric and lining (both of which were on sale).

I'm not sure what else to say about this.  DH likes it a lot and I'm sure I'll wear it a few times.  I am not just completely in love with it like I had hoped to be.    If I ever make this again, I'll have to make a more significant sway back adjustment.  The usual 1/2" didn't cut it. 

Thanks for reading!
Sue :) 

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