Oh boy, oh boy, am I in love with this make. Or should I say oh girl, oh girl ;)
Yes, I made a maternity jacket. With a little help from a friend. Actually, a lot of help.
See, I am convinced that pregnancy totally skews your view of what is socially acceptable for one person to do for another. When you are pregnant, you think that everyone should drop everything they are doing and assist in meeting your needs. It starts out innocently enough. First, people start opening doors for you, picking things up that you drop, offering you their seat, offering to carry your heavy load.... Then something happens. Maybe it's hormones. I've started believing that people should wait on me hand and foot. All the time. Poor J. He has no idea what he's in for the next three months.
Haha! Ok, not really. But I do feel like I totally took advantage of the lovely Tj of The Perfect Nose. On one of my first maternity posts a while back, The Perfect Nose very kindly offered to trace some maternity patterns for me. She linked to a couple of Burda and Patrones issues that she had. My first reaction was that the offer was super nice. But I wasn't going to actually request that she spend her precious sewing time tracing patterns for me. But then those crazy hormones kicked in.... mwahahaha...
I went to check out all the awesome maternity patterns she had on hand and was smitten with this jacket. So I happily sent an email back and asked her if she would mind tracing off the pattern for me. Um, there were only about eight billion pieces involved. (Man, I'm sorry Tj. I think I picked the most involved pattern available. Along with the gigantic wrap dress- which I will be making up later, don't you worry.)
There's no telling how much time was spent tracing patterns for me. She even added seam allowances. Seam allowances! It was such a treat to not have to trace off a Burda pattern. Nor add seam allowances, which I always seem to forget. I don't think I can gush enough and tell Tj how grateful I am. I am so tickled with how this turned out. I have worn it everyday this week and I'm sure I'll wear it nonstop until I deliver. And maybe even after.
Now to the pattern nitty gritty. I made a muslin. A straight up, real deal muslin. I rarely do that. I usually make up a pseudo-muslin out of some fabric that I really intend to wear. Or I do a lot of basting and fitting while I sew. But this time I made a muslin to check fit. And I'm glad I did because I made several changes. I lowered and widened the neckline, drafted a new collar, added an inch to the hem, nipped in the midriff and made substantial changes to the upper sleeve. The sleeves were slim and I tend to need more width for my bodacious biceps. I wanted the sleeves to be extra big so I could wear bulky things under this jacket. I added about an inch of width, possibly more. I did it on the muslin so I'm not sure of the exact amount. There are some fit issues with the sleeve and armscye. No doubt due to my alterations. But I have plenty of room to slip on this jacket over a sweater, which is nice.
Because I changed the neckline so much (and it was a yoke piece- not a traditional front and back bodice) I decided to draft a new collar. I was stymied trying to figure out how to alter the original collar to fit. I've also never sewn a collar that looked like this one before (see paper pieces above). I am, once again, so thankful I own Winifred Aldrich's Metric Pattern Cutting for Women's Wear. There is so much invaluable drafting info in this book. I whipped it out and had a new collar in no time. Although I included original seam allowances out of pure laziness. Sue me. I figured it's basically just a rectangle anyway. It worked just fine except it probably would have benefited from bit of slashing and spreading.
The sleeve vents are another story. I'm not ready to talk about them right now. Yes, my experience was that bad. I almost left them off during muslin stage, but decided they looked too cool not to include. I read many, many explanations and tutorials on the interwebs before sewing them. I am still confused. Sleeve vents are one of those things I'll attempt later on when my skills are better. For now, I'm avoiding them at all costs.
I'll even show you a picture of how sorry they look close up. I sewed them up the only logical way I could think off. I didn't mitre any corners. My brain couldn't handle it. I just turned up the hem and machine stitched it. Then I slip stitched the lining hem to the jacket sleeve by hand. Ick. It's not the way it should be done and it looks pretty sloppy. Luckily I don't ever see them while I'm wearing the jacket :) And can anyone tell me which way is the proper way a sleeve vent is supposed to go? Is it upper sleeve over lower sleeve, or vice versa? It's possible I did it backwards. I did upper sleeve vent over lower.
You can also see the fabric well in the above photo. I have no idea what it is. Some sort of suiting. I swore it had some wool in it when I bought it. But now I'm pretty sure it's all acrylic. It came from the stash so I won't complain too much. It drapes really well and is heavy. It's almost a cross between a woven and knit. The outside is the twill or corded weave you see in the photo. The inside reminds me of double knit. Yet it frayed like crazy. I top stitched all my seams to keep the fabric from fraying apart inside. It frays that bad. I top stitched the yoke piece in yellow just because. I like how it highlights the curved seam at the back. The fabric is also fuzzy. After wearing it for a week I've noticed little fur balls under my arms where the fabric rubs together. And I couldn't iron it without a press cloth. Shiny marks all over the place.
The original pattern called for the jacket to made from suede. Many of the instructions were specific to working with leather. So I scratched the instructions and made it up the way I thought it should be made up. I lined the jacket with flannel for warmth. But I used a slippery polyester lining fabric for the sleeves. It slips on and off so nicely. And I did the midriff band in the lining fabric, too, to reduce any extra bulk there. Below are the guts in all their glory. It's pretty wrinkly from all the wear in the photo. I left all the length on the sleeve lining. I probably should have shortened it but I wanted enough ease. I bound the hem in bias, turned it up once and hand stitched it. I stitched on all those snaps, too. I did tons of hand stitching. I searched high and low for the perfect yellow buttons and never found them. Instead I was drawn to the pale minty green ones I used for some reason.
All in all I really, truly love my new jacket. It fills a major void in my maternity wardrobe (ha! I have five outfits that I rotate) since my fleece jackets don't zip over my belly anymore. I know I will wear this everyday. I can't tell you how pleased I am that it buttons over my belly. Tj, I cannot thank you enough for your pattern tracing magic!!!
And just for fun-- The belly at 27 weeks. I feel good. She kicks me constantly now and I love it. But I'm expanding everywhere. Every part of my body. It's all worth it, of course. Can't believe she'll be here in three more months.