Toil(e)ing Away

Sorry about the title, it came to me while I was cleaning my teeth and just wouldn’t go away!

Having said in a previous post that I rarely buy magazines I then remembered I had bought another one a while back, tempted by three free Simplicity patterns.

One of them was this jacket which I thought would be a good starter pattern as I’ve never made a jacket before and I am somehow more nervous of starting the Morris blazer now that I’ve read through the sew-along with Grainline than I was before!


There are two versions of the jacket, one plain and the other made up of several separate bands on the front and back to create a striped effect. I think you can guess which option I went for, the likelihood of me managing to get all the stripes to match up across the front was just too remote. The version I picked just has one band along the bottom of the jacket and the sleeve. I particularly like this design because I have short arms and these bracelet length sleeves are just normal length on me!

I decided on this occasion to make a toile to get a really good fit. The pattern goes up to a size 14  and I thought the model on the packet looked a bit ‘trussed up’.  That wasn’t a look I wanted so I cut the largest size so I could work down from that.

Everything went together very easily. I don’t recall ever having set in a sleeve before and as this was just to establish the right fit I didn’t go to town on easing them in particularly carefully.  The toile certainly doesn’t bear close inspection but I got the general idea and I’ve now watched a tutorial on YouTube (I know, I should have watched that first!).

I really like the sleeve and hem bands and there is an opportunity here for some colour blocking or fabric combinations.

The jacket is lined in the main fabric, turned through the armhole and then the lined sleeves are then inserted. That sounds really straightforward when you type it but I’ve yet to decipher the instructions and I think I’ll need more than an on-line tutorial to get me through the real thing.  I may need one of you to come round to my house to help.

Back to fit. A size 14 is too big! I don’t know why I thought it would be OK because I’ve only just made up a Cynthia Rowley design and there is more than enough room in the size 10.

Jane's VersionTo make sure I could judge the front opening of the jacket I sewed under a ⅝ hem and the front overlaps quite a bit which it isn’t supposed to, although I’m not planning to include the hook and eye fastening at the front as I would never do it up.  The shoulders are also a touch too wide (although they do appear quite wide in the pattern photo).   I’m going to go for a 12 so that there is still room to move.  I think I will take the sleeves in slightly as the part that comes close to my wrist is really designed to be located around the forearm so is a bit too flappy.  As I’m always getting caught up on door handles it would be advisable to reduce that flappiness.

I was then on a toile roll so decided to trace off the tulip skirt pattern previously mentioned which was free with Simply Sewing Magazine. I did this in a bit of a rush and the pieces got a bit messy with Sharpie ink smudges all over. After I’d cut them out I got rather confused with the front pattern piece which is so much wider at the top than the bottom because of the large pleats to create the tulip shape. I’m not entirely convinced about this shape for me but hopefully the toile will decide me one way or the other.

Yes, I’ve spotted the fly which landed on the table just as I was taking this photograph! Our conservatory is an insect graveyard at this time of year due to the oven-like temperatures reached during the day. Pattern cutting activities have to be restricted to very first thing in the morning or later in the evening to avoid heatstroke.

I hope I’m not the only one to find it almost impossible to trace off the right lines in circumstances like the one on the right above!

Fabric shopping tomorrow as I’m sure I don’t have anything suitable for either of these garments …….