Friday, July 27, 2012

Fit issues

I recently bought a new sewing machine. New to me anyhow. It was made in 1957 and older than a lot of people I know, but for $20 including the cabinet- how could I refuse? I mean I only have 4 others at home already, but I needed the cabinet for one of them so it works, right? In the drawer of the cabinet was a few things of interest. One of them being a whole box of attachements. Including something I thought was a small shim or wedge of plastic. Mom said it was tailor's chalk. Hallelujah!

It came in very handy when I was pinning things on the jacket that needed to be cut down- like the sleeves, the chest where the side front and front meet and a few other things. Now I need to find more!  I used to use a bar of hand soap- it all washes away when you are done so same idea.

I removed the sleeves, turned the jacket body inside out and put it back on.  This way I would be making corrections, marks and pins on the 'inside' where nobody would see them when it is done. I pinned the front shut as if there were buttons on it doing their job.  I pinned the sides, bringing them in at the waist for a more contoured fit. I pinned the seam along the chest where the front and side front meet. I marked everything, pulled the pins and started ripping out all the work I had done putting it together- again. I am glad I found more than one spool of thread  in the same color before I started. I will probably need it!

I marked one side and fixed it, trying it on again before going any further. If it worked- great. If not, I can still change it, then do the other side the same way only doing it once instead. Here is the coat with the left side fixed and the right side still pinned. See the differences in how it fits and how it didn't before?

Doesn't the T-shirt complete the look?

The good news is- I will have to go back and make a lot of the same changes to the lining too. Doesn't that sound like fun? Hahahahaha Not!

While I had it all pinned, I sat on the edge of a chair to simulate driving. I moved, bent and straightened my arms, turned and twisted in my seat to be sure the jacket fit, looked good no matter what I was doing and most of all- would not be binding or constricting my movement no matter what. Who can relate to clothes that look good on the hanger or even on you, but you can't do anything in them? Getting older every day- I have no time or use for that crap.  I doubt anyone else does either!

After all of the changes were made to the body of the jacket I turned on to the sleeves. I had way too much fabric when sewing them on the first time around and had made two different pleats in the top as a way of seeing which way worked better and looked nicer. One more than the other, but really neither of them and since they had to come off- no big loss.  I had cut down the size of the sleeves and this left less to deal with in attaching them.

Here I have one sleeve pinned on the jacket- It's not perfect and I had to move carefully or get jabbed. But I wanted to get pics and see how it was coming together. I also didn't pin the front shut so I had to hold it.

The sleeves are that long on me... ^^^

My mom was always a person to 'pin baste' everything. Pin it, sew it, be done with it and move on. A lot of the directions say pin it, hand baste it (sew it with big loose stitches, sew it with the machine, then go back and remove your hand basting. It saves time, it saves thread and looks just as nice.  How you place your pins makes a difference too. If you place them the length of where you will be stitching, you have to pull them out as you sew. If you place them across where you are stitching, you can zip right over them then go back and pull them all out. Another time saver... lol

Word to the wise- Home Ec teachers in school want you to do what the directions say, not what mom does. This reflects on your grade. So does telling them- "This is how my Mom does it and her clothes don't look home made."

My mom also does a lot of thumb pressing instead of having an iron sitting out waiting for use...  I recently learned online- flat irons like you use on your hair- work just as well, no ironing board required. Did you see the one on the counter in the pics above? They work well for more than hair!

After snapping the pic's I pinned the other sleeve to the body and called it a night. I still have to work on the lining and get it caught up, then put it all together, hem the coat, hem the sleeves, find buttons and do button holes- for the first time in my life- add the collar and an accent piece and it is done! Then it is on to the hat and apron... The apron is easy enough, but the hat may be a challenge. At least there it still plenty of time for changes and corrections or altogether substitutions! I need to get started on it though. Depending on how it goes- I may enter the turnout class at the show in November.


  1. Looks like it is coming along well, but I gotta say! Holy crap it sounds like a lot of work!

  2. Looks good! You're very handy. And the flat iron tip. *handforehead* why didn't I think of that?! SO much easier. Thanks for the tip!

  3. I admire you for sewing a coat. That takes a lot of knowledge, skill and patience. I was also going to say what Mikey mentioned about the flat iron tip. I never thought of it, but it sure beats the hassle of trying to set up an ironing board somewhere, and then having to supervise the iron so that the dogs don't pull it down by the cord while running past. I donated most of the clothes I sewed that never fit me. I found one long tunic top that I forgot about in my closet and tried wearing it the other day, but the sleeveless shoulder fabric was sewn too tight and cut into my armpits. I could only stand wearing the top for a couple of hours and then had to change. I like the top, though, so I'm contemplating cutting the arm openings wider so I can get more use out of it.

  4. FV- the only real work is the repetitive crap of taking it apart and sewing it together, yet again for the 5th time that day. That gets annoying.

    Mikey- I know, right! When I read that I thought the same thing.

    NuzzMuzz- I have an iron and no board. I used to use a towel on the floor or the drafting table- where I cut stuff out, but the flat iron is soo much easier!