And just like that, summer is over.

Okay, now, I understand that anybody living in a less temperate climate will laugh at me. We’ve hit 26C today, after all, and in most places I’ve lived before that’s considered a scorcher.

There is, however, no denying the fact that I’ve felt the need for an outer layer in the morning for the last couple of weeks. Which revealed a gaping hole in my wardrobe. One that has been lamented many times before, I’ll admit – the elusive transitional jacket.

Rigel bomber
Rigel bomber. If you look closely, you can see the wonky front, but I can live with it.

I still want to make that Alabama Chanin coat I spoke about many moons ago, and I’ve even bought the second book which has a coat pattern. There’s just that little issue with all that hand sewing … while the theory appeals to me, the actual activity not so much.

Which I was painfully reminded of last night, when I sat hunched over my sewing table, slip stitching the jacket lining in place. I tried very hard to get a good photo of my finger (yeah, I *probably* have a thimble somewhere …) after I was done but failed. Let’s suffice to say … raw.

Rigel bomber lining
Yes, I totally hand stitched the lining to the hem band. And to the sleeve bands. I may have to invest in a thimble if I ever plan to do this again.*

I’ve had this pattern for ages. I meant to make it earlier in the year for spring. At that time, however, my sewing mojo was vacationing in the Caribbean (or some such) and not much was happening on my sewing table. And as it goes down here, spring lasted 3 days and then suddenly the need for a jacket vanished.

It’s a cute little pattern, and I won’t lament the lack of lining pattern pieces or instructions. Like many other sewers, I am a bit disappointed by that, but there are a ton of tuts out there to help you out if you want a lining – and I clearly did.

I spent no more than half a Sunday making the jacket, and as an added bonus, all my fabrics and notions came from my stash. Admittedly, I’d bought the zipper and ribbing specifically for making the Rigel bomber, but that was aaaaages ago and hence doesn’t count. Or does it?

Both the shell and lining were gifts from my friend Steph, who has immaculate taste. The shell has a gorgeous eggplant colour, and feels like mostly wool. It’s a rather loose weave, and hence ravelled like a motherf***er. Which nearly drove me bonkers, but since I could just hide the mess in the lining, I’m over it.

Rigel welt pockets
Rigel welt pockets

The pockets turned our quite neat, if I say so myself, in no small way aided by using some of the more expensive fusible interfacing I bought ages ago (and have since forgotten where I ordered it … meh. I need a sewing diary).

The photo above also nicely shows the texture of the fabric.

Overall, the fit is great, although I probably could have gone a size up as I could use a tad more room in the shoulders and the sleeves are ever so slightly on the short side (take that with a grain of salt, as I like my sleeves long). The pattern went together well, and between the instructions and help from the interwebs on how to add the lining, this was a rather relaxing and satisfying project.

*That has now been remedied. I bought a new one.

Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: finished

This post was in the making for a while, mainly because my camera has been super uncooperative, and won’t give me any good photos at all 😦 In the interest of science (so to speak), though, I’ll give you what I have. Please do accept my apologies for the appalling quality of the shots – these are the best out of several dozens I took. I kid you not.

After all of the fiddling with the muslin, the final finish of the jacket went pretty smooth.

The arms fit a lot better:

P45 arm detail

The back turned out pretty good:

P45 back


P45 front tension wrinkles

It’s alright as long as I keep my mitts out of the pockets, but as you can see, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the tension on the right front panel (left in the photo). I suspect that the lining is a tad too short (which would make sense, as this side of the jacket is also a teensy bit longer than the other side) and that causes those weird wrinkles.

Clearly the way forward is to take it apart and sew the lining back in, shortening the outer roughly an inch, and hope that will solve the issue.

Which is a bit painful, as this was my first hand-picked bias finished seam:

Hand picked bias hem finish

On the other hand, it also means that unpicking it will be a lot less painful 😀

Overall, a good pattern with a few quirks – I still can’t get over the fact that it turned into a short-ish coat despite the fact that I cut the jacket length (according to the pattern). And the armscye/sleeve cap mismatch … but I learned a few things, and I totally came away with a wearable fall/spring jacket. A quick test run seems to indicate I still need a proper winter jacket, but that’s for another post 😀

Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: the beginning

This was supposed to be the muslin of the “real” jacket I want to make. By now, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that this needs to turn out wearable, and if it does, the way I imagine, it should be The Jacket.

Because I kinda fell in love with the gabardine, which sat pretty unloved in my stash for about a year. If memory serves, I bought it to make something I could wear for work interviews, and worst case scenario, later on to work (in my line of work, the dress code is usually casual, sometimes business casual).

When I finally got started today, I smartly decided to sew up the lining first, in the hopes that I could discover and ideally fix any major fitting issues right away.

And what a good choice that was! It turned out the the sleeve caps were far too high, and didn’t fit the armscyes at all. I sewed in one with some on-the-fly easing, and gathered the other – both looked abysmal. Also, the shoulders drooped a tad too low, and of course, I needed a square shoulder adjustment.

Now, on the lining, I’m not going to be picky. But the armscyes were a tad too tight, and that doesn’t bode well for a jacket you might want to layer over a cardigan.

So I rather unorthodoxly cut one of the sleeves out, hence widening the armscye by a tad less than an inch, and hacked off about 3 inches from the sleeve cap. The sleeve now fit like a dream.

A tad fuzzy, but you can see that one shoulder fits much better than the other, non?

Hence I repeated the procedure on the second sleeve, and now it’s mostly great, except for the gaping on the shoulder seams closest to the neck. I left that, as I assume I can fudge it when I put the lining in and nobody is going to see it.

If you look closely, you can see the gaposis on my shoulders.

I then proceeded to transfer my changes onto the paper pattern (I had held off on cutting the outer fabric to see the fit of my lining first).

My camera was playing tricks on me 😀 Also, no make up – oh, the horror!

What I did:

  • lower the top of the sleeve cap
  • take in the shoulder seam  ~ 1 inch
  • add ~ 1inch on top of the armscye (square shoulders)
So, I was to lazy to draw a new pattern. I used sello tape. Go ahead, judge me … 😛

Then I proceeded to cut my out fabric. Tomorrow I’ll start putting it together, and we’ll see if my changes were successful.

Lowered the sleeve cap

I do feel a tad nervous, as my slap-dash approach made it a bit hard to know exactly how much change was needed, and I’m not entirely sure the sleeves still fit the armscye (I did measure them about 5 times, and those numbers say they should).

Wish me luck!

PS. Sorry that some of you saw an unfinished draft of this! Clearly, I sometimes have trouble clicking the right buttons … 😦

Preparing to get started

After some fairly excessive lamenting in my last post, a lovely commenter put her finger on the spot: stop whinging and get on with it (not that she used those words!).

So today, I pulled the fabrics I had in mind for the muslin out of my stash. Surprise no.1: what I remembered being some light woolen fabric turned out to be (I think) gabardine.

Grey Gabardine
Grey Gabardine

Now, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s very possible this is the perfect fabric for the fall/spring (and most times in winter when it’s neither pissing down nor storming) jacket I’ve been missing forever (okay, since I gave the last one to charity).

The irony of me raving about the last Burberry collection and now discovering that the fabric I’m going to use apparently was invented by Mr. Thomas Burberry is not lost on me.

Also in my possession: a rather huge length of black flannelette.

Black Flannelette
Black Flannelette

Together, those two should make a fairly cozy jacket that can put up with some wind and rain and the roughly 13C that seem to be the yearly middle over here. (And by that, I mean the temperature deviates roughly 5C up or down … )

The flannel was prewashed, but the gabardine was not. It’s now drying 🙂

So I used the time to prepare my pattern. To my delight, all of the pattern pieces are present, if slightly discoloured.

Pattern pieces
Pattern pieces

As you can see, the pattern is uncut – yay!

The instructions are a bit on the short side, but I think I can make it work, since there are no great challenges and the pattern appears fairly straightforward.

Instructions in their entirety
Instructions in their entirety

One thing I’m not sure about are the mock pocket flaps, which are created by folding part of the pocket over, and topstitching it in such a way that the opening for the pocket is behind them, not underneath. Does that make sense at all??

Anyway, I’m wondering if I want to change them to proper flaps. I’m reasonably sure I want to add an inside pocket, maybe with a zipper. I like to have a pocket I can zip up for keys, and cards, and other things you don’t want to lose .

While reading through the information in the leaflet, I noticed the following:

Technique Cards?
Technique Cards?

I have had a hard time finding anything useful on the internet about it – does any of you vintage educated folks have more information? The pattern states it’s from “Silver needles” – I’m beginning to wonder if that was a magazine, like today’s “build your own Frigate in 30 steps”, only for sewing? I’m dying to find out more!

Do we call the Seventies vintage?

After going on about the impracticability of vintage dresses in my last post, today I’d like to present to you – vintage patterns!

Or I think they are, anyways?

70ies patterns

Do the Seventies already qualify as vintage? I guess so – but then, I’ve heard anything from 20 to a minimum of 50 years of age as the dividing line. Either way, these patterns are copyrighted from 1972, which means my mom could have worn them when I was a wee little one.

I scored them on ebay, for 99p each, so I snapped them all up. As far as I can see they’re unused and complete if a bit tattered around the edges.

Mostly I was looking for something in particular, and I got (I think), but since they were so … urm, reasonably … priced, I couldn’t resist to buy all of them.

One by one, we have:

Raglan Sleeve Top

I can see myself making this – raglan sleeves work well with my square shoulders, and this top has a little button in the neck to fasten it, so it works with wovens, and I’ve been looking to add a few woven tops to my wardrobe.

Ladies Wrapover Jacket

Maybe, maybe not … I’m not too keen on jackets without proper closure, as I’m always cold. I do like the cut with the huge collar somehow, tho …


The very day I find myself in need of a maxi night gown, I’m on it. Until then? Probably not.

Lady’s Raincoat/Jacket

This is the one that I had my eyes on. A coat with a zipper! I’m leaning towards the jacket right now, but can see the coat as a light summer coat maybe? Either way, I love the zipper. I might have to fudge with the pockets a bit, but then, my all time favorite winter jacket had very similar pockets, and I just loved them.

Construction details are a bit sparse:

Construction details

I think I should make a muslin.

Has anybody ever heard of a pattern company called Silver Needles, or even worked with one of their patterns and can give me tips? I searched the pattern review website, but there’s not a lot to find there about this company …