Patternmaking for the Second Chance Design Challenge
I have found that many of my designs have unanswered questions that I am eager to answer during the patternmaking stage of the challenge. I often wonder how my pattern manipulations will affect the fit and the look of the garment. But this unknown is part of why I love these challenges. This month I was curious how I would best construct the swirled side of the jacket.
My concerns were:
- How many layers would I need on the right side and what would I need to do to control bulk?
- The grey swirling lines could be created in different ways. Which way would give me the best result?
You might think a lot of these are construction issues that should be dealt with when I start sewing the garment. I prefer to sort out all these problems before I create my final garment as the solutions often affect the patternmaking you have already completed. And almost all of the fabrics used are from my collection, and I cannot, and do not want to, run out and buy some more. This is probably why I measure ten times and cut once.
Long before I started the patternmaking for the jacket I was worried that there would be too much bulk on the side of the jacket with the swirly lines. Should I use three layers of fabric on this side? The problem with this is that there would be that these three layers of fabric would them be sewn to another layer at the shoulder, armhole, and side seams. Four layers of a double-sided fabric would add a lot of bulk. Creating a garment with bulky seams can distort the fit, and make it uncomfortable to wear.
The front piece, on the right side, would be split into three pieces with underlaps for sewing the pieces together. Then the excess fabric cut away at the back and would be sewn down with the stitches that attach the applique. This method would reduce the bulk on the front and in the seams but would require more care when sewing the pieces together.
As the fabric is double sided originally I thought I use bias strips of the fabric to create the swirls on the jacket. I cut out bias strips and created a sample. The bias strips made of the two-sided jacket fabric did not stretch adequately enough around the curves to create a neat finish on the front edges of the jacket. Next, I created a sample using stretch binding tape on these decorative edges. This saw the fabric pucker around the edges. So then I was left with two choices for finishing the edges of the jacket, either applique the fabric edges or bind them with a woven bias tape. After trying each of these, I chose to applique strips of the wrong side of the fabric to the right side of the fabric. Although this was the method that I liked the least before I started, it ended up looking far better than the other choices.
I am happy with what I learned from making the two toiles (practise garment) for this jacket. The first toile helped me with the fit. I had used my coat block, but it was too loose for what I was imagining. Using the toiles, I amended the pattern to fit better, to shape the hem and to plot where I wanted the grey swirls.
The second toile helped me refine the fit, further shape the swirls, and test the effect of the excess bulk on the shoulder, armhole, and side seams. With these changes to the pattern, I feel excited to start working on the final garment. Although I confess to still being a little worried about how the applique swirls will look……more on that in this challenge’s final blog post.