A few weeks ago I planned to make a visit to one of my clients, for a training in some of their customizations. Looking in my closet, nothing really excited me, and even worse, nothing fit properly for an out-of-the-office professional occasion.
I started out planning a 1940s style skirt suit, but soon realized it would not be accomplished in the time I had available (look at that, I must be growing as a sewist – when you start there’s a huge gap between what you think you can accomplish in a set amount of time, and oh, I don’t know, REALITY).
I poked through my pattern stash and my fabric stash for something simpler, and a suitable material.
I had a lovely wool blend tweed that had washed up well but had never been “promised” to a particular pattern, so when I found Vogue 8717 in my pattern drawer, I decided it would work. I didn’t have a silky lining material for the jacket, but a quick trip to Hancock’s (side note – I am very sad they are closing!!) netted me a lovely blush charmeuse with tiny stars on it.
V8717, with fabric samples
I love how this tweed has hints of turquoise and pink, as well as the cream, tan, and brown
multicolored wool blend, blush charmeuse
I spent most of my time on the jacket. Fitting through the bust is always an issue as most standard fabric store patterns are drafted for a B cup, but luckily this was a newer pattern that provided separately-drafted pieces by cup size. This got me a lot closer to a good fit, with much less flat pattern work; this is good because I am still very much learning about adjusting flat pattern pieces for a non-flat body, and I am very slow at pondering the needed adjustments!
fitting the jacket bodice
The jacket was lined, so I basically made every part twice, once in wool and once in charmeuse.
pretty proud of this lining
finished sleeves attached by the wool; next was slipstitching the charmeuse all the way around
This pattern had you completely finish the sleeves before you insert them, which was a bit different for me. If you follow their instructions, be sure to measure your sleeve pieces carefully – the bicep was just big enough, but the armscyes were quite snug. I was able to get away with using a 3/8″ seam allowance on the underarm instead of 5/8″, but only just.
The other assembly that was different for me, due to the sleeve being completely finished before insertion, was having to slipstitch the entire armscye by hand. It wasn’t especially difficult, but I definitely prayed a few times that I was lining it up correctly and not pulling the sleeve up too far from the inside.
For the pants, I knew that charmeuse would not cut it for pockets; it just wouldn’t be sturdy enough. For the pockets I fulfilled my quest to have “secret” birdies as a sort-of signature in clothes I’ve made for myself, by cutting the pockets from this printed cotton that was an amazing match for the colors of the wool!
birdie pocket bags!
Since I used a lot of time finishing the jacket, I did the pants in a bit of rush. In spite of that, this third pair is my best fitting. My very patient husband helped me take some awkward measurements, so these pants have room for my tush! As I got to the hem, which was marked as having 1 1/4″ allowed, I could only use 5/8″ – I’m slightly taller than average, and holding the pattern tissue up was apparently not accurate enough (lesson learned), because I didn’t think I needed to lengthen. They look fine, but would be better with the proper hem depth.
The finished suit, a little rumpled after a day or running around, and oddly riding up, which I didn’t notice til now. It didn’t do that in the mirror. Photo courtesy Michelle Matlack.
I do have to say, the pockets in these pants are some of the best I’ve seen in any women’s pants! Deep, with a good bit of the side stitched so nothing falls out…. I liked them so much I’m hard at work on my next pair. This isn’t the first pattern I’ve wanted to make multiples of, but it is the first I have actually cut out a second of. I’m kind of enjoying making something where I’ve already worked out the fitting issues, and I can just take my time to finish all the insides well; this new pair will be worn into the ground, LOL.
sneak peek at V8717 pant, version 2