Contest · Fashion

Fall Wardrobe: Reversible Green Sweater Coat

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View A from the Vogue Website

As I was planning my Fall wardrobe, my Oct./Nov. 2018 issue of Threads Magazine arrived.

I soaked up Becky Fulgoni’s article “Single Layer and Reversible.” There were so many great ideas for making garments from double-faced fabrics (or just fabrics with an equally interesting wrong side). I already knew I had the perfect fabric to make the loose casual jacket in Vogue Patterns’ V9275.  The jacket (View A) is intended to be lined, but I thought a reversible version would be even better.

The fabric is a sweater knit with a squishy olive green boucle on the right side. I think the wrong side is just as interesting: a smooth black with olive flecks. It’s lighter than it looks, so it would be for outside on crisp days or wearing indoors.

Planning

I did several tests before I started. I needed to find seam, hem and closure treatments that would work with my sweater knit and also look good from both sides. Once I figured out which worked best, I started planning in earnest.

Above: I tested binding and seam techniques using swatches like this.

I have found that sketching projects helps me plan. When I work through details on paper, I find I almost always need to make changes. This time, I had to do double the sketches, because I needed to visualize how it would look from either side. Sure enough, I realized that I had to account for the knit collar and cuffs in my plan.

Above: Puzzling it out

I used most of the pattern pieces for the jacket. But to make it reversible, I omitted the side seam pockets and back shoulder darts.

Editing for Reversibility

look5editMy version differs from the original in many ways:

  • Two sided pocket: patch pocket on green side; slot pocket on black side (details below)
  • Flat-felled seams
  • Instead of hemming, bind the lower edge
  • Use a reversible separating zipper for the opening
  • Trim and bind front opening before zipper application
  • Zipper tape exposed on black side; hidden on green side (see below)
  • Slip-stitch cuffs and collar on black side to give them a finished look
  • Decorative, error-hiding buttons
Two-Sided Pocket

The Threads article described a technique for making a pocket accessible from either side. From one side, it is a patch pocket. From the other, it is a slot seam pocket. I love this idea! Here is my slightly different method:

  1. Make the slot seam. I was using bound raw edges as a design element throughout the garment, so it made sense to use them for the pocket slot as well.
  2. Cut the front pieces along what will be the new seam line. Because I was binding the edges, I did not need to add seam allowances.
  3. Apply binding to slot seam raw edges. To keep the seam from stretching, I set my machine to use the longest straight stitch. I didn’t use a stretch stitch because I wanted the slot seam to be stable. Some machines have an option to reduce presser foot pressure. If you have it, this is why. It really helps with lofty stretch fabrics.
  4. Join the top and bottom of each front piece. I chose to apply strips of grosgrain ribbon to the green side. They will not show, since the slot is only visible from the black side.
  5. Draft a patch pocket piece to have an ample side opening, making sure it is placed where your hands go. Mine covers the entire width of the jacket, ending at the same place as the jacket bottom. Ensure that the pockets completely cover the slot opening.
  6. Cut two patch pockets and two lining pieces. I made my lining from the same quilting cotton I used for my princess seamed top.
  7. Sew the right side of the lining to the green side of the pocket piece for each side. Only the upper edge and pocket opening need to be sewn. Trim, turn, press.
  8. Topstitch pockets to front pieces. Again, only the upper edge and pocket opening need to be sewn.

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Two Sided Zipper

This is my first separating zipper, exposed zipper application, and reversible zipper. I think it’s the first time I have tried putting one in a sweater knit. So I am going to forgive myself for putting it in a little too low. I think it looks nice from the green side, where the zipper tape is hidden. The exposed tape on the black side looks… just ok. I would like to find a nice trim to cover it with, but I don’t have anything on hand right now. The main problem is that by putting it in too low, there is a janky looking gap between where the tape ends and the collar.

The only thing I could think of was to sew buttons at the neckline to hide the tape end. I didn’t have anything that I liked, so I made a couple of cover buttons. I think it looks pretty good.

Above: The exposed zipper tape didn’t line up the first time. Then it didn’t quite reach the top of the jacket. I made a couple of cover buttons to conceal the ends.

Non-bias bias

Making the large amount of binding was really simple. Since the material was already stretchy and shapable, there was no need to cut bias strips. All I had to do was cut parallel strips across the grain.

Stability without interfacing

Stability was an unexpected factor in planning for reversibility. The sweater knit was fairly loose and floppy, so it had to have something otherwise I’m sure it would begin to grow with use. Interfacing was out, of course. The seams, pockets, and zippers serve that function.

I was pleased that even though there was some loft to the knit, it could be compressed enough to make flat felled seams. The traditional method results in two parallel lines of straight stitches. I did it that way for the shoulder seams, and quickly realized that keeping the green fluff from escaping the seam was going to be a problem. So I used a zigzag stitch for the final step instead of a straight stitch for the remaining seams. The zigzag pinned everything down, kept it controlled, and was much easier to sew.

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Above: Some of the jacket’s design features

Supplies

I think this is my favorite thing in my Fall wardrobe so far. It’s so versatile. And how about those set-in sleeves? 😉

Coming soon: a bra-top camisole. Until then, happy sewing!

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Reference

Threads Magazine: Reversible Garment Inspiration

This is my fourth garment in patternreview.com‘s 2018 Mini Wardrobe Contest

I reviewed the pattern here.

reversable sweater coat 20

Fashion

Marfy Blouse 3 – Final Version and Thoughts

MarfyMake1-7Summer sewing begins!

Last week, I finally made the Marfy blouse in the “good” fabric (a cotton lawn I have been hoarding). I took a little more time on the finishing with this one, and I am glad I did. I’m sure I will wear it so much that it will have to hold up to many washings.

Pattern Modifications

In addition to the changes I worked out while making the toile, I also added to the front and back pieces to raise the level of the underarm. If anyone out there is considering this pattern, I would recommend leaving extra fabric in this area and then figuring out if you want to make the change. Once you cut that armhole, you can’t get the fabric back!

Button, button, who’s got the button?

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Is this the world’s most perfect button?

One of the reasons it took so long to put this together is that I obsessed over getting the right buttons. I really wanted a button to match the darker color in the fabric pattern. It was so much harder than I thought it would be.

Issue 1: What color is it anyway? If you can’t name the color, you can’t really search for it. I can say with certainty that it is not purple, plum, violet, burgundy, or red-violet.

Issue 2: Online vendors that sell buttons have many different ways of listing sizes, colors, and shapes. Some buttons are sized by diameter in inches or millimeters, others use Ligne numbers. Here is a great explainer from Mood fabrics: How to Measure Buttons.

It’s a jungle out there in the button world. If you have access to a store with a good collection, count yourself lucky. The best and easiest way to find exactly what you want is to look at actual samples against your actual material.

I finally found what I was looking for on Etsy from a vendor in Germany.  I did mention I looked everywhere, didn’t I?

Pockets

I didn’t make the pattern’s patch pockets for the toile, but I wanted to add them on the final version. Of course, Marfy assumes that given the general shape, you can figure out how to assemble them on your own. By mistake, I attached the pocket flap to outside if the pocket. But after some mild cursing, I decided to keep it that way. I realized that in practice, I would be more likely to use the pocket if I didn’t have to lift a flap to get to it. So this way, I can have the cute round flap detail, but keep the opening the way I like.

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Wrap the seam allowance around the form.
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Cover holds the fabric against the curve
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Perfect curve after ironing

Since the last time I made patch pockets, I have acquired a template which is used to make consistent curved pocket corners. It was great! Ironing tiny pocket curves is a fiddly task that can be so frustrating. The pocket template helps by holding the seam allowance in place while you iron. It is even designed so that you don’t have to have your fingers close to your work.

After all of that, I pinned the pockets in place, stood back and… hated it. That’s okay. I’ll use them for something else later.

Buttonholes

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Looking for a close-up of the buttonholes? Maybe next time.

After struggling to make machine-made buttonholes on the toile, I spent some time thinking about the best way to do these. My original thought was to make then in a matching purple-ish thread as a design feature. I changed to white thread because it would hide my inevitable mistakes better. Also because like the buttons, I couldn’t find the right color thread.

An online friend mentioned that she always hand-sews her buttonholes because for her, it is easier. I had never considered hand sewing, but since I have been playing around with hand embroidery, I thought I might be up for it. Of course this is covered in the Reader’s Digest Complete Guide to Sewing, my go-to technique reference. I followed the instructions to the letter and made a totally functional buttonhole. Unfortunately, it took forever and really does not bear close inspection. Back to the machine I went.

Partly because the fabric was more stable, and partly through practice, the machine served me well this time. I breezed through the machine buttonholes. In the future, I will save hand made buttonholes for coats and heirloom sewing.

I can’t wait for the weather to catch up to my creations!

Missed any of the other posts on the Marfy blouse?

Marfy Blouse 1 – The Pattern

Marfy Blouse 2 – The Valentine Toile