This pattern was unassembled for month and it was with some resistance I glued all the pages together a couple of weeks ago. It was not the work involved that stopped me, more that I didn’t know what to do with it. This pattern is 220 A4 pages long, took a handful of glue sticks and some patience to assembly. So, then I made a toile of the crucial part, the swirly cut torso. Im happily surprised to see that it was possible to put together and that it fitted.
The last Alexander McQueen pattern I made was a bit small for me. But still, I have no idea what to do with the dress if I finish this project. I got some expert advice on how to possibly work with it for my own needs but Im still not sure. It don’t feel right to just sew, wear it once and then have it burned. I have to think about this one a bit longer before there is an actual dress.
Im sharing the pictures of my journey with this pattern so far, hoping it to be helpful for someone else. Take care!
This project has taken its time. The goal was to make a classic waxed cotton motorcycle jacket like the ones Belstaff and Barbour makes. These jackets has been around since the 30s and style-wise one of my favorites. Just think of Steve McQueen, fun little article about his racing career here. Love the rustic look of an aged, anonymous jacket like this with the typical asymmetrical left chest pocket, drunk pocket I think its called.
I ordered Chocolate brown oilskin from Merchant & Mills in march. The rest of the things took a month to get. I wanted all metals to bee antique brass and the lining to be checked cotton flannel so it took some research to get everything right.
During the toiling I learned a lesson when it comes to shape. I already know that sewing patters isn’t standardized in body proportions. For me most indie patterns are on the short side, the waistline hits the lower point of my ribs and the hemline on a mid length skirt is above my knees. It never struck me that some companies fit are so far from my body shape that it’s almost impossible to make it work, my first pattern choice didn’t work so after some searching I found the Burda Style 10/2013 jacket. Already had the fabric, so no going back.
This jacket is a bit different from the originals. Its base is an ordinary mens style blazer cut with no side seam and looks a bit more formal. I liked that look and wasn’t so interested in adding some of the details but otherwise I basically followed the instructions. I made bellow pockets and skewed the left pocket to make it look more like the vintage motorcycle jacket. Instructions for making bellow pockets is found at Müller & Sohn
I had to skip the front buttons from the original too, could have hammered them in anyway but then I cant change zipper if it breaks. As I plan to wear this jacket for a long time that could happen. Also added belt loops on the sides but it didn’t look great belted so I removed that one.
Loved working in oilskin, the fabric is fabouous! I have a soft spot for working with leathers and plastic materials but there is always the risk to screw up and end up with visible lines of holes in the fabric if you have to rip a seam. With oilskin there isnt that problem, the holes are visible after ripping but nothing a new coat of wax cant fix. It feels sturdy but also flexible and stichings look gorgeous. I have a few meters in other colors so there will be more things to come.
Cant help thinking of the Rick Owens quote ”Every jacket I make has interior pockets big enough to store a book and a sandwich and a passport.” I’m having that plus four more on this one.
I printed pictures of all the Showstudio Design Downloads and let my husband choose the designs he liked best. One of them was the infamously difficult Alexander McQueen Jacket. So that one became the next make. I already had this pattern in my computer and dreaded a bit printing it out.
Lee Alexander McQueen was a British fashion designer known for theatrical, provocative fashion shows and his masterful tailoring. He started the journey at Savile Row as a tailors apprentice, studied fashion design at Central Saint Martin and later worked as head designer for Givenchy. The Alexander Mqueen brand was started in 1992 and the designer himself was awarded for his work several times. He died by suicide in 2010.
This jacket is from the 2003 fall ”Scanners” collection and is a complex tailored jacket with elements from both Victorian womenswear and Japanese kimonos. There is a fantastic, in-depth introduction to this pattern at Pattern Vault, a source of information on designer patterns I highly recommend.
Pattern Info: Drawn. Has a 1 cm seam allowence and a lot of markings. Size 40.
Fabric: About 2,5 m polyester suiting and a bit less acetate lining.
Notions: Chiffong bias binding, scraps of satin + thread and more thread.
Theres one difficulty with this pattern, the back pleats and darts. When you managed that problem the rest is pretty easy. The first dart made me think of late 19th century cutting, then I quickly got lost. After failing the first time with getting the folds in the right position I started over. The second attempt I traced everything exactly and then thread marked every line and marking making it visible from both sides. it magically worked and I was able to press all folds flat. I secured them on the backside at a few points and then moved on. One try at getting all folds in place took a weekend and just following the instruction won’t cut it, you have to think too. It probably was more difficult since I decided to line the jacket but as it turned out so nice, it was worth it.
Then the fitting. My shoulders are straight so I adjusted for that and added a stretch satin panel in the side since the jacket was really tight.
The setting of the sleeves comes with a simple instruction and I chose to cover the seam and opening with bias binding as one big loop. The rest of the sewing is pretty basic.
Conclusion: Im glad I lined it but should have chosen a fabric that pressed more easily. This polyester creases like crazy when one steams it, total nightmare getting loads of pleats in place. Next time, I’ll chose a high quality suiting or brocade and quality lining. Stripes looks fantastic with this. Yes, there will be next time. I want one that’s perfect.
There are two time consuming parts in this, the pleating and the finishing. I would suggest to finish by hand and cover all inside seams with chiffong bias binding or similar to get a nice clean look.
Pros: This jacket has great movability built into it and looks amazing! It’s the ultimate couture comfort garment. This will sound odd but it also has sort of its own presence… has to be experienced.
Cons: If you don’t like a challenge or is a beginner, this isn’t suitable. It doesn’t matter how enthusiastic you are, can’t compete an ordinary jacket, don’t try.
Say Hello to Tant Monokroms first ever sewing resource, a drafting instruction with printable (primitive) hand drawn pieces for classic Karate Gi trousers.
In my early twenties I copied the trousers from my Karate Gi for the first time. I wanted something fun to wear for yoga and had seen a similar pattern in a book. I made loads of these pants the years to come for myself, friends and family. Making them over and over made me realized that the pattern could easily be sized up or down just by adjusting length and circumference of the leg tube. Nowadays I have my geometrical crotch pieces in cardboard ready and can draft these from memory at any time.
The Karate Gi is the sturdy uniform worn when practicing Karate and other martial arts. The original is made in tightly woven cotton canvas with reinforced seams to hold for intense training. The fabrics thickness and the loose fit makes it stand out from the body and prevents it from clinging and restricting the movements when sweating heavily. The origin of the uniform is fishermens working clothes from Japan, first used by Judo practitioners and later adopted by Karate. Must say that I never made a pair for wearing in the Dojo. For martial arts practice a real suit is long lasting, reliable and worth the investment.
With that said I hope you try this pattern with its unusual construction, perfect for movability training and can also be shortened to make cool fighter shorts. The pattern fits sewist of all skill levels and can be sewn as a minimal fabric waist garment.
I haven’t done The Sewcialists sewing top 5 before, it is such great topic. The most notable sewing and others from 2019. In no particular order, and not five of anything.
The most worn, loved selfmade garment this year is one being almost impossible to take a pic of. The Fine Motor Skills Elise t-shirt in black bamboo jersey from Tygverket. I altered the shit out of this pattern as seen, but it’s now my favorite t-shirt pattern ever. It was nothing wrong with it from the beginning, I just started to fit it to my shoulders better and couldn’t stop. As soon as I buy more interesting jerseys, there will be more Elises.
As I recently got back to sewing there has been a lot of sewing failures. Pattern testing is not for the faint hearted. One of my longest ongoing failed projects started with a pair of ill fitting jeans that I carefully took apart to save the selvedge denim. The fabric was used for a vintage pattern that was shoehorned onto the pieces. It got sewn and looked absolutely hideous! After some thinking time it was turned into a vest, that’s a lot of sewing in one small piece of fabric.
The latest mistake is this front piece of Merchant & Mills The All State Shirt, its on my sewing table now. This is a common cutting failure that makes you feel very stupid. Luckily I had fabric left to make another one in the right direction. The fabulous Tintin print is from Tygverket.
I took a Vedic Art course in Öland during the summer. I was there to paint and run together with my husband. The artwork turned out all crap and running was exhausting in the heat, but we had a great time. It was a wonderful week! When the summer was over I run my first half marathon and then the season was over. Now it’s back to weight training again.
We run a lot this year, this is in Vilhelmina by the way, with a lot of mosquitos along the way.
I’m not sure if it’s a good idea to talk about this, but I’ll give it a try. Ive been sewing most of my life, 2013 I started doing it for a living parallel with illustration. It evolved to a sort of Gyro Gearloose shop where I got the chance to do all kinds of interesting stuff. It has been a great experience but also tough and all over the place. Some years ago I left it for teaching but now Im back.
It feels like I have a fantastic opportunity to share my work with more people. Not only my own designs but also some of the material I’ve collected and projects that I’m working on. But the problem is that talking about my work is hard and way out of my comfort zone. I do best irl, while working… silently. Nevertheless it would be great to overcome that fear of visibility and find new ways of expressing my creativity. Since I have to be a bit more mindful how I treat my body there is suddenly the time for it too. Not that Im sure how that should be done yet, Im moving slowly forward.
At least Ive set som sewing goals for 2020.
The 4 Goals
Im a fan of designer patterns. Some times I don’t know what really draws me to it, I probably want the experience of making them, getting inside the designers head. One of my favorite sources is Showstudio. They have a lot of patterns and all for free, just search Designer Download there. Ive decided to make all of the designer downloads Showstudio has published. It will probably take more than a year. Ive already started with the Martin Margiela pattern, tested here! Next up is the Gareth Pugh balloon.
Another thing I like is menswear, and especially denim and workwear style clothes. Im so happy that the popularity of that style has made it into the sewing community and that there is a constant flow of new patterns. How many workwear jacket pattern has there been this year? Don’t know, but my favorite looks something like this vintage one. I would like to make more things in that style this year.
Then we have my own designs and pattern notes. There is so much fun things to be shared. It starts on Sunday this week with my first pattern note, I’ll explain it on Sunday. Just wait and see.
I also would love to do more printmaking, a skill learnt in art school a long time ago. I already started wit tie dyeing. Here is a failed but interesting test using layers of color and bleach.
One of my favorite YouTubers at the moment is Zoe Hong, love to watch her draw while explaining different subjects relating to fashion design and illustration. She has introduced me to new ways of seeing the design process and since it looked so fun I recently bought her Fashion flats templates to do some playful fashion design sketching of my own. In this example Im using Seamworks Audrey jacket . The task is to change one thing at the time. For me its a challenging since I have a tendency wanting to do everything at once.
Pinstripes are called chalk strokes in Swedish and I find them difficult, very difficult. The fabric has matured in my stash for years. It’s pure wool, slightly shiny and absolutely gorgeous. I bought it at a long lost time when goth was something to strive for, I think it was supposed to make a ruffled mini skirt. The times change thankfully and now it became the Calyer pants from French Navy instead. It’s a great pants pattern, link here. The cut is slightly unusual with the side seam moved toward the front and with dramatic tapering at the legs. It’s very comfortable and my most used pants at the moment.