Saturday, 17 April 2021

A new Venture

Watching videos on YouTube of people sewing clothing inspired me to give it a try.  I have made items like waistcoats for bears but never "human" clothing.   The transformation of flat cloth into 3 dimensional shapes for bears has occupied me for many years and I realised that in some ways the same principles apply to assembling clothing.

Foreman Jacket

I rather proud to say that my first effort, a shirt, was wearable, and the second much improved was a birthday gift.  After another shirt I decided that I needed a new casual jacket for summer.   The work coat, or chore coat, seems quite current so I scoured the internet for patterns.   A company called Merchant & Mills publish a very clear pattern and also sell lovely cloth.

My first attempt ended up in miniature for a bear, pattern made from scratch for him but using the collar stand and shapes as per the pattern.

Sid - Bear 002/21 wearing his Chore Coat

I had already purchased rather exciting railway denim which was one of the recommended fabrics and embarked on a full sized version to wear myself.

Matching the stripes was tricky, on the raised edges of the patch pockets they line up when observed from the front but move of line as you observe from other angles,  had two goes at the first then learn the knack of poking each stripe into position with an awl as I machined around the edge.   This little tricvk learned from observing the very neat and skilled artisan on Atelier Saison from Japan.  I can watch her immaculate workmanship taking place for hours !

Easing in the sleeves takes time and care but after fitting small foot pads in Teddy bears for 30 years it makes sense when you understand the shape you are creating.

The foreman is quite a simple jacket, there are no cuffs or plackets on the sleeves and the centre line is far enough away from the edge to avoid any horrors attempting to sew the buttonholes.   Ive developed quite a "thing" about buttonholes, I was tempted to hand sew them but as my, recently purchased, new machine does keyhole buttonholes I used that, they are pretty good too as long as you can track down a small enough punch to open the round part.  The buttons are lovely natural shell in a mid-grey; I'm getting more consistent at sewing them on now, with a nice "stalk" so they slip into the eye of the buttonhole and don't leave it gaping.

I had decided that these garments would need a label, so I christened them Hugoshouse in keeping with my bear making over the years.

Getting the sizing correct is tricky;  you have to be aware of the intended fit of the final garment, this jacket is a simple boxy shape, and although it seemed a little small made up in the muslin, when I made it in the actual fabric it is easily big enough to wear over a couple of layers and a lose comfy fit over a thin summer shirt.

I am enjoying this venture very much, I like the idea of making clothes a little different, and chosing lovely fabrics ( can be costly - cloth alone for this cost about £40 ) .  It's quite time consuming but the process pleases me and I can work to achieve the best possible results, assisted, it has to be said, by the many wonderful people who share their skills on YouTube.

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