Join the dots…to insanity! (But get a cool jacket for your trouble)

So. The jacket. THE  jacket. Aaaages ago (August 2007?) I was trying to make some sense of the knitting project I was struggling with, and read a knitting blog which, funnily enough, mentioned a sewing project that took my fancy. Alexander McQueen had provided a pattern for an interesting looking kimono jacket on a site called Showstudio, and Jennifer the Xtreme Knitter had made it up. I had a wedding coming up at that time (hmm notice a theme in the motivations for my sewing projects?) and thought I would give this jacket pattern a try for something interesting to wear. I think I had about 10 days before the wedding at that stage, and thought that would be enough time to give it a go. *Insert crazed laughter here.*

This was the first time I had downloaded a pattern in A4 pages from the web. I’ve done it several times since from the Burdastyle site, but I remember that this first time it all seemed rather odd. It took me a while to stick all of the pattern pieces together-they weren’t fantastically well marked if I remember rightly, and it wasn’t easy to figure out what went where. And to be fair, I think that there were some updated instructions released for this pattern too, after I had started on the project. The Xtreme-kintter had mentioned that the instructions and yardage info for the pattern were somewhat lacking, and I was very grateful for her tips. Particularly when I went to buy the fabric from Tessuti. Wonderful as usual, they gave me some good suggestions and got me to step out of my comfort zone and choose something that I wouldn’t normally pick for myself. In this case, a really interesting brown raw silk. Beautiful feel, low sheen but a luxurious appearance and lovely to sew with. It was a lot more than I usually spend on fabric, but my thought was that I would be putting in a bit of work on this jacket, so it would be a shame to use crappy material.

Now check out the pattern: doesn’t seem too weird right?


Wait a minute-look closely at the piece on the far right-the main section for the body of the kimono. See all of those dots?


They each correspond with another dot on the jacket, and each have to be marked, labelled, matched up and sewn just so.

I think that my choice of fabric had a big impact on the level of difficulty in this jacket. Well, the dark colour combined with the texture. It was SO difficult to figure out a way to mark and label the dots in a way that meant I could see them but that they wouldn’t be seen on the finished product. Tailors tacks would work, but only if you did a different colour for each pair (and there are a lot of pairs). And only if you had more patience than I do to sew the friggin’ things. For this jacket I made the mistake of using one of those disappearing markers, which I could kind of see-with lots of lights on in my sewing room, and my strong glasses-but I had a day or two when I couldn’t sew and my markings started to, well,  disappear. Quelle disastre!

The other tricky part was figuring out which way to fold certain pieces that relied on one section to be partly sewn over another, leaving an origami-style fold visible-and then making sure that you do the mirror image of this on the other side. I am afraid that I have spied one or two mistakes like this in the myriad folds and pleats on my jacket since I finished it. Maybe I will just have to make sure that I don’t stay too still in good light when I wear this jacket in view of exacting eyes.

Needless to say, I missed the deadline for the wedding that I originally intended it for, and my poor jacket lay in a sad pile for a month or two before I picked it up again and got it to a point where it was almost, but not quite finished. I found that it needed to have some of the loose folds tacked to sit flat to give it a less bulky silhouette, and again this involved a lot of pressing (and I HATE the iron) and figuring out which way particular flaps or folds needed to sit. And lo and behold, within a whisker of the finish line I was pregnant with Little D and trying to keep myself afloat during what turned out to be 8 months of morning sickness. Living with my head in a bucket/toilet/plastic bag, combined with the knowledge that even if I did finish the jacket off, I would have ‘blossomed’ (my obstetrician’s lovely way of saying bumped up) too much to wear my new creation doomed the jacket to another year in the unfinished project basket. That is until a month or two ago when I got it out and finally finished it off with a view to wearing it for the April wedding bonanza.

But poor jacket, after all that I have decided that it really suits me best when I wear it more casually with skinny jeans or cigarette pants rather than with a skirt, which makes it seem a bit fussy. It was certainly an interesting, if overly drawn out project. And you know, I might even try it again-after a visit to the optometrist for some stronger specs.


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~ by Little Red Hen on May 8, 2009.

2 Responses to “Join the dots…to insanity! (But get a cool jacket for your trouble)”

  1. Truly, you are incredible. I could never do anything like that! Looks amazing! and I bet the fabric is just divine!

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