Tuesday, March 22, 2016

French Jacket: Part Five - Inserting the sleeves and the Jacket hem

This post is all about inserting the sleeves and finishing up the jacket hem. These are the last steps before what I consider the fun part!

The steps for this post are:
1. Inserting the sleeves
2. Hand sewing the lining on the sleeves
3. The jacket hem

Step 1: Inserting the sleeves. I'm not going to lie... I was dreading this part for a bit. Up until this stage the sleeves were worked on completely separate from the rest of the jacket and at this stage the sleeves are in a finished state. Very different from how I have ever constructed any other garment! I debated on whether to hand insert the sleeves or machine insert or to do a combination of hand basting and machine sewing. in the end I decided that I would start with machine insertion just like I would do with any other inset sleeve and switch to hand basting/insertion only if i needed it (more like only if I was having problems!) Since I did not have to worry about pattern matching with this fabric it made insertion much less stressful.

I did all the normal steps. Machine stitched 2 rows of gathering stitches between the notches on the sleeve head. Pin basted in the sleeve and pulled up the threads to match. I then unpinned the sleeve and steamed the shape in over a pressing ham. Once everything cooled I pinned the sleeves back in and machine sewed them. They went in like a dream! I had to make sure to carefully match up my tailor's tack on the under sleeve panel to the underarm seam. with those matched everything else just slipped into place. whew! I was worried for naught. The fiddliest part of the entire process was keeping the lining pieces out of the way. I ended up pinning them back on both the armsyce and the sleeve cap. I finished the sleeve insertion with trimming the underarm to a smaller seam allowance to reduce bulk.  

Step 2: Hand sewing the sleeve lining to the jacket lining. Really not gonna lie...this was a major pain in the neck. Being so close to being finished with the project it just seemed to be such a process to get it done correctly and looking nice. Not only were all the edges on the bias but you are also working in the round. I found it easiest to put the jacket on my dressform inside out and do all the pinning right there. Between folding and pinning and ironing multiple times it finally all came together. I found the most important part here was that you want the lining overlap seam to match up and be over the fashion fabric seam. I found the easiest way for me to accomplish this was to smooth the sleeve lining up and fold the jacket lining of the armscye under and lay it over the and then pin and fell stitch. This did require that I make multiple clips in some areas of the lining so that everything would lie smoothly. I'm going to keep an eye on this area over time to see how it all holds up with clipping folding and hand fell stitching.
Clipping of the lining so the sleeve lining lays nicely when hand sewn. 

Trying to figure out best way to finish the sleeve/jacket lining.

With the sleeves completely in I was seeing the light at the end of the tunnel!

Step 3: The jacket Hem. after all the hand sewing already done on this jacket the hem seemed to be super easy and relatively fast for me. I used strips of black silk organza to pad the hem. Just like in the jacket hem, these strips went from seamline to sealine and sit underneath the seam allowances to give them (the seam allowances) a cushion to keep from the showing through to the right side. I catch stitched the organza to the seam allowances and then folded up the hem and catched stitched the fashion fabric to the organza. This meant that there is about an inch of organza curled in the hem line and it goes about 1/2 inch above the hemline for the catch stitching. I hope that's not too confusing!!

Once the fashion fabric is catch stitched to the organza I then folded the lining down to be about 1/2 to 5/8 inch from the edge. This left room for the chain. The lining was then fell stitched in place.

At this point I was trying on my garment for the first time in its completed state! The only steps left were the final touches of the trim, pockets and chain! I took a deep breath and slipped my arms in, did up the front closures and did a happy dance. It was like slipping into a beautiful dream that I had made. :)

Next up... The Final touches

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