First of all, I’d like to apologize for the length of this post. I don’t blog anywhere else, and I am super excited about this project, so I have a lot of info I want to share. I hope you like it.
I also had a pair of gray cuffed twill pants from The Loft that I had tried to turn into a skirt and later abandoned. I didn't have a "before" picture, so here is a picture of similar pants.
I spent a long time getting jacket inspiration online. Here’s my Pinterest board of ideas. Then I drew a sketch (on an envelope) that brought together my favorite design elements.
I used painter’s tape to create the style lines on my new custom dress form, just like they do on Project Runway.
Then I cut up my two pairs of pants and draped them on the form, along with some other left-over bottoms of legs from pants I have made into shorts, to figure out how the pieces might fit together. Here’s what I came up with.
I loved the color combination and the idea of using a pant cuff as a collar and a belt from another jacket that was better off without it.
I made a pattern for the pieces, using a lot of pattern-making tips from YouTube and some sort of sheer interfacing that I inherited. I made a mock-up in muslin (sort of – see Lessons Learned, below) to figure out how the pieces would fit together. I ended up with 22 separate pieces of fabric! Then I got to work cutting and sewing with the actual fabric I wanted to use. I sewed each colored tier together and then joined the tiers, figuring that it would show less that way if the seams were not perfectly matched. Finally, I topstitched all the seams for a finished look.
After a whole month of working on this project here and there, this is the finish product.
I love how the sleeves turned out. I used this great tutorial on adapting a basic sleeve pattern to get the puffs on the top.
I used as many of the original pants’ details as I could, but this was definitely not a no-waste refashion. I plan to use the extra pockets, zippers, and snap-tab closures to make an awesome handbag sometime soon.
Thread: Make sure you have enough thread before you begin sewing your project. If you should run out half-way through, take a thread sample to the store to match the color. There are a lot of shades of gray, and knowing the thread color number will not help at all if the company has apparently changed their entire numbering system since you first bought your thread!
Pattern-making: Adding an entire inch all the way around each piece will make them fit together weirdly. When I only added a half-inch for seam allowance, things went together much more successfully. I wanted a snug fit, anyway.
Mock-up: Making a mock-up out of muslin or scrap fabric is a great way to work out potential problems before you cut and sew your actual fabric. However, the process is a lot less useful if you get impatient two-thirds of the way through and decide that it is “close enough.” You will have to fix some fit problems that could have easily been foreseen. Which brings me to…
Top-stitching: Don’t do this until you are sure you are entirely satisfied with the fit of your garment. It is a lot harder to change seams when the seam allowance has been stitched down.
Safety: If you drop your good sewing scissors on the hardwood floor, they are likely to get bent. At least you can be grateful that they did not stab you in the foot, like the stray needle that your husband stepped on. Do a sweep for such dangerous items daily, or incur some spousal wrath.
Thanks for bearing with me. That is all.