Back at the start of January, I asked for opinions on some black linen with a silver pin stripe. It was pretty opaque and I wanted to know if you thought it could work with the Simplicity 2443 jacket.
Many people made comments and I came to the conclusion that this linen would be too fragile for the jacket and that its opaque quality would be a nightmare to work with.
Then I changed my mind. Why?
Just being around this fabric for a few weeks showed me that it has really – well, weird – qualities. You can see how translucent its capable of being, as above. But place it next to another fabric or even next to the skin and it became immediately solid. You can’t even see the colour of other fabrics sitting beneath it. This felt like a challenge waiting to be met. Could I turn this strange, springy, sometimes opaque, sometimes solid linen into a workable jacket? I think the answer is ‘yes’!
So, this is my make of the Simplicity 2443 jacket. It wasn’t a straightforward construction because:
- I chose to line it with turquoise muslin. (A big thumbs up.)
- I chose to sew one of the arms the wrong way round and had to start again. (A big thumbs up to ordering that extra half a metre of fabric, just to be on the safe side.)
- I chose to mess up the plackets approximately one million times.
- I chose to work in black. (See Tilly’s recent comments about working in black.)
- I chose to make the inside as neat and tidy as I possibly could. I spent most of this make imagining myself walking into a hip and happening bar and carelessly throwing the jacket over the back of a chair. I didn’t want the bar manager to laugh at my seams or for the bouncer on the door to sneer at my hand stitching. (Those bouncers. They think they know it all about slip stitch.)
Very neat sleeve seams – woohoo!
What are my conclusions?
Hell, thy name is placket. If you make this jacket, do NOT follow the placket instructions in the pattern. There’s one part of the instruction that basically says, ‘Shove this bit out of the way and don’t sew over it.’ Frigging nightmare and blatantly misleading. It’s just Impossible, but it took me about four attempts to realise that this was the fault of instructions, not of my work. Eventually, I turned to The New Reader’s Digest Guide to Sewing and used their alternative method of construction. My plackets are still pretty ropey, but at least they’re done. This is the first time in my sewing career that this reference book has really come into its own. (It’s a good book, but I tend to scurry to the Internet when I need help with something.)
I added about 1.5 inches to the depth of the jacket.
I didn’t use D rings on the sleeves.
No Do ring. No button yet, either!
I didn’t use the silly rag things that you’re meant to have instead of buttons. Interestingly, most other people have left these off and – like myself – most other bloggers have felt no need to add buttons instead. This is because a) the jacket works well as casual and b) buttons don’t actually work well in the room left by the patch pockets. Everything starts to look a bit crowded.
Bizarrely, I enjoyed the challenge of lining up the stripes on my patch pockets with the pin stripe on the main shell. I also found the lining highly satisfying:
Muslin – £1.25 a metre
I bought this muslin from – you guessed it – Saeed Fabrics. It comes in a range of really strong colours. It’s extremely light, but could make great summer clothing as long as you had layers beneath. Scruffy Badger bought some when she joined The Walthamstow Shopping Frenzy!
I think this is the type of linen that will just look better and better the more it creases. The worn in look will help add more of a casual element to the silver pin stripe. On a brave day, I would happily wear this as day wear with jeans. On a more insecure day, I might hesitate. What do you think? It goes really well with my grey wool scarf lined with metal sequins:
But isn’t it amazing? Not a hint of that strong turquoise lining showing through the linen.
Right, I’ve saved the best for last:
SECRET SEWING TIP REVELATION WONDROSITY!
As Tilly recently commented, black can be a nightmare to sew with. Especially when you’re ripping out a dodgy plackett for the enth time. Then, inspiration! I remembered the head torch my sister had recently bought me as a birthday gift. Its intended use had been for night runs in Epping Forest. (Ahem, I haven’t actually had one yet.) Little did she know that her present would become a sewing lifesaver. Put this baby on, adjust the angle of the lamp, and those tiny black stitches are fully illuminated beneath the blade of a seam ripper. Success!*
* Sadly, my blogging camera crashed and lost all evidence of me sewing in my pyjamas whilst wearing a headtorch.
So that’s the Simplicity 2443 jacket. Done! I can’t decide whether or not the dress would suit me. That jersey might be a bit unforgiving on my paunch. But I’m tempted to try it at some point in something cheap and cheerful. I had a jersey dress as a teenager that I was extremely fond of. Perhaps it could work. Who knows.