After many months, millions of slip stitches, a tiny bit of tears, and lots of fun, I have finished the prettiest jacket I have ever made! It is the Claire Shaeffer designed jacket V8804 that you may recognize from my sleeves tutorial.
Were the instructions clear?
Aside from getting to make an amazing jacket, the instructions are pretty much the entire point of buying this pattern. Claire Shaeffer lets her obsession with Chanel jackets shine through in full force in this pattern, and it is chock full of the delicious details you can’t find many other places: quilting, the chain sewn into the hem, special interfacing techniques, genuine vented sleeves, quality pockets, and faux bound button holes. And each detail of constructing the jacket has a “couture tip” to make sure you’re doing it like a pro. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t buy her books – because Claire Shaeffer’s books are amazing – but this pattern is like a hands-on sewing lesson for high end couture techniques with Claire holding your hand the whole way.
If you compare the instructions with the set that come with your average sewing pattern, you may be shocked if you were hoping for something simple to throw together. Because it’s so detailed and wonderful, constructing this jacket will take many many hours. Almost like a genuine couture jacket! I would classify this is more of an advanced project, simply because of the time involved. You need to be an experienced sewer to have built up the patience for the details, and even I had to give it a break – but only because of the life-sucking plaid fabric I chose. Otherwise, the instructions were so well written, I think any level sewer would learn a lot from a pattern like this.
How is the fit?
I can usually pick up a pattern and wear it without many alterations, and this pattern is no exception. It sits perfectly at my shoulders and bust without any alterations. The fit is a little different than I was expecting. Around the waist, it has a different softer, looser sort of feel compared to every other jacket I’ve ever made, which makes it extremely comfortable, yet it still looks flattering. I was really tempted to take it in a tad, but that would have totally ruined the entire shape and I’m glad I didn’t. It almost feels like I could also gain or loose 5 pounds without needing to alter it, making it a versatile piece through my many moods of ice cream.
I got really concerned with the neckline as soon as I put the tape edging on it, and I was worried it wouldn’t look right because of the overlap in the front, and it seemed too big, but I had faith, and I’m glad I didn’t mess with it because it works perfectly.
What was the hardest thing to construct on this jacket?
The mother fudging PLAID. It took me a day just to cut the thing out because of the plaid. All my unpicking and tearing out and sewing and resewing was 99% the darn plaids refusing to match up. But, the effort was well worth it. If you look closely, there’s a stripe that goes all the way around!
Other than dealing with the consequences of my choice in fabric, the hardest thing I had to conquer would have to be the pockets. They were so small, and the fabric so soft and frayable, doing the tiny turns and folds on them was a serious effort. If I was smarter, I would have used some of that spray-on glue-like stabilizer stuff. The quilting was also somewhat challenging, but mostly because I hadn’t done anything like that before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Would I make this again?
YES! Just not in plaid. Or maybe in plaid, it is so seductive when I’m not actively sewing with it. I have such a short memory. I have plans for another jacket in this pattern using some cream material I have in my stash, with maybe a deep red charmeuse lining.
Is there anything I will try to do better next time?
There are some weird bubble issues in places where i did a poor job quilting, and I couldn’t quite shrink them away. Next time I’ll try not to be as lazy and do the maximum amount of basting for the quilting. I still think I did o.k. for my first try at a quilted lining!
Also, the taped edge look is sexy, but in a couple places it wrinkles weird. Maybe next time I’ll follow the instructions and do a trim instead? Or maybe a wider, bolder trim, and just learn how to sew it in place properly.
How often will I wear this?
As often as possible! I’m going to wear this thing with pride, too. It’s not too warm despite the wool blend since it’s so thin and light, so except in the peak of the Texas summer heat, I’ll want to wear this most of the year. I think it’s also not too dressy for the office or around town, even though it is so pretty. There’s no rule saying you can’t wear pretty stuff at work, right? The only thing that might deter me from wearing it is that it’s a hand wash only item – but that’s nothing compared to the joy of the super soft fabric and luxurious lining.
I learned a lot, sewed a lot, the plaid was worth it, and I LOVE the final product. I think this is the prettiest thing I’ve ever made, or at least tied for first place with my wedding dress. Thanks to my darling husband for the photographs!