I blame the shoes. They are just so cute. So ridiculously red. So ridiculously clownish. So Japan.

Spotty Checkered Love

They just matched this double sided spotty checkered linen so perfectly I had to do it! I went right ahead and made a suitably cute, red, clownish, Japan-poi matching jacket. Teamed with last weeks make I am in juicy juicy monochromatic patterny heaven.

Spotty Checkered Love

I love the little kick out at the base which gives shape to my boyish frame!Spotty Checkered Love

And how cool is that sleeve detail ! I kept posing to try show it off. Awkward – much.

Spotty Checkered Love

Spotted Checkered Tuxedo Jacket

Pattern: As promised – the Ralph Pink Tuxedo Jacket, Size 12

Fabric: Double sided Japanese Linen from Global Rakuten. I stuffed up the order in Japanese and ended up paying a HEAP for shipping, so I recommend trying an Etsy Dealer for something similar. The sleeve details are a remnant from Kimono House in Melbourne (oh,oh,oh online ordering, look away, look away). I could eat this fabric – I even has some teal hidden in there, so the jacket is getting quite a work out with the rest of my mostly teal based wardrobe.

Ease: Difficult – Way Beyond my 6 month of experience. But hey – if you are crazy like me definitely go for it!

Tidbits: I lengthened the sleeves by 2 inches and took in the vertical seams quite a bit here and there. the fit is perfect on the shoulders which was why I chose the 12, but I was swamped around the waist.

Learnings:

Alright lets start with some learnings from trying to sew a jacket with a single layer of fabric, hoping that it may possibly end up reversible. So when the idea of using this fabric for a jacket came to me I scoured the web there seemed to be some possible solutions.

When it came time to make it, I forgot all about that link and just considered the two methods I had used that might work:

– Flat Felled Seams – could work, and I am getting better after a couple of pairs of Jedediahs, but the shoulder seam scared me.

– French Seams – I had practiced these on the steampunk jacket and liked the structured look it gave the jacket on the inside. Could work.

When it came time to sew, I was feeling most comfortable with the french seam option so I went with it thinking it would work fine on the front darts..

Which it totally did, until after basting I realised I needed an small bust adjustment and that the front and sides could do with some taking in. So having never really sewn a fitted womens’ garment before, I start a Pinterest board on SBA’s and on pinning the offending areas decided to convert the front dart into a princess seam for easier adjustment.

Well, it seems that I somehow stumbled on a reasonable solution until I tried to french seam the princess seam. And here is my lesson – Princess Seams need clipping (thanks again Craftsy Gail) and hence don’t look awfully pretty as a french seam. Bummer. So whilst the reverse side of my jacket is all structural looking as intended, the tops of the french seams are a bit too rough and ready to wear on the outside. Never mind “Almost Reversible” Jacket, I love the spotty side best anyways.

Spotty Checkered Love

I finished the edge of the jacket with binding that was sewn on the outside edge and the hand sewn down as per Gails instructions (Yes – Gail saved me from all sorts of perils).

For anyone attempting to use double sided fabric for a jacket my advice would be to go for the bound seams or lapped seams described here. Hand sewing the binding down was a total winner as all sides are important. Me – I may try this double sided fabric craziness again – one day in the far off future. Probably on a simpler design. It is lovely and lightweight for the Australian summer. And – I feel like this part of the make beat me.

The final lesson. The sleeves – ah, the sleeves. This fabric is a little stiff and not really amenable to gathering, so after 3 attempts and 2 different techniques (easing as you go and the more traditional basting) I could not get the sleeve to set in nicely. In desperation I consulted Sophie, as the only other person I know who has made this jacket, who super kindly gave me words of encouragement, and suggested that maybe I should be gathering. I ended up taking off 0.5cm from all around the top of the sleeve (another technique from Gail) and then finally managed (with much coaxing and swearing) to ease them in flat. I am waiting to hear back from Ralph as to whether I was meant to do a gathered/slightly puffed sleeve so I know for future makes.

Spotty Checkered Love

Despite the incredibly steep learning curve, I am in love with my new jacket and am so proud of the result. I will definitely make the jacket again (complete with lining!), I traced my final princess seam pieces and might muslin them to perfect the fit. The other option is to start with a size 10, do an SBA and a broad back adjustment if needed. Thoughts welcome.

Support crew (that includes anyone who has ever posted on SBA’s, Gail, Sophie, Super Bloke) – Thanks for the help along the way.

These shoes were a birthday gift a couple of years ago and they are super duper happy to have more friends to get out and about with!

If you want to be inspired, check out the awesomeness by people who know what they are doing at Project Sewn and Shades of Me.

Update: if you haven’t seen Ralph Pinks preview of this years pattern releases take a gander! They are talking origami and 1920’s, be still my beating heart!!

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