Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Jacket Sewalong

Well, I've joined the jacket sewalong hosted by Sherry (see the button in the side bar for the link)- and this oldish dog is looking forward to learning some new tricks.

I have been hunting for a while for the right pattern - I learned a long time ago that I only like to wear stretch on the top and will only wear a jacket if it is required out of doors to keep me warm while walking somewhere. For this reason, it had to be a warm but casual affair.

The fabric was some vintage wool I scored off Trade-me (NZ's ebay) - I was so paranoid about it having moth holes I asked the seller twice to check for them! No worries, he said, it's been stored in moth balls for the past 50 years.

He was not wrong. When it first arrived it stank so badly I had to store it in an isolation unit - a plastic box far away from anything else. Then I read up about how to get rid of the smell of moth balls. I read somewhere that sunlight and a fresh breeze will do the trick. They don't. I then decided to throw it through the washing machine with some wool wash and on a wool cycle. I figured if the fabric was too delicate for the washing machine it was too delicate for me.

After the first wash and line dry it smelled a lot better. I then threw it in a second time and after that it now just smells a little like soured perfume.

The fabric is so unusual - beautiful colours that you could not find now.

For the pattern, by a twist of fate, I ended up choosing the Jorinde pattern from the BurdaStyle downloadable section. It is free, which warmed the cockles of my thrifty heart.

The model picture I find a little curious - exactly why is she hovering in the doorway of the men's toilets? Or is it a gentleman's club? Either way, hanging round a men's only area wearing velvet and cheap lace gives the impression she might be on the job, if you know what I mean.

(Karin, did you notice the blue button - they repeated it in the sleeve buttons and the same colour is in the lining, I'm really liking that surprise of the offbeat colour)

It also has the worst instructions ever, straight from google translate. There is a lot of talk about piping and piping straps. I think they mean welt pockets, but since there are no directions for cutting welt strips anywhere on the pattern that's just an educated guess.

I spent Saturday night piecing the paper together and then cutting out the pieces - because of the paper I can't tissue fit it, so I cut and pinned a quick muslin.

It was an enjoyable evening's work because I could do it in front of the TV - which I never normally watch- and found the Aussie programme " the farmer wants a wife" strangely compelling. It is a reality show following 6 farmers whose rural location and social isolation makes it difficult for them to find a partner. The reality show sets them up on a whole lot of dates, and they have to choose one to partner up with. Although I find myself wishing the men the best of luck, I want to shout at the women, "don't go there! you do not want to spend your life in the middle of nowhere where you have nothing in common with any of the people you never get to see!"

(if anyone reading this lives in a farming district in Australia, tell me, is it as lonely and tough for the women as I fear?)

So now I'm ready to sewalong, but because of my advanced rated jacket with front pockets set into piping straps I think it may well turn into a swear-a-long.


  1. Great looking fabric. So glad that the odor is dissipating. I too wonder about how women can live such isolated lives. In one sense I admire the resilience and commitment but also know it would be too difficult for me.

  2. Love your jacket plans. I'm working on a tailored jacket too but reluctant to sign up as my track record on sew alongs is not good. Had to laugh about your guilty pleasure in TV viewing. My husband was once the local agronomist in outback Queensland. I gave him an ultimate - a job in the city or no me. Fortunately he called my bluff and moved into academia.

  3. Love the selvedge of that fabric! But love the "swear along" even more!

  4. I recently read somewhere, but can't remember where, that rinsing in vinegar removes moth ball odour.

  5. too fast for me, I was still thinking up a comment for that lovely dress- the one that decided itself. Gardening can be like that. It's not quite outback Australia here, but it seems that couples share the farm work. So they have one other person to talk to...fabric is beautiful.

  6. Nice jacket choice! Waaaay over my head, but I am sure you will pull it off.

    Blue buttons eh? I might just have to keep mine.

    Thanks for the stretch sewing advice and tips. The fact that the up and down vs crosswise behave differently was a light bulb moment. It sounds like low tension and some sort of stabiliser is the way to go next time. There will always be a next time because I live in knit tops. No point trying to sew lovely blouses that I won't wear! I like to be comfortable and I don't like to iron.

    Finally, I enjoyed the UK version of Farmer Wants a Wife. A silly show really, but so watchable. My new junky show is "Take me Out" sort of like the old dating game with 30 women and one guy. It's rapid fire and they get through about 4 men a show. My husband is embarrassed to know me!

  7. Beware, some smells never leave. And this particular one is toxic. I'd say if you can take a nap using the fabric as a pillow you're fine. If not, try more washing (a bit of vinegar?), and especially hanging out in the sun.
    I suppose I could live somewhere like that, with an excellent net connection. But many people out there don't have that, or wouldn't see it as a priority. And you'd have to be very sure you can get the hell out of there if the guy gets the idea you're stuck and starts treating you like it.. It's just easier in a city for a woman to have backup to get out of a relationship error (potentially fatal), much easier.

  8. That girl in the picture wearing the Jorinda does look a bit shifty, doesn't she?!
    I've never watched that show but I have a few friends who live in the country who are totally addicted to it and talk about it all the time! Actually rural communities here are varied, depends very much on the area they are in...
    All of the rural areas I have friends and family in are tight-knit communities with extremely active social lives. Some even more so than some suburban areas.

  9. Swear a long, sounds like me making a jacket!

    In my early teens I lived in rural Australia, in a farming community. High school was an hour and a half bus trip each way - until I went to boarding school, which was full of girls from much more isolated areas. Their mothers were mostly terrific women, very involved in the family farming business, community activities, and not scared to drive long distances to do things. I live in a country town now, and have a lot of these ladies as clients - they retire to country towns, and are a real force in the community! - or drive 3 hours to town from their farm. They also all seem to have at least one hobby in which they are passionately involved.

  10. Your last sentence is so funny, but I do hope your experience isn't that bad! and mine too for that matter! From what I see, the wool does look like it will make a distinctive jacket. I hope you are able to get all of the smell out of it.

  11. I've seen that Jorinde styling photo and never noticed she was standing outside the men's bathroom. That's hilarious! Yes, on the job indeed!

  12. I love that jacket styling, so look forward to seeing it made up. Some rural, remote areas can be great communities, but you would not see people as regularly as in the city. I can see someone growing up with it coping, but wonder at full-ion city girls moving out there and whethter they would cope!

  13. Swear-a-long. I love it. I love that jacket! Even though the model looks like she's going to fall backwards into that men's loo. Good luck with the mothball smell. I would suggest another wash in a weak dose of woolwash but don't rinse it out. LIne dry in the sun(again!) and see how it goes.