I tend to post most of my new projects on Instagram (@sue_in_victoria) and PatternReview.com (indigo_sue) instead of writing them up here on the blog, but I thought I’d stop in and show that I’m still here, still sewing… and still learning.

In the last six months, I’ve paid a lot of attention to building my skills in couture sewing and tailoring. This started out with the French jacket (previously referred to as the ‘Chanel’ jacket but after learning more about Coco Chanel’s cozy relationship with the Nazis, I think I’ll find a new favourite designer). I brought home some funky green/blue boucle from Vietnam in October and I followed Claire Shaeffer’s extensive book/video/pattern instructions to sew a French-style jacket.

Then, in March/April, I took on two sets of “Matchy Matchy” ensembles for a PatternReview contest. The first set was really supposed to be just a wearable toile of the Lekala jacket pattern, but since I had 5m of that brown suiting and it turned out to be lovely wearable stuff, I just went to town! This was first jacket on which I’ve pad-stitching the collar and lapel, and I liked how the technique supported the fold of the lapel and collar without pressing.

In the right-hand photo you can see that the lapel doesn’t fold quite properly on the right side. I used a 3/4″ wide twill tape on the fold line and didn’t have the end point positioned in the right place either.

I followed up that outfit with this suit in shocking pink silk tweed suiting, another Vietnam fabric treasure. This fabric REALLY rewarded every bit of tailoring handwork – the collar sits up so proudly on its own and the whole thing feels very very expensive. (Given how much I spent on the lining from Etsy and the buttons in Tokyo… it WAS expensive!)

This pink blazer was my first ever bound buttonhole, but it’s basically like making a tiny little welt pocket so it wasn’t that big of a deal. I accidentally put the pocket welts at the TOP of the pocket opening instead of the bottom, and I’m not entirely sure whether I want to go back and change that. A purist will tell you that is the wrong way to do it, and they should be at the bottom opening of the pocket. But really… does it matter? Only time (and the Saanich Fair sewing judge) will tell.

It is very apparent that practicing these skills leads to marked improvement in them, and the results are very rewarding. I am in the midst of another tailoring project for a family friend whose dream prom outfit was simply not available in Ready-to-Wear prom stores… so she’s getting a special custom outfit made. I can’t wait to share the pictures!

I’ve also started building the lineup for the 2024 Saanich Fair collection. I’m going to strive for 20 entries in the Needle Arts section, and as of right now, 11 of them are complete (projects I’ve sewn since last September). I’m aiming to do three projects each month (June, July, August) which seems feasible.

See you at the Fair!

By suelow

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