IMG_2126.jpg After a wonderful but very busy Christmas and New Years season (oh Yeah – Happy 2016 to you all !), I paused to take some time off, get some ME time for my birthday, and go on a sewing retreat weekend with the New Jersey  chapter of The Association of Sewing and Design Professionals (ASDP or – for the old school folks  out there who know the history- they were also  known as PACC..).

I took my little machine – my “jackknife” Pffaf- and had a great  sewing time. It was a wonderful gathering of sewing women from all walks of sewing and life. We mostly  had  ASDP and American Sewing Guild ( ASG ) folks. The best thing was having TIME and a ” free sew ” weekend  and doing anything from garment sewing, to quilting, to  doll clothes, with garment projects being the bulk of what people brought to sew on.

.IMG_2124.jpg  What I  appreciated the most is that  on the retreat I made the time to FINALLY finish the pattern for a jacket  that’s in a suit pattern that had been sitting in my pattern stash for years. YES I will confess the sewing sins that I am thinking most sewing folks have but might be ashamed to confess–  I have  patterns that I buy that  I SAY I will get  time to make, but then never get the time in my busy life to make them, and so they sit for years!! Well this retreat was the chance to focus on one of THOSE kinds of patterns.

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This pattern and I have a convoluted history. SOMEWHERE in my   life and sewing journey  I acquired this ( ???) late 1940’s/ 1950’s vintage pattern. LOVED it.  The  Good News–Loved the pattern  so much that I made a copy of the original  front pattern envelope with  back and front views of the jacket and suit. Bad News–  while being efficient enough to keep  all the original pattern pieces in a bag, some how I LOST the original pattern envelope and instructions. RATS!!!!

More bad news! As you can see in my copy of the original pattern envelope, a small flap of paper had, unnoticed by me,  folded down in the copier  machine and HIDDEN the original pattern number.  Lost the envelope  and instructions before I could record the number.  DOUBLE RATS!!!   Being that the original  pattern was ” size 14 –Bust 32 in, Hip 35 in “, without the original pattern number, I could not even do research with McCalls / Vogue patterns to find  the pattern number or even  to start a petition for them to re-issue the pattern in modern day sizes. (If any of you  folks have a  random copy of this pattern hidden away in your stash and can  post or email me the pattern number, I’d be grateful.)

OH YEAH— the answer to your question is NO- I CAN’T look at the pattern pieces for the pattern number. This is a REAL vintage pattern. As you can tell by the picture of the  skirt portion of the pattern below, it is all BLANK  cutout pattern pieces with holepunch to indicate pattern piece names, seam allowance, notches, dart placement, and pleating placement.  There is no  printing on the pattern at all. This was VERY NORMAL for pattern companies to  not have printed info on published patterns  “back in the day”. They assumed you  could take their blank, one sized pattern parts  out of the envelope, and their  printed instructions for sewing the garment, and  gained sewing skills from Mama, Grandma or your Home Economics class, in order to figure  the sewing  all out.  Hey- it worked back then, somehow.

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This pattern has sat for four+ years ( at least..) in my pattern stash with good intention to create, but with no follow through. I knew for me it was going to be a lot of work to attempt to realize the garment from paper to cloth and have it to fit me.

SO– with only  a picture of  an unmarked hole punched , lost numbered pattern, that is not my size (for REAL y’all– my hips haven’t been 35 (in) since BEFORE I was 35..LOL)  and  not having any reference instructions for how to construct this thing, I just decided I was going  to use my draping, patternmaking and sewing skills and GO FOR IT.

I looked at the picture !! Visually broke this sucker down into it’s basic parts that I felt made up the WHOLE of the garment. For me this is a  tailored notched collar, raglan sleeve jacket, with hidden placket front closure, double welt ( curved ?? vs straight ) front pockets, and also with released pleats radiating in sunburst pattern from the circle of the neckline and into the body of the jacket. Yep- a mouthful, but that’s what it looks like to me.

I have draped and refined this pattern  on my mannequin about three times. Started with Flat patternmaking of the plain raglan notched collar  jacket and adding the position of the released pleats on the flat pattern draft. Went to the  fabric draping of the  paper drafted pattern and   got half baked results.  I was not happy with the fabric muslins. Lots of kinks to knock out. It was mainly issues related to wanting to get the  sunburst released  pleats placement  in right balance with the raglan seams and raglan shoulder darts.  Looking at the illustration, the pleats end and release in the body of the jacket in such a way to form that level  circular pattern  around the body of the jacket. Also had to contend with all of that pleating in the neckline supporting the  notched collar properly, and having it all  to fit me well.

I needed to turn the  muslin pattern into paper form because I also was needing to do a full bust adjustment and dart manipulation to move some of  the under bust fullness into the neckline.    Because I have a full bust, I turned some of the manipulated under bust fullness into  the first released pleat in the front jacket (pattern pictured below ) AND into a dart located under the notched collar- which supports the tailored collar and front jacket  to laying nicely over my full bust.  As mentioned, I was not happy with the  fabric muslins, but trial and fitting had moved the project forward to that retreat  weekend.

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LASTLY—what I have basically pictured is my   “outside  of the box- make it work ”  combining  of  my skills and draping  the final  developed flat  pattern paper version of the jacket on the mannequin.  I then  could do the final draping in paper of the notched collar. I had one of the ladies  on the sewing retreat help me to  fit  the paper pattern to myself  “Palmer Pletsch style”. ( Thank you Lena S.)

I think I’m happy with what I have got in paper .  I think I am done doing muslins  for this jacket. I have done two fabric and a paper fitting. The paper pattern in DONE. I will create a lining pattern( without  pleats) and  I’m just gonna go for it in fabric  using the Berry colored mid to light weight wool pictured. Hoping to get it done to wear to church on Easter- weather cooperating. After all this work I do not plan to leave the pattern un-sewn for very long,  but I ‘m not promising anything on the timing of sewing completion. I will  see what I will see in this pattern.  I am glad to have gone on  sewing retreat, spent time with  inspirational sewing women,  and had the time to make progress on the pattern, and that its DONE.  WHOO HOO!  I will keep you posted on the sewing progress. Happy sewing  in 2016!

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