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.
. 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.
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.
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.
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!