Fixing the Pockets
Well, I did it. I went back and remade both pocket flaps. However, instead of making both straight, I made them both uneven in the same way. I kind of preferred the way it looked. It did mean that I had to cut another suede pocket flap. The flaps will be shown in some of the pictures later on.
The Canvas Interfacing
After fixing the pockets it was time to start the canvas interfacing for the fronts. I cut out the hair canvas using the pattern I had made. The canvas shape is roughly the same as the facing shape, but extends further into the body and over to the armhole. I then applied the shoulder reinforcements to the interfacing using largish padstitching.
After cutting the canvas and reinforcing the shoulder I basted it onto the fronts. I carefully smoothed the canvas to the fabric, making sure they matched up perfectly (which was no easy thing considering the amount of bust shaping involved). I then started basting them together using large stitches and kind of meandering around. I didn’t use any particular pattern for basting, but I did baste down the roll line first. My jacket pattern doesn’t have front darts, just princess lines, so I didn’t have to take them into account. (If it did have darts I would have started my basting there and worked out). As you can see from the picture below, The interfacing curves up and over the bust point, so there is no interfacing directly on the bust point.
Once I was satisfied that the fabric and interfacing were working with each other (rather than fighting each other) I did the pad stitching on the lapel. I found it easier to keep my rows of pad stitching even by first drawing parallel lines on the interfacing (got this idea from the Singer Tailoring book). I drew the lines closer together as they neared the lapel points. I found the pad stitching actually went rather quickly. (Both lapels completed in a single evening). Of course, I curved the lapel over my hand as I padstitched, increasing the curve as I neared the point. As you can see in the picture, they’re curling nicely.
While leaving the basting in, I laid the fronts on the table and trimmed off the seam allowance of the canvas (see picture). I actually trimmed a scant 1/8″ away from the seam allowance so there was no chance of the canvas getting caught in the seams. This is one of the areas where I was glad I had done the thread tracing of the seam lines. The roll of the lapel causes the canvas to “shorten up” in the lapel area. So I just trimmed the canvas relative to the seam lines on the fabric.
Next I hand basted the stay tape onto the fronts. I used a 3/8″ woven (not twill) cotton tape recommended to me by the nice people at Greenberg & Hammer. Its firm weave, but soft and very lightweight. I started by basting in the bridle (the tape that runs next to the lapel roll line). I used the method described in the Cabrera book. Starting with a backstitch at the top I basted the tape in normally (e.g. with no slack in the tape, but not stretched either). About 3″ down I backstitched then started pulling the tape tight as I continued basting. After about 3″ of that I backstitched again and went back to normal tension, stopping the tape about 2 1/2” from the end of the roll line.
I then taped the rest of the front starting at the top of the lapel, down the fronts, and across the bottoms. One important part was pulling the tape a little more tightly as I rounded the curves of the bottom fronts. This caused those curved edges to curl, ever so slightly, towards the body. Once I had basted the tape into both fronts I compared the two sides and they looked the same. The lapels looked good, with the eased portion hugging the bustline slightly. I then lightly steam pressed the tape so it was laying flat and proceeded to stitch it permanently to the jacket. I catchstitched both edges of the tape by hand. I didn’t have to be so careful with the edge that was on the seamline, but the edge that was on the jacket body took a lot of time. I stitched about every 1/4” along the edges, taking care to catch only the canvas and not the fabric. This was by far the most time-consuming part. I think I finished both sides in one night, but it was a very long night.
The Ongoing Problem
There was one problem I was having (and am still having). I had “dents” forming near the bust point. At first I thought it was a lack of support and that they would go away once I interfaced (lack of experience showing there). When they didn’t I realized I would have to re-stitch those seams. I took the right-front apart to re-stitch the seam and got it right on the first try. I have re-stitched the left-front four times and still haven’t fixed it. I’m kind of stuck here because this problem needs to get fixed before I can go on.
The picture on the left shows the original dent in the right-front jacket piece. The picture in the middle show the right-front jacket piece after I fixed it. The picture on the right shows the left-front jacket piece after third time I tried to fix it. As you can see all I managed to do there was transfer the dent from below the bust to above it. I’ll have another go at it tonight and see if I can do it. I’m starting to worry that this seam has been handled too much. Its a good thing I working with such a forgiving fabric.
Hopefully I’ll have more updates later …