Thursday, May 07, 2015

Vogue 8209 ~ One more time!

I have some important meetings to attend and I needed a new suit to wear. My present summer suits are all too big. Gawd I promise to stop typing that sometime soon! It's starting to annoy me too.  Of course, I didn't have loads of time ~ about five days ~ but I managed to get it sewn in time.

The main reason why is Vogue 8209. This is the fourth time I've used this pattern to make a jacket.  

You can see my favorite seersucker version here and here and the Chado Ralph Rucci jacket that failed here. The very first version was part of a pantsuit sewn in 2008 here. See this pattern rarely fails me!

I started with a lightweight poly/wool glen plaid from Fabric Mart. The most important part of making this suit work was to match that glen plaid all the way around the jacket, as well as, where the sleeves join the jacket. 

Plaid Matching Tips ~
1. I pin all of the main plaid lines in the selvedges all the way down the fabric. This allows me to make sure that the fabric matches and won't slip during the layout and cutting process.

leftover fabric remnant

2. Most times I cut pieces singly - making a right and left copy of each pattern piece making it easier to match the plaids during layout. I didn't use that technique for this jacket. Instead I cut the front pieces and then used them to cut the back pieces insuring the plaid matched all the way around the body of the jacket.

3. Sometimes when there are two pieces like the sleeves ~ I lay them next to each other, then pin and cut.

4. When laying out I try to align the pattern pieces at specific points on the glen plaid so I can use it as a reference point when laying out other pattern pieces ~ for example, the hemline is placed along a prominent section of the plaid. This insures that the plaid will match at every hemline.

5. To stitch the pieces together, I pin the points of the plaid together at every spot before stitching. I also tend to stitch from the hem up. I've found that sewing that way insures that the plaid doesn't shift. Quite a few times when I've sewn from the top down, I've had a slight difference in the plaid match.

6. When I'm really concerned, I will hand baste the two pieces together. If you have a walking foot, that will help with insuring that the two pieces don't shift during sewing.

Finally, plaid matching is not hard to do. It takes some time and consideration when cutting out then care when sewing the garment together. However, the time spent is worth it.

The Other Changes ~
I underlined this one with bemberg rayon lining. When I first started working with the fabric, I realized that it was too light to sit well on my body without a lining. 

I had always planned on binding the seams because I think this is a better finishing on a jacket than serged seams.

The back neck facing was enlarged. I hated the way the smaller facing flopped around in my other jackets. By enlarging the facing, it allowed me to add my label to the back of the jacket and I did a stitch in the ditch to hold it down.

The sleeves are lined using the Nancy Zieman method.

I used 1/2" shoulder pads in the jacket and only serged the edges because I was pushing it to get the jacket finished in time. It would have been nicer if I had bound those edges too.

One single button was used on the front of the jacket. I thought this one worked well with the fabric and I wanted a closure on the jacket unlike the previous incarnations.

Final thoughts ~
I ran through this jacket. It was made in 2.5 days and I had some challenges with the underlining and the front facing. Let's just say that I didn't think it through and had to rip it apart in sections to finish the neckline.

After I wore the jacket I noticed a lot of wrinkling. In hindsight I probably should have added an organza layer before underlining with the lining fabric. Since my garments will get a lot more wear now that I'm rebuilding my wardrobe, I need to think of things like this earlier in the sewing process.

I also wasn't thrilled with my sleeve insertion. At the end of the day, I kept thinking that I would take them out when I got home and reinsert them. But I'm gonna leave them alone and move on. I'm doing this for two reasons. One, the plaid match is so amazing that I'm not sure I could repeat it. Two, I got so many compliments on the suit that no one noticed the sleeve caps but me. Definite signs of this isn't a great insertion but it's okay and I will fix the pattern for future makes.

Removing some of the excess from the sleeve cap on the pattern pieces will make them work better since I'm going to use this pattern again. Hey I need clothes and this pattern works! I've even got the next set of fabrics picked out. Ah the joys of a well stocked fabric collection!

Pics of me wearing the suit will be up soon.  My photographer is working again so I have to schedule photo shoots. I also made a couple of dresses for my daughter ~ which will also be up on the blog shortly. Those dresses pushed Miss Lena's summer things back a little.

I have a full plate of sewing on my list so I hope you'll hang around for my next sewing adventure! always more later!


  1. I'm loving the jacket and the details of matching the plaid. Can't wait to see all the pretty things :)

  2. Love me a great glen plaid, and beautiful matching Carolyn!!

  3. This is such a great post, really informative and such a great read.

    I wear a lot of my own creations to work. But never has the guts to make my own suit
    After reading this, I've decided to give it a go!
    You've made me think about using tartan - yes you've inspired me!
    Thanks for this post, have a great weekend

  4. As you say we do overthink our garment sewing and this jacket has proven it, it looks lovely. Thank you for all the plaid matching tips.

  5. Love the fabric and beautiful job on matching!

  6. Loving the whole process :)

  7. Really enjoying reading about the process Carolyn,and great job matching the plaid!

  8. Sometimes when we are sewing for necessity, we have to overlook those little things that would drive us crazy otherwise. The sleeves are fine IMHO. That plaid matching is something to be proud of!

  9. first, congratulations on a great job making a suit! second--you go right ahead and mention your weight loss all you want. maybe people get tired of hearing it maybe they don't. i've lost 85 pounds and i'll tell the world!--anne

  10. Whoa!!! You made that FAST! But it doesn't look like you made it fast, if you know what I mean!

    1. When you get a chance check the suit out and you will see all of the shortcuts I took for yourself!

  11. Fabulous. Wonderful plaid matching.

  12. I've matched stripes but haven't graduated to plaid yet. I can't believe you did this in such a short amount if time!
    I'm curious as to why you used the lining to underline as opposed to using it as a traditional lining. Doesn't it take more time to add all of that seam binding? It looks gorgeous but you were in a hurry!

    1. My jacket lining skills suck! Seriously I need to spend the time learning to do it better. But I can underline and bind like a beast. Prior to owning a serger I bound every seam. It just doesn't take me that long.

  13. Great plaid matching! You are getting a lot of sewing done between this and the grandkids dresses. Are you managing to sew during the week or just very productive weekends?

  14. Great-looking suit for 2 1/2 days work Carolyn! Your plaid matching fields were right on point! Wish we could see you in this lovely suit! Maybe we can get an action picture of you at the meeting, LOL!

  15. Those were the best plaid matching tips I've ever read!

  16. You did an awesome job... as usual! I know how challenging matching plaids can be - which is why I seldom work with plaid fabric. Looking at how perfectly you matched he plaid at every point makes the task look easy. Kudos.


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