I saw the BlueDot Patterns - Dover Jacket and it really tickled my fancy.
However, there were a few challenges...
1. It's only graded up to a size 18 - no plus sizes at all!
2. It's a pdf ONLY pattern
3. The sleeves need to be lengthened
I hemmed and hawwed a few days before downloading the pattern because LOADS of pattern alterations PLUS taping the pattern together. But as I looked at the pattern drawings, I realized that a lot of the alterations would be very easy to make because it's a simple silhouette.
So my first challenge was to tape the pattern together. I managed to do that one evening after work while watching Bye Bye Birdie. Yes I LOVE corny old movie musicals! *LOL* It wasn't difficult to tape together because it doesn't have a lot of pages. The taped pattern easily fit on my sewing table.
Pattern Alterations ~
These are extensive. I altered almost all of the pattern pieces. So I traced the main body pieces and the alterations to them are listed below.
1. Front bodice bottom - added 1.5" to the piece from top to bottom by slicing it open and adding the extra space. This gave me an extra 3" in the front.
3. My finished hip measurement is 71" which will allow me to put a sweater or top under the jacket, as well as sit comfortably in the closed jacket.
4. I added a 1/2" to the front and back bodice pieces by slicing and spreading.
5. While the original finished bodice measurements fit, I wanted a little extra space for what I wore under the jacket.
6. Then I lowered the front and back pieces 2". If you look carefully at the picture of the jacket front - the seamline runs right across your bustline. This works if you're small busted but any amount of boobage and it will look a little wonky.
7. I checked where the seam would fall on my body and decided that I needed to lengthen it 2" for it to clear my bustline. That alteration was made to the front and back pieces.
8. The front facing piece had 2" added to match the jacket.
9. The sleeves were also altered. C'mon you know if I make them on regular patterns I would need to add to them here too. I added 1/2" to the front and back sleeve.
10. For the next make I will need to add another 1/2" to both back and front sleeve piece. When sewn, these were still a little tight and pulled across the jacket front.
11. I also added length to the sleeves because the 3/4 length sleeve won't keep my arms warm.
See extensive! I'm sure you're wondering why I didn't find a pattern in a size closer to my measurements. Honestly I don't know. I saw this, knew it was what I needed & wanted also that it would work with quite a bit of the suiting and jacket fabrics in the collection. Plus I was in the mood for the challenge of making it work.
Fabric Choice ~
I really wanted a denim jacket. I've got an entire section of denim fabric in all weights, colors and prints that I've amassed over the last couple of years. I didn't use as much denim as I thought I would last year, probably cause I went shirt crazy! Anyway, since I made so many alterations to the pattern, basically grading it up to a size 22-24, I wanted to try the pattern out first.
If it worked well great! If it didn't, I would move on. I used a printed denim left over from making this wrap skirt last summer. The first challenge: the fabric was shorter than I thought it was. I'd actually folded it in such a way that I couldn't see a huge piece was cut out ~ insert very loud groan here. I tried to move pattern pieces around so they would fit. The pattern tetris drove me back to working on one of the blankets I was crocheting for the grandchildren. After a time out, I figured out how to get all the outer pieces cut out of the denim.
This was easy to put together. I understand why Diane rated this a beginner to intermediate pattern. But me being me and no longer capable of just sewing a pattern as is, I made a few additions...
a. I didn't have enough of my fabric to cut facings or pockets. So I omitted the pockets.
b. I cut facings from a blue/white gingham from my scrap pile.
d. After the sleeves were made, I realized you could see the white background of my printed denim. So I cut blue/white gingham cuffs (15" x 3") to cover the sleeves undersides. Also to tie it to the facings on the inside.
e. I added 2 more buttons than the pattern calls for because I don't like flappy fronts.
f. To insure that everything in the inside of the jacket coordinated, I added a band of the blue & white gingham to the hemline. I encased the hem for a bound look and I handstitched it down.
f. Last I topstitched close to the front edges and again at the edges of the facings like the pattern suggests. I used a triple stitch for the topstiching.
(The color is off here but you can see the topstitching and basting lines)
To insure the topstitching was in the right place for the facing edges, I ran a line of basting stitches around the facing.
A few pictures of the finished jacket ~
I LOVE this pattern. I can see it in several different fabrications, even a ponte knit. I hope to make a couple more of these before the weather warms up. It's been especially cold this winter and I need ALL THE LAYERS!
I did add a lot of construction techniques to the jacket that are not included in the pattern. Some of it is because I wanted the insides of the jacket to look finished. Other techniques were done because I just like those sewing techniques better. All of these added more sewing time to a simple-to-sew jacket but it was worth the sewing journey...making it a very satisfying sew.
I would highly recommend purchasing this pattern if you're looking for a great casual jacket to add to your wardrobe. It has great bones and you can really have fun with design decisions for your garment.
...as always more later!