This month’s challenge for The Monthly Stitch was to sew something from a sewing book. I have SO many sewing books, where to start? Actually, I began with Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, and am at work on a project from it as well as a review. Next, I also have the sewing book, Twinkle Sews and began work on a project from there, in addition to a review of the book.
But then, the latest issue of Sew Stylish came out (Fall, 2013) and right on the back cover was a photo of an army fatigue jacket with the pattern and instructions included in the magazine. So, since it is officially snowing here and I happened to be VERY cold at the time of purchase, I immediately went to work making the jacket out of a cozy wool blend, that feels soft, like a sweater blanket.
I wanted to bind all the edges in the fuchsia pink, but this type of fabric has thick woolen threads weaved into it in order to create the flecks of colour and it raveled as the long threads separated from the raw edges almost immediately. Sewing on the bias tape then resulted in many failed attempts as the threads pulled from the edges of the fabric, taking the bias tape with them.
But, I did manage to attach the bias binding to the edges that mattered, ie, the facing and hem, areas that you would see easily if the jacket were unzipped. The remaining raw edges were over-locked.
The jacket has a long two-way separating zipper, (i.e., it can unzip from the bottom and the top) and deeeeeeeep patch pockets.
Some notes on enlarging pattern pieces: First, number both the sides and top and bottom of the grid on each pattern piece. Next, photocopy each pattern piece separately, then trim around the outside of the piece.
This way, when you go to enlarge the pieces and need to tape the multiple pages together, you can easily match the corresponding numbers on the top and sides of the grid. You can also opt to copy the pieces either bigger or smaller than the intended size. I photocopied mine so that each square was 6/8″ instead of the intended 1″ square, in order to shrink the overall size of the pattern.
Are free magazine sewing patterns recommended? It depends on what you are attempting to make. Simple items, where little can go wrong are likely better than something with more complicated pieces. Also, I don’t think the same amount of editing, thought and care goes into the instructions and pattern drafting for the free magazine patterns as there would be for independent or larger pattern company patterns, and therefore errors can definitely result. For this jacket, one of the diagrams was wrong, causing me to insert the zipper backwards. (I had to re-do the whole thing and it’s a 32″ zip!) I also made my cape out of a free magazine pattern and found that the instructions to enlarge it were wrong. I would recommend that you not be a complete beginner and have some sewing experience before you use one of the free magazine patterns. That way, you can tell beforehand if/when there is an error and correct it.
Stay tuned for Blogpost Part 2, which I will post next week, where I will have, hopefully, completed the two projects from Gertie’s and Twinkle’s sewing books.