Saturday, March 22, 2008

Project Easter Warmth

I ordered an Easter dress for myself online. I really like it and after I shrunk it twice in the dryer it actually fits OK with no alterations. The only problem is that it has little cap sleeves and the forecast for Sunday is highs in the 40s. So I set out to find a cute jacket to complete the ensemble.

I always dress all of us in coordinating colors for Easter so that we can have a nice outdoor family picture once a year. (May be indoor this time.) Kinley and I are wearing black and white and the boys are wearing bright greens and yellows. So I decided that I needed a green or yellow jacket. I found the perfect little knee length dressy trench jacket at Kohl’s. It had ¾ length sleeves with big ruffles at the end. It was so cute, and just the right color! Only one drawback, however….the price. $84. Yeah, $84 for a jacket to put over a dress that cost me $18. No way, Jose.

That is when I made my fatal mistake. I thought to myself, “I could just make one for less than that.” I’ve heard Brian say those words so many times in the midst of antique stores or home d├ęcor stores and every few feet as we walk thru IKEA. And every time I talk him out of it. Reminding him that while he undoubtedly has the talent to make an over the door shoe rack out of bamboo, he does not, unfortunately, have the time or the motivation. Of course instead of listening to my own advice I headed off to JoAnn’s Fabrics for a pattern and some fabric.

The pattern had to be lengthened but the fabric was perfect. I was determined to follow every instruction to the letter and make the jacket turn out perfectly. Usually I read the directions and then decide they don’t make sense and go off on my own only to realize three steps later that it really would have looked better had I followed the directions in the first place. I even used fusible interfacing, a step I have always skipped in the interest of time and money. I started to work on Monday night, convinced that a week would be plenty of time to complete the project. I knew I would have to work in short spurts because sewing absolutely kills my back. I have to stop and lay down for a while before I can head back to the machine.

I did get it done in time and it does look pretty good…although it is not perfect.


--Most pins in my mouth at one time: 24 (I decided to count them when I started drooling onto my shirt. I’ve really got to get one of those dorky wrist pin cushion things.)

--Broken needles: 0 (this is a first for me, I almost always break one needle per project.)

--Seams ripped out: 5 (in my defense a couple of those were in the lining that I had to remove from the sleeves so that I could get my arms in the stupid thing)

--Bloody fingers: 3 (actually the same finger 3 times)

--Bloody lips: 1 (the whole pins in the mouth thing)


--Every mark on a pattern piece is important. The size and dimension of those marks is also important, because you just might come across a step that reads like this:
“Pin under collar to neck edge of jacket, right sides together, matching notches, triangles, center backs, and circles. Stitch between large circles, pivoting at small
Oh, now which one of those circles looks smaller, hmmmm?

--There is a right side and a wrong side to every piece of fabric whether it looks like it or not.

--Stitching, ease stitching, stay stitching, whip stitching and basting are all different. (Of course I already knew this but I usually only use a couple of those. This time I used exactly the recommended stitch….ok, ok so I didn’t stay stitch everywhere I was supposed to….so sue me!)

--Sleeve A and Sleeve B are not the same and cannot be constructed in the same manner.

--Seam allowance is EVERYTHING!

--5/8 is the little line just past ½ inch.

--Fusible interfacing is great! However, it is not the same thing as fusible web, as Granny-Know-It-All at the fabric store will gladly explain to you in a 15 minute tutorial.

--Wow, sewing wastes a lot of thread. Luckily sheep and cotton are renewable resources. Wait a minute…what is polyester made out of???


--Easter should be moved to June to eliminate the need for jackets.

--All women’s clothing should be sleeveless and collar-less.

--While you shouldn’t operate heavy equipment, it is possible to sew while on prescription pain killers. Yay for Vicodin!!

--My arms are too fat.

--That jacket was so worth $84.

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