Two years and nine months after I first mentioned my plans for this French jacket it's finished. I loved every minute of the quilting and hand sewing. I love the lining, the trim,.....I'm just not sure I like it on me.
Actually I finished it a month ago (does two years and eight months sound marginally better?) but I needed some time to collect my thoughts before writing a blog post. But let's save the reflections for later and continue with the construction details.
I hand stitched the trim along the neckline and front before closing the lining. Last step: threading strips of lining through the horizontal ribbon stitches.
After careful consideration I decided against adding trim at the hemline and sleeves. I preferred the vertical line as a focal point.
So far, so good!
Pretty insides! Now let's put in on me:
Hmm. A rather dull outfit on someone who loves colourful clothes.
These pictures were taken during the first outing of the jacket. Mr Foxgloves took me out for dinner in a lovely orangerie. Wonderful occasion to wear something new!
Confession: this was before I added the chain and it definitely affected the hang.
I already knew the jacket was going to be too big. Even after a delicious four course meal I could easily take out 10 cm at the hip and slightly less at the waist and high bust. I did try to open up the seams before I added the trim but using a seamripper with bouclé that's falling apart when you just look at it? Mission impossible.
Well, too small would be worse. I'm so grateful to be in better shape than I was when I started this project while recovering from a back injury.
Now is there anything else I can do to improve the look of what I now consider a wearable muslin of a French jacket?
Add colour? I usually wear my jackets open. When I don't use the hooks and eyes it is less obvious the jacket isn't as well fitted as it should be (at least in my mind). One of my daughters suggested rolling up the sleeves to show more of the lining, it also enhances the more casual look. I'm thinking of making a pink bow blouse and slim white pants for a smarter summer look. As you can see in the various pictures this jacket easily picks up colour from the environment and looks rather different in a sunny garden than on a cloudy day. I'll try a scarf, necklaces and different coloured tops underneath. Not giving up yet!
Regrets, I have a few.
The fit isn't one of them. The original muslin had a good fit and so did the basted jacket when I checked after quilting and before sewing the seams. This could not have been avoided. Even if I had finished it sooner it would now be too big. That's life.
My biggest regret? I wasn't sure about buying the bouclé until I paired it with the lining. The lining was love at first sight. But hey, it's LINING. That's on the inside when you're done!!! Lesson learned. Ouch.
In hindsight, I think I lost my enthusiasm at this stage:
Although I didn't put my finger on it at the time I don't think it's a coincidence that this was the moment the focus shifted from working on the insides (quilting, finishing all thread tails) to working on the outer shell. Red flags were neglected. I even took a fifteen months break whereas my usual modus operandi for an exciting sewing project is more like order pizza and spend long nights in the sewing room till it's done. If only I had chosen a red bouclé, or royal blue...
So what do we have so far. Too big, wrong colour.
But..... Did I already tell you how divine this jackets feels?
Those of you who felt the magic of quilting two fabrics to become one know what I'm talking about.
So soft, so luxurious.
This jacket may have some serious flaws but it's such a joy to wear. And I often do!
Had it turned out better it might have become 'special occasion' wear, as it is I wear it as my new favourite cardigan. To the grocery shop, to the pub, to the vet's.
It's been a long journey and an interesting one. I've learned new techniques, read many couture books, visited exhibitions and met new online sewing friends from all over the world working on similar projects. Thanks everyone for your helpful and supportive comments and special thanks to Leisa of A Challenging Sew and Inna of Thewallinna for starting the Little French Jacket Sewalong with special contributions by Susan Khalje. If you're ever considering making a French jacket make sure to check those sewalong posts for inspiration, resources and tutorials. I know I will when I'm starting the next one. Which I most certainly will. I didn't spend 100+ hours on this muslin to stop here!
I know what you mean about loving bright colors and perhaps not being thrilled with the jacket color - however I think it is fantastic and a great item to add to a bright top and jeans as you have styled it. The colors in the jacket work with a lot of different tops. And always a great feeling to finish something and put away all the bits and pieces. Gorgeous jacket.ReplyDelete
Thanks Beth. You're right, I won't miss those boucle threads all over the house! I'll try different coloured tops and pants and see what works.Delete
Hi Marianne, what a lovely garment. I agree that the size being to large is not the worst outcome. Usually my WIP's end up too small. I love the fact you are wearing it with jeans and to just kick about. Something this beautiful and wearable is a joy to wear often.ReplyDelete
You mean it's a blessing in disguise ;) We'll see!Delete
I think it's a lovely jacket! If you wanted a bit closer fit through the waist, you might add one of those waist nippers - a partial belt with a clip on each end. It would be removable.ReplyDelete
Great idea. In this case the excess is at the hips and high bust so I'm afraid nipping in the waist will make it look worse....Delete
I think you are being too hard on yourself, Marianne! Your jacket is so lovely and very versatile. I'd be surprised if you don't really enjoy wearing it - both for casual and more dressy outings. Sometimes when I spend a long time and many hours on a project, I suffer from what I call the "This is it?" syndrome. All I see are the mistakes or the parts I wish I had done differently. I think "This is all I have to show for all those hours?" I find I have to stay out of my sewing room for a few days and get my head clear. Then I am usually able to appreciate what I did accomplish, even if it took forever! Think of all you have learned for your next jacket!ReplyDelete
You are too kind, Karen! I really appreciate the many new techniques I've learned and I loved every stitch. I just feel rather silly for (over)thinking every tiny detail and not putting enough thought in selecting the boucle!Delete
The end result is amazing, but I know what you mean about being disappointed once a big project is completed. While we may all sing the praises, your decision is what matters.ReplyDelete
As I looked at one of the photos (where you lost your enthusiasm), it seemed like the boucle had some colorful threads in the weave. Maybe these were basting threads, but I wonder if you could use embroidery floss or other yarns and threads to weave into the boucle and create a more colorful garment.
You're right, Brenda! I used hot pink and orange basting threads and they really looked good. Weaving colour in might work but I can't imagine how many hours it would take....and in the end it will be still be too big. I'll try colourful scarves and statement jewellery and save my sewing time for the next jacket!Delete
I like the idea of a jacket like this but wasn't sure I'd get much wear out of it considering the effort. I like that you can wear it in so many ways including casual - I feel that this makes this project worthwhile. As for colour, it does appear to be a bit of chameleon - for me that's a positive. I'm sad you don't love it as it does look good - but I do understand.ReplyDelete
It gets a lot of wear as a casual cardigan now, which is good I suppose! For dressier options with a pencil skirt or dress it is just too loose. Never mind, it's only fabric and there will be a next one!Delete
How wonderful, something you can wear everyday rather than infrequent 'special' occasions. Congratulations on a great make. Sam the AussieReplyDelete
Thanks, Sam. Absolutely true. I'm a freelance writer and work from home. When I go out for an interview all I have to do is add this jacket to a rather casual outfit and I'm good to go!Delete
Well, if you are wearing this as a smart casual cardigan, I think this jacket is a very big win - I agree with Sam, above. And loose really works for casual -you can move in it - and pick up and cuddle your little dog. Win, Win,Win. Congrats for finishing it - and at least with your next you know what colours to choose!ReplyDelete
You're right, Sarah Liz. I sure can move in it! Lately I've done a lot of research about colour depth and contrast levels to prevent this from happening again!Delete
I think the jacket looks great on you. I think using statement jewelry or colorful scarves could jazz it up some more.ReplyDelete
Thanks, Tomasa. I have a fabric swatch in my purse and I'm on the lookout for colourful accessories!Delete
I agree with someone above who said it's so versatile-maybe some bright colored jeans . I've been considering making a French jacket & I want it to go with everything in my closet & for every occasion 😂😂ReplyDelete
Great job, by only you can decide if you love it
Go for it, MaryEllen! It's such a wonderful experience. When you pick a colour, make sure it goes with YOU. That's the most valuable lesson I've learned ;)Delete
I think it's amazing.... and if it's a fancy every day cardigan then fabulous to get wear from it. I do love it over the pink top.ReplyDelete
Beautiful jacket despite your misgivings. I love the idea of the pink blouse and white slim pants. So glad that you are wearing it and enjoying the soft and luxurious feel of it. It would be such a shame if left in the wardrobe unworn, after all your hours of labour.ReplyDelete
I love this jacket. I don't see dull. I see an elegant jacket in a very useful neutral that looks wonderful on you. I love that it's becoming an everyday item and that you'll get lots of wear from it. If you're putting that much work into something, it needs to get the wear, no! And the next one will be even better!ReplyDelete