Hello Sewists! I’m this month’s blogger for Schnittchen’s “Sewing Around the World” tour. 12 sewing bloggers from different countries have chosen a pattern from Schnittchen’s collection to sew and write about on their blog. I’m posting from Malawi-Africa. You can see what the other bloggers made here.
For my month of October, I chose the Tina Jacket, a moto-style jacket with a diagonal zip and shawl collar. It’s a little strange to sew a winter coat in sub Saharan Africa during the hottest month of the year (it’s 41° C today) but I couldn’t resist this pattern for 3 reasons. A) It’s a very cool design B) This jacket looked like it would be fun to make C) The last time I was in Europe during winter I vowed my next coat wouldn’t be boring black, but a pretty pink to brighten up those rainy grey days. And here was the team at Schnittchen telling me I could choose my fabric (pink please!) from German fabric store Stoffe.de and they would send it all the way down here to Malawi – Africa.
The package arrives in Balaka Malawi Africa! All the way from Munich, Germany!
It felt like Christmas down here in Malawi!
The ladies at Schnittchen also sent me fabric to line the jacket, a step that wasn’t in the pattern instructions, but easy enough to self draft from the original pattern pieces. But first, I knew I’d need to make a muslin to test out the pattern and make any mistakes before I cut into that gorgeous boiled wool. I used a piece of camel colored pile. It resembled teddy bear fur.
I knew the jacket would be too long because the pattern was drafted for someone 168.5 cm tall. I’m 10 cm shorter! I shortened the sleeves by 2.5cm already in this first draft, but I didn’t shorten the rest of the pattern. As you can see, it’s a bit long on me. Not a bad look, but not the fit intended. I also had some problems understanding a step in the instructions, which resulted in a strange tab on the front of the jacket. See the green arrow. (I figured out my mistake for the next test.)
The second try. Tina Jacket shortened for my 158.5cm height. Silk/Linen fabric.
For my second test, I upgraded to a very fancy silk/linen fabric completely impractical for dusty African village life. I’m crazy like that. I shortened all the bodice pieces by 2cm. The pattern doesn’t have a “shorten/lengthen here” line; so I carefully lined up the pieces and made my own line in the middle of the pattern. Not a big deal.
I decided to line this jacket for practice. It had been a while since I made lining pieces and bagged a jacket. I googled what I needed and looked through some of my sewing books. Basically, you need to add some extra ease into your lining pieces, and a nice vent in the center back. If you make lining pieces straight from the regular pattern pieces things will be too tight. Trace them and add your ease.
As for bagging… It looks very complicated and scary. It’s not. And when you do it, you’ll feel like a sewing superstar, I promise. I’d have to write a whole post on the topic, so I’m not going to get into it here, but as always, you’ll find what you need on the internet. I looked at about 5 sewing blogs to refresh my memory. Then I hand basted the lining to the jacket as a test run. When I knew I had it figured out, I went back and machine stitched with perfect results. I think you can tell how happy I was by those pictures.
Bagging the jacket. Check the internet for some good tips and give this sewing magic trick a try.
It was finally time to cut into that boiled wool. It’s called Schurwolle in German. I did some research and understood that this would be a dry clean only item. I also read not to steam or over iron the wool. I forgot this when ironing on the fusible interfacing (which, for this fabric probably wasn’t needed, anyway) and had a mini freak out. This stuff shrinks! I destroyed one of the pieces. I had some extra fabric, so lesson learned without major disaster. DO NOT USE STEAM ON BOILED WOOL.
Boiled wool won’t fray, so there was no need to finish the edges. Hurray! Then I realized there was a different time-sucking issue. The seams did not press open. They stood upright. And they were very big, bulky seams. I tried top stitching them down. This looked awful and I quickly unpicked that experiment. I finally decided to hand stitch the seams down, much like hand-hemming. If you look closely, you can see my stitches on the wrong side. The wool is so springy and thick you can’t see anything from the right side. If you’ve worked with boiled wool before, I’d be curious to hear how you dealt with this issue.
And here is the final jacket!
I love it! It turned out great, and the fit is perfect. I went back and tried on the first two test jackets, and I love them, too. Each one has a different character. I know I’ll be wearing the teddy bear fur jacket on my next flight. And the white silk/linen will be perfect for a night out in some cool weather city… ahhh… But the pink wool jacket is my favorite, because it’s what I’ve dreamed of having in my closet for a while now. It will totally brighten a dull winter’s day. It’s going to be my little bit of African sunshine when I’m far from home.
Pattern: Jacke & Weste Tina Schnittchen
Size Sewn: 40 shortened 2cm for my 158.5cm height
Fabric: Schurwolle (Boiled Wool) “Walkloden Rotviolett” and lining, “Viskosejersey” in black.
Fabric Store: Stoffe.de
Changes to Pattern: Shortened and lined. Very happy that I lined the jacket.
Difficulty of Pattern: The instructions are basic and don’t come with illustrations. There is a how-to on the Schnittchen webpage with photos. Shouldn’t be too difficult if you are a confident sewist. I’m glad I made a test first.
Would I recommend this pattern? Yes!
Thank you to the ladies over at Schnittchen for providing the pattern & fabric and sending it all the way to Malawi Africa. It was great fun to be part of this “Sewing Around The World” tour.