29 July 2016

The Outfit of Opposites

I call this the "outfit of opposites" because it illustrates the word 'opposite' in every sense. 

Old vs. New:  The jacket is Simplicity 2341 (OOP) and the skirt is McCall's 7253 (released this year).  

When this jacket first came out, I was unimpressed.  Though the pattern envelope leaves much to be desired, I bought it anyway because it had front and back shoulder princess seams.  I figured I could use better fabric and leave off the shoulder fins shown in view D.  This is an example of relying heavily on the line drawings and the Internets to bring out inspiration.

The skirt has pleats and can be sewn with or without a waistband.  Views A and E have contrast bands.  I just noticed that the zipper is placed at the center back.  I completely missed this while sewing and placed mine at the left side seam. 

I stayed away from pleated skirts for a very long time until I saw people with a similar shape sew and wear them.  So I gave this pattern a try and happy with the look.

Structured vs. Free-flowing:  The jacket has very defined lines by nature of its military style.  I used metal buttons on the front panel and denim topstitching thread along the princess seams, collar, and hem.

 (hmm...need to resew that third button on the right (facing) side)

The skirt, by contrast, has eight pleats that give it lots of volume and flow.  I roll-hemmed the skirt because hemming this joint any other way gave me fits!  More on that in a moment.

Stash vs. New Purchase:  The denim is from the stash and the animal print cotton voile is not.  I bought the voile with the intention of making a pleated skirt and to pair with this jacket.  I had an image in my mind and am happy to see that it worked.

Lined vs. Unlined:  After making the Jamie Christina coat, I had NO desire to line another jacket.  

 (poly fleece sleeve head)

The skirt, however, is flat-lined.  The voile is very sheer and definitely needed lining.  Again, more on that in a moment.

Neat vs. Hot Mess:  The jacket looks as good on the inside as it does on the outside.  I used my serger to finish the princess seams together before topstitching and used the serger to finish the raw edges for the side and shoulder seams.

The skirt, on the other hand, is a mess!  At some point, I lost track of which way I pressed the pleats, so they're going in all kinds of directions on the inside.  Fortunately, it's not too obvious from the right side.

So about flat-lining and the rolled hem...

Usually I cut my skirt linings the same length as the skirt and then hem the lining after I've hemmed the skirt.  It's not convention, but it works for me.   While I LOVE flat-lining, I ran into an issue with how to hem the skirt and lining.  

In flat-lining, the garment and lining are treated as one unit once attached.  Since the width of the skirt at the hem is SUPER wide and my lining shifted during sewing, it was nearly impossible to turn up the hem and blindstitch.  IMPOSSIBLE.  After stitching and unstitching many times, I gave up and rolled hem the skirt and lining separately.


It is not pretty at all!  There has got to be a better way to do this.  I'm thinking that if I intend to flat-line, then I should cut and hem the lining first and then proceed as normal.  That way, the lining is finished before the side seams are sewn.  Hmm.  


Sewing/Fitting the Jacket:  I started with a size 16 jacket after comparing it to other princess seam patterns I sewed.  I made a 1" swayback adjustment and added 0.5" to the bust area tapering to nothing above and below curve.  I did not make a muslin.

Everything else was pretty straight forward - except for the front button panels.  The instructions have you cut only two pair of panels (one for each side) and stitch them to the front.  There is no mention of how to finish the edges or if they are to be turned under or remain raw.

I did my own thing.  I cut fusible interfacing using the same pattern pieces.  Then I stitched the interfacing to the panels, right sides together, using a 1/4" seam allowance. 

After trimming the seam allowance, I clipped the curved area, turned the facing to the inside, and pressed into place - taking care to roll the interfacing to the underside.

Doing it this way ensures that the panel is interfaced and the raw edges are finished.

The sleeves are freakishly long.  I guess the line drawing shows this, but still.  I didn't expect them to be this long.  After pinning the length I wanted, I lopped off 1.5" from the bottom and then sewed a 1.5" hem.

I didn't include the front zippered pockets or the back tab.  I cut and sewed the tab, but didn't like how it looked.

I sewed the buttons to the front before attaching the facing so that my stitches didn't show.

Sewing/Fitting the Skirt:  I sewed a straight 16 - my usual size in McCall's.  At first I sewed the pleats smaller than the pattern since I wasn't sure how it would fit at the waist.  I didn't need the extra width and stitched everything as designed.  I didn't a full seat adjustment nor did I make a muslin.

The waist is finished with 1.5"-wide petersham.

Wut?  That's TWO garments in a row that were made without a muslin.  Somebody call a paramedic.


I am really happy with how everything turned out - messy insides and all.  I was concerned that the military jacket looked out of proportion lengthwise with the skirt.  I wore it on Tuesday and got several compliments.  I felt good and ultimately didn't care about the proportions. =)

I paired the skirt with three other tops and think they're all fine.  Here they are for comparison:

 left:  Kwik Sew 3558 (denim jacket)
center:  New Look 6704 (chambray shirt)
right:  Simplicity 2341

I can see another version of both patterns in the future.  I'm thinking of making the skirt in a light-to-medium weight wool woven for fall and maybe another view of the jacket in something equally fall-appropriate.


Up next:  Burda 6769 and planning for fall.

I've had this on my radar for a while. After seeing Nakisha's version last month, I moved it to the 'want to sew now' list.  I'm almost finished and hope to post a review soon.

I'm pulling fabrics and finding fabrics to begin sewing for fall.  Waaah!  Summer...don't go!


Edited to add:  Thank you for responding to my question about Instagram versus blogging.  I like using both mediums and will likely continue doing so.  My blogging has fallen off substantially for a number of reasons (some sewing-related, some not).  I was wondering if it had to do with my activity on Insta and if others were experiencing the same.  The general consensus is that people like reading blogs for information about projects; so do I.  I enjoy reading details about what worked and what didn't and largely speed past the 'here's what I made' posts that give no information.   I hope to be better at blogging so that I can contribute to what I like to the community that I like. =)


  1. Well one, every time I go through the pattern stash I want to make that KS jacket and then I come and look at yours. I am making that this fall.

    Two, I love this post :)

    The whole outfit is super cute and I love the pleated skirt. I think proportion is key and this one hits in a great spot on you. I can't even though with the error on the jacket front band. Seriously? Sigh.

    I've only flatlined a couple of things and I think, with a lightweight lining fabric, hemming the lining first shouldn't cause too much of an issue. I didn't notice the jacket button til you pointed it out and then it was glaring! LOL!!!

    Can't wait to see the Burda skirt! It's a flattering cut for sure.

    1. I love the KS jacket and made it twice. The collar instructions are confusing, but stick with it because it works out beautifully! I know you'll like it. =)

      Thank you! I thought the military jacket was too long, but I'm over it. Hah! I like it with all of the different tops and can definitely see more variations of this outfit in the future.

      As for the pattern instructions, yeah, that was a head-scratcher. Maybe the intention was for us to cut two pair and sew them together? Still, that would have been bulky on the center front - especially with the facing and zipper.

      I have all the eye-rolls for that third button. LOL

      Yeah, that Burda skirt is on a time-out at the moment. It's big and I have to take it in a lot. I haven't decided if I want to pick the vent stitches.

  2. Your jacket is beautiful! I have that same sewing pattern. I purchased it years ago and never got around to sewing it. I really like View A, but your view (C) is really nice too. The jacket looks great with the skirt you made.

    1. Thank you Vanessa! I like view A too; maybe I will sew it someday. It's a good pattern that has lots of potential.

  3. that jacket looks fantastic - really sharp. great fit and choice of fabric and buttons. Some of those Simplicity patterns have such nice details and their envelope versions tend to downplay or make them look uninteresting. Which is always a good reason to check the line drawings. And thanks for the informative post. the question of blogging vs. instagram seems to be going around this month. I love seeing lots of details so I hope you keep on blogging - you sew great stuff.

    1. Thanks Beth! You are right about how the envelope versions tend to downplay the patterns. I've passed on several patterns (from various companies) because of the envelope. It's always wise to check the line drawings.

      I like seeing details written by others as well, so I will continue to do so myself. =)

  4. Fabulous outfit. LOVE that jacket. The details are gorgeous and a sweet skirt.

    1. Hey lady!!! How the heck are you?? I think of you all of the time when I use my lady-figure tweezers. =)

      Thank you!

  5. That jacket is AMAZING and the skirt is cool too.
    REALLY nice topstitching on the front band of the jacket!
    I liked your IG vs blogging question. I'm generally reading blogs less but am on IG all the time!

    1. Thanks Kyle!

      That's another thing. I find that I have not kept current on my favorite blogs. I finally fixed my Bloglovin' issue; I hope to get back to reading soon.

  6. Ooh, the Burda skirt is on my to make list as well... but let's talk about you...
    Love this post with all the detail - strange that the jacket should have such long sleeves- I've usually found Simplicity to be not to bad in the size and length department. Great save on the finishing of the front as well - I have this pattern, so will look out for this problem. I think the jacket pattern is a great basic shape - it can be morphed into other jackets as well. Plain wool would look great. And the skirt is wonderful - I've thought of pleated skirts but thought they would be too bulky - but I never thought of voile. Looks great. As for underlining, often the main lining is hemmed onto the underlining. I think this only works for straight skirts. For a full skirt I would always do a lining and not an underlining and hem separately. Still, it worked out and no-one is going to look inside.

    1. Thank you Sarah Liz. =)

      Yes, the sleeves were really, really long. I am proportionally short, so shortening sleeves is almost always something I do. These sleeves seemed excessively long, though.

      I agree that this pattern would look very nice in a plain dark wool - maybe with pewter buttons and antique zipper. Hmmmmmm...

      I underlined a Burda skirt earlier this year (or late last year). Since the hem circumference wasn't that long, it was very easy to treat the lining and shell as one unit. As you said, this time was particularly more difficult because the circumference was substantially longer. For straight or A-line skirts, flat-lining or underlining is much easier. Going forward, I will try hemming the lining first and see if that makes things easier.

  7. Your new skirt and jacket look great. I love your outfit! No, wait, I love all of the outfits that you put together with your new skirt. There's nothing like making something new and having it work with a lot of what is already in your wardrobe.

    1. Thank you!

      "There's nothing like making something new and having it work with a lot of what is already in your wardrobe."

      Yaaaas! Even though I made the skirt and jacket for this look, I really like the chambray shirt and skirt combination. You're right; it's nice to make something that can work with whatever is already in the wardrobe!

  8. You rock my socks, girl! Fantastic outfit, opposites and all! Where did you get that animal print voile? It's amazing. Two thumbs up!!!

  9. Love your new jacket and skirt and the proportions are spot on, it is also the volume, slim jacket shape on top and the slightly fuller skirt on the lower half. Love voile for it softness in a skirt and I have created separate lining to skirt as trying to get the interlining hems to look good are a lot of work.

    Great to see your skirt works so well in your wardrobe.

    1. Thanks Sharon. =) Once I wore the jacket and skirt, I was less concerned about the proportions. As you said, the fullness of the skirt help compliment the slim jacket shape. Overall, I am pleased with the look and can see more versions in the future.

      I will rethink flat-lining full skirts. I thought of creating separate lining pieces, but thought the raw edges wouldn't take serging very well since the voile was so thin. I'm sure there is a way to do it; I have to figure it out. =)

  10. I am a little behind on reading blogs and so happy not to have missed this one. I was looking at fashion mags in the checkout yesterday, and denim is IN for the fall. Your jacket is incredible and you convinced me that I need this skirt pattern. I am working on a dress with pleats right now and am surprised at how much I like them. I love the way you used that interfacing and think I might apply that idea to anything I can.
    I love IG, but thank you for continuing to blog. I have been able to solve so many issues lately because others sewers have taken the time to share their ideas and methods.


Thanks for commenting! I appreciate and read them all - even if I can not personally respond.


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