Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Vogue 8804 French Jacket

 The French jacket has been my ultimate sewing goal for the last several years. In a fashion sense,  it instantly levels up any outfit whether it be casual, business, or dressy. In the technical sense,  the French jacket forces the maker to slow down and apply advanced techniques and attention to detail. And of course,  lots of hand sewing! I didn't have the nerve to try my own hand at it until I came across Angela Wolf's Contemporary Couture Jacket class on Pattern Review. With this class, she demonstrates how to utilize machine sewing to speed up the process while maintaining the hand sewing in key areas.  When I initially started the jacket, I was keeping a written tally of the time spent. Unfortunately,  I lost the original tally but I estimate 20 hours total.

The pattern is Vogue 8804.  I used a loosely woven green tweed. The lining is a floral silk organza. I cut a 16. I made a muslin to start. As many reviews have stated, this pattern is very boxy. I found that most of the ease was in the back and took out about an inch in the center back. I shortened the body by 1 inch.

As for the construction,  I ignored the pattern instructions and completely followed Angela Wolf's methods. The body and quilting is done by machine, while the lining is hand sewn together. I made bound buttonholes for the first time. There are lots of online tutorials to be found and I dare say they are not any harder than traditional buttonholes.

My motivation ebbed and flowed during this project, and turned into a UFO for years. I started it in 2015 and 2 sizes ago. I started to hate the green color and I definitely hated the trim I originally picked. I could no longer picture the end look, got frustrated and gave up.

I hated to see the project unfinished and eventually turned to the McCall's Facebook group for suggestions on trim. I'm so glad I did. I got lots of great advice and settled on a cream trim which was far better suited for this color. I even sewed in a chain along the hem.

While I don't love the end result, I enjoyed the process, learned new techniques and am inspired to make different versions. As mentioned,  I cut this when I was 2 sizes smaller. With the extra ease, the jacket is wearable but no longer a perfect fit. I'm still not thrilled about the color. I made plenty of mistakes along the way but see them as learning opportunities for my next jacket.