The Wedding Jacket Chronicle Part 4: Prepping, Cutting! and Marking

steaming hair canvas

This phase of my Wedding Jacket Chronicle may not be that technically challenging, but it sure was emotionally challenging. I’ve clearly been dragging my feet on actually getting started on the jacket and I think a big part of it had to do with fear of failure. I’m scared of ruining my precious (expensive) fabric. I’m scared my tailoring attempts will fall short. Once I figured out that I was being stopped by fear, I gave myself a talking-to and (finally) dove in.

The first step was to pre-shrink the hair canvas and the fabric. I used a spray bottle to mist the hair canvas and held the iron in place until it dried. Like a total doofus, I managed to burn a small bit of it as I got distracted by my cat trying to jump onto my precious wool brocade and left the iron down while I shooed her away. Now that I have that big mistake out of the way, I’m hoping there won’t be more to follow (knock on wood). I pre-shrunk the wool (the jacket outer fabric) by generous steaming with my steam iron and pressing it dry. It would have been better to do this on a pressing table so I didn’t have to worry about the fabric pulling and stretching while it cooled on the tiny space of the ironing board, but that wasn’t an option at this moment in time since we are mid-packing.

soaking tailor's tape

I pre-shrank the tailor’s tape by soaking it in hot water. Then I allowed it to dry completely before pressing out a few wrinkles. Fortunately, I did this on a rare sunny day so it dried on our patio quite quickly and I didn’t actually have to be patient.

cutting into brocade fabric!

Then came the terrifying moment. I cut the fabric. Eep! I was so very nervous. I even had to get a pep talk from Adam. He wondered what I was stressing about since I cut out fabric all the time. I reminded him that the fabric was very expensive and he told me not to worry about it and that he would buy me more fabric if I needed it. So, I cut. You can see that I cut it on a single layer since it is easier to control and uses less fabric. I didn’t worry about horizontal pattern matching since that would have been a nightmare with the number of pieces in this jacket but I did attempt to match them vertically, so we’ll see if that ends up working out later!

tailor's tacks on hair canvas

Since I’m tailoring this whole thing the old-fashioned way (and since the fabric is white) I used tailor’s tacks to mark all of the darts, notches, and some of the seam lines.

basting darts

Finally, I got a start on the sewing with the darts. The red tailor’s tacks are the dart seam line. I made sure that they lined up perfectly with lots of pins. Then I basted along the seam line with purple in an even basting stitch. Then I got to remove the pins and the tailor’s tacks and sew the seam!

Since I finally dove into the project, I’m finding I’m enjoying all the handwork (and the excuse to watch old episodes of Murder, She Wrote while stitching). I’ve moved on from scared to excited. So, dear reader, do you have any projects that were terrifying until you actually started on them?

Comments 8

  1. Yay for supportive boyfriends/fiancés! I was scared the first time I made a classic tailored shirt, not only because I had never made one before, but also because it was meant for my brother and I needed to make some alterations to the pattern because he has ridiculously long arms. All worked out in the end and he wore the shirt until it was threadbare.

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  2. I too have been guilty of being scared to “ruin” fabric. But the alternative is what? It never gets used? Surely that would be even more devastating!?

    Your jacket will be amazing!

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  3. Aw, you’ve got a keeper! This sounds like a very stressful project, I totally sympathize with the fear of messing up a beautiful fabric! You’ve got the skills, though, your jacket will be beautiful!

  4. I know that fear well! The only reason I got over it was because it had to be done to meet a deadline, but I agree that it was exciting because the outfit really came to life once I sewed it together. Your fiance is awesome for helping you get over that hurdle.

  5. Oh my goodness. You had me at “the excuse to watch old episodes of Murder, She Wrote”. I’m glad I am not the only person who likes to watch old tv shows while sewing! By the way, the Hallmark Movie Channel has been showing Murder, She Wrote movies all week.

    Good luck on the jacket!

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