I can’t think of a better way to start the year than with a class with Susan Khalje. Apart from already being part way through 2 dresses and 2 toiles thanks to a bit of sewing time over the Christmas break…
After last years French Jacket and pants output, I really wanted to work on a blazer with a stepped collar. Of all the things I feel lacking in confidence in, it’s a tailored collar – I watched 3 ladies in last years class sew up Vogue 8333 with amazing results. Getting back into tailoring is something I’d really like to do, once the basics of my work wardrobe (skirts/shirts… maybe some more pants) is filled in. And not just because I have a plastic tub full of gorgeous, gorgeous wools I’m dying to work with!
I’ve actually got two jacket UFO’s lurking in a box somewhere – both of which have stalled at the collar. It used to be sleeves and collars that I struggled with – but I feel that between the couture method of sewing with the seam lines and the French Jacket classes I’ve done, that this is not something I stumble over anymore. Practice really does build that confidence.
The last jacket I finished – my GGQB blazer – has various ‘flaws’ that I now know I could prevent from occurring thanks to being further down the learning curve, but the collar is one that still stares unrelenting at me every time I pull it out of the cupboard. And that raw silk it’s made out of is starting to discolour, unfortunately, so I don’t know how much longer it will be in rotation for. The other jacket that still gets a lot of wear is my Vogue Suit jacket, but that’s a total cheats collar in a lovely drape-y wool, so no issues there!
I’ve spent most of 2017 convinced I would work with Marfy 3635, from the 2015/2016 catalogue (also on their website, here):
Basically a ‘Classic fitted single breasted jacket with lapel collar and insert pockets with pocket flaps’. Sandra has sewn this up just recently and it looks as you would expect – pretty darn good! I was super pleased to finally meet Sandra (who flew over from NZ for the course) after following her on Insta for forever, as she’s also a regular sewist of Marfy’s :)
I figured if I went in at the deep end with a wool suiting that leaves no-where to hide, then coming back and sewing some blazers on my own in more forgiving fabrics won’t seem so intimidating.
And I have this Ermenegildo Zegna wool suiting (from Joel and Sons), in a taupe and blue-grey large check that I would really love to see realised:
But over the last few months with all the shirt sewing I’ve been doing… thinking about my personal style… and how Susan’s softer approach to tailoring works, I’ve decided to go a different route at the last minute, saving that for later on when I can perhaps learn more about traditional tailoring, rather than the soft tailoring that couture leans towards. I’m talking the whole horsehair interfacing, pad stitching and everything.
And to be honest, I probably need to do some ‘wearable muslin’ tailored jacket work just so I can practice and – build up the confidence.
So, rifling through my pattern stash, I found myself still holding F9814, which was a pattern I received as part of the very first Marfy order I placed (from the BMV website, as this was before Marfy had an english website and well before I ever had a catalogue!). A quick search in my email tells me this was back in early 2012!
This is the pattern I hacked the sleeve from to make last years French Jacket (my Octopus’ Garden Jacket):
It has a really cool standup collar that is cut as part of the front bodice, which should aid in simplifying the construction process/time – handy as I’d really like to also sew up a matching pencil skirt to make it a skirt suit. It’s highly unlikely I’ll get both items done, but I’m hoping I’ll at least be able to have the skirt fitted…
It’s a very fitted jacket (which I like) and I swear I bought it in my usual size 46 (I keep meaning to check, but haven’t yet got around to it), but the muslin is definitely too small!! I can’t get it to meet at the front.
I’ve then spent a week mulling over three different fabric options I had in my stash – narrowing it down to a really cool 3D cotton-rayon-and-something-else tweed from my stash – in pale peachy pink and cream. It has something small and reflective included in the weave, which is woven into a mini hexagon pattern:
It’s from iTessile on Etsy – she carries a ridiculous amount of fabric that I want to own!
The other two options was a cream wool with bright bursts of colourful wool highlights that reminds me a bit of the 100’s & 1000’s on fairy bread, and a blue and grey wool check with a matching solid wool, both from Stitches to Style. I’m thinking I’ll make another version of F9814 in one of these wools this coming winter, but with a long sleeve to differentiate it a little.
I’ve said it before probably several times… but watching Susan fit everyone is just fascinating viewing. You learn so much.
Here are a few things the others are working on! There were some really ambitious projects this year which were fascinating to watch come together – with Ros working on replicating a Roland Mouret dress in a three-way scuba crepe knit – for which we are all pretty convinced she found the actual fabric the real thing was made from – here is her daughter in the almost complete version at the end of the 6 Days:
And Tatyana re-creating Dior’s ‘Abandon’ Dress in black silk taffeta. This dress is from the Fall 1948-1949 collection. After being able to see the Dior Exhibition at the NGV last year, I’m so in love with all things Dior right now – how well does it translate, 3/4 of a century later?!? Tatyana said she’s been wanting to recreate this dress for many years, so it was wonderful to see her bring it to fruition:
Most of the time was spent working on drafting the collar to get the proportions right… it was a tough job from where I was sitting!
I was also really thrilled to be able to meet Sandra (from New Zealand) who I’ve followed on Instagram for a long time – as she’s also a lover of Marfy patterns. She worked on Marfy 3507 – a coat dress – I think you’ll agree it looks bloody great:
And Margie – who I met at my very first class with Susan in Baltimore – is replicating this St George tweed dress:
Me? Well I was absolutely on fire the whole week and had my jacket entirely finished bar lining at the end of the second last day. Absolutely killed it.
I started work on a matching skirt on the last day.
It’ll probably be while before I finish it – we’re all familiar with the psychology of sewing – I find a week of intensive sewing on a new project to be quite overwhelming – and to be honest I’m a little sick of the sight of my jacket right now! Plus, the weather is currently hot hot hot and the jacket is very warm…. so I’ll be going back to finishing off those summer dresses for the moment :)
Final installment to follow in a month or three…
I cannot wait to see your finished jacket and skirt! It was so much fun to read this commentary on your class – what fabulous projects everyone had.
I’ll say. It’s like last year everyone was doing practical garments – taking advantage of the once in a lifetime opportunity! But now Susan is back… out come the big ambitious froufrou fabulosities. It’s was SO much fun :)
What an amazing time you must be having. Sounds like heaven to be immersed in couture sewing for a week. Thanks to all your classmates for sharing their projects. There are some spectacular outfits in progress. I love your jacket fabric and pattern choice.
Thanks Mary – I say tongue-in-cheek that the year is downhill from here now my week of sewing is over! Ah well :)
On man, not even a tiny peek of your jacket?😩 There are some amazing outfits there, how wonderful to have the opportunity to be in that room for a week! Can’t wait to see your finished outfit!!♥️
In hindsight that was a bit mean… I haven’t actually taken any pictures of it in it’s almost-finished state… as I’m just a little sick of the sight of it! There are a couple of snaps of it on Susan Khalje’s Instagram though :) Thanks Kathy!
I’m going to stalk her!
Haha – enjoy! There are some great snaps of all the projects everyone was working on :)
Firstly, I love that you still blog your garments, even with IG being quicker. I love reading indepth details!
I couldn’t believe how far along you all got with your projects. It was super inspiring! It also made me wonder how much us Sydney girls must’ve talked last year :) You’re right – knowing/having the option of Susan return for another year (and maybe, more?) does offer a certain amount of freedom, and is almost a ‘marker’ for where you are in your sewing journey at each point in time.
I love the colour and texture of your jacket, and can’t wait for you to be able to wear and enjoy it!
Question – do you find yourself in full suit attire at work often? (Aside from winter, I guess? I’ve never worked ‘corporate’ so I’m not familiar). And is wool coat making on your agenda? (Marfy 1961 goes onto mine – it’s on their website). And, will the release of the new Marfy catalogue totally derail all sewing plans?!?!?
Well I guess I am a details kind of person. Instagram is certainly fun, but I can’t blather on there like I do on here, eh?
And yes, I was also very heads down and bums up. I think that’s product of becoming a parent and needing to take the small windows of opportunity and make something out of it!
I do have quite a few opportunities to suit up at work these days, but I also don’t mind being the best dressed person around either. I think though that I just love that aesthetic, it’s me and how I like to dress. I bought SO many patterns from the first evergreen catalogue because they’re all great separates for work. It’s easily my most favourite catalogue to date – I’ve ordered the second evergreen one, and will surely be tempted by some of the options – it’s dresses and coats this year I believe!
My last French Jacket has had an extraordinary amount of wear at work, and certainly the other two jackets are on heavy rotation also. Wool coat making is DEFINITELY on my agenda… but my to-sew list is long and my time short. Marfy 1961 looks like a fun sew! But… just wait until you get hooked on the French Jacket bug… it’s addictive. I’m totally planning my third ;)
So much inspiration in one post! Really looking forward to seeing the finished jacket and skirt, I know they’ll both be stunning.
Lets hope so Robyn! Thank you :)
You’re right – that’s the best way to start the new year. Lucky you and so many beautiful garments and talent all in one room.
Thanks Ruth :)
The jacket and skirt will be a big project but will be lovely when finished! You’ve had a busy week. Nice to see what everyone has been doing though!
I certainly did! The jacket hasn’t been touched since then though – it’s been too hot! I’ll wait till it cools down a bit more before tackling the lining… Thanks Linda :)
Thanks for the fabulous snapshot of the week of couture with Susan. Made all the more fun knowing some of the girls. I look forward to seeing your completed jacket. Carol.
Ah thanks Carol!! Are you taking part in any of the classes in Perth this year? And have you finished your jacket with the beautiful lining????
Oh I love the stand up collar on your jacket. And what a bunch of inspiring ladies. So much fun!
It’s pretty fabulous, I thought :) Thanks Sarah!