McCalls 5815: brilliant blue jacket

Friday, 17 April 2015
This latest finished project of mine was such a hard journey, and I'm so pleased I've finally finished it. Let me introduce McCalls 5815 in a brilliant blue colour:

This is the Nanette Lepore bow-collar jacket knock-off, although obviously I've made the view without the bow, which is now OOP:
McCalls 5185
This pattern was given to me by my sewing friend Sandra back in January and it's exactly what I love in a tailored jacket - a fitted silhouette with an interesting collar. Plus it is in size 4 - 12 so I thought I'd get it to fit across my narrow shoulders pretty well. Plenty of others have had success with this pattern and raved about the fit, so I just rashly jumped in and made it. I haven't made too many McCalls patterns so I'm not as familiar with their fit as I am with say a Burda pattern, so I should have made a muslin rather than just rely on a flat pattern measure check because there are a few things that haven't turned out too well and I need to muster up the energy to fix.

Firstly, those sleeves! This pattern has the most ridiculous sleeves I've ever seen - they are super long and super wide, which is obvious from the line drawing. I figured I could narrow them after I had sewn them up, but that didn't quite work because the seam line runs from the shoulder seam down the centre of the arm instead of towards the back like a traditional two piece sleeve. Because of my forward shoulders it meant that seam was really obvious and didn't hang straight at all.

So I dashed off to the Fabric Store to buy some more fabric and I cut a traditional two piece sleeve from another McCalls pattern. They still aren't great, I can see from the photo above that they are still a bit too baggy and I could take them in slightly more. There's also some wrinkling going on, partly because of the linen fabric (which can't be helped) but also partly because I'm not very good at altering the sleeve cap to match the forward shoulder adjustment I do to the armscye- more practice is needed there I think.

The second issue I have is with the fit - it looks too big especially around the bust along the princess seam and possibly at the hip because the bottom juts out a bit. I cut a size 6 at the top, grading out to a size 10 at the bottom because I didn't want it to be too tight since it is a jacket meant to be worn over other clothes. But you can see from the photo above and the one below that I should take in a bit more along the princess seams.

The back could also use a bit more of a sway back adjustment as well I think, to get rid of those wrinkles. And I also need to move that bottom button lower, but that's an easy fix compared to the rest.

Ok enough of the bad, I really love the key feature of this jacket: that large, pleated collar:

It's absolutely ginormous, but I think shawl collars are quite feminine and I love that pleat at the back of the neck which gives the collar shape around the front too. And to veer back to the critical again, I should have graded the collar seams better because they show through a bit too much for my liking.

Some other notes: I left off the draped pockets because my fabric, a stretch linen bought from The Fabric Store in January during their sale, was way too stiff and the pocket didn't drape but rather just gaped open. I don't tend to use pockets in jackets so I left them off. I also left off the fabric rose from the collar as well because I thought it looked a bit silly, and because I have an extensive brooch collection that I prefer to wear than a rolled up bit of fabric.

The jacket is fully lined in a stripy blue acetate lining that has been in the stash for years. Normally I use plain lining fabrics that closely match the outer fabric, so this is a bit of a departure for me:

I'm wearing it with a black pencil skirt that I made in February and didn't post because it was too boring to justify a post of its own. It's made from Burda 1/2011 #112 which has a wide waistband that I have substantially modified (see this post):

The fabric is what makes this skirt a little bit special - it is a textured polyester with raised hexagons that I bought also in January from Tessuti during their sale. It was a remnant, so this skirt cost me a grand total of $10.75, since I already had the lining in the stash and the zipper is recycled from another skirt.

So overall, I really like this jacket but I do need to do more fitting work on those sleeves and princess seams. Of course had I made a muslin I would have discovered this before making the final version. I can recommend this pattern to anyone who has this pattern (since it's OOP) and wants a feminine jacket but really think about using some different sleeves! I probably won't make this jacket again because it's such a distinctive look, but it will make a great addition to my corporate wardrobe.

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