I'm a sewing enthusiast in Beacon, New York, with a love of all things retro. This site is all about tutorials, tips, inspiration, and lots of spirited discussion about sewing as it relates to fashion history, pop culture, body image, and gender. My first book, Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing, is now out from STC Craft/Melanie Falick Books! Also look for my line "Patterns by Gertie" from Butterick.
People, I'm becoming a unrepentant tailoring fiend. Pad stitching, hair canvas, glorious roll lines—I could talk about it all day! But I've realized that what knowledge I've picked up on the topic is really just the tip of the iceberg. The more I learn about it, the more I want to learn! It's such a vicious cycle of sewing geekery.
Our Lady Grey sew-along has only whetted my appetite for more tailoring. In fact, it's sent me on a frenzy of tailoring book and accoutrement purchasing. And the acquisition I'm most excited about is the jacket pattern above from Claire Shaeffer's Custom Couture Collection for Vogue Patterns. I'd read that these patterns are worth the price for the instructions alone, and goodness, that's no lie. The pattern has two versions: A, which is the couture tailoring method and B, which uses quicker techniques like fusibles and a bagged lining. Version A incorporates hair canvas and silk organza underlining, taped roll lines and lapel edges, and handworked buttonholes. (Be still my heart!) The instructions look clear and painstaking, with "couture tips" sprinkled throughout, like how to "spank the corner briskly with the clapper" (I couldn't make that up if I tried, readers). I feel like I've hit the jackpot for home tailoring enthusiasts!
I think what makes tailoring so daunting and difficult for home sewists is that one has to take textbook techniques and figure out how to apply them to commercial patterns. For me, that's involved a lot of guesswork—as well as a lot of much-appreciated help from more experienced seamstresses. What makes these Custom Couture patterns so appealing is that they seem to give you the explicit knowledge needed to apply tailoring to a specific pattern. If only they would do a coat pattern one of these days! (Vogue? Claire? Pretty please?)
Anyway, this pattern is a little conservative for my tastes, but I love the nipped waist and cool pocket details (pictured above). I think with a little more flare at the hips, it could almost be New Look-esque. I have a lovely cherry-colored herringbone wool that would be perfect, especially with some of the fabulous covered buttons Casey just did a tutorial on.
Have any of you tried these patterns? What do you think? Have I created any fellow tailoring monsters? I hope so!