You may remember that I entered my Flora wrap dress into the BHL Hackathon a few weeks ago. Here I am looking slightly crazy as my photographer (i.e. my very patient - and obviously slightly insane (for putting up with me and my sewing madness) boyfriend) and I tried to get some shots of my dress with very little light and very little time left in the day.
When we finally had enough (very mediocre) shots for me to enter the competition, I made a promise to myself and to the boyfriend. It went something like this, "I promise next time it won't be such a mad rush. I will be totally organised, there will be no late nights and no stress. The next one will be done days in advance."
Who was I kidding?
Apparently I made it to my mid-twenties without really knowing myself. Of course this time it was the same mad rush! I thought I had left late nights of sewing back with my university days (and the BHL competition was just a minor hiccup on my road to recovery), but it seems that although uni did end, this bad habit of mine didn't.
Maybe it's just time for me to accept the fact:
I NEED THE PRESSURE OF A DEADLINE TO GET THINGS DONE.
Which is a real shame, because if I had my Francois Jacket done and dusted a few days ago, like I had planned, I would have gotten the chance to put pockets in it, and maybe even had a social life this weekend.
Okay. I will be quiet now and will just show you the (only just) finished product. Which, although this post has been mainly moans so far, I am quite pleased with (please do excuse the strange lump of hair on the top of my head - that is what happens when you take your photos on a Sunday morning).
I had been toying with the idea of buying the Francois pattern when it was released, but had not yet committed to the purchase. But as soon as Tilly announced the #sewingfrancois contest (and the beaut prizes - including an oh-so-nice new Janome that could definitely find a warm, cosy space in my life), I thought it was time to get on the Sewing Francois band wagon.
It's not really my style to just take a pattern and make it as is, as I get most of the dressmaking joy from the pattern cutting involved, rather than the sewing (although this was a very enjoyable sew).
So for some reason, I decided to turn the Francois Dress into a jacket, and make it out of upholstery fabric, with contrast piping.
If you don't know the pattern already, here is the original illustration.
And here are the changes I made to the pattern. It may seem like there would be millions of changes needed to transform Francois from a dress into a jacket, but surprisingly there weren't too many.
To start, I traced off the pattern a couple of sizes bigger than my actual size. I then made a toile with minimal changes (just left the centre front open and closed the centre back seam without a zip, to make it more like a jacket than a dress). I think that when it comes to hacking it is very important to get an idea of how the original pattern works and fits, before making any changes.
I then attacked my toile with a Sharpie. I find this the easiest way for me to visualise the changes I plan to make to a pattern, and it also makes the process of transferring the changes back to the pattern much simpler.
Here is a translated version for you (in case the first one looked like total jibberish).
I did make a rookie error toiling in calico though. The rule of thumb when it comes to toiles is that you should toile in something as close to the actual fabric as you can get. Obviously there are a number of differences between calico and upholstery fabric. This error bit me in the bum when I tried on my jacket part way through the sewing process and had shoulders like a rugby player. Thankfully it wasn't too hard to make the necessary changes (I was very grateful for the raglan sleeve at this point) to rectify the silhouette.
The changes I made were:
I added a centre front seam so that I could insert a double ended zip, and closed the centre back seam as if it were an ordinary seam.
I transformed the two front darts into a princess panel, and continued the panel line through to the back.
I also transformed the two back darts into panels lines.
I raised the neckline, so I could add a hood.
I joined the side back panel, with the the front panel, to eliminate the lower side seam.
The sleeve pattern basically stayed the same (apart from being slimmed down slightly and lengthened).
And I used the same pattern piece (minus a little length) to line both sleeves (the only part of the jacket that is lined).
I used the 'tab' idea from the original pattern, to add a nice detail to the sleeve cuffs.
And my favourite part of all... The inside!
I love a nice inside, so I decided to bias bind all the seams. I finished the edges of the centre front, hem and neckline, with an all-in-one facing, and also added a facing to the edge of the hood.
These facings, along with all the piping and bias binding, made for a very difficult sew indeed. In parts there was a lot of bulk to deal with, which was very frustrating at times, but now looking at the finished product, I think very worth it.
You may also notice the strange shape of the centre back seam allowance. When I put all the pieces together, I realised that the jacket was just to big across the back waist, so decided to take it in. I was planning to remove the extra seam allowance, but decided I quite liked the look of it - and may even need those extra centimetres in the future!