Sunday, June 23, 2013

Vogue 1347 Chado Ralph Rucci Jacket

My last project for late winter/early spring--which I actually finished several weeks ago, but am only now getting to blogging about--was the shirt/jacket from Vogue 1347, a design by Chado Ralph Rucci.  I think the Chado RR designs for Vogue Patterns always are very interesting, with fascinating design and construction details, but are not always a garment that I think I would actually wear.  This jacket, however, seemed to be very wearable (with the possible exception of the dangling ties, which in our household will probably be viewed as just more cat toys) and I wanted to give it a try.

For the fabric, I selected this piece that has been in my collection for a number of years, but I could never decide on the "right" project for it.  Since I wanted to see how this pattern would look in a stripe, I thought now was the time to use this fabric.  I couldn't find reference to this particular piece of fabric in my records, but I think it might have been a FabricMart find.  It is a black and silver textured stripe, with a touch of white, in some sort of man-made fiber(s), I'm thinking maybe acetate and lycra.  Lots of lycra.  For a woven fabric, this baby has cross-grain stretch like you wouldn't believe.  For the ties, I chose a random piece of black off the shelves, picking one that had the right shade of black and a dressier feel to it.  Everything was from stash, even the buttons (yay!).

Sadly, I failed to match the stripes going down from the yoke to the lower bodice in the front, but I just didn't have enough fabric to make that happen.  I was able to match the bias pieces of the back yoke to achieve a nice chevron effect.  Although I will pat myself on the back in noting that my bias stripes in the back matched up perfectly, I also observe that a slight misalignment of stripes in the back yoke would be less noticeable on this pattern because that seam is covered by a strip of the solid black.

Hmmm.  The above picture makes it look like the hips are a little too snug, but that is not the case on my body.  There is plenty of ease in this pattern at all areas.  But this picture does point out one of my construction mistakes that I elected to leave as a mistake.  In pretty much the first step of the instructions, you are directed to sew the lower front and back bodice pieces together at the side seams.  I knew from the pattern photo, as well as the pattern pieces themselves and the instructions, that the lower section of the side seams is to be left open for a vent.  But no, I blithely sat down at the machine, sewed and finished the seam from top to bottom, and only remembered about the vent as I was pressing the seam again.  DUH!  Really?  I can't get past the first step of the instructions without making a mistake?  I chalked it up to the hubris that sometimes bites an experienced sewist in the a$$, decided I liked the look as it was and moved on.

Here's a couple of closer looks at the back yoke area.

As I mentioned above, the Vogue CRR patterns always have intriguing design and construction details.  This particular pattern has great design lines, with the yoke/upper sleeve piece, the separate under sleeve and the lower sleeve band, as well as the decorative bands.  As far as construction details, I actually omitted the major one, which is that all of the seams in this garment are supposed to be flat-fell construction.  However, I think I also mentioned above that the fabric I chose has a LOT of lycra.  It's really stretchy on the cross-grain.  The thought of trying to do flat-fell seams on this fabric made me want to tear my hair out before I even tried sewing a seam.  So I intentionally opted out of the flat-fell technique.  Instead, I stitched the seams, finished them on the serger and then top-stitched them flat.  Honestly, with the color and texture of this fabric (and using black thread), the effort of doing a true flat-fell would have been lost--you can barely even see the top-stitching unless you're looking very close.  Here's a picture of the inside yoke area.

I thought that with the multiple pieces involved in the sleeves of this garment, it would be fun to play with a stripe to see what the effect would be.  I think it looks pretty cool, if I do say so myself.  

The front and back yoke/upper sleeve is all one piece (well, one piece for each side which is then seamed together at center back as shown above).  The shaping for the shoulder area is achieved with a dart placed where the shoulder seam would normally be.  The collar is a fairly standard shirt two-piece stand and collar construction, with the stand at center front being squared off instead of curved (much easier to make both sides identical!)

I will say that the solid black I used for the decorative bands became a little stiff by the time they were sewn in a tube, turned and top-stitched onto the body of the garment.  As a result, the bands on the sleeves kind of cause the sleeves to stand out and open in a bit of a bell shape.  In some ways, I don't mind that because it emphasizes the lovely piecing of the sleeve design.  In other ways, it makes this garment kind of "a lotta look."  It certainly won't be one of my every-day pieces to wear.  But it will be really fun to pull out when a dressier look is called for.  But then again, it might be just fine to wear to work open over a nice knit top, with basic black slacks and a great silver necklace.  I'll have to try some more styling options.  All in all, I'm very pleased with how this jacket turned out.  I would love to try another version using a solid color, probably a linen, similar to the look shown on the pattern cover.  I think solid linen would result in a garment that would be very wearable in daily life.

As far as sizing, after looking at the finished garment measurements on the pattern tissues and doing a little flat measuring of my own, I elected to size down two sizes in the upper body/sleeves and one size through the hips from what is recommended for my measurements on the actual size chart on the back of the envelope.  It worked perfectly.  I would also say that this pattern is surprisingly simple to sew.  The only difficulties I see would be if you've never done a two-piece stand collar and the top stitching.  The instructions for the collar were pretty clear and, as I noted, the stand is squared off in the front, so there is no having to match the shape of the curves at each end.  An edge-stitching or blind hem foot is always helpful with achieving even top-stitching, but I chose to fly without a net and just used my regular straight stitch foot (I'm too lazy to change foots unless I really need to.)

If you've always really wanted to sew up a Vogue Chado Ralph Rucci design, but were hesitating because you thought they were too difficult, this pattern would be an excellent one to dip your toes in the water with.

In other sewing, I've finally moved on to sewing for warm weather.  I've pulled fabrics/patterns and even stitched up a few items.  Hopefully I'll have updates soon.