The Wooly Mammoth

That is what Susan Khalje calls this stage of the construction. I call it a zombie costume for the Thriller video. What you see here are the large irregular seam allowances, lining quilted to the shell fabric and folded and pinned out of the way, first stage of buttonholes completed, seams all basted, and pressing to the wind at this point.

I took the jacket off of the dress form and the next thing I did was check the fit. My shoulders and rib cage are very narrow, particularly in relation to my C Bust. I find that a shoulder princess seam gives me great opportunity to fine tune a fit. If I remember right it took 3 muslins and then a wearable muslin to get the fit right. I still wanted to check it in regards to the front bodice. I put it on, pinned the center fronts together and saw that I still needed to take in under the bust, that S curve area and adjust the curve of the bustline. Here is what I have done for the last few shoulder princess seam garments that I have made to fine tune the fit and I like the ease and result.  Have all seams basted. Press the princess seam allowances toward the center front. Try the garment on. Pin center fronts together. With pins put a pin at the top of the area of the princess seam that needs to be adjusted. this was about 3 inches below the shoulder seam for me. Put another pin horizontally at the bottom of the area that needs to be adjusted. This was about an inch above the waist for me. Take the jacket off and undo the basting between the two pins. Remember, the seams must be larger than needed, at least an inch, and ironed to the CF. Put the jacket back on. You will now see the side panel spread away from the CF panel. That's what you want. If you had just pinched in the area that was too large you would have taken in from the center front panel. You don't want to do that. That line needs to flow evenly from the shoulder seam down to the hemline. A pinch would have curved it in and looked "not good". By pressing the seam allowances toward the center front you will see that nothing changes with the adjustment on the CF, but the side panel moves to right where it wants to be. Raise your arms. Move a little bit. Then go back to the mirror and smooth the CF over that side panel. Pick up your pins and start pinning the CF to the underneath side panel. Ease it in where necessary with the pins. You are still wearing this so watch those pins! Once both sides are pinned, take the jacket off. Another advantage of this method is that you have accommodated any difference between your left and right side.

Next I lay the princess seam over a pillow with the CF right side up and again both seams underneath toward the CF. Time to get a needle and start slip stitching! The seam is slip stitched on the outside the full length using 1/4 inch stitches. Make sure the bottom stitch goes all the way through to the wrong side of the side panel. This will be your visual marker for your machine stitching. Slip stitch the seam. When done, open it up, and with the side panel up, sew along the slipstitching line to make your permanent seam. This is very similar to the way plaids are matched on the outside of a garment with slipstitching and then sewn. Give this a try on your next shoulder princess seam project. I can't tell you how it would work on an armscye princess seam as I stay away from that style, not the best for narrow upper chest, IMO.

Next on the agenda  all  seams were given their final machine stitchings. I decided on the length so proceeded to tie the knots on the quilting at the bottom of the jacket. The quilting threads are pulled between the lining and shell and tied off. I used a square knot but I know there is another one out there that is the "proper" type of knot to use. I can live with a square knot. Its going no where.

With knots tied off it and all vertical seaming complete, I unbasted the shoulders and gave it all a proper press. Now I will cut the seams back to 3/4  of an inch and catchstitch them all down, great TV watching work. By cutting back and catchstitching only one seam at a time I will keep the unraveling down. Boucle is marvelously forgiving when it comes to fit and stitching but it ravels mercilessly.

Couturette asked, "I wonder if you could post a detail picture of the front edged of the jacket, did you use a ribbon on the edge?"
I used a piece of selvedge from some mystery lining fabric I had to stabilized the front edge of the jacket. Here's a closeup and welcome to the blog Couturette. Appreciate the question.
I have lots of seams to catchstitch. Until the next time........Bunny


  1. Thank you for that wonderfully detailed explanation of tweaking the shoulder bust fit. I'm working on a jacket and this info will help me fine tune the fit.

  2. Thank you for the closeup, Bunny. And happy catchstitching ;-)
    Greetings from Germany,

  3. Thank you for the info on adjusting the princess seam... It makes perfect sense as you described it!

  4. Beautiful and detailed as usual. I love the color of your jacket. I need to do one in a light color.

  5. The fitting process sounds pretty familiar - baste and check. After a while, you get pretty familiar with what areas will probably need to be adjusted. With something like this, it is worth the extra effort for it to fit perfectly.

  6. Beautiful catch stitches - so neat :) I too have a very narrow ribcage. Will bookmark this for next time i am fitting.

  7. Thank you for posting your progress on this amazing jacket. I'm enjoying reading your methods, and your fitting procedure is very informative.

  8. So nice to see the stages of your jacket, especially loved to see the first picture. I've yet to make a jacket this classic way and some day I will do it and get back to your posts.

  9. ~~Rettabug bows in homage to the great seamstress~~ & shakes her head in utter dismay. I'll NEVER be able to do the neat things you do, Bunny!! Heck, I was just proud of getting a ribbon sewn on straight recently. LOL

    I'm sad to think of poor Irma, having to let go of her stash like that. Wonder who will get all of mine when the time comes?

  10. Oh & this may be a dumb question, but why don't you serge the edges of the boucle??? or would that be gauche?

  11. Your work is amazing! One of these days ... I dream of being able to take the time to make a classic like yours. Unfortunately, I opt for the "get it out quick" method. Can't wait to see the final product!


Post a Comment

Engaging commentary:

Popular Posts