Fitting the Sienna Maker Jacket
I have had the Closet Core's Sienna Maker Jacket on my list for a while, in particular the longer view A. I like the length of this casual jacket, with a belt to create some shape. It is unlined and with no tricky fastenings so I thought this might be a nice introduction into sewing a jacket for the first time. Given my experience I was thinking to try it in a year or two, but then I saw a Lynda Maynard 8-week online class for it, scheduled to start in a couple of months and thought it was a perfect opportunity to get some guidance, hints and tips for my first such project.
I had heard good things about Lynda's courses online and in forums and so signed up without much hesitation. I was beyond excited to start this, having not sewn anything for a few months, plus I love a good challenge. As usual, I decided to make a toile which Lynda recommends before starting the course which deals with the construction and not the fitting, although she does touch upon some advice for this.
This post is all about my fitting process. My full review of the jacket can be viewed here with lots more photos of the finished jacket and the little details. You can read my review of Lynda's class here.
My measurements matched size 4 most closely, but this ended up being too tight around the bust. I attribute this to a larger upper bust measurement than full bust, and so I re-cut a size 6 to allow for more ease. Knowing it was to be a loose-fitting jacket, I didn't do any grading to further refine the fit at this stage. I lengthened the jacket by 4cm.
Here was my first toile in calico. Note the seam allowances were still present on my toile, so the neckline and armhole do not represent where the seam would be.
I was happy with the fit on the front from the bust downwards, and the amount of ease around the hips, wearing a belted pair of jeans.
Things I noted:
1. Bust point too high
2. Gaping at the front neckline.
3. Large vertical folds on the back.
Here's how I tried to deal with the above issues:
1. Bust point too high
With the rest of the front looking OK, I decided to leave it as is since the course start date was looming.
2. Gaping at the front neckline
Although the jacket isn't worn done up in this way, I thought it might affect how the collar and lapels would sit. I pinned out the excess and then researched how to eliminate these darts.
I came across this very helpful article with video from Alexandra Morgan, which addresses the removal of a back shoulder dart, but I applied the same theory.
Essentially, Alexandra recommends distributing the ease between the surrounding seams - neckline, shoulder, armhole and centre front. I had 1.5cm in total to ease in. I wasn’t sure whether this would cause an issue on the centre front/lapel, but it was a small amount of around 4mm in each seam, so I decided to keep all the other pieces the same and planned to ease the longer length in rather than try to adjust everything to match. The 4mm in each seam fit within the maximum 1/4" or 6mm that Alexandra recommends for this technique.
This worked really well for me:
Update after completing the jacket
When I was at Claire Tyler’s workshop to sew the Heather Blazer, I had done the same adjustment due to gaping at the neckline here as well. She reminded me that I also needed to adjust the collar pieces. At this point, I realised I had not done this on the Sienna Jacket, and this may have contributed to my collar issues described below. I took out a vertical section of the under and upper collar pieces, making sure I moved the dot marks.
3. Large vertical folds on the back
I pinned out vertical darts in the back to reduce the excess volume which did look better but I wondered whether I was over-fitting the intended rectangular shape of the jacket.
I unpinned it, put on a belt to replicate how the final jacket might look, and was happy with the result.
The back pieces were unchanged so I only recut the front pieces, and conserved fabric by finishing them shorter. I also added sleeves.
Update after completing the jacket
As noted in point no. 3 above, I was aware my arm fell more forwards than the pattern was drafted for, creating some wrinkles at the front of the upper arm. While constructing the jacket I decided to rotate the sleeve by 1.5cm so that the head of the sleeve was towards the back and not in line with the shoulder seam. I re-basted this and it looked much better.
Since the pieces were already cut out, I simply flattened the curve on the sleeve head that sat against the back armhole and did no adjustment to the underarm curve which therefore sat more forwards of the side seam. For future projects, I would alter the pattern piece more accurately.
I didn't sew the collar onto my toile, but when I got to this stage on the actual jacket I decided this might be a good idea to determine the roll line. On my toile, the collar sat quite far from the back of my neck.
I asked Lynda for some advice and she wondered whether shortening the height of the collar would help which it did a touch. Then someone else on the course suggested using a smaller seam allowance on the back piece of the jacket, effectively giving me more room for my back and trying to compensate for lack of a rounded back adjustment.
This worked well, and along with the thicker fabric of the jacket itself versus the calico of my toile, the final result was pretty decent.
Things I would change next time
I was happy with the fit of the toile, and felt it was good enough to progress on the course. For a future project I might consider the following:
Correcting the bust point which was too high and too lateral on me.
Checking the horizontal balance lines. There was some raising of the front balance lines and hem. Adding length above the bust may have corrected both this and point 1.
Rotate the sleeves as my lower arm falls more forward than the pattern
Consider sizing down on the sleeve (they felt a little wide)
Reduce collar pieces according to the amount taken out of front gaping neckline
Do a rounded back adjustment
Consider reducing width of the back bodice
Consider shortening the length of the jacket slightly (not sure if the proportions looked right on me so I would experiment with this)
You can read my full review of the pattern here.
I have no affiliations, I'm just a keen buyer and user. A UK supplier may be linked, please try to source items from your favourite independent stores.