My Motor City Jacket was made with a black and gold stretch denim fabric with a gold cotton print lining (except the sleeves were lined with a black Bemberg fabric to make it easier to slip on and off) It was created as a result of a Craftsy.com class project. The class was “Sew Better, Sew Faster: Smart Construction” and featured the Motor City Express pattern from Islander Sewing Systems. I love the style of the jacket which ultimately became my primary reason for taking the class. I really wanted to learn how to achieve that asymmetrical zipper detail on the front. While the class included a lot of basic sewing information for beginning sewists, I always find little nuggets of information in every class I take. This one was no different. I was able to add three new skills to my sewing repertoire!
For this class, I purchased two 36-inch-long zippers. I altered the first one for the asymmetrical front opening and used the second to make all the shorter (5- and 6-inch) zippers needed for the rest of the jacket. I used Riri zippers from Pacific Trimming (as recommended in the class materials). I also ordered enough zipper pulls and top/bottom stops to accommodate the six short zippers. All told, the cost of zipper materials alone came to about $70, but I think it was worth the expense because the zippers really are the primary focus of the jacket.
The instructor, Janet Pray, walked through the process for measuring and cutting the long zipper into smaller zippers. After I cut the zippers to the length I needed, the fun part began–pulling the extra zipper teeth away from the tape before adding the zipper pulls and the top/bottom stops. This picture shows one of the zippers after I pulled all the unneeded teeth away from the tape. Incidentally, I found a great set of small pliers to add to my sewing notions for less than $8 at Home Depot. I’m sure they will come in handy for future projects–especially since I know I will be making another version of this jacket before too long.
New Sewing Skill #2: Bagging a Lining
I hate to admit it, but in all my years of sewing, I had yet to master the technique of bagging a lining. Bagging the lining is a method of attaching a lining completely on the sewing machine without any hand sewing whatsoever. I’ve seen the technique demonstrated so many times, but every time I tried it at home, I couldn’t seem to get it right. Getting the sleeve hems right was the part that always stumped me. Anyone who has ever learned how to bag a lining can attest to how confusing that sleeve part can be at first. The best thing about taking Craftsy.com classes is that, once you enroll in a class, it’s available to you forever. You can view it again and again for as long as you want. After watching Janet demonstrate that tricky sleeve hem–twice–I tried it again, and it worked! Yay! I love making jackets, so this is a major skill to help speed up my sewing considerably.
New Sewing Skill #3: Sewing Without Pins
This class also demonstrated how to hold the fabric to sew without using pins, which I would typically do to hold the seams in place before sewing. It’s so much easier to just position your fabric in the sewing machine and zip through a seam without having to pin the entire seam first. Before learning this skill I would pin the seam, then stitch up to the pin, stop to take the pin out, stitch to the next pin, and stop….very time consuming.
All of these newly acquired industrial sewing skills will greatly help increase my sewing speed, which will help me to crank out lots of new garments this year.