Sunday, 7 April 2013

StyleArc Marni Ponti Jacket - Progress

Firstly - let me say a HUGE thank you to all of those who have given me advice on my TNAT pattern. It is greatly appreciated. It is always great to get another perspective and I really respect the advice.

Thanking you all
Overwhelmingly the vote was for the shorter length - with just a couple of dissenting views. It's funny, I look at it and even after so many people have said the shorter looks better, I think the longer looks more "lady like" (and when did I become a  prude - or a lady for that matter??? Maybe it was when I turned 50! - after all - the shorter version is hardly a mini skirt - only an inch shorter). I am going to try splitting the difference and trying just a smidge shorter first. 

I may also take the approach of lighter / more casual fabric shorter, heavier or more sophisticated fabric the longer length. I have some gorgeous fabrics that are just screaming to be made into that pattern. I am definitely going to peg it in a little as advised.

I also had some feedback on doing a V-neck and I totally think this is a great idea. I am a little "afraid" of the v-neck. Easy to do as a cross over - but will have to try out the straight V-neck.

Now to current sewing news:

I don't normally do progress reports. Mainly because I guess my past sewing has been quick and also I haven't been this discouraged before.

I am one unhappy chook.

Nothing to do with the pattern - I actually really like the way the pattern is coming together. No - unfortunately this is pure user error - compounded by more user error - and then yet more.

User has now crashed and refuses to work anymore today.

Yesterday I was so happy with my progress I was doing the happy dance around the house.

Now I sit here dejected - if I had a glass of wine I would be crying into it. Instead I am venting my spleen on the computer in the chance that if I ever sew again I will read this and remember my mistakes.

Here is the "torso".

So far so good. Happy with the look and how it is coming together.

The shiny irony patches don't show up in life. The flash has picked them up. Proof however that I do press as I sew. Note to self - use ironing cloth in future.

Fit is good on me.

So - what is the problem I hear you ask?

Well - let me give you a bit of background.

As you have to choose one size with StyleArc, I chose a size a couple down from my size and added an inch  to the sides - which adds 4 inches of - well let's call it "volume".

Problem is - I forgot to add the inch to the sides of the sleeves - so they were too small for the armhole.

No biggie - I purchased plenty of fabric - enough for a matching dress and "wriggle room"..

I cut myself some more sleeves and sat down to sew.

All looking good.

Smile still on face - no longer dancing around the place in joy but humming to self whilst Dog Whisperer is on in background (don't know why - don't have dog - do like Cesare Milan's techniques though - but it don't work on cats - *sigh*).

First step - sew cuffs. A bit tricky but because of the review from PattiE on PR I worked it out.

Cool - looking good.

Attach sleeve to cuff. Great job - fit nicely.. Turn right side out.

DOH - attached so that seam allowance of cuff is on outside of sleeve. See nicely pressed sleeve seam at bottom of picture.

Oh well - a bit of time to be spent with stitch picker - still smiling - no longer humming - Cesare Milan is espousing "Calm Assertiveness" - I can do that - I can be calm and assert myself on the sleeve.

Cuff now unpicked and stitched properly to sleeve - all good.

Sew second sleeve and cuff. Looks good - Trim excess seam allowance to reduce bulk - iron nicely.

Pull sleeve up arm to look - split on cuff on INSIDE of arm.... DOH DOH DOH.

No longer smiling! Cesare raving on about perseverance and patience, harmony and balance - Aargh!! Cesare is starting to SH*T me. Switch Cesare off and put on DVD of 24. Terrorists, torture and Jack Bauer to save us all. Much better. (I wonder if Jack can sew - he saves the day everywhere else - why not in the sewing room - Hey great idea for a show - "Sewing Rescue" go into the homes of sewists like me and save their sanity -- hmm -- but I digress.).

Take deep breath and go and cut new sleeve and cuff - more fabric used up. Starting to think short may be the only available length for brown dress.

CAREFULLY sew sleeve and cuff. Take another deep breath. Looks good. Iron, try on arm. All good. Edges of lips start to twitch.

Now have 2 sleeves with cuffs.

CAREFULLY pin sleeve to jacket - check notches match. Attach sleeve to jacket.

Sleeve fits nice into armhole. Sews up beautifully - no cap ease worries at all. Edge of lips twitch a bit more.

Iron seam allowances flat.

Pull right side out to try on.

Sleeve picked up - shoulder of Marni (pattern) in background. How the Bleep did this happen? The damn sleeve is INSIDE OUT!

Throw Marni on floor and curl into fetal position on couch. Worry that since the notches matched up - does this mean I have sewed the whole sleeve inside out? Will I need to cut more sleeves and cuffs? Dress is getting shorter by the minute. At this rate I will only have enough fabric left for a pair of bike shorts...

Mental picture of self in brown ponte bike shorts makes me laugh out loud. Restores good humour.

Pick Marni off floor - after all - it is not her fault. She is a good pattern. Don't have the energy to unpick and see if I need to cut more fabric.

Marni is now keeping Babs warm until I am ready to face her again. Probably next weekend.  Luckily Babs doesn't have arms. Weird experience of lots of disembodied sleeves floating around the house...

BTW - I shortened the sleeves when cutting this pattern out. I thought that StyleArc must have thought that if you are a larger lady you must have very long arms. After checking PattiE's review to put in the link I realised that the cuff - was exactly that - a cuff to be folded up. Not an end piece of the sleeve - more to think about.

Please - all you great sewists out there - please tell me you have had days like this. Not to depress you but to make me feel less stupid.


  1. Ohhhh... I'm laughing, because you've described that frustrating process so well! But sad, because I know how awful that feels.

    In those moments, I just make a coffee and go and read a book. Maybe do a load of washing, or vacuum. It would be hard for me to stuff those things up, so once again I feel like Superwoman.

    Then I usually give myself the rest of the day off from sewing. It stops things from getting worse, at least?

  2. Oh BeaJay, I definitely have days like that. I think everyone does! Spent some quality time with the seam ripper myself today...
    You did the right thing - just walk away, and have a go at it when you're rested and fresh. Looking forward to your finished jacket. Maybe you'll have enough fabric for a skirt?

  3. Hi BeaJay - I laughed a lot. It's really lovely to see your vibrant personality coming through.

    Yes, we all have days like that. Sometimes whole weeks. Sometimes whole months. (Years????)

    I had one last week. Made a beautiful skirt. Nearly finished. Tried it on. Did not suit me AT ALL. Tried it on again. Tried to like it. Put it in bin. Take it out of bin and tell myself I am being silly. Wash it, iron it, try it on again. Did not suit me at all. UPSET. Pretend to pretend I like it. Didn't work. Back in bin.

    Thank goodness, as Scarlett 0'Hara said (in Gone with the Wind) "Tomorrow is another day".

    We sewers need them. Lots and lots of them. Who else would be silly enough to make muslin after muslin instead of going to Westfield (ahh, that's right, hate going to Westfield, would rather make something even if it doesn't work).

    On a serious note, re dress, I think your idea of splitting the difference is a good one. Younger girls like shorter lengths, but as we get to (ahem) the elegant years, a slightly longer length is sometimes better. It will probably depend, as you have already said, on the sort of fabric/intended occasion. If in doubt, cut longer and shorten as required. You can always take off, but it is harder to put back, as you have spent the weekend discovering!

  4. Dear Bj, it is a learning curve for all of us.
    I feel suspicious of bloggers who always show perfect garments and wear them with perfect styling and perfect location shoots for their perfect photography.
    All sewers make mistakes. I have done the sewn-on-wrong sleeve thing. I've learnt to mark the right side of easily confused fabric with chalk or colour coded pins.

  5. Dea BeaJay, I'm sorry I am laughing, but only because you made such a funny story of it!! Oh, we all have days like this, for sure. Sewn sleeves on inside out, tick. Sewn sleeves on back to front, tick! In my younger more wasteful past I've been known to heave the whole depressing thing in the bin, but nowadays I really try to fix it up... once I've calmed down :)

  6. Yep BeaJay, I have definitely had days like that. Par for the course I think. I reckon there are simply some days when we shouldn't go near the machine. Love your humour, it certainly brightened my day (or perhaps I shouldn't have said that?) Marni will be waiting for you next weekend (or whenever) and what's the bet she goes together without further drama.

  7. Very good description - those are the days you need to walk away and try again another day! Do not split the difference on your hem length. The shorter length works as it hits your leg at the thinnest part - ie most flattering! Am I getting too bossy? Oh and 50! *snort* - counts for nothing show your best assets!

  8. Sorry for laughing Beajay, it all sounds so similar. At least it hasn't got scrunched up and stuffed in a carrier bag under the stairs. (yes I am guilty of that one,thankfully many moons ago.

  9. You are not alone BeaJay! We all wind up futzing up construction (or layout, or cutting, or measurement, or Everything) of a project. I used to try to push thru & would make a bigger mess. At the first mistake I pack things up for the night now.

  10. I just finished a Marni jacket in grey ponte. I love it, but the only reason I persevered was because I loved the fabric, and I already had the coordinating dress finished. I did everything wrong! Cuff splits on inside of sleeve, check! I sewed every seam 2 or 3 times. I actually ran out of thread. In the end it was worth it, because I love the style and fabric, and it fits perfectly. I did hate the length of the cuffs, so I took them off and cut them back to half the intended length.

  11. It's so good that you can make a frustrating experience so funny! You definitely look at the glass as half full, and we need that when we sew. I have a rack of clothes that I "almost finished". I need to take a page from your commentators and sew those up or bin them...

  12. Resorting to episodes of 24 cures what ails me too! I've definitely had days (weeks) like this - it's the reasons my UFOs continue to circle the planet. =) Thank you for sharing. You're certainly not alone!

  13. I have been there with a project before, sister! Go get wine, and took another look at it tomorrow. I find walking away and sleeping on it does wonders for you!

  14. Of course we all have days like this ... I'm still laughing ... but only by how funny that you have an adventure sewer .. the important thing is not "throw the towel" ..
    A large stack of UFOs in my sewing cave reminds me all the situations you describe in this post ... you are not alone!

  15. Yes, there is not one thing I've made where I didn't have at least one moment like that. The shirtdress I made was one error after another -- but it still ended up all right. I have to tell myself over and over "The seam ripper is my friend" !

  16. We all have days like that. Kudos to you for being brave enough to write about it!! Bless you. (-: Tomorrow is another day.

  17. OMG you have me in fits of laughter... probably because I can so relate to your experience... cracking up laughing again as I'm trying to type this and have to keep hitting the back button .... darn fingers go too fast for my brain and skip half the letters in the words and then half the words I want to say hahahaha. Oh that was an easy one must do that again hahahahahaha. Only need two fingers to do this "hahahahaha". Oh dear I think you've helped me lose my marbles and I can't concentrate to leave you a 'normal' comment LOL. Anyway I suppose what I'm trying to say is "Yes" I've experienced similar moments and have thrown garments on the floor and at times even again a wall... and even in the bin never to be seen or sewn again. I'm giving you 100 out of 100 for not giving up on this project... even if it does become a pair of bike pants I want to see the finished result. Thanks heaps for the laugh and for lightening up my day. I do hope we get to see your pattern finished how it's meant to look and a big smile on your face for conquering the challenge :) :)


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