First Make of 2020 – Closet Case Sienna

With the New Year comes new sewing plans and a little bit of organisation of my patterns and fabric. I don’t know if anyone else is similar but at the start of the New year I always like to have a bit of a clear out and tidy up.

I seem to of acquired rather a lot of fabric over the last 12 months, I have been lucky enough to have a few short breaks both in the UK and further afield and with every new place I visit I find myself checking out fabric shops in the local vicinity where I usually end up buying at least one piece on fabric (I’m on holiday so its allowed right?) and then with the sales over Christmas and New Year I have added even more to my stash.

My resolution for 2020 is to buy less fabric (I would be lying if I said I wasn’t going to buy any, I am bound to get tempted at some stage) and sew more from my stash. I am very easily tempted by all the new fabrics always popping up on Instagram and in the bricks and mortar shops that I visit and often I will buy a fabric without a clear idea of what I plan to use it for (this is something else I want to try and change this year). So having sorted through my rather large pile of fabric I have started to make some plans to sew with what I already have.

First up is the Closet Case Sienna Jacket, I was particularly drawn to the short version of this when it first came out, I really like the button details on the back opening but I have decided to sew the plain sleeves rather than the pocket sleeve which is shown on the short version on the front of the pattern envelope. The fabric I am using is a fairly heavy weight denim that I pick up sometime at the beginning of last year when I visited the Birmingham Rag Market with some sewing friends, I can’t remember exactly how much it cost at the time but it would of been something like £2 or £3 and the quality seems pretty good.

I am a big fan of the Closet Case patterns which always have very well written instructions and quite often a Sew Along over on their blog.

My measurements are as follows: 34/32/38 which put me at size 6 Bust, 14 Waist and 10 Hips according to the size chart but looking at the finished garment measurements there is plenty of ease on the waist and I rarely wear jackets fastened so I decided to cut a Size 8 on the bust and grade up to 10 on both the waist and the hips. I went pretty bold on the top stitching and used some white – no hiding any mistakes against the blue background but I took my time and think it looks pretty neat.

Once all the pockets were in place the next stage it to sew up the top part of the back seam and then do the back flap. There are various options for finishing off the seams and I have opted to use some pretty bias binding that I picked up which is keeping with the colour scheme – navy with white hearts. I was a little concerned that I had cut the back vent facing too short but I double checked the pattern piece and it appears to be correct so I plodded on and turned the corners up. I think I must of misunderstood the instructions because once I had sewn the side seams and tried it on for fit I realised that if I turned the hem up that much all the way round then the front pockets would be right at the bottom of the jacket.

I puzzled over this for a while and tried to figure out the best way to get around this without having to take the whole thing apart. In the end I unpicked the bottom sections and managed to get a bit of extra length. I think originally I had turned the facing edge up and then turned the hem up so this time I let the facing lye flat and turned the hem over it (hope that makes sense) I did have to taper the edge slightly on the right side but this will sit underneath so shouldn’t be visible.

For the top stitching along the back seam I went with a navy to blend in with the fabric.

Once the side seams were sewn up it was onto the collar and lapels facings. The first stage is sewing these together at the shoulders – the instructions also give you a reminder at this stage about adding a hanging loop (I usually forget this sort of thing so found it really useful). Once this is done you need to attach the top collar facing to the neckline. One of my Christmas presents was some wonder clips and I found these really useful on this project, the fabric is fairly thick so pinning can be tricky, these proved to be a fabulous alternative and kept everything in place nicely. I again used bias binding to finish off the bottom edge, I want my jacket to be pretty on the inside too.

Once the collar and lapel are finished you need to attach the under collar to the jacket.

Then comes the fun part! attaching the top collar and facing to the jacket.

I really took my time over this and used a large number of clips to make sure that everything was lined up accurately. Once I was happy with the positioning then it was back to the machine to sew it all together, again the trick here is to go slow. Once everything is sewn up then the seams need to be trimmed and pressed well, it is also important to cut the corners close to the stitch line so that you get a nice corner. One of the key stages of getting a nice finish is pressing. I pressed the edges at every stage when I was attaching the facing to the jacket to make sure I got a crisp finish.

The sleeves are in two parts, there is another version which involves pockets but I preferred the idea of keeping them plain. the sleeves went in pretty easily and again I turned to some bias binding (just a plain grey this time) to give a neat finish.

I have a dread of doing button holes on my sewing machine, a couple of times i have had problems and the thread has jammed but all went smoothly this time.

The instructions suggest shank style buttons in order to give a little room for the thickness of the fabric. I didn’t have any in my collection that were suitable but I did have some regular buttons in a tin that my mother-in-law gave me some time ago. I discovered a nifty trick for making your own shanks. Basically you just need to sew a small bead behind the button to form the shank. I used to do a lot of jewellery making so still have a large selection of beads. I have a tin of 2mm spacer beads with decent size holes which were perfect for the job. Once the bead is sewn into place then just hold the button on top and sew it into place going back through the bead hole a few times as well as going through to the reverse side of the jacket.

So here it is my first make of 2020 and I am so pleased with how it turned out. Sometimes it is just nice to take a little bit of extra time and give a little bit more attention to the finishing. I am proud to show off the inside as well as the outside.