Sunday, March 6, 2011

Who wants to do a Tailoring Sewalong?

I'm planning to make a jacket or coat shortly, and that's a perfect opportunity to show you some ready-to-wear tailoring!  By "ready-to-wear tailoring", I mean the fusible method that is used in most garment manufacturing today - where everything is completely machine sewn.  The only needle that needs to be threaded is the one on your sewing machine!

This is a great method for those of us that don't have the time, patience or expertise to do traditional hand-tailoring.  Speedy machinists can sew a jacket in a couple of hours, but I'm not that quick - it used to take me about 4 hours to assemble a jacket using this method.  But quick construction does not mean inferior results - we'll be using the same high-end ready-to-wear techniques used in that $800 jacket you were admiring while you were out shopping the other day!

So are you keen?  Do you want to sewalong with me and learn how to assemble a tailored jacket efficiently and with professional results?  Let's do it!

To give everyone time to select patterns and fabrics, I thought a start date of 1 April would be ideal - that gives you about three weeks to decide on a style.  I suggest a fairly standard tailored jacket or coat design - either single or double breasted with a collar and lapel and two-piece sleeves, as this is the type of design and construction I will demonstrate the method for.


I'm thinking of making this vintage pattern for the sewalong, but I might change my mind still!  Something I do want to demonstrate is how to adapt a commercial pattern to suit this method of construction, as home sewing and industrial methods are quite different.  A bit of pattern adaptation at the start really minimises the sewing time.  So you'll need some paper, pen and a ruler too!  And paper scissors, because you weren't thinking of using your fabric scissors for cutting paper were you.....

I'd like to start the sewalong at the stage where you have your toiles/muslins fitted and any pattern alterations done.  I did consider of covering fitting but that could take a month in itself to do properly!  So it might be best to discuss any personal fitting issues you are having within the Flickr group as you post your photos, and then everyone can offer their advice there.  Do you think that sounds ok?
(Note to self - start Flickr group!)

For fabrics, I suggest good quality, medium weight fabrics in natural fibres as they are easy to tailor - and sewing should be fun, right?  Good quality might cost a little extra, but consider how minimal that extra is for just 2m of cloth - $10?  $20?  In my opinion that is a small price to pay to avoid sewing with fabrics that blatently misbehave and make you cross, and the end result will be a better quality jacket too.

100% wool is a classic choice - it presses into shape beautifully and you can't go far wrong.  You could also choose silk or linen if you are heading into spring.  Firmly woven fabrics like wool gabardine and many manmade fabrics are more difficult to tailor so you might want to avoid them unless you are experienced.    You will need a few other materials too - fusing, lining, shoulder pads, sleeve head wadding, etc - and I'll cover those requirements in more detail in another post soon.

Are you excited?  I am - I love making jackets and coats!  So if you want to sewalong, here's what to do:

  • Sign up for the sewalong in the comments below
  • Choose your jacket pattern
  • Go shopping for fabric
  • Get to work fitting your toile/muslin, so you are ready to start on April 1

In the meantime I will start a Flickr group, try and design a sewalong badge and a link to all participants in the sidebar, and generally just get organised!  

Happy pattern hunting and fabric shopping!

128 comments:

  1. This is a fantastic idea! I'm currently making the Lady Grey coat, using Gertie's previous sew-a-long posts, and while I am loving how it is turning out, the copious amounts of hand sewing are driving me nuts!

    If I'm done soon on the Lady Grey, I will definitely join - thanks for such a great idea!

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  2. This sounds like fun! I've got a couple of coat patterns and I was planning on starting one in April. I'll follow along but I might be a little behind - there's so much going on at the moment that I (probably) won't have a muslin done by April 1st.

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  3. Great, I might be tempted but like Helen I don't think I can have a muslin done by 1st April. Have other projects ongoing still and no idea yet what pattern of fabric I would use.

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  4. I'm in. I just bought a great tailoring book and have some beautiful camel coloured cashmere. But I want some of your expert advice along the way.

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  5. I might have to hunt me down a coat pattern. I've never made one before. But i've seen plenty of home made ones that were ghastly! I have great faith in you though. Is there a tried and true pattern that you'd recommend ? Something that you've done that worked out without too much drama?
    lore
    x

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  6. If I can get my hands on some decent wool coating, I'm in. Might be the kick I need to work on it. Perfect timing for S. Hemisphere, too... I totally noticed that.

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  7. Yes, I would love to join in this Sew-Along. Please add me to your list. :) I will love your expert advice on how to tailor a garment.

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  8. Oooh. I should like to join. It would be great to learn to do decent speed tailoring. Right now there seems to be a big gap between my jackets made with fusibles and the jackets I make with "full tailoring". I have pattern, fabric, lining and bottons ready for a coat, but was just waiting because I couldn't decide with methods to use.

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  9. That sounds like a brilliant idea!

    I personally want to make http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/022011-short-coat-with-front-buttons-and-pockets and add some trim to make it look like http://www.bodenusa.com/en-US/Womens-Coats-Jackets/Coats/WE286/Womens-Tipped-Sixties-Coat.html

    Although I won't be able to join on April 1st, I will use it as a guide when I finally have time to embark on my copy catting.

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  10. This sounds wonderful! Don't know that I'll sign up, but I certainly will be studying your advice. I taught myself by studying the insides of RTW garments (while making alterations), but I'd love to have some real instructions, and yours are always amazingly good.

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  11. I have a trench coat pattern that I cut out about two years ago and never got around to sewing it. This sew along may be the very thing I need to help me finally get this jacket done.

    So count me in.

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  12. Count me in! I don't wear blazers much, so I might sew some mandarin collared jacket, but I assume the tailoring techniques are more or less the same.

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  13. Oh, curses! Temptress! I'm in. ;)

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  14. ooohhh...I might join as well! I love, love, love jackets!!

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  15. I would love to join. I have my fabric and pattern ready to go!!!! A coat is on my list of projects!!! In fact, I am so excited that I have to go and look at my lovely wool again. Hmmmm the more I think... i do have a more than one fabric choice. I better look at all my wools!

    Lorna

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  16. I won't be making my first coat or jacket until next Fall (in the Northern hemisphere) but I would LOVE to see your techniques and will come back to them when I'm ready! Traditional tailoring is pretty unappealing to me right now.

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  17. I probably don't need to be putting more things on my plate for the next 6 months but this does sound like a great distraction from exams and thesis-writing and maybe if it's speed-tailoring there'll be time. I'm extremely tempted to sign up for this (but not necessarily to finish on time) and make a light spring/autumn jacket. Just one question - will we need an overlocker/serger or will just a sewing machine do?

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  18. Why didn't this sew a long come three months earlier? It might have saved me so much cursing and a disaster of a coat! :p hehe, well, I'll start over again and join in :)

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  19. I lurk here a lot, and I'm totally tempted, but seeing as how I'm just finishing sewing projects #3 and #4 (ever), I think I'll watch the fun for now. At least the posts will still be there when I'm ready to try my hand at a coat!

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  20. Sherry, this sounds great, I'll join in!

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  21. This will be my first sew along - What a great idea! Looking forward to it!

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  22. Oh I shouldn't as I have so many projects for April, but you pulled me in with that word -tailoring!
    I have a yearning for a new spring jacket in a bright pink. So time to go shopping. Count me in.

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  23. OMGoodness, my heart started beating faster as I was reading. I am so IN!!!

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  24. I'm Northern Hemisphere, would a Spring jacket work? I have my eye on Burda's tweed blazer (model 109) from this February's issue. Would this work? Or is loose tweed to fussy? Tweed is one of the few things that is a relative bargain here in Britain!

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  25. I'm totally in. I LOVE making coats, but I need a new jacket to tide me through to coat season.

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  26. I don't know if I can participate this time but I love the idea so I can follow along and learn!

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  27. I am so excited but I don' t think that I manage because my holiday is starting just in 1 April. How much time do You plan for this project? Maybe i will manage to take part.

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  28. Yes, I'd love to join! Count me in.

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  29. Count me in! I love the idea of not hand sewing a thing, but still having professional results!

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  30. Count me in, love this idea, I have the perfect coat pattern and now I need the inspiration to make it work. L

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  31. What a wonderful opportunity! Definitly count me in --- now what have I got in my stash. Hmmm........

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  32. Count me in too. This will be my first sew-along so a bit nervous. Great timing as I have on my sewing table a beautiful 100% wool to make a jacket - just deciding on 1 of 3 patterns. I'd love to join.

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  33. My first sew a long too, but with the drop in temperatures this last few days and a jacket already on my list of garments to sew why the heck not hah?

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  34. Would Vogue 1037 be suitable? It doesn't have lapels, but I already have pattern and fabric for it..

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  35. Wow! I think I am interested. I am currently participating in the 12 Jackets in 12 months sew-a-long over at the Stitchers Guild and am only sewing quick and fun unlined jackets for that. Why not follow along with you and make one of them tailored and lined? Count me in...I will do my best to stay on task. I currently have McCall's M5935 & M5759 in my stash to choose from. Maybe you can suggest these to some of the ladies?

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  36. Great!! I need a new coat and I love your tutorials. I'm in!

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  37. I am in too . I have 2 coats to sew for 2 blokes Ds and Dh . I will get cracking on the toile .

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  38. Yes, please!

    I imagine I'll be learning a lot.

    Thanks so much, Sherry.

    Sam

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  39. I am glad to bestow 'Versatile Blogger' award on you.

    Please visit this link and accept the award. Thanks">

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  40. I am a little nervous because I don't know if I will keep up to speed. But, I have always wanted to learn "tailoring". I have a ton of coat and jacket patterns, so I'll look thru my stash. As far as fabric I do have some tweed, no wool. Since we are approaching Spring season,is twill good for a trench?

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  41. I am over the moon with this announcement. I'm in !!!!
    There are so many Burda tailored jackets I wnat to make but lack confidence to start on my own.
    Thanks
    The flickr fitting process is a great idea

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  42. I would love to join up for this sew along. I have been wanting to make a jacket for ages, but am not experienced enough. Count me in. Thanks

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  43. I might join in since I was planning anyway to make a jacket for winter soon... a few months ago I bought Vogue 8333 which is a pattern featuring "custom couture construction techniques" which I'm quite excited about trying out, so I might not be joining in the fusible totally machine made thing that you are proposing, but I'll still sign up if you are OK with me doing a slightly different thing? I'll be using a wool/silk blend I bought in Japan specifically for this project.

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  44. Please sign me up too - thanks!!!

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  45. I've been tentatively planning a couple of jackets so if I can get my act together in time I'd love to be part of this - and your tips and tutes are always so clear!

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  46. Great idea! I might join in, but I'll definitely be watching either way.

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  47. I would love to join. I am traveling a lot for work in March, but hopefully I can be reasonably up to speed by the time you start.
    count me in!
    Caroline
    4-sisters.blogspot.com

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  48. I've thought about this overnight, and really I can't think of a reason NOT to join in (other than I had wanted a jacket done before April). Never mind though, I have the idea for a spring jacket (a knock off of a Talbots jacket... do you have Talbots in NZ?), I have the vintage pattern to start from, and I've ordered 2 different colors of faille (which I've never sewn with). I think advice and opinions are just what I need! Oh, and never mind that by the time it's done it will probably be too hot here.

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  49. oh yes, yes! hoorah!!

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  50. I'd love to join. Haven't done a jacket yet - I'm in the US so I'll be doing a Spring weight one too.

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  51. I'd love to join, it'll be my first coat though, but I've always wanted to learn how to make one. And the idea of it being as quick as possible, yay! yay for sewing machines ... :)

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  52. Wow after all these comments I hope you get down to this one....
    Sherry I've passed on to you an Awesome blog award because I think your blog is awesome, naturally! If you want to check it out, I have put the link and button on my blog here
    http://handmadebycarolyn.blogspot.com/2011/03/what-day-is-it-today.html

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  53. Do you use fusible hymo? know any good sources for it? I've only used sew-in hymo: lovely but definitely not quick. I'm getting psyched!

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  54. I would love to join in - I've got Vogue 8333, the Claire Shaeffer's Custom Couture Collection which I would love to make up. Is this a suitable pattern for your sew a long?

    Now, I'm going to have to get to grips with fba and flikr!

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  55. I'm in. I have one cut out, the muslin fitted and ready to go. Exciting. I think it's Simplicity 2508, for curiousity's sake.

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  56. Count me in too! I am very excited. Better get that fabric ordered.

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  57. Great idea, and pleased to see so many interested in the project. I will think about joining, after all who doesn't have a jacket/coat or two on the to do list.

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  58. 1st thought - "Oh be still my beating heart, I am so up for this!"
    2nd thought "But I don't actually NEED another coat."
    3rd thought (while rolling around on the floor laughing hysterically) "Since when has NEED ever influenced my sewing choices?!"
    Count me in. And thank you for hosting this - it'll be an education and a whole lot of fun.

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  59. That's so exiting. Please count me in. I don't know if I can keep up with speed, but I'll watch and learn...
    xxx

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  60. Count me in. I keep putting off making a jacket. Hopefully this will give me the push I need.

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  61. I'm in! Thanks for organizing this.

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  62. I would like to follow along too please! Thanks

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  63. I'm totally in! I don't have the patience to hand-tailor, but desperately need more jackets!

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  64. I have been planning a boyfriend blazer for a long time! This is the perfect motivation I need to get going on it. Count me in and thanks!

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  65. I just started reading, and this post is really good timing! I've been thinking for a while of doing Vogue 8333, the same blazer as Carolyn and daisydonut, and I'd love to be counted in.

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  66. I just happened upon your blog today...would love to follow along with the Tailoring Sewalong series.

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  67. Yes please :) I'm in Australia so this sewalong is in sync with my season!

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  68. Include me too please! Wow, this is uncannily perfect timing, last night I started to organize sewing myself my first core wardrobe based on "Fashion for Dummies" and I need the basic black jacket. I've made some wool coats and jackets before but it's been OMG 20 years!

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  69. I'm in, and excited, it's my first sew along!

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  70. Oh I have just found this as we are travelling. I have just purchased some beautiful aubergine camel hair wool, just so soft from Mill End in Portland that I was planing to make up in a BWOF pattern, sorry that is not with me at present, but would love to join in this sew along to keep me going. I have also purchased some quilted lining and am thinking of doing a zippered in quilted lining for when I go to the snow which can be quite a few times during the season. I will be home on the 15th of March so should be able to work to the timeline.

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  71. I am joining up! I will be making a version for my tall and lean 10 yr old so if anyone can recommend a suitable pattern, would love to hear from you. If you think she is too small, here is a fact...she is in size 37 shoes already!

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  72. I'm excited to have someone hold my hand while making a coat. I've sewn since I was a young girl, but have never attempted something this complex. Thank you for giving us all access to your expertise!

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  73. I'm in! I've been wanting to try a jacket for some time now. I will try to make my own patterns, based on the Vogue 8333 jacket or something alike. I'm excited already!

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  74. Very excited..... I have the perfect pattern.....it's my first jacket so it would be great to discuss how to go about doing the muslin...e.g. pointers on what the focus should be....I"m such a rookie!!!!

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  75. Coats intimidate me! What a great opportunity take it step by step. Thank you. I have a burda linen in mind. I must get crackin' on the muslin.

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  76. yes, I would like to join up. Aprils will be a mad, crazy month for me but I do have a Jacket I have been trying to get done for a very long time now!

    Count me in!!!

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  77. this will be my first

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  78. Ooooh...I would absolutely love to join in. jackets are my favorite thing to sew, even though I generally have no idea what I'm doing, and I'd love to learn more! Now I just have to settle on one pattern....

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  79. I think every new season deserves its own great jacket, and I do plan on making a nice spring/ summer one myself. I certainly do not want to miss out on your RTW sewing tips so please sign me up too and I will follow along with you guys as time will allow. Thanks.

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  80. I'd love to participate also! ?Thanks for doing this. Now to go decide on a pattern.
    Shirley

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  81. Zanda recommend to me this blog, and I'm excited. I hope I will be able to participate. Because I hope get ready a spring coat / Jacket:) Only my broblem, I need resize pattern to smaller size - this ir Bigest challenge to me, than sewing:)

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  82. Me too, if it's not too late. I've been wanting to do a jacket for ages.

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  83. I would like to join the group. I love making jackets and I have 10 yards of fuschia wool/cashmere that I have been wanting to use.

    Jenny

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  84. wow - I'm so glad I stopped by your blog today.... I'd love to join. I've only ever made one jacket before. It worked ok, but I didn't exactly know what I was doing. I'll be off to pick fabric and pattern this weekend.

    JessB in Vancouver

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  85. Alright, I'm in. I'll be making an ocean blue wide-wale corduroy jacket from a militaristic WW2 jacket pattern. Should be fun!

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  86. I would love to join you. I have been meaning to sew a tailored manish jacket. I already bought some supplies, I have to select what pattern i want to make and I'm up for the ride. Cant'wait, my first sewalong too. :)

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  87. I'm in!!! I really want a jacket for the coming spring and I've just bought the Built by Wendy Jackets book so I'm all set!

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  88. OK, count me in too! You can never have too many tailored jackets. I am torn between marfy 2117 and 2132 for a lovely navy pinstripe.

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  89. I am totally intrigued - and in! Well, I'm going to try and stay in. (Note to self - joined a sew-along.) Can't wait to see your methods as I LOVE making jackets.

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  90. Okay, I can't hold out any longer. I'm in! :)

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  91. Okay, I have never participated in a sewalong, but this sounds too great to pass up. I would love to join. How does it work exactly?

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  92. I am excited about this project. I am getting back into sewing for just me after many years of sewing for my girls. I have wool waiting in the cedar closet ready to be made into something special.
    Holly

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  93. Oh, wow - so many commenters! This will be fun, I´m in - need to make more jackets, and this sound like a fun way of doing it! :-)

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  94. I'd love to join! The jacket I have my eye on is Burda's 'Stella' - would that be suitable? It doesn't have lapels...

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  95. I would love to join. I have never participated in a sewalong before. Sign me up.

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  96. Is it too late to dip my feet in? I have NewLook 6564 half jacket that I actually want to make several of! Would that one work?

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  97. ~lady katza - yes I think that will work, I'll add you to the list!

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  98. ~anonymous - yes I think Burda's Stella will work too!

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  99. For some reason my phone doesn't want me to sign up. Is it too late? If not please count me in. Susan C

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  100. This is very exciting, yes, I am aboard, too! Thank you for doing this. Now off to find a pattern and fabric!

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  101. Hope that still have spots available--found your blog just today. I would love to join!
    Best, Bernadette

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  102. Count me in!
    I have a fab pattern with all the specs u have noted and sublime superfine 100 pc wool fabric from the UK. I look forward to seeing what fabric pieces you interface. thanks Sherry
    Lexley - Brisbane AU

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  103. I hope there are still places available? I've had a jacket planned for a while, but as it'll be my first I'm a tad nervous... I've picked the fabric and made the muslin, but how to pluck up the courage to cut the fabric!
    Your sewalong will be just the help I need :-)
    Thanks,
    MientjieB

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  104. I am going to give it a go! I have never made a jacket - might as well jump in!

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  105. I would love to join in - what a great idea, thank you.

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  106. I'm late to join in, but I have that exact same Simplicity pattern that I've been meaning to turn into a trench coat. I'm eager for some lessons, so hopefully I'll be able to jump right in and keep up.

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  107. Here is my blog (this is the first time I'm putting it out there!!)

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  108. I realise this is ridiculously late, but I'm officially signing up for this sew-along! I have my fabric and pattern ready and hopefully I can get a muslin knocked up and all my supplies bought by tomorrow evening so I can join in with the rest of you (assuming no overly-complicated fit issues). Can't wait!

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  109. Another late one here too, but the timing is now so good.

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  110. I think this is a great idea! I would love to join in with you all, but I'm alreadyover extended, umph! However, I have provided a link on my website for other sewist to get involved if they would like to: www.sewmuchtalent.com.
    If I see where I can join in , I definitely will. At least, I'll follow along. I can't wait to see all the jackets/coats that will be made. :)

    Alethia
    a.k.a
    mesewlot

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  111. I am also very late in joining, but I will catch up.

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  112. Just making sure I am following this correctly. I make a muslin from the original pattern. Make the fitting adjustments to the muslin, then use the muslin to make my pattern or as my pattern? Loving this tutorial. Thanks

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  113. Signing up. A little late, but I can catch up/
    Beth in OK

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  114. ~Tammy - make fitting adjustments to the muslin, transfer those adjustments to the pattern, and work from there.

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  115. Hi Sherry
    I am very late, all the way down in Palmerston North & would love to catch up or follow along. What a great idea!

    Linda
    linda.b@clear.net.nz

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  116. I would love to join and have a jacket in progress up to the sleeves.

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  117. Can we still join? misty.rae28@gmail.com

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  118. ~mistyrae29 - the sewalong is finished, but the posts are still on my blog so you can follow them, and I am happy to answer any questions in the comments!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I really enjoy hearing your thoughts and feedback every time I post!