Sunday, April 24, 2011

Upgrading Vogue 8640

First, Happy Easter! This picture was taken Easter morning, 1988. We had gone to the sunrise service at church, and since we were up early, and dressed up, we took a trek into DC for some photos by the blooming cherry blossoms. Easter must have been early-ish that year.

OK, back to 8640. If you're a beginner, or even an advanced beginner, and you've bought this pattern thinking, "wow! I can make a pencil skirt and lined jacket, and Vogue says it's Very Easy!" You would be right! This pattern lives up to its name. I'm afraid if you make the jacket "as is" in the pattern instructions, you might be a little disappointed with the results. I haven't made the skirt yet, so my upgrading is just for the jacket.

Upgrade #1: you do need to choose fabric that has a little body, or the jacket will be floppy. My fabric is a cotton/linen blend, and while it has some body, I chose to interface 98% of it. The pattern itself calls for no interfacing. I block fused the whole shebang except for the color. I used pro-tailor deluxe fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply for the body, and before I cut out the pieces, I simply fused the interfacing to the fabric. For the collar, I used pro-weft fusible interfacing, which is more lightweight, and I only interfaced from the center back to the large circle on the pattern piece. Basically, where the collar ends and the ties begin. I also used pro-weft on the me-drafted facings.

There are only 22 steps in the sewing of the jacket, so even with my changes it goes quickly.

Upgrade #2: bound buttonholes. Step #22 indicates you apply snaps. Snaps seemed kind of low rent to me, so I opted for buttons. You could do regular buttonholes, and then that would stay at step #22. If you go for bound buttonholes, they're done first, on the upper front piece (piece 2). I sewed the buttons on, and finished the back of the buttonholes around pattern step #9, when I was doing the lining.
Upgrade #3: topstitching. You can see in the above pic that I topstitched about 1/4" above the seamline between the upper and lower pieces. I also topstitched down the center back. I'm contemplating doing it down the center front edges, and maybe around the hemline and the sleeve hem, but I can add that anytime. I used a silk finish embroidery thread that is slightly darker than the oatmeal-y background color. It's subtle, and shows up better in person than in the pictures.
Upgrade #4: Add front facings and a real hem to the jacket body and sleeves. Here's where Vogue makes it super easy, but also super easy to look sloppy. They have you make the jacket and the lining from all the same pieces, put them right sides together, and stitch around all the edges except the neckline, which allows you to turn it right side out. You are instructed at the end (steps 19 and 21) to topstitch the front opening and lower edges of the jacket and of the sleeve. But you know, unless you get that done perfectly, the odds of an inexperienced sewist having lining dip out and show could be pretty good. BUT, with the hems, and facing, you eliminate that problem. The facings also make your buttonholes more stable.

For the facing, I simply decided how wide I wanted it to be, added a 3/8" seam allowance, and then cut off that much on the lining front pieces (don't forget a seam allowance on your lining pieces). I didn't want a seam in the facing, so it's the length of the jacket, plus the hem. Um, things did get a little wonky on my facing, you'll see it in the picture, but no one will really know but me.

For the hems, I added 1-1/4" to the bottom edge of the body, and 1" to the hem edge of the sleeve, and subtracted that amount from the lining, making sure I still had seam allowances that worked. Regardless of whether you add the hem on the sleeve or not, you will still have to slipstitch the lining to the sleeve at the hem.

And that's it! For the skirt, to upgrade you could use an invisible zipper, line, and possibly underline depending on your fabric, and a button at the top of the waistband in the back would be a cute tie in to the jacket.

And no, I didn't wear the jacket to church today, because other than the dress I wore in the previous post, I don't really have anything that matches it, and, well, it's really hot here today. Almost summer like.


  1. If this were a house your upgrades would certainly increase the value. You are similarly adding so much value to that cute little jacket. Blockfusing in itself adds value to me, and on top of that the bound buttonholes really put it over the top.

  2. I agree with Faye. You've done a wonderful job!

  3. I love the jacket and print. Great job you did there



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