All I can say is that I’m making slow progress, in fact very slow progress. When my hemp fabric arrived I realised that making a fitted jacket was definitely the most apt use for the fabric. However, I have become quite side-tracked in this project and the process has become a far more involved than when I first came up with the idea. In order to create the inner structure for the jacket from natural fibres, I soon realised I was going to need steer away from fusible interfacings and get to know more about traditional tailoring methods. I therefore enrolled on the Classic Tailoring by Steffani Lincecum course on Craftsy. This has been the first Craftsy course I have enrolled on and I love it. Once you enroll the course is yours forever and it is great that I can just keep going back and refer to it. Steffani explains everything very clearly and it’s possible to ask questions too which seem to get swift responses. I can even annotate the video with my own notes so I can quickly find important points again. What can I say, it’s awesome! If you haven’t checked Craftsy out yet, give it a go, there are even some free courses too – I’ve enrolled on a free Know your Wool class too.
The traditional methods of tailoring aren’t particularly difficult, although they require some confidence in hand-sewing. Fortunately I really do love hand-sewing – it is my favourite activity in front of the TV during the evenings. However, it does take time and I’ve spent the last week or so, just sewing hair canvas to the front of the jacket and the undercollar.
Here I must confess a slight amount of cheating. I wasn’t able to find any hair canvas that I knew was made in the UK. Most of the websites don’t seem to specify the origin of their tailoring supplies. I bought mine from Fabricland locally, but I have no idea where it was made. At least with buying locally I could go and feel it and check the weight. I do know that it is made of horse hair and wool. It’s natural at least. It’s cheating I know, but only a little – forgive me, please?
I’ve also managed to make my first bound button-hole. I was actually pleasantly pleased that I pulled off this technique. I was very worried that my fabric wouldn’t cope with the manipulation required to make a bound buttonhole. Would it fray horribly? Be too heavy? I needn’t have worried at all, as it made perfect buttonholes.
I have already bought the button for my jacket too. I decided to go for a button carved from antler. The buttons are made from Scottish Red Deer antlers. They are surprisingly light. The website also supplies smaller uncut pieces of horn and antler. Maybe I could craft my own buttons? Or maybe a belt buckle?
All this work has given me such an appreciation of old-fashioned tailoring skills. They do make a garment special. These methods are hardly seen in clothing today, except very high-end garments.
Overall, I don’t feel I’ve made much progress in the last couple of weeks, but I’m hoping now I’ve done all this groundwork that the jacket will come together quickly and I’ll have more to show you.