Siege Diaries 4/22/2020


After all my work with masks and scrub caps, I finally took a little time over the last couple of days to sew something for me.  Last fall, I ran across some puffy material in Fabricland that was mustard yellow on one side and black on the other, with gold embroidered stars, which I could not resist.  I found myself a pattern for a “letter”-style jacket, and over a couple of trips to the fabric district in downtown Toronto, I purchased some red satin quilted material for sleeves and knit pieces for the collar, cuffs, and waistband.  And then the bag sat untouched until I finally decided, a couple of weeks ago, that it was occupying space and that maybe I should get around to sewing the jacket.  That’s when I realized I did not have a zipper.  Fabricland was closed by then, but Amazon came to the rescue, and I got the zipper last Friday well ahead of the estimated date in early May.

The project went together quickly, although there were a few little hiccups.  The sleeve fabric was not two-sided (it was just the red layer attached to the polyester quilting layer, so I knew I would have to line the sleeves.  I realized about the same time that I should probably line the whole thing, which meant that I would not get to see the mustard-coloured side at all.  Luckily, I had a length of good lining material in a complimentary colour.   Another challenge was presented by the knit cuff material.  After I cut out the collar, I realized I was probably about 3-4″ short.  I obviously could not just go buy more in the current situation, so I decided to just make do with what I have;  the knit is, after all, stretchy.

The third challenge was the zipper.  It turned out to be quite a heavy-duty coat zipper (which was actually good), but then I realized while working through the pattern that I would probably have to shorten it.  The instructions didn’t quite anticipate such a heavy zipper.  To really get it to work right, I needed to remove the metal zipper stops at the top, cut it down, and then remove three teeth on each side and replace them with the zipper stops.  This was not easy as the teeth were made of brass, and the zipper material kept fraying.  Luckily, I  remembered my old ballet shoe ribbon trick and used a lighter to  seal the top of the zipper.  That allowed me to remove the teeth without fraying the fabric, and I was then able to reposition the zipper stops.

One other thing I realized was that it was clearly the mustard-coloured side of the fabric that was meant to be the outside–the inside had hanging threads on every star that I needed to clip.  Still, the black side does still look nice, and with the red sleeves, I came out with a nifty jacket based on my SCA heraldry, and managed to clear out some of the clutter in the office/craft room. It looks a little like a set of jockey’s silks.   It definitely felt nice to see the project through to fruition, and to have it look as spiffy as I thought it would–and it’s the right weather right now to wear it.