Mar 15

Jacket Express Craftsy Class

Over on Pattern Review there was a sew-along for people enrolled in the Sew Better, Sew Faster, Garment Industry Secrets Craftsy Class by Janet Pray. In the class Janet takes you through the construction of her Jacket Express pattern, while teaching you industry techniques to improve and speed up your sewing skills. We learned things like pinless sewing, burrito technique for yokes and cuffs, topstitching and cutting tips. The class was well worth my time and money because I’m finding that I’m automatically using these techniques in my sewing without thinking about it, and yes, I’m sewing faster!

I used a grey linen for my jacket. I only had 2 yards so I made a collarless version, still keeping the same linen for the facings, yoke and pockets. I could have switched things up with another fabric but I wanted a clean, simple look. To make it collarless I just copied the shape of the neckline to make a facing (a technique I learned in another Craftsy class: Underneath It All with Linda Lee). Then I attached that facing piece to the front facing and I was good to go with the rest of the instructions. You do have to be exact with the measurements around that curve for a nice, clean look.

Jacket Express linen

I really loved doing the topstitching! I used two threads through one needle of a light grey poly thread. I admit a good part of my success was from using a topstitch needle from Superior Threads – what a nice needle – and my old Bernina 1230, which makes such a beautiful stitch.

Jacket Express linen back1

I adjusted the fit by taking in the waist a small amount, and I expanded the hip area as much as the side seam allowances would allow, then adjusted the facing the same amount. The upper back looks a bit baggy, but that room is nice when I put the jacket on over something thicker or when I need some extra movement room.

Jacket Express linen side


Recently Craftsy put up another Janet Pray jacket construction class, The Motor City Express in Sew Better, Sew Smarter, Smart Construction. I nabbed that one when it was on sale for $19.99, and I’m looking forward to making it soon.

Mar 15

I really wanted to like it – the Archie Shirt

Sometimes no matter how much you want something to work out for you, it just doesn’t. I had the highest hopes for this Archie Shirt by Sew Tina Givens. Tina Givens designs flowing, Lagenlook fashions, and while I’m not really a Lagenlook wearer myself, I do appreciate the style and I’m not afraid to incorporate the styles into my own personal style.

I chose the Archie Shirt because it is shown in what looks like heavier fabric vs the mostly linen or lightweight cotton styles of the other patterns. It’s almost a jacket look and similar to something you may see from the Tilton sisters.

Archie Shirt

The first thing I did with the pattern was grade it down a bit. The finished measurements I took of the original were…huge. This wasn’t surprising, as the overall silhouette of these styles is quite big. But I need a good shoulder fit or I get lost in the fabric and look like I’m wearing my Dad’s clothes. So, grading done, I cut it out and sewed it up in a soft flannel. And here I am…

TG Archie


It just does nothing for me. It would be better in a lighter weight/color, but that wouldn’t solve the problems of a very weird armscye shape (major fabric bunching there) and that collar…. oh my that collar is huge and just not right. I went over the pattern a few times making sure I cut it correctly and sewed it on properly. It’s just awkward. The darts could have been sewn lower, that is my fault for not adjusting that, and the pattern calls for mostly raw edges (including the collar), but flannel raw edges just don’t appeal to me so I used regular, boring finished edges for the most part. Would the raw edge finish help the collar? Perhaps, a little, but the shape would still be, well, awkward.

There are some things I like about the pattern – like the zig-zag sewn darts.

TG Archie-3

And pockets…

TG Archie-5

My contribution to the design was to use the fabric selvedge as trim on the back yoke seam (and here you can see how huge the back of the collar is):

TG Archie-4

The pattern also calls for patches of trim fabric sewn in a few places. I skipped most but added this one at the back collar. I used the same fabric for the pockets.

I could go back and try to re-work the pattern by re-drawing the shoulder/sleeve and the collar. But I doubt I will. It’s just not for me. I do think this pattern could work for someone with different proportions – larger upper body with more substantial shoulders perhaps?