Professorial Chic (9-5 Bundle Challenge)

I’m new to The Monthly Stitch, and while I didn’t have time to make anything for the earlier IPM challenges, I had a great time participating in the swaps and following everyone else’s efforts!  My sewing goal for this summer has been to make more professional, polished clothing for work.  My current workplace is pretty casual, but I’ll be teaching a class this fall and attending more conferences, so I need some outfits to match.  The 9-5 bundle was right up my alley – and offered a few things that I might not have chosen on my own.

I’m sure that I will use every pattern in this bundle at some point. I have an Anderson blouse in progress as we speak, but I don’t think I’ll get it finished in time for the contest.  In any case, I chose to do the Alberta Street skirt and the Salt jacket for now.

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Salt jacket (Oki-Style)

When I started this pattern, I couldn’t find any other community makes or reviews, so I’m glad there will now be a few on TMS!  In hindsight, I wish I had taken photos during the process – but perhaps another post.

I kept going back and forth on whether I loved or hated this jacket.  In the pattern assembly stage, it was really rough; the PDF doesn’t have markers to indicate which piece should attach to what, and there is no layout map in the instructions.  Because of the experimental shape, pattern pieces don’t look recognizable on their own.  Also, instead of starting at the top left and going left to right (like most patterns do), I realized that the A1 piece is the bottom left, so you’re working your way up.  I finally figured it out, but had to spend way more time on that step than I felt I should have.

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But after that, the pieces started to go together pretty easily.  I used a medium-weight fabric with plenty of drape and lined it with a thin, satin-like material.  (Both fabrics came from a clearance bin, so I’m not sure of their composition.  Probably some sort of rayon/polyester.)  The back piece looks very odd while you are assembling it; it looked more like two big duck tails than the multilevel ripple in the Oki-Style photo.  However, once you get the front pieces and sleeves on, it magically drapes as promised.  So, now I was loving it again.

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Part of the reason I started sewing is because it’s so hard for me to buy RTW clothes; I’m a different size each at the bust, waist, and hip.  I didn’t like the effect of the buttons as pictured – it reminded me of the way poorly-fitting button downs tend to gap at the bust – so I thought I’d omit those and wear the jacket open.  With that plan, I cut the size based on my waist (UK 14), which also is usually the better bet for fitting in the shoulders.  I didn’t make any fit alterations (full bust adjustment, for example).

The rounded front pieces created a nice cascade as I was putting it together, and I was pretty happy with how it was turning out.  BUT, then I put in the interfacing/facings, as per the instructions, and this totally ruined that drape.  I used a very lightweight interfacing, but they still came out quite stiff, so now I looked like a band director with odd wings at hip height.  Now I’m disappointed again.

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The wind made it difficult to capture this effect, but it’s not one I liked on myself.

However, after fussing with it a bit, I found a way to salvage the situation:  folding back the top of the front jacket to form a pseudo-lapel, and adding a single closure at the center front.  I think it works best when paired with structured garments, like a pencil skirt.  With more casual pieces, the bunching and drape is too ambiguous (intentional or wrinkled?).

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Overall, I’d give this pattern a 6/10.  It has some flaws, but I think I will try another make, with some alterations based on what I learned with this one.  I’d also like to take photos of the process and blog more in-depth about it.

Alberta Street Pencil Skirt (Sew House Seven)

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I have nothing but good things to say about this pattern.  The fabric I used is a printed (painted?) denim that I bought in Seattle last March.  Even then, I thought it would make a great pencil skirt!

The sizing was pretty good – the instructions are right, that you should choose your size based on the body measurement chart, not the size of the finished garment.  According to the finished measurements, the 16 seemed small, but once made up it’s a little loose, even.  The instructions are very clear throughout and my changes were minor – an invisible zipper instead of a lapped one, added two darts in the waistband to eliminate the dreaded back-of-waist gape, and left off the pockets (because a few other reviewers said they didn’t lay flat).  I also had to shorten the hemline because I’m short (5’ 2”).

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I’d give this pattern full marks – it’s a quick sew and delivers on all its promises.  I wasn’t confused at any point along the way, and the finished results look like the model photos.  10/10, would make again.

I’ll probably pair this with a different white top when I wear it in the wild, but I can definitely see myself teaching in this outfit.  It’s been a great foray into indie patterns – I’ve loved sampling the different designers, and I’m excited to try the rest!

6 thoughts on “Professorial Chic (9-5 Bundle Challenge)

  1. Pingback: Bonus Pattern Bundle contest winners! | The Monthly Stitch

  2. Well done! You look super snappy and professional! I have the Alberta and am really looking forward to making it up as pencil skirts have been my nemesis because – like you – my measurements are all different from waist, hip to bootie. Really looking forward to trying it our.

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