So pretty - Ashley's brocade jacket for her Kaylee Firefly costume. And my first experience with Chinese brocade fabric. Interesting to say the least!
Finding a pattern with just the right collar and attitude was not easy! It seemed like all the patterns I found had frog closures and were either very boxy or very fitted. Aargh.
I finally came across Kwik Sew 4015. It's not perfect, but at least it has the basic elements - a buttoned closure, reasonable seamlines, and a kind-of mandarin collar.
Yes, I made a muslin! And fortunately, I have Lizzy, Ashley's dressform, in my sewing loft.
First pattern change: the collar. On the original pattern, the collar ends at the front edge. For Ashley's jacket, I cut the collar shorter and reshaped it to be like Kaylee's.
Next change: no side slits or lining. The original pattern has curved sides, is fully lined, and is finished with bias binding. It's actually reversible. But Chinese brocade is heavy. I don't want the girl to expire inside her costume!
Cutting the body without slits was easy. To replace the lining, I drafted facings for the back neckline and fronts. I also faced the cuffs, to reduce wear on the fabric. The facing is poly/cotton Symphony broadcloth from JoAnns.
Isn't the inside of the brocade beautiful? About this fabric - it ravels if you look at it. Honestly, you can lose 1/4" of an edge just by picking it up. The first thing I did was serge every single edge of the cut fabric pieces. I did this with my cutter up, just skimming the edge so that any existing ravels were cut off, not bound inside the serging.
Other than the ravels, the fabric was nice to sew. Topstitiching would have been a lot easier if I had remembered to take my walking foot with me to Ashley's house!
Pressing - I practice ironing fabric the same way I practice sewing it, using scraps. This polyester brocade is a little picky. I used light steam, but with a pressing cloth, and I only pressed. Any movement of the iron tended to warp the fabric. It doesn't take a hard crease, but it also doesn't really wrinkle.
The jacket is beautiful - but I must give some credit to Callisto, who helped me so much with the pattern layout process...
Well done. Ciao! Coco