15th July 2012: Jacket and skirt nearly done! So I resewed it all, and put on the sleeves and the collar. I shortened it a bit too - on the reference art it definitely goes over the hips as that's where her belt sits, so it's long enough for that, but I wanted to have a little more of the skirt showing than in the reference pic 'cause otherwise it looks as if she's wearing a jacket several sizes too big for her.
Today I also learnt how to do something new! I've always cheated on buttons before now and just sewn them on without doing proper buttonholes. But the buttons I have are blazer buttons so if I just sew them on they'll tilt forward at an angle and look stupid. So today I mastered how to do buttonholes on Tom's sewing machine. It's actually pretty easy on his as it has an automated setting where it does a few stitches at the end of each button hole and two narrow bands of applique in between, using the changeable needle position of the machine. So it was just a case of turning the dial ABCD and making sure I had the fabric in the right position. I'm quite pleased with the results, I'm going to split the button hole using a sharp knife as I need to cut through two layers of fabric and some interfacing. I measured the buttons before sewing the buttonholes so I really hope they fit! I've got the option of doing buttonholes on the other side as well, on top of the seam, but as the seam's there I think I might cheat a bit for those ones and just embed the button protrusions into the seam so they lie nice and flat. The jacket I patterned this off has a fake second row of buttons too so I think it's a common design convention anyway.
There's still a few fitting issues with the jacket, I think I'll need to put a dart up the back of it to gather in the excess fabric that's around the front near the bust - or use a chicken fillet-style bra to try and fill it up a little more ._. I have put a bust dart in on the left hand side to match with the reference picture but because I struggled so much to get the wrapover of the jacket lapel straight and lined up, I'm trying to avoid putting a dart on the right as the jacket doesn't quite wrap over far enough to cover it if it were there, and there isn't one on the reference art. I think I'll be able to get away with it provided I can get rid of the excess fabric around the bust area in general (even on the side where there is a dart) to make it look better fitted.
I'll probably slim-line the sleeves a little as well, in the name of not looking like a young girl wearing a blazer two sizes too big!
I also need to line the jacket, but I need to buy some lining fabric which is on the shopping list for tomorrow.
I've also started the skirt - well, actually, it just needs a zip, that I need to buy, and hemming/waistbanding, and then it's done. I've also created the base badges to applique - one patch for the arm, one patch for the beret.