Sunday, February 26, 2012

Bolero Pattern Review

I'm not really a fan of short-sleeved jackets. Frankly, I just don't see the point. I can get behind shawls, wraps, and shrugs, but a short-sleeved jacket just seems silly to me. But with warm weather fast approaching, I was reminded of one my beefs from last summer.

I live south of the Mason-Dixon, which means summers here are HOT. I'm sure it's worse in a place like Arizona or the Sahara desert, but it does get warm enough here (100F/~38C for weeks on end) that it's difficult not to be uncomfortable. I'm a tomboy at heart and prefer wearing pants, but dresses become a must down here if you don't want to melt. I've taken up wearing moondresses (which are sundresses that one doesn't wear in the sun), but even wearing strong sunscreen, I still get sun damage on my shoulders and upper arms from riding in the car. Skin cancer runs in my family and I don't want my ink in that area to fade, so the solution here seems to be to cover up as best I can, and that means a bolero or something of the sort.

Enter Simplicity 2183. I intended to make view D (the elbow-length version), but got home from JoAnn's to find that my fabric had been cut too short! By the time I realized that, the store was already closed, so I begrudgingly made view E (short-sleeved).

I made it in black, of course, so it will match every item of clothing I've owned since the age of 15. The fabric is quilting cotton. Really, the only other feasible choice would have been linen, but the cost and ravelly nature usually make me shy away from it.

This pattern is rated easy, but it does have a couple of tricky parts. First, instead of a buttonhole (which can be a big problem even for those that aren't beginners), it has a strip cut on bias to use as a button loop. Sounds good, right? Well, with the seam allowance and the tiny nature of the loop, it isn't so easy to turn right side out. The instructions state to tie a pie of thread to the stitching and pull it out that way. I tried that and didn't like how it looked, so just top-stitched it. Looks fine to me, and it will be covered by a button anyway.

There's another problem that might present itself for beginners.

Can you see it in there? If you can't, try this one:

DARTS. Damn darts! One is easy enough, but getting them perfectly symmetrical can be tough, especially for a beginner. This pattern isn't too fitted though, so it doesn't have to be all that great.

And lastly, this pattern calls for under-stitching. In the view I made, it was easy enough, but it looks like it could be difficult in the sleeveless versions (which are constructed differently).

Despite my complaints, this isn't a difficult pattern, per se, but it wouldn't be something that I'd recommend to a total beginner. It's a nice wardrobe builder, and I might try it again in the elbow-length version, which is what I originally intended.

Here's the final product:

The button came from my stash. I think it was from a suit I made a few years ago.

Please forgive the cat hair. She decided the best place to sit in my sewing room was on the jacket.

I have nothing snarky to say about the last photograph.

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