all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

TMA waist coat – some ‘free’ sewing

I am still aiming to both fill my time and to use patterns that i already own; i unexpectedly found myself making The Maker’s Atelier (TMA) waist coat, which appeared in the Spring 20 TMA magazine.

Having made a new lampshade a couple of weeks ago, when i tried to install it, i uncovered an electrical problem which was waiting to happen. So, with much dancing around to avoid one another, a friend called in to fix the problem, and his wife presented me with loads of fabric that she had ‘in stock’. The fabric selected is a jacquard weave, almost certainly made from artificial fibres, because, when i ‘test’ washed it, it dried very quickly (and washed OK). I’ve been thinking about a waist coat for the up-coming season of sociability, so an unused pattern and free fabric that would be suitable brought the idea into being earlier than expected.

I made the lined version. Although i don’t generally have a stash of outer fabric, i do have a small stash of lining, so i dived into that.

It’s not an easy pattern. Typically of the Maker’s Atelier, there are a number of technical steps which give a neat finish, but can be difficult to get your head round what to do to achieve the neat finish.

After my recent sizing challenges, at least i have quite a lot of experience of TMA patterns, that i could use a basis for deciding what size to cut. TMA usually makes up with a lot of ease, and generally i have cut a size 16. So i cautiously did the same again. Do other sewists use the lining as a form of toile? I have done it a few times, and i knew i had enough lining to re-cut if necessary.

Lining as toile

Maybe my brain is a bit dead from too little human interaction, but i found it quite hard to work out how to sew it together to mimic a size test of the final design, using the ‘real’ lining sections, and a front facing so that i had a genuine replica of the final size. It meant that i started at something like stage 4, and then had to revert to stage 2 to get the neckline method right. It took me ages to spot that!

And yet the next day i managed to get the ‘bagging out’ instruction for sewing the arm holes in less than 2 minutes. The same method is used for the sleeveless sundress, which, unusually, i have never blogged other than as part of Me Made May last year. I like this method. It is what i learned at school, although i don’t think i have seen another pattern company use the method since i left school. The result is very neat and satisfying.

Using a relatively stiff fabric, i also found the method of stitching the shoulder seams and across the back neck ‘in one’, to be difficult. I ended up hand stitching the right angle bend to get a flat finish. I’ve had to do that before…..

The ‘magic button box’ delivered again, although i did buy these online during lockdown 1.0, partly to give me a choice for the garment i was sewing, partly to justify the postage, and partly to add to my stock. So that was a good decision, as they work quite well on the waist coat! However, i don’t recall sewing anything double breasted before. It takes a bit of time to get it right. Not only does the vertical alignment need to be correct, but there is horizontal alignment to consider as well. I positioned the second row of buttons with the aid of a tape measure and the ironing board. The vintage buckle was bought at a sewing show ages ago; maybe Sewing Bee Live. I bought a few, and it is the first one that i have used. It slips easily when worn. I may need to add a small piece of velcro to keep it in place, or even a small stitch.

Now this waist coat isn’t going to go with everything. So i decided to have a bit of fun one morning, and see how it could be integrated into the rest of my wardrobe. The magazine pictures suggest that the waist coat could be worn as a stand alone summer top. I’d have to raise the buttons to make that work, or even add a hidden fastening inside the lower part of the collar. It gapes when i lean forwards. I probably wouldn’t wear all of these outfits as photographed, but it allowed me to see how the fit and colour worked with a number of garments.

This is also giving me an idea for this year’s Me Made May. Maybe i should try to concentrate on wearing the large number of garments that i have made since last March to ensure that they get some wear. Good plan!

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