My jacket is currently an unshaped vest. I cut the body pieces in fabric and tipsy-sewed them Saturday night after getting home from an evening out. It was all French seams, which are super easy if you are not concerned about making them tiny (which I wasn’t because this is a jacket, not a shirt, so I won’t feel them either way), six of them in all. The pattern fit as well as I expected/hoped.
Then I went to dart the front.
That’s when the fun started. The fabric I am using is a really crisp fake taffeta covered in a crisp gauze. Even cut on the bias, this is a crunchy, hard-angle fabric. The pattern? Meant for softer materials that drape and cuve on the bias. The dart gave me Madonna-point nipples, which are untenable with no decorative trim or piping to cover them up.
I was seriously starting to question the feasibility of the fabric when it hit me: gathering or pleating accomplishes the same thing as a dart in the front of a bodice (AKA, small waist measure, big-enough-to-fit-over-the-breasts chest measure a mere couple inches higher up). I often use the under-boob gather in sundress bodices, and I am an absolute MASTER at pleating (case in point: reducing a tube of silk with a 5-yard circumference down to a sub-1-yard waist. Pleating doesn’t scare me…marsupials scare me).
I pinned a sample pleat in place and tried it on. The effect was definitely softer, definitely the way to get to where I needed to go. I will be adding a dart, as well, not to the front edge but from the side of the breast to the underarm.
I am debating whether to sew down the pleats before I set the waistband on or place them directly onto the waistband. Probably I need to set them before I finish the bottom of the jacket with the banding, as their positioning will affect how the front seams come together which will affect the length of the waistband. Maybe I will add a section of twill tape backing to the front and sew the pleats/gathers to that rather than to themselves…yes, that sounds like just the ticket. I knew you would help me figure out what to do. 🙂