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Simplicity pattern 8742 - jacket/cardigan

I still class myself as a beginner dressmaker but I am getting more experienced, and I've decided that I really like making clothes. I think I may have got over the horror instilled as a child by a rather fierce and unforgiving needlework teacher at school.  I used to hide in the fabric cupboard at the back of the classroom, but it appears that after 50 years, I've broken free!!

I have one or two patterns I've bought recently for various coats and jackets, but really liked the look of the model wearing her longer length coat on Simplicity 8742.

I prefer the more modern pattern makers that are around now, who use heavier weight paper rather than tissue for printing the pieces on. Liesl, Vogue, and The Avid Seamstress are definitely my favourites so far, not only for their quality but also the clarity of instructions.

I chose a warm wool in a plum colour from a local shop. I went for greens and blues but the assistant said this colour warmed me up a bit, and G agreed so I decided to try something different.

The pattern pieces and layouts were easy enough to follow, and as usual there was 1/4 to a 1/3 metre of fabric left over after cutting - enough for a bag I guess! The printed instructions were not that easy to follow. In one or two places I had difficulty understanding them (come on SlightlyArtisticWoman, they are supposed to be Simplicity itself!) Also I didn't think the pattern fitted that well when made up. I don't have a dressmakers dummy and wasn't going to bother with a toile, so maybe that's a bit my fault? 

I had to alter the shoulders and could have done with increasing the darts, but because these darts were sewn in as part of the collar fitting (they run from the collar down the front behind the lapel) that would be difficult. 

If you read this earlier posting you'll know that I am currently planning to make a pattern for G's new dressing gown - this jacket/cardigan reminds me a bit of his current one which is maybe why - and I'm being honest here -  I'm not entirely sold on it. The fit had to be adjusted by resetting the sleeve so the neck to top of arm was shorter,  and despite being cut out and made as instructed, it doesn't drape as well as I'd like at the front. I will wear it - it cost too much to not give it a go - but I won't make this one again.

This is one of the drawbacks to home sewing I think. If you go into a shop you have a choice to try on and usually in many colours and sizes, and probably a bit cheaper too. 

Still, I have fabric leftover from the rag market in Birmingham (really cheap!) so maybe I'll make other patterns in these fabrics until I find one I really like. I think I'm going to splurge out on a tailor's dummy too - looking in a mirror and trying to stick pins in your garment is not adding to my love!!


  1. I'm sorry you aren't in love with your new coat. That is why I stopped sewing for myself. I was tired of things either looking like I had C's clothing on or so tight that I didn't even look in the mirror. I think if I was to have a go again, I'd invest in a tailor's dummy. As for Simplicity, I grew up on their patterns and they were always horrid, especially the instructions. Watching you and the Kemshalls, I have to admit I am tempted to dive in. Heck I'm sure the patterns I have from the 70-80's are almost in style again. If only the body was the same. Thanks for sharing your experience.

    1. Yes those patterns are probably back in fashion! I've also noticed New Look and Simplicity come up a bit smaller than the others I mentioned (not so much ease allowance in the drafting stage I suspect) I think you need to find it fun (a mixture of quilting skills and jigsaws)to keep at it. One or two things I've made, I'm really happy with so it's a matter of finding the right pattern. Maybe you should try again with another pattern maker!!

  2. Sooo, not so Simple after all! And as Jeannie said, your experience with putting in the time and money and fiddling and having the finished product not fit as you'd like is why I gave it up and concentrated on quilting. I was never any good at alterations, was excited when they started including 3 sizes in the same pattern so you could kind of custom fit areas where you might be larger (hips) or shorter (arms) but I still struggled. Never had Tailor's dummy but often looked at them in catalogs longingly, fully expecting they would solve all my fitting problems. Maybe, and yes, to not have to try to pin on yourself would be nice. But I suspect I still would have been frustrated. More power to you for sticking with it.

    1. I recently went on a pattern cutting course and learned the beginnings of drafting your own pattern pieces from measurements. This has helped in lots of unexpected ways and has given me more of an understanding of how to alter things when they don't fit well. In this case, even if I had done some alterations to make it fit exactly, the basic problem of design wouldn't have gone away - it was just not a good pattern for me. I really am enjoying the processes of making though, and the next stage will be to use my own fabrics, but that's something I need to think about a bit more first.