"If you have successfully studied with us step-by-step from simple to difficult forms, then you already know that felt is the perfect material to work with. Many people avoid sewing because some fabrics can be difficult to work with; this is the cause of unnecessary wrinkles and folds which is frustrating. Felt can be compared with the most compliant and flexible material... the dream of every dressmaker..."
Let's explore the technique of setting in a sleeve in a double breasted short jacket with a tailored collar. You can easily make different versions based on this pattern.
Materials required: 8-10oz (200-250g) of merino wool; 2oz (50g) of viscose fibers; we'll use hand dyed cotton gause instead of silk this time and other accessories: linen lace and metal buttons.
The pattern contains four parts: #1 back, #2 flap, #3 sleeve, #4 collar part. Unfold the #1 back and #2 flap pattern pieces onto the table surface. If your working area is limited, you may lay these pieces separately, step-by-step as shown in our previous lessons.
First lay down the viscose fibers excluding the lapel area. Sprinkle with a warm soapy water.
The wool layout is the conventional two-layer with additional strengthening layer along the bottom edges, armhole and neck areas.
Moisten the wool and rub through the mesh. Form open edges by circular movements. Complicate the task by cutting film strips (this step is optional).
Spread two layers of wool over the strips laying the wool horizontally and vertically. Open the outside edges along the film strips to create the decorative element.
Moisten the wool again with warm soapy water and rub through the mesh especially along the edges.
Carefully lay down the hand dyed cotton gauze fabric over the wool layout. Rub through the mesh until the fabric begins to felt through the wool. Carefully cut away the excess material.
Continue rubbing carefully, watching to avoid any defects (you may use a sander).
Connect the shoulder joints bending the allowances over. Lay thin strands of wool over the seams. Continue felting, wetting and rubbing to securely felt the shoulder seam. Next spread the collar and join with the main body exactly as shown in the previous lesson.
Now continue the felting process by rolling in a tube in different directions. Remove the template and strips rubbing the open areas till densely felted. Hang on a hanger or mannequin to dry.
The sleeve has an underarm seam. Spread the pattern layout as shown, laying down viscose fibers first, than the two layers of wool. If you have enough work space, it is best to work both sleeves together remembering to mirror image them.
Wet, rub in circular motion to form dense edges. Repeat the decorative element you used on the jacket using the film on the sleeve cap. Moisten and rub until the wool is densely felted. Leave the allowances dry.
Now turn over and fold the template to felt the sleeve allowances.
Bend the allowances toward the inner part of the sleeve; cover with mesh and rub. The vent area is protected with a piece of film.
Continue felting the sleeves first rubbing through the mesh then rolling the sleeve in a tube. Check inside the sleeve to avoid felting it together.
The sleeves should now be densely felted and identical. Allow them to dry.
The jacket pieces are now dry and ready for completion. Carefully check the armhole; the armhole should be carefully aligned. Find the central point of the sleeve and match to the shoulder following the anchor points. Mark these points with chalk. The sleeve is slightly gathered into the armhole.
Remove the jacket from the mannequin; place the right sides of the jacket together with the wrong side facing you. Hand baste following the armscye notches.
The sleeve should perfectly fit into the armscye and you may now sew it starting from the bodice with an allowance of 0.2" (0.5-0.7cm). Cover the seam with a bias tape or decorative trim.
Now the jacket is ready, all that remains is to add lace and fasteners.
I wish you lots of inspiration and creativity; hope this lesson will help you.