Thursday, February 16, 2017

Spencer Jackets

As there is limited time for costume changes in the play (and limited dresses for the eleven girls involved), my twin and I were talking about how we give one dress a different look. Since we both love spencer jackets, that was an obvious thought. I had found a pattern several months back that I liked, but being a complete and utter cheapskate, was unwilling to pay $15 for one. My twin thought that it would be easy to just cut the bottom half off of a modern jacket, and sure enough, you can google tutorials for such a thing.
I bought a grey blazer (of a thin, completely-un-period 100% polyester material). I confess that when I get into a project, I just want to finish it, and I neglected to take pictures pre-chopping.
Converting a jacket into a spencer is quite easy — find one that has a top you like, try it on with your dress, and mark on the jacket where the waistline of the dress falls. Then add seam allowance!! I'm not sure if I neglected to do this, or simply failed to mark the waistline of my dress accurately, but when I had chopped and hemmed the jacket, I found that it was too short in the back. Happily, my twin suggested adding a ruffle, like this one:

I had saved the chopped off fabric, so I cut this in a semicircle, ran a gathering stitch along the flat edge, and played around with the look of the back until I was satisfied.

Ruffle pinned on; I also put darts in the back to help it fit me a bit better, as you can see by my bright white thread.

The back of the spencer; the white thread of the darts still show a little.
I then trimmed another piece from the leftover fabric, folded the edges over, and topstitched it onto the back. I like the idea of a jacket being authentic and hand sewn... but I figured its made out of a rather odd stretchy polyester anyhow, so being machine-sewed hardly makes a difference.

With an added band for a more finished look.
My favorite detail: the four cloth covered buttons of which I am quite proud.

If you have never tried taking a picture of your back, it is quite a difficult thing, I assure you.

Happy sewing!

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