OMG. I lost an entire day recently…trying to finish my bolero jacket, lovingly called the pirate bolero because the fabric is black with pirate sayings in silver on it.

 I love the fabric. I bought extra (good thing as I cut one of the jacket sections upside down and had to cut another one) so I could make bags to give swag away in. (And because I knew I’d make mistakes.)

So, I cut the jacket out in my sewing class, with lots of help from the wonderful ladies at the Cabrillo College Sewing Class.


 Thank you!

Cutting out took a long time because this baby had a band that was done in…wait for it…twelve pieces! Yup! Four for the band, four interfaces for the band, four for the  other side of the band (I don’t know the official name for this)! Putting them together left me with something resembling a Mobius strip.


Then I had to somehow, magically, iron the facing, sewing them together – making eight of the pieces into one…then taking said loop of fabric and fitting it to the jacket.


Looked easy.


Took it with me to my Mom’s house. (Mom has sewn her entire life. I think she was born threading a needle.) Mom helped. But…even Mom was flabbergasted at the instructions, now lovingly called, the directions to the ninth level of hell.

Turn this? No.

How bout this way? No.

I know, what if we… No.

Finally, we figured out how the band was supposed to be pinned, then sewn.

Now I got to sew.

Curves. Lots of curves.

Tears, lots of tears.

Okay, I survived, now the last facing bits. Sew remaining four pieces into BRAND NEW MOBIUS STRIP!

(About this time I’m wondering why I ever wanted to do this.)

Begin to pin it to band on jacket. Mom shakes head. One piece was put on backward. But that took a while to figure out.

Long story short…

(Sorry, too late…)

Anyway, band facing sew on.

Band at sleeve changed because they would be too short if folded in half like the directions to the ninth level of hell suggested.

And viola!

Ain’t it pretty?

What did I learn?

Hand basting is my friend.

Seam rippers are my best friend.

Nothing can beat having Mom right there.

(She’s gonna keep my plaid pirate coat and fix the zipper mistake… Remember my outrage when I bought this pirate coat and it had a ZIPPER in it!? It’s coming out. Thanks, Mom!) I already suffered one nervous breakdown with the Mobius Strip. I don’t need another with how to recreate something nice from the former home of VERY OFFENSIVE ZIPPER!

Next project?

A dress!


  1. That was worth the trouble. Looks fabulous! And I love that you’re offended by the anachronistic pirate coat when your pirates have blenders and iPods. LOL!

  2. Terri! It’s a ZIPPER! And it isn’t even like it added style…it destroys the suggestion of a cut-away below the waist because it went to the knees!


    But I do love how the bolero turned out!

  3. that is funny….only because I have been there….congratulations on finishing it. The next time will be easier. Also add to your list of friends, the iron…I saw the pattern when you talked about buying it, the finished product makes the pattern look good

  4. Yeah, Mom and I talked about the iron stuff and keeping one near by and boy howdy…did we use it!

    For some reason…I thought that pattern would be easy. And it would have been easier with a different interface, different fabric and if I’d been able to actually decipher the pattern instructions from the beginning.

    I will likely shorten the cuffs and add some black lace ruffle…if I find some I like…more pirateee that way!

  5. VICTORY! Congratulations :oD And it looks great, despite (because of?) all the angst. I really, really sympathized with you as you wrestled with this project, having been sewing since I was around 12-13 years old. Thank heavens for your Mom’s expertise!

  6. Thanks, Pat! It was nuts! But I am so proud of the finished product and look forward to many years of wearing it to signing events…a little bit of pirate flair!

  7. Neato cheetos. You look gorgeous!

  8. That is absolutely adorable!!!!

  9. Thanks, Pat!

    I’m not sure I’m as neat as cheetos…but maybe! 😉

  10. Jane – Yup! I’m really happy at how this turned out!

  11. I’m glad I *FINALLY* got here today. You did a magnificent job! I love it! I’m jealous! None of my projects came out as pretty as that jacket. *le sigh*

    After I got done with such a project as you described, I’d be wearing that fucker everywhere. Until it fell off my body in threads.

  12. Well, thanks! I’m gonna be careful how much I wear it because I want it to last! And the pirate fabric is the novelty stuff you get at Halloween…so it isn’t tuff n’ stuff fabric. It must last as long as I write pirate books… So, basically…FOREVER!

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