And then I got this idea. This wonderful, awful idea. Steam-A-Seam. No, really. I figured there would be three pieces that would need to be underlined: the two fronts and the back. (I won't underline the sleeves, and the facing/overcollar will be interfaced instead.) I cut the fronts and back out of muslin and made all the markings I wanted. Then I laid them down on the wrong side of my wool fabric:
I pinned the muslin pieces to the wool about an inch and half from the muslin edges. To apply the Steam-A-Seam, I lifted up the muslin cut edge and put a piece of Steam-A-Seam between the muslin and the wool, just at the edges of the muslin.
The Steam-A-Seam, even unpressed, is slightly sticky and it kept the muslin and wool together sufficiently that I could go ahead and cut around the muslin pieces. Then I picked up each piece (carefully), and place it on my ironing board, removed the pins, and pressed all the edges so the Steam-A-Seam adhered the muslin and wool together within the seam allowances.
And voila! My pattern pieces were underlined! I realize that all over the world great past master tailors are rolling in their graves, but I don't care. It was utterly awesome.
I can't tell you how this simple idea has opened up my sewing possibilities - without having to handstitch underlining, I'll want to underline everything. I already use Steam-A-Seam for putting in centered zippers (and I have secretly started using it for invisible zippers too, but I haven't perfected my technique yet), and now I'm wondering: where else can I use this incredible stuff?
Once the garment pieces had cooled, I machine stitched down the center of my larger darts to keep the layers from shifting while sewing the darts. Then I just proceeded to sew the jacket as usual.
This wool is such a joy to work with. It sews well, it presses beautifully. I am getting spoiled by working with such a high quality fabric. No wonder sewers become hooked on tailoring. Here's a shot of the outside of the front of the jacket. You can see the french dart:
I continued to look for a way to mark wool, though, and searched high and low for clay tailor's chalk, which will adhere better to wool than just regular chalk. I finally found this from Wawak, 36 pieces for $ 8.45 in assorted colors.
I knew I would need this for marking the sleeves, and for marking the dress pattern pieces which I will not be underlining. The pieces came packed in what looked like sawdust:
I used the yellow marker today on the sleeves which have a dart at the elbow, and it worked like a charm! I can't recommend this product highly enough - I ordered it on Monday and it arrived on Tuesday! So basically, I'm set for life on clay tailor's chalk.
Tomorrow I hope to finish getting those sleeves set in, cut out and sew the pockets, and figure out how to draft the front lining piece. But it is coming along nicely. : )