Slow and steady…

Blinded by the lining

Progress has been made on Serena’s coat. In fact, if I hadn’t kinda-sorta said that I would have it done by the end of the week, I’d be extremely pleased with myself. As it is, I’m still half-ass panicked. The coat construction itself isn’t the issue, it’s the embellishment which eats up time, both physically in terms of stitching it on and mentally in terms of thinking about designs—how much? How intricate? How many different materials? At the moment I’m trying to constrain myself to gold-twist piping and lots of flat upholstery braid, but it’s hard. Give me a few months of this and my latent bellydancer would bling this coat out to the nines.

Which is why I should’ve done the basic work back in the spring and then spent the summer in leisurely construction/embelishment, but anyway. That ship has sailed.

Muslin #2 (with collar)

After the fitting I basically made up a whole ‘nother muslin. If I thought I could’ve hunted Serena down for a last fitting I would’ve, but she was out of town, so I tried it on my dummy, really liked the adjustment over the rear (I added 2cm to each side of the rear princess seam below the waist) , decided that the sleeves still needed more poof, and started cutting.

And fusing.

Happy fusing fun.

Lots and lots of fusing. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to thank Sherry enough for introducing me to the concept of fuse-tape. I lurve this stuff. Anywhere you might use stay-stitching.

Ready for ripping /sigh. At least the grommets aren't terrible.

Anyway, at this point I have the lining basically constructed, the shell lagging slightly because I had to run out to get grommets for the lacing and now I need to do some ripping (even with the heck fused out of it, stretch corduroy is still prone to creeping; I should’ve marked better).

Oh, and I made the collar.

The collar was rather scary. It needs to stand up, so lots of interfacing was required. Pepin has instructions for drafting a stand-up Elizabethan-type collar in Modern Pattern Design, but they’re a bit confusing (In particular, she advocates spreading 1/4″ per slash while only illustrating four slashes. This is not enough.) Still, it got me on the right track, and a series of paper tracings later I had a workable pattern. Fortunately for me, it was actually perfectly possible to pin the paper pattern in place on the dummy and get an idea of what I needed to tweak next.

Collar innards

Stitching wire into casing

I also wanted the edges of the collar to be wired, for stability and moldability—who knows if it’ll look best straight up, or with the corners rolled back, or whatever. So I hunted around and found some medium-weight wire in the old jewelry/beading box, a half-package of quarter-inch bias tape (one of those thrift store finds that you’re never quite sure how you’re going to use as it was rather grubby), and set to work stitching the wire into a casing around the trimmed-down edge of my interfacing piece (which consisted of the “muslin” drapery fabric collar plus some hair canvas). It’s not at all pretty, but it’s attached and now the collar’s constructed everything should be pretty much held in place anyway. I folded the ends of the wire back on themselves and encased them in little fusible-interfacing booties, so hopefully there’s no danger of that working through the fabric.

Collar exterior

Then I hand-stitched my wired interfacing piece to the collar outside, which was already piped and embellished. Once it was in place I topstitched along some of the embellishment again, just to hold it in place extra well. Overkill? Possibly. To finish it off I slip-stitched the lining fabric to the inside. For this jacket, I am using interfaced lining fabric in place of facings, as the lining is as much for show as the shell fabric, especially in areas like the collar and tails.

No other great insightful comments at the moment. Halfway through Saturday my Janome machine grew crankier and crankier and eventually stopped turning. The engine whirs, but nothing goes around. This sometimes happens when thread is jammed in the bobbin, but there is no thread, and even un-threading the machine completely does nothing. I can still force it to stitch with the hand-wheel, but it’s difficult and doesn’t feel like something I should be doing a whole lot of. I’m thinking a visit to the sewing doctor is in order, /sigh.

Most of what I’ll be doing this week can be done on the straight-stitcher, but of course now it’s not working I keep coming up with things I need a zig-zag for.

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13 Comments

Filed under Sewing

13 responses to “Slow and steady…

  1. Wowza! The jacket is looking fabulous! I love all the embellishments and the fabric is fantastic! Sorry to hear about your sewing machine–I hope she feels better soon :)

  2. This jacket is going to be so deliciously over the top, I can’t WAIT to see it done. Question: what kind of grommets do you use, and where do you get them? I’ve found the little teeny ones from Dritz, but they suck because the back side can have little pieces of metal to snag on fabrics and scratch skin. Not cool!

    • These ones are Dritz as well, although obviously not teeny. I’ve also used the “Unique” brand ones, although I think that’s Fabricland’s house brand so may not be available where you are.

      These have the snaggy-metal-on-the-backside problem, too. I’ve considered painting the backs with clear nailpolish to smooth it out, but haven’t actually done it, yet. I think eyelets against bare skin are generally a bad idea regardless—even RTW machine-set ones are not overly smooth on the back.

      • Using a metal file on the snaggy bits is supposed to help a lot. Assuming you have a file… ;)

        Jacket’s looking great! I’m sorry your ZZer is sick.

      • (Just as an aside, they also sell Unique brand notions at the dollar store near my house, and at an independent fabric store in downtown Vancouver, so I don’t think it’s a Fabricland exclusive… unless those stores are maybe buying overstock?)

  3. I have to thank you for both the reason to commiserate and the inspiration. One of my projects is a sort of fancy party dress, for someone else, who isn’t available for lots of fittings – lots of embellishments & fiddly work, with lots of decisions to make, and way too easy to procrastinate on. This won’t be nearly the showpiece that your jacket will be, but still…….

    Slow & steady…..yes :)

  4. Amy

    Gorgeous work so far. I can’t wait to see it finished. Also, I agree about thanking Sherry enough for all that I learned during the Ready-To-Wear Tailoring Sew-Along. I think I was (and still am) too new to sewing for everything to completely sink in, but it’s there on the surface and will hopefully sink in as I gain more and more experience sewing.

  5. This is looking amazing. I love the idea of the wired collar, how clever.
    Sewing for other people is a mixed bag though – I am wondering how you would look in a re fashioned shirt insufficiently appreciated (or maybe just insufficiently worn) by the other half at the moment – not that you need another project with this one going on!

  6. This coat is going to be amazing. You’re right… slow and steady with a lot of mental breaks away from the sewing room are what keep a project like this GORGEOUS coat from being too overwhelming. I sometimes get totally panicked over a project, too, but that’s when I remind myself that it’s the steady process of putting a garment together that I (think) gives me more pleasure than actually looking at a completed project. Besides, I always make dumbass mistakes when I rush for the finish line, and then I’m not really happy with the result anyway.

  7. Sewista Fashionista

    It looks like you are really in the thick of things with this project. The gold lining is beautiful. Sorry to hear about the machine. My Janome, (lately expired) used to need a timing refresher at the repair shop once a year. I would be sewing along and the handwheel would tighten to the point where it could not be turned. The little Hello Kitty machine I am using as a sub is a Janome and I like the brand, but I think they do have this one issue.

    • That sounds like it could be what happened. It’s never done it before (aside from aforementioned thread-jams) in the four yeas I’ve had it, but, well, she has had a fair bit of hard use. A spa visit was probably in order anyway…

  8. This is so amazing- I just can’t wait to see more! You are a better person than I- that coat would be staying with me if I made it- too pretty to let go of!

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