This is going to be a slow process.
Went home over Easter and took the opportunity to visit a couple of fabric shops with my mom (who knows a lot more about this kind of thing than I do). There’s a fabric and lining at Fabricland that would work… and they’re on sale… and there’s no WAY I have money for it this month. /sigh. Maybe next. The plus side is that every Fabricland I’ve been to has had that same fabric, plenty of it. It’s not exactly what I want—it’s a purple boucle, for one, and the more I look the more I realize I really want a dark charcoal grey/black with some kind of texture or fleck of lighter colour (basically the fabric of the coat I have right now, that’s on its very last legs. But the purple would be nice, and I haven’t found a black or grey that really sings to me. And I really don’t know my fabrics well enough to order online.
So that was informative but basically frustrating. I’m also still up in the air about an interlining… Thinsulate (assuming I can figure out where to get it) appears to be the default, but I read somewhere about a stuff called microfleece they make for active gear that is warm and thinner… I’m just not sure if it’s warm enough (or where to get it, either). My mother also suggested a layer of chamois in the bodice to break the wind, which seems like a really good idea too. I’m not too worried about a *bit* of bulk—I want a winter coat, warmer than my current one, which is really a fall weight (I’m in Canada, remember) that I end up stuffing two or three sweaters under to make it work. But I also want a nice drapy skirt, so while I can interline the crap out of the bodice I don’t want to stiffen up the skirt.
But I did mention baby steps, right? At Value Village (the VV in my hometown is SO much more satisfying to shop at than the one here. Possibly because it serves the whole city, while this one just serves our little patch of suburbia) I scored three yards of a 60″ wide jacket-weight wool for five bucks, that I can use for a test version of my coat bodice. The colour’s not me, so I told my mom if it works out I’ll make one up for her. There’s not enough to make a full skirt, but I should be able to manage something hip-length, get a sense for the fit, the sleeve cap (which I’m shortening to remove the visible gathering) and whether I will actually need to lengthen the sleeve. I was thinking I would need to lengthen it, as all my ready-to-wear jacket sleeves are always too short, but having measured the sleeve length on the pattern (yes, minus the seam and hem allowances) it’s at least an inch or two longer than the sleeves I’m complaining about, so maybe I won’t. We’ll see how the test goes :).
So I have the outer portions of the pattern traced out, and the test fabric washed. It’s probably still not as heavy as I’d like (and it will be quite a bit different if I do go with the boucle) but it’s a start. It really is a nice fabric, except for the colours. With any luck I’ll get a test shell sewn up this weekend. Now, I’m off to think about shoulderpads. I’ve been reading up on sleeve headers and how Armani finishes their jacket shoulders… lots of fun… 🙂