Well, I have started work on the coat for my older niece. This is my first experience sewing with fleece and it’s, well, interesting. For one thing it’s filled my house with tiny pink blobs of fluff, which are getting EVERYWHERE. For another it seems to combine the annoying qualities of knits with the annoying qualities of velvet. Joy.
The pattern is McCalls 3374, a thrift-store find back at the start of my sewing adventure, just over a year ago now. As a bonus it came essentially un-cut, with the size 3 fully traced out and part of a size four. I traced the rest of the size four for Syo’s coat last winter, so this time I have no tracing to do! Whee!
This may be another exercise in “looking past the envelope” as the envelope cover
has a lot of fun-fur, fleece, and animal print. Despite the above rant about fleece, the fleece is strictly for the lining. My outer shell is black and sparkly “boiled wool camry blend” (a completely different fabric, however, than the stuff of the same name that the Russian Princess coat and my Czarina coat were made of. They were a knit, dense and felted. This stuff is a woven, tends to fray, and reminds me of boucle in its thick individual yarns.) It would’ve benefited from block fusing, but I am far too lazy to go there in coats for preschoolers. I did preshrink with wet towels in the dryer, which reduced the width by a good 10cm (4″) so I’m glad I did.
This first coat is for my four-year-old niece (let’s call her Fyon henceforth); she was also the recipient of the twirly Popover Sundress last summer. I decided against cutting out both coats at once as I was pretty sure that would inevitably result in me sewing size 4 sleeves onto a size three front or something. I will note here that the size four still fits Syo fine, so it will be plenty roomy on Fyon, although their size gap is not as extreme as you might expect from the three years between their ages, since Syo is a compact model, possibly even a Smart Car, while Fyon is more
of an SUV type.
The best thing about this pattern is that the (very flat) sleeve caps have almost no ease, so they’re a cinch to put in flat. This makes for very quick construction (and I promise I’ll grab a photo of that stage on the next coat.)
I decided to cut the pockets out of the fleece, which will make them absolutely yummy to stick your hands in. This time, I knew enough to make the seam from coat to pockets narrower, so the fleece rolls nicely to the inside, unlike the last time I sewed this coat.
I debated about foldover cuffs, since I’m not overly thrilled with how this part of the pattern is drafted, but they do look so much more finished than just a plain sleeve ending. (Tabs do too, but I’m much too lazy to draft a tab for these coats.) I had considered interlining the coats, as well, but decided the fleece is bulky enough. It was the
thickest, softest stuff we could find at Fabricland’s new-years sale (still expensive even at 50% off). I think there’s enough left over for an itty-bitty scarf, too. I had debated making the collar and cuff-fold out of it, but I really wanted to keep the outside of the coat “serious” (except for that hint of sparkle) (probably I wouldn’t’ve had enough fleece, either). Hopefully the girls won’t find the wool collar and facings too scratchy; it doesn’t feel scratchy to me, but it’s certainly not as wonderfully soft as the fleece.
Note to self: you forgot to cut out the back neck facing. Also, don’t forget to add one of the Bookemon & Ebichu labels and a hanging-loop before you sew on the lining/facings.
The pattern is inexplicably unlined, but I’ve just used the same body pieces for the fleece. I considered adding a back-pleat, but I don’t think it’s necessary with the stretchy fleece. Next step: assemble the lining and facings (I will just topstitch the facings down on top of the fleece).
In sadder news, we got up this morning and discovered One-Eyed Jack, the smallest and hardiest of our goldfish, was missing from the tank. I soon found him on the floor by the couch, where he had leapt to his doom. The smallest of our fish, he was still a good 6″ long, and had survived the Great Filter Malfunction of 2009, a 600-km migration in a glass jar in 2007, and a brutal cichlid attack that cost him his left eye (and gave him his name) probably sometime in 2006. Not to mention nearly four years of my rather indifferent fish care. I honestly thought he would be the last of our dwindling fish to survive, but I hadn’t counted on his adventurous nature. Usually he was a bottom-hugger, as his one-eyed state made it hard for him to find food until it had settled on the bottom. Tyo was stoic (her best friend’s dog died of an accident on the weekend, so compared to that the loss of a fish may be minor), Syo was stricken and still crying when I put her on the school bus, and I was a lot more freaked out than I should’ve been. Jack is now in a box in a freezer to await burial in the spring. He’s too special to just chuck in the garbage like the other goldfish we’ve lost.