Tag Archives: coat

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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Real sewing!

Coat for Niece # 2

… in the new sewing room.

Albeit not of a terribly exciting kind. Looking at my massive stash of coating fabric, I decided to do some reduction and tackle my younger niece’s long-neglected coat. For those with a short memory, this is basically a one-size-smaller version of McCall’s 3374, with blue leopard print fleece lining instead of pink (my sister-in-law keeps her daughters colour-coordinated. Well, sorta. When you have two kids so close together in

Pattern envelope

age, I imagine it helps with keeping track of things they have doubles of). This has to easily be my most used thrift-store pattern, this being version 3. It’s such a classic shape, once you get over the explosion of fun-fur on the pattern envelope. Of course, the envelope version is unlined, whereas mine wound up with both lining and, in these last two, interlining (I added a layer of black flannel to keep the light fleece from showing through my rather-loosely-woven boiled wool coating.

Blue leopard print fleece lining!

I did a couple of things minutely differently this time. Since I didn’t have the front facing traced out for the size 3 (the first two versions were size 4), I traced off my own facing and front lining piece from the front piece, as I learned to do from Sherry’s sewalong. I should’ve reviewed a couple other bits of the sewalong, too, like notching out the front where the facing goes and stuff, but, well, I was lazy. I also didn’t alter the original pattern to a lining pattern. I figure the extra ease isn’t really required when your lining is a knit. And I’m lazy. And it’s a coat for a three-year-old.

Fleece lining seamed to interlining to finish hem; shell hem with bias hem-facing.

I did have one flash of brilliance, where I decided to hem the lining by seaming it to the bottom of the interlining flannel and and reversing. If I’d been even more brilliant, I would’ve cut the flannel shorter so that the fuzzy lining folded up the other side of the hem more, but anyway. There’s enough extra drape in the fleece that it covers the bottom of the fold anyway.

Cute label, needs a ribbon hanging loop though.

I forgot to add the super-cute ribbon hanging-loop, although I did remember the Bookemon & Ebichu label. I probably should pick out the inner collar seam and add that—wouldn’t want my younger niece to get a jacket less cute than her sister’s.

Cuff (interior). Not finished (obvious).

I also added a piece of bias hem facing to the bottom as, ah, I may just accidentally have cut the bottom from and end where the under-side of the doubled fabric was a bit shorter than the visible part, if that makes any sense at all. Anyway. Next step is to finish the outer hem (which will be by hand), then the cuffs, and then I get to try to work the buttonholes! I will use my vintage buttonholer, of course, but I’m still not terribly accurate at placing the buttonholes with it. Ah, well, it can’t be worse than my manual buttonholes!

To continue with my Me-Made June catch up, we have:

June 10:

Transportation Friday

On a mode of transportation. The feminist in me is sad to report that I don’t drive it myself (hubby does). The chicken in me is happy it doesn’t have to control that much metal with nothing but my boots between me and the pavement. However, it was a very fun picture to take.

Springy Coat
Blue Lydia top
Jalie 2908 capris

June 11:

MMJ 11, the birth of a new sewing room!

Yes, you’ve seen this one on the blog before, but now it’s in context!

50s Shrug 2.0
Too-short tunic
Ellen pants

On June 12 I began my 70s week! So I think I’ll give that its own post…

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The Great Reveal

Ze Coat, She is finished!

Step right up, ladies and gent (there is at least one gent reading out there, I think?). You’ve borne with me through I don’t even want to count how many Springy Coat posts this month. And now, here we are, at the end of April (how did that happen?) and, at last—the Springy Little Coat is done!

At this point you’ve probably heard everything there is to hear about the construction of this coat. So all I’ll say is that I used seam-binding on the shell hem, stretching as I sewed, which worked fairly well for pulling it in (the joys of an A-line hem), then handstitched. For the lining I did a blind-hem (just for fun… I suck at machine blind-hems). I didn’t quite get my lining length vs. shell length right—the lining was a bit long—but I’m not going to complain at this point. (And better too long than too short, right?)

I also gave in and hand-stitched the lining at the cuffs. I know, not the point. But with my cuffs, it just seemed awkward, bulky, and likely to screw up to do it by machine.

Then I dug out all the coordinating (and some not-coordinating) clothes in my closet and played around in front of a mirror.

A lot. And since I’m not nearly as good as Patty at picking the one or two absolute best shots, I will hereby subject you to a crapload of them:

If I get my way, I will get better (outdoor!) shots this weekend, and subject you to those, too. I think by Sunday it should be warm enough to wear my coat out of doors. For now, it’s snowing again. (Obviously my strategy of invoking spring through sewing has failed. I should just cave and start making sweaters and snowsuits.)

Incidentally I’ve decided (along with most of the rest of those in the RTW sewalong, no doubt) to enter my Springy Little Coat in the PR Lined Jacket Contest, so if you’re a PR member go ahead and vote (ideally for me, but y’know. May the best jacket win and all that…)! Fortunately for me, Patty’s coat, which is almost a dead ringer for mine, can’t receive votes as she won the wardrobe contest in March.

For that matter, if you’re a Canadian, you have some voting to do, too—Monday, peeps! I happen to live in the Prime Minister’s riding, so I have the rare privilege of actually voting directly for (or, as the case may be, against) him—although since he’s pretty much guaranteed to win his seat, it does make it seem a bit pointless voting for anybody else. The joys of a parliamentary system.

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A tale of impatience and disorganization

Bound Buttonholes

To ease my coat-making itch while sticking to the RTW tailoring schedule, I was going to try and bang off a coat for my second niece this weekend—basically this one, in a slightly smaller size, with a blue leopard lining rather than a pink. Despite an acute (if pleasant) case of inlaw-itis, I could easily have messed around with this for a few hours on Sunday, maybe even conscripting my mother-in-law for a bit of light cutting or something.

However, my notoriously disorganized, chronically un-sorted stash failed me. I would’ve sworn the rest of the black sparkly boiled wool was tucked safely deep in my main tub. I located the fleece lining and the flannel interlining easily. But despite tearing apart my “sewing room” three or five or seven times on the weekend, I can’t find the shell fabric.

Which I guess means it’s not in the sewing room. Which I guess means it’s somewhere else in the house. And despite searching every closet I can think of, I can’t find it.

I also can’t find the four metres of cream sweatshirt knit I picked up a few weeks back. This is even more disturbing. How do you lose FOUR METRES of a heavy-duty knit? Except that I wasn’t hoping to have a little jacket made out of it to take home with me over Easter. Anyway…

Ooops...

To assuage my itchy fingers, I got ahead of myself. I tried not to, really. I graded every seam I could think of. I took the plunge and made bound buttonholes. But then, last night everyone else was watching some incredibly dreary Jean-Claude Van Damme movie (it seemed to involve a lot of torture in a Russian prison), and I just couldn’t resist.

I stitched the shoulders and side-seams.

Probably I shouldn’t have. Probably Sherry has some secret technique involving seam tape and ninja seamstress fu, and I have now rendered my Spring Coat thoroughly un-tailored. If so, well, I will abase myself before the altars of the sewing gods and as penance look up how to actually oil my serger properly.

I’ve mentioned before that this is my favourite moment in sewing a top—when it goes from an assortment of flat pieces to a garment, however unfinished. Setting a sleeve comes close, but it’s still not quite that magical.

The back

So, the good, the bad, and the ugly:

The good: I am going to have a SUPER CUTE COAT! YAY!

The Bad: I think I must have sewn my back pleat a smidge too wide; the top is a bit snug and the side-seams seem to pull a bit to the back, something they didn’t do in the various other iterations of this jacket.

At this point, fixing it would require unpicking both side and waist seams, and I just don’t think I can face it.

the front

The ugly: um, well, the bound buttonholes are straight. I did manage that much. Their lengths… are a bit irregular. To put it kindly. Which has everything to do with me sucking, but anyway.

There’s a bit of funniness in the hang of the back skirt, but I suspect it can be fixed by reworking the pressing in the pleat a wee bit. On the whole, I do think the front looks good!

I made the pocket bags huge, and they’re a little low—not badly so, but it’s a bit odd to not rest my hand on the bottom of the pocket. I have realized wearing my winter coat, however, that my kids love to stuff their hands (holding mine) in my pockets when we walk, and a giant pocket bag is great for this.

I only planned buttonholes for the bodice, but as there’s not a huge overlap in the front, I may need something lower down as well. I’m thinking a sew-in snap or two… we’ll see.

Also, do you think it needs a little back belt (like, say, Patty’s)? Or would that be overkill?

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Scraping the bottom of the barrel

The Cute, it burns!

As I contemplate the fact that I have hardly made any progress on, well, anything, in the last several days, it occurred to me that I never did a final post about the coat I made for my niece in January (like, after I put on buttons and hemmed it). So here you go—if you’re not into looking at an excessive number of photos of my seven-year-old, feel free to stop reading now.

As a quick recap, I (for better or for worse) came up with the idea that I would make some fun “winter” coats for my nieces (aged 4 and not-quite-3). Probably it had something to do with this sparkly black boiled wool being on sale at my local Fabricland… at any rate, when we dashed home at New Years I dragged (both!) my SILs to the fabric store and got some lush leopard-print fleece for the lining, and headed home with the aim of having at least this first coat completed by Niece #1’s birthday at the end of January.

McCall's 3374

And I did. And if I were a mature and responsible adult, I would’ve had it in the post for said niece to receive in a timely fashion.

Instead, I dicked around, forgot about it, and now winter’s pretty much done (despite its best efforts) and the coat is still hanging in my front closet. Erm. Well, she’ll have it for next winter, for sure. And I’d really like to give the two coats at the same time. Right. That’s it.

Despite the explosion of fun-fur on the pattern envelope, this is actually a really basic, classic A-line coat pattern, with nice collar,  hood, and cuff options. It’s not lined, but when has that ever stopped me?

I made the size 4 for my oldest niece, which as you can see Syo is modelling quite handily—it’s a bit snug but not problematically so—so I’m not too concerned about the recipient outgrowing it before next winter. I will make the size 3 for my younger niece, who is even runtier than Syo was at that age (I wasn’t sure that was possible, but apparently it is), and hope that she can wear it sometime before kindergarten.

And now, without further adieu: photos.

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Itchy

What I Did Today

And twitchy. That inspired feeling where you want to madly do SOMETHING but aren’t sure where to put it. Which, considering I’m in the middle of a rather demanding sewalong, is ridiculous, but anyway.

Today, I fused.

And fused, and fused, and fused.

And then, when (almost) all of the fusing had been done, I cut my fashion fabric for the RTW tailoring sewalong. I am a good little sewist, yes I am. I’m still behind—I have to cut my lining, and I haven’t finished drafting my lining pattern yet (just need to do the pleat-less skirt lining). I should just do that, but I haven’t quite been able to bring myself to. Partly because the hubby and I spent half the afternoon nosing around a motorcycle repair/junkyard (I do love me an old, fugly motorcycle, even if I am far too chicken to ride one myself) and fantasizing about the near future when he will be able to ride his again. If it ever stops snowing, anyway. It snowed again yesterday. I swear if we don’t get a good, hot summer this year I’m going to run away to Australia. Argh.

Anyway, since I was feeling twitchy but unable to settle on what I should be doing (sewing-wise, anyway), I pulled out my new patterns. I was weak at VV the other day, and walked home with a couple of kids patterns (I know, what am I thinking?) and (yes, the End Times may be upon us) a home dec pattern.

An assortment of (mostly) unwise patterns.

For a kids’ stuffed chair.

I know, I know. Bear with me, though:

I have a house. (This is a fairly new thing for us). Said house has a finished basement, which is basically a large rec room in which the children run wild.

Despite having lived in this house for nearly two years, the only furniture in the basement is still the coffee table the TV is sitting on, one random (kitchen type) chair, and my ironing board. Well, unless you count the various plastic tubs the kids’ toys get shoved into at irregular intervals. We keep meaning to buy a futon, but haven’t found one we like (at least for a price we like), and so the usefulness of the space for anyone is kind of limited (although it’s excellent for banishing any number of visiting children to).

In addition to this un-furnished space, I have a lot of fabric scraps. Bags full. I’ve been thinking for a while that I should use them to stuff floor cushions. So when the chair pattern presented itself—well, I gave in. I’m pretty sure I have scraps for at least one chair already.

I’m not sure that squishy cushion chairs will actually make the basement more appealing to adults, but hopefully they’ll at least make the children more willing to watch movies down there (instead of, say, my bedroom).

I thought this Simplicity kids’ wardrobe pattern (bottom left) looked cute, too, and it was in sizes 8-16, which is a pretty nice range to give a try in the next few years.

Except that it’s not actually 8-16.

It’s 8 1/2 to 16 1/2

Man, I love these dresses...

Those would be, erm, robust sizes. My children, while not exactly string-beans, are really no wider than average relative to their heights. Heck, given the bust sizes on these patterns, I could fit a 12 1/2. If I were, y’know, 4″ 10″. (Which, given my success with the Junior Petite sizing, might actually not be that much of a stretch. And I wouldn’t have to do an SBA…)

Anyway, we’ll see; the kids are confident in my grading abilities; I am sceptical of my motivation. It’s still in its factory folds, too.

What I really want to make is hiding at the back.

Yes, my recent lovely addition to the “dresses I shouldn’t be sewing” list, another gorgeous 70s maxi-dress. I want to make the high-necked halter, and I will doubtless be seduced by the lure of the maxi-skirt even though the above-knee would be more practical. /sigh. I’m really going to have to make an effort to wear all these great dresses as the weather improves. And it will soon be joined by this pattern from Peter (squee!) So many dresses, so little time (and need!).

I did complete one (actually, two) finished objects today, though! Yes, Tyo and a friend need

Cave Girl

caveman (or cave girl, as the case may be) costumes for their spring choir concert. Fortunately for their theatrical aspirations, Value Village supplied a nice big piece of rather unglamorous fun-fur at just the right time, so I spent approximately half an hour with Tyo this afternoon figuring out the best way (or at least the way that meant the least amount of effort for me) to turn one very long rectangle of fur into two fur “dresses”.  So I got to photograph my very own Homo habilis. Although with that posture I’m not sure she’s even on the hominin lineage…

To prove that this actually is sewing (not just cutting and draping), there is actually one seam at the side. The shoulder is pinned together with sticks, pending production of some “bone” pins.

I really do prefer this picture, though:

 

Cave Girl Rock

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A springy little coat

Spring coat front

So I spent some time last night doodling. There was a lot of erasing, and a lot of other little doodles that fell by the wayside as this design emerged. But I think I’m happy with the details—I knew I wanted the empire waist and the princess seams and a thigh-length, but the rest was up in the air. I googled “empire waist coat” and looked through far too many inspiration options before I settled on the inverted box-pleats , high standing collar, and pleated cuffs.

I think I like the idea of the pleat at the upper CB, giving a bit more freedom of movement in what I want to be a fairly fitted garment. This is a spring coat—it won’t (in theory) need to accomodate the bulky sweaters of my winter coats.

So, all that remains is that piddly little problem of a pattern.

Erm.

Coat back

So I have two or three options, all of which promise to stretch my embryonic pattern-making skills to their limits. I have the Lady Grey pattern, which has the right seaming but the wrong kind of sleeve and the giant lapels; I have my Butterick winter coat pattern, which has the right sleeves (sorta) but shoulder rather than arm princess seams. Or, third option (and maybe the one I will go with), the princess-seam fitted jacket pattern from Built by Wendy coats and jackets. This has the right seams and the right sleeve, but I haven’t tried it before. Still, I have the book, I should use it, right?

Spring-coat, side

I’m assuming drafting an A-line skirt with a few pleats won’t be too terrible. Drafting the collar may be a bit more hit-and-miss, but should be good practice, right? 😉 …

The cuffs are stolen from (or at least inspired by) one of the variations on this pattern that my daughter didn’t choose for her version, though I think I will go with a box-pleat to match the rest of the coat.

I was debating a double-breasted front because, well, I love them, but this will be a spring coat and so often worn open, so I figured a single-breasted front would be better.

I’ve had this fabric probably since sometime last spring; it’s another thrift store mystery, a burlap-weave, quite crisp and rather scratchy. There’s also four or five metres of it, so if I really feel the need I can probably make a full muslin out of the fashion fabric (of course, if I don’t need to, I can make matching separates—it would make a fun skirt, or maybe even a shift-dress or something…

I took advantage of the weekend’s 50% off sale to pick up some Kasha lining for the coat—maybe a bit of overkill for the “spring” weight I’m going for, but I hate the thought of sewing with the regular linings. I still have to decide on underlining or not—I have a feeling it won’t be part of Sherry’s RTW techniques, but my fashion fabric, while heavy, is rather sheer due to its coarse weave. Well, I’m getting ahead of myself—first I need to pattern the dang thing.

I can do that in two weeks, right?

Also, whatever comes, don’t let me forget to add pockets!

Fabric! Right: lining; left: shell

In Me-Made March news,

the weather is gorgeous and I wore my Lady Grey! I was soo close to wearing a circle skirt out, but I just couldn’t commit to it at 6 in the morning (which felt like 5 since the time just changed… I could write a whole blog about how much I hate daylight savings time…)

Me-Made March, day 14

Czarina Coat (AKA Lady Grey)
JJ blouse
Long-sleeve T
Skinny jeans

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