Tag Archives: coats

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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I was going to wait

until the little coat was done. But, as usual, I am impatient. And Syo was eager to model. Really, she twisted my arm.

So here it is, sans lining hem and buttons. With the puffy fleece lining it’s a bit snug on Syo, which is a good sign, although the sleeves, which I folded up a trifle more than strictly suggested by the pattern, are just right, so they will be quite long on Fyon.

Erm. Perhaps next time we’ll comb hair before the modelling sesh…

Also, did I mention I am dreading the buttonholes?

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Curveball

Coat, interlining, lining

I feel a little unpatriotic for picking a baseball over a hockey metaphor. Oh well. Progress on Fyon’s coat was continuing incrementally but steadily (holidays are definitely over) until last night I realized that the coating fabric really should’ve been underlined. It lets a bit too much light through to be lined with light fleece. WHOOPS! Fortunately I had purchased just over two meters of black cotton flannelette the other day for a (hopefully) wearable muslin of my sweetie’s shirt. But there was just over 2m left on the bolt, which I was worried would not be enough for a man’s shirt after flannelette’s notorious shrinkage. So I guess it can become girl coat underlining, and I’ll pick up some more. It’s not like it was expensive. Of course, the other problem here is that I have already constructed both shell and lining. So I guess the “underlining” will be more of an interlining. On the upside, flannelette is such a dream to cut and sew that I almost don’t mind the extra work.

One cute little collar, coming up.

The collar is also sewn and steamed, for whatever good that will do. 😉 I think I am starting to get the hang of the whole turn-of-cloth thing, for collars like this, anyway. Also getting a bit better at those tight corner curves… A little bit, at least.

I fought off the temptation to try and machine-blind-hem, mostly because I wasn’t confident I could get the crease out after, as I’m trying to avoid hard pressing on this spongy fabric. So it has a hand-stitched outer hem, anyway. I think I will check out Gigi’s post on finishing hem/facings to see if I can make head or tails out of it. Usually my lack of precision is hampering in these areas and I compensate with lots of hand stitching, er, couture detail.

Oh, and I remembered to put in a label and hanging loop! This ribbon is perfect for

Label and hanging loop

the coat—although I’m not convinced how sturdy it will be. Ah well. Odds of small fingers managing to use the loop even if it is there? Minimal, I’d say. Anyway, all that remains is hemming the lining, attaching the collar, and attaching lining/facings to coat. Not necessarily in that order.

I have a feeling my next “for me” project will be the fluffy petticoat. I seem to have fallen off the “practical clothing” bandwagon this year (so far. Maybe because my wearable wardrobe is no longer critically low, or maybe because, like everyone else, I’m just sick of winter sewing (although this

Fluffy petticoat supplies

doesn’t explain the continued coatitis). But the materials have been building for ages—the chiffon (background, left) since Aug. 2009, the idea since sometime in the summer of 2010, and the whole spool of gathered lace (top left) appearing at Value Village last weekend seems to have pushed things over the top. Now, making a tiered skirt is dead easy—this is ultimately just a shorter version of the tiered dance skirts I’ve made several times now, on various scales. But I really like Sugardale’s tutorial because of how she uses ribbon to finish the seams, so I’ll be going that route. Zena has another method that produces nicely-finished results, more for dance skirts (hers are like better-made, better-finished versions of mine). And I will have to consider how to use the vintage lace with the coral flowers. I would have used it on the lower edge but there’s only 4m, and 4m is not a full enough hem for a petticoat.

Just for the record, I have no skirts at all to wear with said petticoat. Yet. But then I’ve been thinking about a circle skirt since summer and been disinclined to make one because I only like how they look with petticoats under. Chicken and egg. But I’ve decided that the petticoat will be my egg, and hopefully once it’s done chickens will ensue. Yeah. If that makes any kind of sense at all.

But first… I have a little coat to finish.

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