Tag Archives: coats


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.


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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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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Attack the pink fluffy bunnies

Attack of the pink fluffy leopard print bunnies

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

McCall's 3374

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.

Coat shell

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

Fuzzy pockets!

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

Foldover cuffs. I love the texture of this fabric.

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).

One Eyed Jack (left), Bandit (centre), Tigger (right)

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.


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The Christmas Coat

The Christmas Lady

Day-Glo Red

It’s (mostly) done!

This was technically my Hudson’s Bay Blanket Homage Coat, but given the timing and the colour, I’m probably wishing if I think I can make it something other than the Christmas Coat.

The Christmas Lady

Holy peplum, Batman!

Tyo pried herself away from her new PSP long enough to take these photos for me, saving me the hassle of trying to set up the tripod in the snow. Although as you can see, it’s not quite the winter wonderland it was a month or so ago when I finished Tyo’s Coat. We actually had wonderful weather for Christmas—it was +6 C on Christmas day! My dad and I took the girls to the local playground and they ran around without their coats on. Amazing what feels like tank-top weather once you’re inured to -20 ;).

The Christmas Lady

Lining---needs letting out

I think nearly everything that needs to be said about this coat has been already. One of the buttons is missing in action, having disappeared prior to being sewn on somewhere in the dozens of rounds of “clean up” that have swept through my house more or less continually since last weekend (without creating a notable overall improvement, I’ll add). If it doesn’t show up in a day or two I’ll have to go buy another. Also, the two inch hem I took in the lining wound up being a bit too much, so I should really let it out a wee bit. At least I have that luxury, having cut my lining to the full length of the shell.

The Christmas Lady

Coat front

I only took a 1″ hem, but as you can see my fabric has plenty of body.

Christmas itself was lovely but hectic. We hosted my father, my hubby’s father, and my hubby’s father’s girlfriend. I was pretty spoiled my first seven or so years of marriage—I never once had to make a turkey on my own (or even in my own kitchen). It really is much more fun doing all the culinary craziness with three or four or five other people helping out. Fortunately my Dad, of all people, came to my rescue, peeling potatoes, washing innumerable dishes, and helping stuff the turkey. I fear I was a touch crabby, but hopefully it wasn’t too bad. I really was happy to have everyone there.

I did get one bit of sewing paraphernalia for Christmas, from my mommy. Look: pinking shears! My mind is racing about what I can pink. Or it would be, if I weren’t thoroughly sluggish from chocolate overdose.

Pinking Shears!

At any rate, I hope your Christmas (or seasonal equivalent 😉 ) was as merry as mine. I expect I’ll start thinking about sewing again in a day or two. For now, I’m going to go read one of the books I got for Christmas (The latest Terry Pratchett—oh, the joy!) and listen to my husband and children murder things on their various video game systems.

You can see all these photos and more on the Flickr Slideshow

All the posts on this coat can be found here. And this has been a (very belated) contribution to Gertie’s Lady Grey Sewalong.


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Details, details

… and an unexpected benefit



A lot of little things got done yesterday. I made it to Fabricland to pick up thread and got my buttons (By the way, photographing black, carved buttons is a bit of a trick. Oblique lighting for the win!). I picked up some bias hem-facing strips but then, on a whim, grabbed a couple of metres of red grosgrain ribbon to try.

Ribbon as hem facing

Now, proper grosgrain ribbon has bumpy edges and actually eases around curves a bit, so would be perfect for a hem facing.

This ribbon was not that kind, however it did have those attractive little decorative white stitches at the edges.

Which, it turns out, also make perfect gathering stitches. WOOT! (This didn’t actually occur to me until after I had the ribbon sewn in place, by the way.) I sewed the bottom end to the hem itself, easing the shell fabric to the ribbon, and then gently tightened the upper row of white stitching to ease the upper edge of the ribbon in. Then I stitched it to the underlining. I actually started catch-stitching between the underlining and the ribbon, as Gertie describes, but it was lame and annoying, so I ended up doing something more like a slip-stitch. The final look may not be quite as soft, but it’s more secure and, more importantly, didn’t make me crazy. I generally enjoy

Hanging loop

hand-stitching (especially to the dulcet and soothing soundtrack of my husband’s latest video game) but the catch-stitching inside the hem drove me nuts.

So the hem is hemmed and the lining assembled. I remembered (after forgetting in my last two coats) to add a hanging-loop, too, just some bias tape folded in half and stitched. Not the prettiest thing ever—perhaps I should’ve made one out of the lining fabric—but it will be functional. The collar is also sewn up and basted in place (as per Gertie), but I’m going to save those pics for the big reveal ;). I will say that the padstitching really does make a difference in how the collar sits (or rather, how it stands rather than lying down), although I bet you could skip the outer padstitching and just do the seamline and maybe the below-the-roll padstitching and get much the same effect.

Anyway, To do:

  • insert shoulder pads
  • hem lining
  • attach lining
  • bag lining inside sleeves
  • finish inside of buttonholes
  • attach buttons
  • take fabulous photos, preferably in the snow

Hmm, I’ve probably forgotten something on that list.

Oh yeah, and clean the whole darned house because my father’s arriving today, not tomorrow, and the children have been running rampant for almost a week.


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Bit by bit by bit


Maybe it was Laurwyn’s Coat Marathon, or maybe it was Liza Jane finishing her gorgeous red Lady Grey, but MAN I want this coat done! I want to flounce around in it, to whatever extent I can given the weather, and whip up a bunch of quick knit tops and maybe another pair of jeans (funny how jeans are something to whip up—they’re not exactly the least involved of projects, but are easily doable over a weekend).  I want to be there—not getting there.

But I am getting there, impatience aside. I got the lining cut, which was a major mental hurdle—then I was stymied by promptly running out of black thread. Oops.

I never did find the rest of the pattern, so cutting the lining took a bit of

Back neck facing and CB pleat

improvising. I added an inch to the CB  seam to turn into a back pleat. I decided I couldn’t be bothered to re-draft the front facing, so I just cut the facing the same as the full front, which will work better with the buttonholes anyway. I should probably think about grading it for roll, but I’ll get there. The back neck facing I will topstitch into place on top of the lining.

It occurs to me that I’ve completely forgotten a back stay. Again. D’oh.

Pockets---catchstitched to underlining so as not to droop

Unable to progress with the lining, I went back to fussing with the shell. I did the pockets, which I also had to re-draft. Fortunately, it’s almost easier to draft a pocket than it is to pin and cut out around the pattern piece. I had the length and position from the notches on main pattern, so I measured them, and then made a generous shape out from that that would accommodate my hand. A lot of people had trouble with the pocket drooping below the hem (the pocket is really located only a couple of inches above the hem) so I catch-stitched mine to the underlining and will make sure that the bottom is caught in the hem, too.

Speaking of the hem, I’m working on doing it properly, too. I am taking a fairly

Lady Grey with sleeves---back

narrow hem (1″) to preserve length and make the easing in of the top easier. I followed Gertie’s video on this, running a gathering-stitch along the edge and tightening at intervals, then steaming/pressing to shrink the fullness. It’s basted in place but still needs seam binding and to lose a few pins, hence the lumpiness in the photos. I also cut my linings to the full length of the pattern, since a lot of people found their linings came out a bit short as well.


Oh, yeah. I put the sleeves on, too. Again using Gertie’s tutorial, although I substituted strips of my own knit coat fabric for the bias pieces. It worked, although I’m not sure how you gauge or control how much easing you get from it. Also that makes for a TONNE of layers for sewing around the sleeve. I had to swap out to a denim-weight needle after snapping my first one clean off. With the sleeves on, I think the back ease is just right.

Now I just have to decide on shoulder pads.

My construction order has been all over the place for this coat. Ah well—as long as I don’t try to attach the lining before I sew on the collar or anything.

… so close…


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Side seams

Lady Grey---all seamed up

What with (not) finishing Christmas cards, kids’ Christmas Concert, and general craziness, not a lot of sewing has gotten done this week (shocker, I know). However, I did manage to find a few moments (and I do mean few) to sew the side-seams and shoulder-seams of the coat together.

I think this is one of the most magical moments in garment-making—when you go from two or three flat pieces of cloth into something you can actually try on. Setting in the sleeves is a close second, but I still think sewing the shoulder and side-seams tops it. So here we go with some (ulp) fitting shots—unglamorous, no makeup, bed-head, and all.

The first thing I noticed was that the full hair canvas of the front and front side

Lady Grey---Front

pieces (as per Gertie’s sewalong instructions) was way too stiff. I don’t know if it’s just because my coat fabric is quite stiff to begin with, but it looked wooden, and was forcing the side-seam of the peplum back and making the excess flare at the back even worse. So I cut it out—everything below the waist on the front side piece, and curving down into a narrow front panel on the front piece. This helped a lot, though it’s still a bit stiffer in the front, as you can see (all these photos are from after I took it out).

Lady Grey---Side

Raising the roll line really does reduce the lapel, doesn’t it? I think I kind of miss the big, from-the-waist look, but we’ll see. It’s too late to change now, anyway. (The anti-droop alteration I made probably reduced the lapels as well, although I tried to add it back when I re-drew them.)

The side—there’s that swayback! It’s still loose, as in the fabric is not actually following the curve of my back, but it’s not pooling and puddling, so I guess we’ll call that wearing ease. There’s still a lot of fullness at the rear. I added a full two inches to the hem at the centre back, which I thought would be too much but it actually looks about even, although faintly like I’m wearing  a bustle. Perhaps I just need an Edwardian skirt to go underneath? 😉

Lady Grey---Back

In the back view, you can see the gorgeous smoothness of the lower back, and still a bit of excess between the shoulder blades. Does this mean I have a narrow back (?!?) or just reflect the fact that I used a size larger pattern? No idea, although I guess next time I tackle a Colette, I’ll make the 0 and just do whatever brutal, soul-destroying alterations I’ll need to the waist. I’m not sure if I want to bother fixing it or not—I think I’ll wait until I get the sleeves on and some shoulder pads in to decide. The main thing holding me back is that I already catchstitched down the seam-allowances in this area.

From the rear it looks like there might be a little extra length at the back hem, although I’ll have to trim it smooth (joys of a knit) and then check again.

Can you guess what I forgot to do when I stitched up the side seams?

Got it one—pockets! *headdesk*

Now where’s that seam-ripper…


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Look what I did!

I spy, with my little eye, something that looks like a Lady Grey!

Oh, oh!

Oh, see!

See what I did?

Look, look! Funny, funny sewing.

Sorry. Syo’s on a Dick and Jane kick, believe it or not. My aunt gave her a set of board-book reprints featuring such classic tales as “Jane and Mother” and “The Funny Baby.”

Now, I’m a big fan of classic children’s books. Maurice Sendak and Dr. Seuss; Robert Munsch and Dennis Lee (those two might actually be Canadian phenomena, but they still rock). A dozen more that I could reel off. Top-notch children’s literature is critical, not so much for the kids—they’ll listen to pretty much anything—but for your own sanity, because you’re going to be reading these books again and again and again. I think I made my parents read me “The Secret Garden” seven times when I was Syo’s age.

… But somehow “Dick and Jane” were notable in their absence in my literary upbringing.  I suspect my mother may have had an active role in this, although maybe it was just the 80s. I was sort of under the impression that “Dick and Jane” were dull, cruel readers that children of an earlier time were forced to read in grim school-rooms, probably under threat of The Strap.

Apparently not. Apparently, they are fascinating, enthralling masterpieces of prose for that child on the cusp of literacy, craving the familiarity of a limited, repetitive vocabulary. Apparently the serene, white, nuclear world where Mother vacuums in heels and pearls while Dick and Father throw a baseball and Sally ties Spot’s ears above his head so they don’t splash in his water dish, is just what my younger daughter relates to.


At least she’s reading, right?

As long as no one’s expecting me to vacuum in heels. Pearls, maybe.

Anyway. Look at that! Genuine Lady Grey progress! I laid out my fabric (this is the remnants left after Tyo’s Russian Princess Coat). There was just over 2m of the red (although functionally not very wide since it’s so off grain) and just under 1m of the black. And, I had enough fabric! The belt may be touch and go (I’m not worrying about it at this point… worst case scenario it will have a seam down the centre and lining fabric on one side), but I had enough! The collar and facings will be black, which I think will be supremely striking.

I managed to squeeze both fronts and side fronts and a collar out of the 2m of (very narrow) hair canvas I had bought a while ago, but there won’t be enough left over for a back stay, which I would really like this coat to have, so I’ll have to pick up more. I also didn’t have quite enough of the super-light-weight interfacing I used to stabilize the whole back pieces (this is a knit fabric, remember, with a disturbing amount of lengthwise stretch), and I can’t find the rest of the pattern to cut the lining, but I did what I could with what I had today, and I should be able to keep busy with the hand-stitching until I can make it to Fabricland to get the other bits and pieces. Hopefully the rest of the pattern turns up before I need to cut the lining, otherwise I’ll be winging it. Which, given the number of fitting tweaks I made might not be a bad idea, but I’d like to have the option, anyway.

If Tyo’s coat is the Russian Princess Coat, will that make mine the Czarina Coat?

Coat back. Ready to catchstitch down the seam-allowances by hand.


See Tanit-Isis! Look, look!
See Tanit-Isis sew.
Tanit-Isis sews and sews.
Funny, funny Tanit-Isis.


Filed under Sewing