Wednesday, 24 September 2008

My last winter project for the year

Last week was wet and wintery, and Monday morning was a chilly 2 degrees (Celsius) – I really could have used a new black coat. But no, work and other commitments kept me from my sewing machine all week. But then, on Sunday, I got a chance to put together the lining and pop it in the coat and on Monday night after work I stayed up late to finish all the hand sewing. So (fanfare please…) here is the finished coat.


I am so happy with this coat. I couldn't wait to wear it so please forgive the slightly rumpled appearance due to a couple of bus rides in it.

There are a couple of very minor fit things that I’m not thrilled about but overall I think it’s great. I’d never find anything in the shops that fits this well.
I love the details. The military look pops up most winters, but this coat is not so military that it will look stupid if it isn’t a look of the season.

Collar and epaulettes:

The front waist with 'half belt' insert:
This is the lining, it's a silk cotton blend, isn't it cute?
I cut a 12 at the top and a 14 from the waist down. The fit is pretty good although a tiny FBA would not go astray, plus I think the shoulders are the teensiest bit wide.

The sleeves have drag lines at the front, which happens all the time in my bought jackets – I am trying to fix up my posture, so this might yet get remedied (although I may try and address it in my next jacket just to see how difficult it is to fix). Truth be told, the only reason I didn’t move the sleeve around is because I only noticed this problem after putting in the sleeve head and shoulder pads.

I also lifted the back waistline of the skirt by 1.5cm (by cutting 1.5cm off the top of the skirt at the centre back, tapering to nothing at the side seams). It’s strange, my nape to waist measurement is normal for my height, but I am long between the waist and hips – yet I always need to shorten my back waist. I must have a slightly sway back. The reason I don’t buy many clothes is because they all puddle in the small of my back. I should start dealing with this at pattern stage – I dare say everything will start to look better then.

I used Gutterman topstitching thread for the topstitching and recycled the buttons from my old black coat, which now resides in my cat box. My lucky girls get to sleep on Stella McCartney.

I did get to wear it on Tuesday morning which was quite chilly, but today was very warm. I hope to have at least a couple more cold mornings before I put this one away until next May!

Ah now, what next? I still have the usual pile of projects on the wish list, but not a definite next job. Finally, the freedom to sew what I WANT more than what I NEED! My rough plan is a couple of quick and easy tops, followed by a summery suit. It’s a public holiday on Monday, so I hope to get a lot done. However, it’s my fella’s birthday party on Sunday so I’ll probably get roped into cleaning that up instead.

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Here is a brief progress report on the black winter coat. I am LOVING this project!

First I’d like to rave about the fabric. It is a very lightweight wool, a crepe I think. It’s so fine that if you hold it up you can see a fair amount of light through. It’s very soft and slightly fluffy. On the downside it magnetically attracts cat hair, but you can’t have everything! I bought it on my recent trip to Sydney, at Tessuti in Darling Harbour. I thought it was a bargain at $29.00 per metre, even though it’s only 114cm wide. I didn’t get enough and had to order more over the phone. I have to say it was a very easy experience and the extra fabric arrived the next day.

I fused all the pattern pieces with sheerweft which will stop any sagging and provide a little extra body in the coat. The entire bodice, as well as the front of the skirt is interfaced with lightweight shapewell. In addition, I pad stitched the interfacing to the under collar by machine, using the same method as I used for the gold silk jacket I made earlier this year.

The pattern was a bit more traumatic, with all my to-ing and fro-ing. I am so glad I got the extra fabric and went with my original plan. I love this pattern. I have to say though, what the %^&* were Simplicity thinking when they made up their sample garments? Apologies to anyone who likes the photographed models, but I particularly find that pink corduroy thing to be hideous. Thank goodness for websites like Pattern Review – I have fallen in love with many patterns that I would have overlooked if the pattern envelopes were all I had to go by.

So without further ado, here is the coat so far. I cut a 12 at the top, tapering to a 14 at the waist and below. The fit is great, but if you live in a climate that warrants an ‘overcoat’, you may want to go up a size from normal. Lucky me, I live in Perth where the winters are pretty mild so my winter coat only needs to fit over a thin jumper (sorry, sweater – I was born in England!).

The front so far:
And the back:

Obviously it still has a way to go, but I hope you’ll agree it’s looking pretty good. I plan on unpicking the back waist seam and taking in the skirt pieces a little to get rid of the ease – I don’t like the drag lines. I hope this will help. I know that historically women would have worn a little pad to support high waisted things from collapsing in the back so I may have to make a ‘modern’ version by sewing organza or something similar into the back to give it some ‘oomph’. I have not put any intrfacing in the hem either - but I think it needs it.

I hope to get this finished on the weekend, so I at least have a slim chance of wearing it this year!

Friday, 5 September 2008

Spring has Sprung

I've taken a break from my black coat to whip up my first spring project - New Look 6755.

I can't say I'm overly thrilled with the result, but it's wearable with a camisole underneath. I only have to do an FBA very occasionally and it never occurred to me that I might need to make one on a style like this, but this pattern really needs it! I came across another review that had the same problem, so it's not just me. Here it is on my (B cup) dummy.

Overall it's a cute style but I have a few niggles with the pattern.

First, I don't get all the lazy shortcuts in construction these days. Sure bias binding is a great way to finish armholes and necklines in lightweight fabrics, but this top would look so much better with a proper facing (IMHO). I ironed stay tape to the front edges (which is not suggested in the instructions) and it hasn't stretched or buckled or anything, I just think it would look smoother with a facing. Ditto the back neck. Anything with a collar looks better when the neckline is faced, it just supports the weight better. Plus, edging the front edge with bias means you have to finish the collar around the outside of the front edge - it's pretty tricky to get that looking good - see below for example. Lucky I have long hair which I almost never tie up!

While I'm on the collar, I had to shorten it by 5cm in total to fit it onto the neckline. Granted I cut this top out on the living room floor, at night and while watching TV, but I'm pretty sure I cut the right size. Strangely I ended up with a nicer shaped collar anyay so I don't mind too much.

Finally, here's a look at the side tie. I originally made ties from fabric but the top really lacked something, so I replaced them with white grosgrain ribbon. I think it really lifts the whole thing up.
My black coat is cut out and prepared, I hope to really make a dent in it this weekend.