Archive for August, 2009

Hi Everyone,

I am back from vacation and have started my new job this week.  I might be a little quiet this week as I acclimate to the new working gig, but will try to keep up with you all as best as I can. 

In Trench News, Karen of Sewing by the Seat of My Pants has graciously agreed to guest blog on our Trench Sew Along again.  This time I have asked her if she would write about using Burda patterns.  I have chosen Burda’s 03 2009 115for my trench coat and Sara is joining me as well.  I have never used a Burda pattern, and am leery (read scared!) of them (even though I have had a subscription for Burda since February of this year).

Although I wanted her to give me a tutorial on tracing the patterns with a bunch of insider tips on how not to screw up, Karen sensibly suggested that we write in questions we have about using Burda patterns so that she would have a jumping off point from which to start.  😉

So, I’ll start the questions off with:

  1. What’s the most common mistake newbies make when using a Burda pattern (besides forgetting to add the seam allowances)?
  2. How do we interpret the directions?  I’ve heard they can be as inscrutable as Japanese Koans. 
  3. What if your pattern is unlined and you want a lined coat?  How do you handle that?
  4. Does Burda give directions on the proper order of construction (i.e., sew on pockets first before sewing side seams)?

Please leave your questions in the comments section of this post.  Karen will respond with a Burda Answers post in a week or so.

We’re still getting requests to join the Trench Sew Along.  It’s never too late to start, so if you’re interested, please let me know.  We’re all still in the planning stages right now; gathering our patterns, fabrics and notions, etc.  I am going to start working on my muslin next week.  I want to make one more dress before I start in on my trench.  Remember, our timing on this sew along is fluid; we won’t be strict on end dates.  I already know my coat won’t be ready by October 16th and I’m ok with that.  So don’t feel pressured by time constraints.  We can still wear our trench coats in the Spring right?

Happy Trenching!


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Remember how I was going to start my trench project with the Betsey Johnson pattern and the embroidered white cotton/poly fabric? Well, I decided that the aforementioned combination of pattern and print would work great…as a spring trench. And I am an ‘immediate gratification’ type. I was originally going to serve my needs for immediate gratification by using the already available white embroidered fabric to proceed with my first ever trench coat sewing project.

That is, until I got the September issues of Vogue and Elle and I decided that I needed a wool coat and that the springlike trench could wait until, well, spring.

Then I got up this morning, and it was cold. Ok, only 54, not exactly freezing, but it reminded me that fall is coming here in New England.

The final nail in the “I will make a wool coat coffin” was when my latest Terry Catalog arrived today, featuring the following coat from Lole ($190):


And I decided that this was nearly identical to my Simplicity pattern (here is yet another pic, for reference purposes for those of you too lazy to scroll back up to our masthead photos):

Simplicity 7905

Simplicity 7905

Now, I realize that there are a few differences. The Lole coat has princess seaming, the Simplicity has a right angled variation. The Lole has a weird collar strap thing that I don’t really like anyway. The pockets are in the same place and the seam interest is similarly topstitched. It is unbelted, which reassures me that making an unbelted wool coat is OK for this Sew Along.

Now, about fabric and color…originally, when I was going to make this pattern out of a lightweight/rain wear/trench-like fabric, I wanted a light bluish gray. But I never found anything online that I really liked. When I decided to do this in wool, I was thinking about reproducing the pattern photo with a peacock blue, but then I started thinking about a light pewter gray…not a charcoal, not a heather, not a gunmetal or even a steel…I wanted a pewter gray, with a bluish tint to it. I searched everywhere online but found nothing. Today, after I saw the Terry catalog and decided that Wool Was Needed Now, I hopped in the car and headed off to Fabric Fix. I had not recalled seeing any blueish gray wool fabric there, but I thought that maybe I missed something, since the last time I was in I was looking for shirtings.

(My reason for the immediate need to Get In The Car was prompted from the discovery that, after 2 hours of careful sewing and delicate topstitching on a pair of yoga pants I was designing for a friend, I had forgotten to shorten the length of the pack pattern piece and my leg lengths did not match front to back. Two hours of sewing down the drain…grrr…well, at least it is too long and not too short…but I was not looking forward to taking that apart and starting over…)

Fabric Fix must have read my mind (either that or I am clairvoyant and knew that they had my color wool in stock) because they had the perfect wool coating in my perfect grayish blue for $12/yard – cheaper than any wool coating I had seen online. Better still, I was able to touch it and check the weight and drape, so now I know that I am getting the Right Fabric. SUCCESS!!

I’ll post photos as soon as I feel like taking some, but in the meantime…suggestions are welcome on a lining color. I was going to use flannel backed satin so that this coat has some warmth. Any ideas? I do not mind a fun inside color or a print.

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Hot Patterns

Here are some great patterns for trench coats and also other things.

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I just logged off paypal where I paid up for a copy of Burda March 2009 so that I could get my greedy hands on the pattern that Elizabeth is doing — it looks good, I’m going to do it too.

I have a pretty and funky polyester turquoise home-dec fabric that I’m HOPING will be enough yardage, but if not — there should be a big Labor Day sale at G Street Fabrics here in the DC area, and so I’ll head over there if necessary!

I’m psyched to get going with this project.  Meanwhile I’ve been working on some simple pajama pants as birthday gifts for my sisters and my mom, from some FANTASTIC Liberty cotton I got on vacation in London at a Liberty remnants store called Shaukat near the V&A museum.  AND, a summery bathrobe from a Liberty floral (just in time for Fall, of course; my sewing is always a season off, it seems, by the time I get around to doing it).

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Change of plans?

OK, I had to think long and hard about what I wanted and needed in a coat. I am starting to go back to my original plan of using the Simplicity pattern to make a long wool coat. I figure, it’s still a trench coat if it’s made out of wool, right?

I do not have the time to make multiple coats, and there are aspects of both patterns that I like. So, my current plan of attack is to

A.) Make up the shorter version of the Betsey Johnson/Butterick pattern using this fabric:

Embroidered Floral Print

Embroidered Floral Print

Butterick 6837

Butterick 6837

And II.) Make the Simplicity Pattern with a dark wool – maybe a gray or blue, because I am currently inspired by this coat:

Double Breasted Wool Ruffled Coat

Double Breasted Wool Ruffled Coat

My basic problem stems from my desire for a dark colored wool coat and an inability to decide on a color for a trench coat. I think that this might be my best approach, because I know what I want for fabric for the Simplicity pattern (a dark charcoal, heather, or black wool blend) and I already had considered using the embroidered fabric for a more casual trench.

What say you?

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Pattern Number

I should add that the McCalls pattern is an Out of  Print pattern but there are still patterns available on the McCalls website.

The pattern number is 5060 and it is a Misses/Miss Petite sizing.

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Trench Coat Pattern

Hi All,

Elizabeth has kindly let me join Trench Sew Along and I’m thrilled to be a part of it.  I have been searching on the internet for fabric websites to try and find some fabric.  Do any of you have any particular sites that you’ve bought fabric from and been happy with it?

I have used Gorgeous Fabrics before (such gorgeous fabrics …. lol) and I have looked in shops here in Adelaide but haven’t found the perfect fabric yet.  So any other suggestions of where to look will be gratefully received.

My pattern I’m going to use is this one, the orange colour coat:


I don’t want an orange coat, I’m thinking red or bright blue.  Seeing as it’s soon coming into spring here in Australia I want to make a transitional coat not a really heavy weight one.  My husband said just make two when I asked for his opinion regarding colour … lol

I am really tempted by a gorgeous bright blue cotton sateen but have read that it is not a particularly robust fabric.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone else is doing and their fabric choices.

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