Archive for September, 2009

ETA: I put all the review links on the side bar under trench research for the patterns being used in our trench sew along.  Unfortunately, not all patterns were reviewed (i.e., the OOP patterns).  I also linked the Pattern Review Feb 2009 sew along.  Lots of useful information to be gleaned there.  Have fun!

For some reason, I got it into my head that no one has made up the trench pattern I’m using (Burda 03-2009-115).  I don’t know why.  Maybe I just didn’t think anyone was as nutty as me thinking they should sew a trench coat.  No offense to my fellow trenchies.  😉

But today, I thought to myself, “Self, why not check to see if anyone has given this pattern a trial run and wrote a review on Pattern Review.”  And lo and behold, Mary Nanna did!  And the weird thing is, I had read her blog post about it when she initially made the trench.  I just wasn’t in a trench frame of mind at that time, so it didn’t stick in my brain. 

There are some great tips in Mary Nanna’s review, so you can bet that I printed it off and am going to use it as a reference for my own trench making experience.  Thankfully, I won’t have the fabric issues that Mary Nanna did as I am not using a waterproof fabric. 

So, the lesson here is, “Always check Pattern Review.”  You can save yourself a lot of pain!  Although, Carolyn has had some recent issues with reviews she’s researched.  Obviously, take everything with a grain of salt.

Don’t forget to check Pattern Review!


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First Muslin Mostly Done

I worked on my muslin for my trench coat. It took about about a few hours on Saturday and 3 more hours on Sunday. I was able to understand the intructions on this which is pretty remarkable. Usually I have to close my door in my craft room, turn off the tv and other noise making machines so I can read the instructions and concentrate on what the heck it’s saying. This time I was able to understand it, amazingly enough, even with the tv on. Whoo-hoo! I think I can graduate from kindergarten of sewing and can pass go to 1st grade.

The pattern I used is a 14T – bust size 34 – back waist length 15 1/4. I did the muslin as is with no adjustments just so that I can understand how much I need to grade up. I’m petite size, my bust size is 36 and back waist is 14 1/2. It turns out that the coat fits even if I put a lining in it. However, I couldn’t fit a sweater under the coat at all. So I will have to adjust the armholes and the front and back yokes to make room for thicker clothes.

Trench Coat - Front - Muslin 1
It’s hard to see with the picture above, but I put the right sleeve dart on the front of the garment so I have to make sure I don’t do that when I actually do the coat. I am also changing the sleeves from a 3/4 sleeve to full length.
Trench Coat - Back- Muslin 1
The back turned out good and I really like the pleat. The length of the coat is longer that I would like but have not decided if I want it down to the bottom of knees or down to the top of my knees? I have to look at some catalogs to see what’s more appealling.
Along with the to dos noted above, I also need to draft my lining. The pattern does not call for a lining so I am working pattern-less. I am using the same pattern for the coat as my guideline but I have made a mental note to put a pleat on my back lining also. I’m also studying my sewing books on how to attach the lining to the coat which will be a challenge.
I think I am going to do another muslin, change the sleeves, make my adjustments on the armhole and do the lining. I am also practicing to do button holes because I’ve never done one. I am hoping the minor adjustments will be just what I need to do and I can go on to the actual coat.
P.S.  This is starting to look like one of those clothes they give to you in the hospital minus the exposed backside.  🙂

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Ta-da…. My trench muslin!

I’m very excited today to post my trench muslin (sz 40 of Burda 03/09 #115).  I sewed it last night with my teacher Thea.  Originally I was going to sew it before my lesson with Thea, but got stumped right away with a few questions:

  1. Which pattern pieces were the bare necessity to make up the muslin and check the fit?  After reading Burda’s instructions, it was unclear if I actually needed the facings in order to construct the muslin.
  2. Should I attach the collar?
  3. And what about the slit?  Should I finish it?

It turns out that I didn’t need any of the other pattern pieces, just the fronts and backs and the sleeves.  Interesting note:  You do need both sleeves inserted to accurately judge the fit of the coat as a whole because of the raglan sleeve construction.  A raglan sleeve, by its very nature, is part sleeve, part shoulder.  So, if you omit one of the sleeves, you basically omit that shoulder, making it hard to see how the coat drapes on the body and fits across the front and back.

When cutting out my muslin, I cut out 1 inch SA’s everywhere except the hems.  Interesting Note:  After sewing it up, those large SA’s obscured the lines of the coat and it was difficult to see the fit.  I think I will use 1/2 inch SA’s going forward.

We finished most of the muslin during my lesson with only the left sleeve needing to be inserted.  I was so excited to be so close that I stayed up late to finish it.  And here are the results, one without a suit jacket underneath and one with.


Burda 03/09 #115 muslin alone

Burda 03/09 #115 muslin alone


Burda 03/09 #115 muslin with suit jacket underneath

Burda 03/09 #115 muslin with suit jacket underneath

Isn’t the fit perfect????!!!!!  I think the only adjustment I need to make is sleeve length and hem length.  How awesome is that? 

What I like so far with this Burda pattern:

  • The pattern is drafted really well; the pieces fit well together.
  • The fit is great out of the envelope for me.
  • Tracing the stitching line on the muslin is really nice when it’s time to pin and sew the seams.  It’s like thread tracing!

What I don’t like so far with Burda:

  • I’m not a huge fan of tracing out the pattern.
  • I’m worried I’ll forget to add the SA’s someday.

Next up, working with my fashion fabric.  Big question for you guys before I start though.  My fabric is peach skin cotton.  Obviously it’s washable, but I am pairing it with a silk charmeuse lining, so most likely I will dry clean the finished garment going forward.  Should I launder the cotton to pre-treat or not?  Please weigh in!

Happy muslining!

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Fear of Trenches

Last night I had the whole evening to myself to work on my trench muslin.  Did I? 



Because I am deep in the throes of my new phobia, fear of trenches.  Seriously, I just can’t make the next move.  So I am writing this post to motivate myself through public humiliation.  I have my lesson tomorrow night with Thea, and I am supposed to have the muslin done so we can work on the fit together, if necessary.

Looks like a late night tonight folks.  Ugh.  Why do I procrastinate so much??!?!!

Hope your sewing phobias are kept at bay tonight.

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Hi everyone!

Hello everyone, my name is Robin, and some of you may know me already from my blog or from Patternreview (I’m RobinMCPA on there.)

Anyway, I am taking the second Clothing Construction class in the fashion design program at a local community college and our first project is a jacket or coat – I picked a trench coat and recently found out about this sew-along, which will be perfect timing!

I’m doing Simplicity 4084, View C (shown in purple in the photo) for my trench:



I had blogged that I had my fabric picked out and ordered; however, I got an email back from Fabric.com saying that they didn’t have the quantity of fabric that I wanted, so I’m back to the drawing board and am hoping to find fabric, lining and accent fabric in the next few days.

I did a muslin of my trench on Saturday in our first class (it is all day, 9-3 on Saturdays from now through the third week of December) and it fit well with only the standard “Miss Petite” adjustments. I am a little worried about it being tighter though once I add lining, so I may go with a stretch woven. I picked the size 12 after measuring a fitted trench I already owned that fits well, finding that it measured 39″ at the bust. I then looked at the finished measurements of the pattern and saw that the 12 had a finished measurement of 41.5″ and decided to go with that to give a bit more extra room for garments underneath.

I think this is going to be the right size, as I usually sew 10s or 12s for knit fabrics (that’s pretty much all I sew, usually) though my full bust/waist/hip would put me in the 14 category. My upper chest is in line with a 12’s measurements, though, and this seems to be the right size.

Next post – I’ll show my muslin!

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Slowly Getting There

I’v been busy but have been working on my coat (albeit only in my head). I have all my materials and just need to do it. As I originally planned, I am using a vintage pattern, Simplicity 5607.

I don’t really take a long time to pick out fabric since I really don’t buy anything expensive because I just mess it up anyways. The coat is a lighweight gray cotton with a teal undertone. The lining is a teal synthetic. I also got some vintage buttons and seam binding that were both a great price. Obviously, this will be a lightweight coat. If it turns out ok, I will probably sew it again using a heavier fabric that’s more appropriate for a trench coat.

My plan of attack is to make my pattern on muslin and try to perfect it from there. Then when (and if) it works out, I’ll make my pattern on the actual fabric.

I’ll post more about my progress.Trench Coat - MaterialsTrench Coat - Notions

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The perfect lining

Today I met Karen and her friend Kisha (this is the same Kisha who so kindly bought the Simplicity patterns when they went on sale at Joann’s)  in the Garment district for a little fabric therapy.  I was on a mission to find the lining for my trench coat.  Karen was wearing the black Ottobre jeans she just made and they were amazing (she hasn’t blogged about them yet, I don’t think).  I loved the fabric, the cut, the stitching on her pockets and how they fit her to a T.  She has been raving about Ottobre to me for a while now, so I guess I should listen to her right? 

Kisha brought her little girl Brielle (adorable!!) and she was a great little fabric shopper.  I see a long life of sewing in her future.  Actually, I was supposed to meet up with them a lot earlier and with Jack, but I was housebound with Jack’s nap and couldn’t make it up to the district until 4:30pm.  I left him with his Auntie Nana and skedaddled up to W 40th St.  I ended up a little early and walked through Elegant Fabrics just west of Paron’s.  They had a great selection!  But nothing I wanted.  Although there was that gorgeous Liberty fabric in mauves and purples, but it was $44.50/yard, so I sensibly walked away from that. 

We met at Paron’s.  I found a gorgeous (sense a theme here?) silk charmeuse for my trench lining.  I had in my head that I wanted an abstract geometric pattern in jewel tone colors which would of course have navy in there somewhere.  I found one.  It was glorious.  However, it was $22/yd.  I had to think about it.  Kisha found a beautiful boucle fabric.  Karen was being conservative and did not buy anything.  We found lots of things that sang her name, but she ignored their siren calls steadfastly.

Then we walked to store where I bought the brown circle fabric when I met up with the NY Sewing Meetup in April; I think it was Chic Fabrics.  And that’s where I found it, my trench lining.  It’s perfect.  It’s not jewel toned, it’s not geometric.  But it’s perfect.  It’s swirly and Pucci-esque in navy, grey and brown on a cream background. 

Here’s a pic in all it’s glory.  The upper half of the photo shows the right side which is the slipperiest.  The bottom half shows the wrong side which has the crisper print in terms of color.  I’m not yet sure which side I will use that will be visible on the finished garment.

silk charmeuse lining for trench coat

And here’s a pic of the lining with the trench fabric; a perfect match.

lining with navy cotton trench fabric

Kisha and Karen were trying to convince me to change the pattern I will use for my Trench.  They think doing a pattern which does not already include instructions for a lining is making a difficult project more difficult.  I understand and appreciate their point, but I really love my trench pattern, Burda 03/2009 #115 and I won’t be alone as I make this project.  I will have my teacher with me every step of the way.  What could go wrong?  hahaha!  Just kidding. I don’t want to tempt the fates here.  I will think about it, but I am not one for changing plans midway.  Just ask my best friend Cayce.  She’ll set you straight!  😉

Happy muslining.

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