Archive for October, 2009

I’ve been MIA because I wanted to just sew. I really want to finish this trench coat but it’s been soooooooooo slow going. First, I can only sew over the weekend providing that I am not working or not busy with other things so sewing time is a few hours here and there, if I’m lucky. Second, I’m having some sewing anxieties on the execution of this coat and that has psychologically blocked me from continuing. I might be overthinking some things like the problems I am having with the sleeves and the way the lining is going to be attached. However, I am hanging in there and continue to just work on things a little at time.

My muslin coat/practice coat turned out ok except I wanted to adjust the sleeves to allow room for bulkier clothes under the coat. I had some problems with the adjustments where I could not get it right. I’ve never really done any major modifications on a pattern itself so this is a first for me. Dawn, a sewing instructor at JoAnn’s, is going to help me out next weekend so I can figure out what I need to do. In the meantime, I wanted continue to sew so I decided to make the coat based on my practice coat because the coat fit just fine. Therefore, I am making 2 coats using the same pattern.

I started making my 1st coat from a black twill fabric which I got for $2 per yard. (I am using the other fabric which I posted earlier for the 2nd coat.) Unbeknowst to me when I made my first cut of the fabric, I had already made a mistake. After I had cut all 7 pieces of the coat, I realized that I had cut the fabric on the wrong side. I realized the error right after I cut ALL the pieces!!!!!! That put a damper on my project. My husband said that he can hardly tell it’s the wrong side but I can. However, I am so frugal that I decided to just go forward with this instead of waste the fabric.

The fabric is sooooooo blah black and I thought the coat might need a shot of color. I decided to buy 2 1/2 yards of maroon piping and attached it to the yoke. I thought adding piping would be pretty easy but it took 3 tries to do that. The fabric had to be flushed next to the piping and that was very difficult to do. After researching the web on how to do that, I found out that I needed to sew the piping on with the zipper foot. Using the zipper foot really helped because it helped me stay really close to the piping.

The other problem I had was that there was a double stitch design on outside of the yoke. My problem is that I can’t sew straight and my sewing is pretty sloppy. So far this had not been a problem since my stiches were never required to be shown. This time those stiches are on the outside of the garmet. To remedy this, I continued to sew using the zipper foot to help guide my eye. The other visual guide was using the painter’s tape. This really helped me keep it straight. If I strayed on the painter’s tape, the tape rips right out but the stiches remain untouched.

Sewing straight line 1
(Straight lines.  Yippee!!!!)
Sewing straight line 3
I really like how the piping looks and adds something more to the coat.
Trench Piping - Black

I’m getting ready to do the dreaded sleeves next. I still have to draft the pattern because the original pattern is a 3/4 sleeve but I want to change it to a long sleeve. That’s a new thing for me so I need to figure that out.

I’ll post more as I slowly sew this.  I very much doubt that I will finish this 1st coat in October but I am targetting November as my finite day.  Crossing my fingers.


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Hi Everyone!

My name is Andrea and I joined this sew along a couple of weeks ago but haven’t had a chance to post anything until now.  You can read about my blogging adventures here and I am on Pattern Review as Andrea670.

I’ve never tackled a coat before and when I saw the sew along I thought that might be the ticket to get me going.

Since I already have it in my pattern stash I thought I’d go with McCall’s 5525 for this one. View E.
I’m a little apprehensive about this because it is my first coat, but I will try to do my best. I found this fabric believe or not at Walmart.

I think it is a polyester blend of some sort. It was marked as fabric unknown.

I found the lining for my Trench Coat last Sunday at JoAnn Fabrics.  It’s a silky print that I think matches very nicely with my coat fabric choice.

I thought I had found my buttons as well, but now that I’ve found the lining, I’m going back to the drawing board on that one as they do not match. These buttons were in my stash.  I purchased them at The Dollar Store about a year ago.   Here are pictures of the front and back of the buttons. I’ll probably go back to JoAnns or take a trip to 4th Street in Philadelphia to see what I can find in the near future. I figure there’s no rush right now.  Between today and tomorrow, I want to make another attempt at cutting out the pattern pieces or at least start to cut them out. After that I want to start my muslin.

The other decision I have to make is whether or not to treat the fabric so that it’s waterproof.  I’m also thinking about some sort of underlining for warmth. Do any of you have any suggestions in reference to that?

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Muslin and Fabric

Here’s my muslin of my trench – the sleeve is just pinned on, and I used elastic to cinch the waist as I don’t do belts on muslins.

I sewed the 12 and just made the Miss Petite adjustments, and I think it’s going to fit pretty well:



Here are my fabrics:


The forest green herringbone fabric on the left is my main coat fabric – the $5.99 a yard 100% wool I found at Vogue. The brown tweed one next to it, which has green flecks in it that may not be visible, is what I’m going to use for the upper collar, belt, sleeve tabs, and flaps. The print fabric is the silk lining, which I think goes nicely with both fabrics.

I have all of my main fabric, contrast fabric, lining and interfacing pieces cut out (whew!) so tomorrow in my class I’ll actually be starting the construction. I’ll bring my camera!

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I spent last night tracing and cutting out the pattern pieces for Burda 03-2009 115, the trench I’ve chosen, in size 46, the largest size they’ve got; I dithered about that, as Elizabeth’s muslin and the PatternReview version seem to have quite a bit of ease, probably more wearing ease than I was bargaining for.  But part of my decision was made for me when I realized that my pattern-tracing paper is so thick that I could only barely see the size 46 line, which is the darkest one — forget about the size 44 lines!  I need new pattern-tracing paper for Burda magazine patterns, clearly.

I will spend part of this evening and part of the weekend tracing and cutting my muslin to create the muslin, and then I will feel caught up.  I am LOVING this sew-along, it’s a real spur to action!

I have decided to go with the putty-colored Wool Crepe fabric, which is easy to work with and was a dirt-cheap addition to my stash eons ago.

I had a fantastic trip last week to Portland, Oregon, where I spent a while in Josephine’s Dry Goods, the finest-fabric store in the city.  I saw a luscious metallic-wool fabric that would be perfect for this project, BUT at $30 per yard was way outside a rational budget for me as a beginning sewist on a pattern that is new to me.  If I end up liking this coat, I may splurge on the fabric to make a second one, assuming they still have it available.

I also went to several second-hand clothing stores that I like in Portland, and fingered all the lightweight coats to give me a sense of the fabrics I might want to look for if I’m going to do a second version of this in something stiffer than my soft wool crepe.

And, on one of THREE trips to Powell’s book store, which is my drug of choice, I got what looks like an amazing book called “Little Black Dress,” that is heavily illustrated, and is by a tailor named Simon Henry.  http://www.amazon.com/Little-Black-Dress-Make-Perfect/dp/1861086237 .  Basically it’s a dressmaking lesson in a book.  You create your own “toile” for yourself and then adapt three little-black-dress styles from it.  I’m excited to try it out, AFTER the trench coat project is done!

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Which do you want to hear first?  The good news or the bad news?  I know what you’re thinking, “Which is the good news?  Cannibalism or disaster?”  Well, the cannibalism is the good news, silly!

I recently realized after relaxing in the heady afterglow of purchasing my beautiful silk charmeuse lining that I have none of the notions required for my trench.  You know, stupid things like buttons, a belt buckle, eyelets and the like.  But as I was walking home from work last night in my Burberry trench coat that I hate, I looked down at the belt buckle.  I thought to myself, “Self, this buckle would look great on my new trench coat.”  Then I looked at the buttons and thought the same thing.  I was wondering what to do with my Burberry coat once I completed my new trench and now I know…  The Burberry is on life support, having outlived it’s useful days, but it’s organs are still in working order and can be transplanted onto my new coat!  Do you hear an angelic choir singing right now?  That’s funny, I can. 

I am super duper excited at this possibility.  I will have first rate accoutrements for my hopefully first rate sewn trench coat.  How cool is that???  The Burberry really couldn’t have been given away as it is stained beyond help.  No one else would want to wear it I’m sure.  I keep hoping no one will look at me whenever I wear it. 

So now for the bad news.  I broke the #1 sewing rule of all time last night, well several rules actually.  I cut my fabric after 10pm, after a glass of wine, and when I was really tired.  I painstakingly cut 1/2 inch seam allowances around each pattern piece.  On the front pattern pieces, I carefully cut the 1.5 inch hem allowances.  Then when I came to the back pattern pieces, I proceeded to cut a 1/2 inch seam allowance for the hem.  Yes, you read correctly.  I basically cut off a good inch of my hem allowances on the back of my trench.  At that point, I stepped away from the cutting mat and put myself to bed. 

Am still thinking of a work around for this disaster/dilemma.  If any of you have any suggestions, I am all ears.

I hope you all have a more successful cutting experience than me.

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