Posted in sewing

Grainline Cascade Duffle, The Reveal

**This post is a repost of my original entry. Due to some technical difficulties, I lost a year’s worth of blog posts. I will be adding photos in due time.

 

My beautiful duffle coat is complete and I am happy about a lot of things and would change just a couple of things. I got to wear it today for our first true cold day it’s just about perfect!

I have to apologize for the quality of the photos. It was overcast today so the pictures aren’t as vibrant as I would like. But, I realized I didn’t really want to take additional photos tomorrow and I need to blog my coat to move on to my next project. Better to have A photo than no blog post at all.

Now, on to the coat!

Likes: It’s a duffle coat! I’ve always loved and wanted to own a duffle coat. If you know me you know I love a military influenced garment and am a casual Anglophile (I can claim it as my parents are from Commonwealth countries and my mom lived in England before moving to the States).  But, have never found a RTW version that fit me well because I’m busty with a big booty or that I can afford because I love me some Burberry. I’m thrilled I made this from plaid. I love plaid but rarely sew with it because matching stresses me out.

The color is really great on me and will be cheerful this winter. The lining is from flannel back satin so the hood won’t destroy my curly hair and provides a lot of warmth .

Dislikes:

I notice the back hem doesn’t lay as flat (rather flares out a bit) as I’d like and the front hem rises. Originally I thought this was the result of not making a long enough FBA at the front and too large a new-to-me swayback adjustment (I took the extra length at center back out at the shoulder/ neckline).

But, when I now look at this plaid version from the designer above, I see that the back hem flares out / away the same way in the middle pic and the front hem also rises. I also see on the designer version that the black plaid between the bust and waist isn’t parallel, as mine isn’t despite a FBA.  I don’t notice this on all versions of this coat online though. I’ve pressed the hem over a ham to have it curve / lay a bit flatter but it’s not enough. Maybe I’ll send it out for a profesh press. I’m not sure what causes the flare. Could be a rounded vs straight hem. Maybe the lining should be a bit shorter to pull the hem in place more? Maybe the rounded hem biased a bit? Perhaps the back should all be interfaced. I’m not sure and I’m willing to live with it in this version. I also used wiggan in the hems which gave me a nice crisp finish (my wiggan came from Lichtensteins in Brooklyn, NY. No website.)

If I were making this again, I would extend the length of the zipper band and use a 30″ vs 23″ zipper. I’ve noticed on a few versions that the lower front splays open a bit. I assumed that was fabric cut off grain. But, I now think a longer zipper would go a long way to keeping it closed. The zipper stops at the hip length shorter version length. Which does make it easier for zipping up. But, I’d just go longer in the future. The center front band is also too long. There is an updated pattern piece on the Grainline site. But, it’s about 1.5 inches or so too long in  my size.

As for the zipper band, I did choose to interface mine. I’d also recommend reinforcing the bottom where the zipper stop is. I managed to pop mine loose while squatting to put put on my dog’s halter. It can take a lot of pressure there.

I would also not have done it in a contrast color for the zipper band. It peeks open a bit at the top by my neck and it wouldn’t bother me as much if the colors were the same.

Thanks to a year of lifting weights my body has changed — a lot. I should have made a broad back adjustment and added another inch to the width of the sleeves at the bicep (for a total of 2″). I can wear this with slim to medium garments underneath – nothing thicker than a ponte or wool jersey knit. But, certainly not a heavy sweater. Thanks to the flannel back satin lining though this is warm enough for Baltimore on it’s own. It took wearing of all my other outerwear this fall to realize how much my body has changed. None of my coats fit particularly well through the bodice right now. That said, this is well suited for a big chunk of Maryland winters. My next coat will have boxy fit for oversized winter garments (I’m thinking navy cashmere swing coat with dropped shoulders).

All of these issues could have been caught with a muslin which I chose not to do. I just couldn’t deal with all these pieces! That said, I hope most of what I see is just what I see. Overall I am happy but would be thrilled with a few tweaks. And, I would make another duffle. Just not in plaid

I’ve been lamenting my lack of clothing labels this year. Especially larger / bold labels for garments with a substantial facing. I actually finished this coat on the fourth anniversary of my mom’s passing so she’d been on my mind all day.  Above, I used an old label from  one of my mom’s custom garments from when they were stationed in South Korea. It was from an outfit I’ll never fit in. I have one more similar label in my closet and will put it in my next nice wool coat.

The first time I made a tailored coat may have been the first time she bothered to figure out how to leave a comment instead of just emailing or calling me. Back in 2011 she wrote here:

Are you kidding me with that thought about maxi coats not being trendy right now? Hold fast! That coat will be around when maxi coats become fashionable again and will compete with the best of them. I particularly love the feel of that satin lining. The details on the coat are to die for. Much more stylish than that red coat you became s-o-o-o-o-o attached to. I get a very warm, comfortable feeling just looking at you in that coat. Wow! You ought to be very proud of your accomplishment. Congratulations on a job well done.

 

I’m so happy to have a new everyday coat! I’ve been wearing my high school letterman’s jacket and a puffy jacket from college. If I needed something nicer I’d wear a vintage coat in my closet — but vintage isn’t great for everyday wear. I have SO MANY coats in mind and may come back for a discussion on what to sew next (camel wrap coat? navy cashmere swing coat? oversized menswear influenced coat? rain coat with zip out liner? travel jacket from stretch water proof fabric? red peacoat? dressy spring coat? SO MANY DECISIONS) Now, I need to start working on Jordan’s Hanukkah gift. I promised him a bomber jacket and have a week to get it done.

If you’ve stumbled on this final post, check out these other posts I wrote about alterations, cutting the plaid and tailoring the coat.

 

Posted in sewing

Burdastyle Letterman’s Jacket: 9/2014 #134

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**This post is a repost of my original entry. Due to some technical difficulties, I lost a year’s worth of blog posts. I will be adding photos in due time.

Last project of 2017 methinks! Fitting that it’s my favorite person’s Hanukkah gift!

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Jordan showed me the tweed Shinola Varsity jacket below a month ago and said how much he liked it. It was $500 — which I actually don’t think is too much to pay for US made product (I mean, it’s what I would charge AT LEAST). But, about $400 more than I would pay if I made it for him.

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He picked out his own fabric from Fabricmart and I settled on the September 2013 #134 Burdastyle varsity jacket.

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At first I was like, that’s not a varsity jacket!  Where are the leather sleeves? It has a zipper not snaps! But, once I sewed the muslin I saw why they said varsity vs aviator or bomber. The sleeves are dropped like a varsity jacket and it’s much longer in the torso (and my boy has a short torso).

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I decided to make a muslin because I’ve only made him one semi-fitted outerwear garments (this Hot Patterns jacket from three years ago) and am I glad I did. I HATE HATE HATED the shoulders on this. Those folds at the armscye made me want to scream.

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Blech. Look how long the shoulders are!  Looking at the original photo on the model I can see that they are long/ wide. But, this looked sloppy to me. And, I wanted a more fitted aviator style (in truth, maybe I should have gone with this Burdastyle from 12/2015 #125).

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The first thing I did was narrow the shoulder sleeve by 1″ making it more an extended shoulder rather than dropped. The nice thing about using this thick old blanket for the muslin is I could really get a sense of how the fabric would work in wool.

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Than, taking advice from Instagram, I saw Jordan has sloped shoulders. I really think he has overdeveloped traps with short shoulders rather than technically sloped. But, semantics.

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Jordan’s chest is 44″ which puts him in a Burdastyle men’s 56. His shoulders are 6.25″ long and his waist was between the 50/52 size (I went with 52).  I also shortened the jacket by two inches in the second muslin (I just made edits to the first muslin).

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Here’s the back now with the shortened shoulder and a 1/2″ adjustment for sloped shoulders. I figured out his shoulder drop by using my level and comparing his drop to that of the pattern. I felt rather clever for having thought of that and it worked! Those horrible folds are mostly gone and the shoulder seam is sitting now where it should. Thanks smarter people than me on Instagram!

Lining

The jacket is lined in flannel back satin. And, I used stay tape at the shoulders. The original jacket has quilted satin for the lining. I kind of wish I had done this to increase the temperature range for wearing the jacket. But, then again, I’m okay with the flannel back satin and tweed combo.

The ribbing is from Neotrims Etsy shop based in the UK. I LOVED the selection there. This ribbing​ is mostly wool with lots of bounce. But, you could certainly find some at Pacific Trim or any one of the NY trim stores (I thought briefly about making the ribbing but was running out of time to have this ready for Hanukkah). I did end up taking two inches out of the collar pattern so it would snug up against his neck. And, I see that the collar isn’t 100%. But, it’s good enough.  Oh, I also had to shorten the sleeves by 3″.

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The welt pockets were sewn using a technique from Kenneth King’s Cool Couture. It took me an embarrassing amount of time to wrap my mind around the technique and THREE samples before I got the hang of it. But, once I did I saw how elegant a technique it was. He has a class on pockets that covers this technique on Craftsy if you’re interested.

The pocket bags themselves are a little small I think. Just big enough for a phone really. But, not quite large enough for jamming your hands into for warmth.

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Isn’t he the cutest? Like for real. THE CUTEST.

He told me these are the best looking sleeves he’s had in a garment (they are always too long or too short). Plus, he usually has things taken in a bit at the waist. I don’t know that I would ever try and sew for him as a surprise either. It was much less stressful to try it on as I went — just like I would for myself. That’s all! He’s happy with his jacket. I felt like a magician! He saw something he wanted and I was actually able to make it!

Posted in sewing

Tailoring the Cascade Duffle

There are so many good resources for tailoring out there. I use the Singer Sewing Reference Library “Tailoring” as my main resource. But, I have a slew of others that I tend to read through before a big project to refresh my memory and help me make some final decisions. The original pattern is very lightly tailored. A friend showed me photos of her Gloverall coat and the Cascade definitely is more in line with traditional methods. That said, the Gloverall is a beautifully heavy melton wool and my fabric isn’t as thick, so tailoring it is!

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Personally, I prefer a fusible rather than hand or machine tailoring methods. Ok. Admittedly I haven’t tried hand or machine tailoring. But, I like the speed of the fusible. I love structure in garments. So, I deviated a little from the included interfacing instructions for the Cascade Duffle.

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First, I interfaced the entire front instead of just the upper bodice with medium weft interfacing. While double sided, my fabric is a little on the limp side. I love a coat that can stand up on its own if I’m being honest.

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I did use the included interfacing pieces to cut my fusible horse hair canvas for the armscye reinforcement. I have an insane amount of it and wanted to give it a go. It’s lovely. When I make a no-nonsese tailored work coat I’ll be using this.

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The pattern instructions have you interface the upper back bodice and the armscye. I just did the upper back because the back stay I added (below) would cover the back armscye. The back stay is a poly muslin blend from my stash. Normally, you wouldn’t interface AND backstay. But, my upper back was cut on the bias and I wanted to stabilize it so there wouldn’t be a chance of it stretching out.

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I also added interfacing to the hem of the coat at the back (the front is already interfaced). If you recall, this pattern has a separate hem facing that I decided to integrate into the back and front. I’ll also be using wigan on my hems when it comes time to do the actual hemming (and when my order from New York comes in).

And, I interfaced everything else called for using the weft interfacing. Oh, I also interfaced my pockets and zipper band — not sure if that’s called for in the instructions.

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Finally, I waffled a bit (too long) on the sleeves. I don’t mind block fusing per se. But, I didn’t want the sleeves to feel stiff. I also really personally hate when my sleeves wrinkle at the elbow crease during wear. So, after flirting with a few ideas I decided to underline the sleeves with a cotton batiste from my stash. I considered silk organza (too slippery to be bothered), muslin (too stiff). This will hopefully give the garment the light support I want in the sleeves and stave off wrinkles.

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And, for the sleeve insertion I added a sleeve head to give the cap some support. I think I’ll skip a shoulder pad. But, I’m undecided.

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I just need to bag the lining and I’ll be all done (man am I glad I already sewed the lining!) Quite ahead of my Christmas schedule if all goes well. But, never fear. I bought more coating last weekend at Fabricmart 😚.

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Posted in sewing

Grainline Farrow Dress

My first Grainline Studio project was the Linden Sweatshirt (unblogged) back in the spring. I was generally underwhelmed by it on me and questioned if a Grainline pattern could even work on my figure. So, imagine my shock and awe that the Grainline Farrow Dress is my fall favorite. Why would I go back a pattern line that I doubted? Well, I picked the Farrow Dress to teach a sewing class at a new studio in town (Domesticity). It has set in sleeves, facings and an optional lining. There are some good techniques and skills to teach. But, of course I needed to make it first and I’m glad I did.

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I picked this turquoise and red wool from my stash. I love red, white and blue color combos. Especially this icy Scandinavian version. When I finished the dress though, I realized it was a little Supergirl and I am TOTALLY here for it.

Now, on to the garment!

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Reviews I initially read said the sleeves were very narrow. And, when compared to my arm measurement there was less than one inch of ease for me in the size 16. I added an additional inch and was ready to go.

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I also made a 3/4″ FBA to the size 16 pattern I measured into. I did not use the Grainline FBA alteration technique. Instead, I removed the skirt at the waistline, made my alterations, added a dart and took out the added width from the side seam. I never rotate my darts out btw. I have tatas and they need darts. I didn’t want anymore volume down the center front of the dress. But, I do think that modification would be great if you carried more weight in the middle. The dress does hang from my bust. But, I don’t have awkward drag lines. And, I don’t think it’s too tent-like from the front because it appears smooth without draglines. It is for sure not a formfitting dress.

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I decided to add a lining that is on the bodice only as per the Grainline suggested draft for a lining.

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I also lowered the neckline by around three inches because my neck is too short for a  jewel neckline which meant an small redraft of the facing.

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If I were to make this again I would go down do a 14. The 16 just had way more ease than I wanted for my figure. I took this in at the side seams about 1.5″ from the bust down and even more tapering from the hip to hem.

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I made no adjustments to length and made my hem with a blind hem stitch. I think the color blocking is great for showing off the interesting seam lines. And, it’s a great Thanksgiving and Christmas dress. It’s also nice to have something sleeved for work this winter.

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There are really nicely integrated pockets on the Farrow. But, those pockets are also a fabric hog. I stabilized both my pockets and all the diagonal (and bias) seams by alternating between silk organza and seam binding. I was experimenting a bit since this was a class garment.

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I’m going to be really blunt here. Originally, I was sure this dress wasn’t for me. Usually,  anything without a defined waist is gonna be a waste of my time. But, with my easy modifications for fit, it’s a really fun, interesting and comfortable work dress. I’m planning on making a short sleeve version in the summer from some yellow linen in my stash. And, I think I would really love a cream one too.

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That said, it works really well on some figures. One of my students has a really straight figure and out of the envelope it was BRILLIANT on her. I suspect this is the ideal body type for this style pattern.

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After teaching one class with this dress I actually nixed it from my lineup. It’s got such great details. But, the pockets alone take up a ton of table space and most of the first night of a two-night class. So, we’ll be making the Hadley Top from Grainline going forward. Review of that one coming soon.

Posted in sewing

Cutting This Devil Plaid

I have never paid attention in sewing books when they talked about balanced vs unbalanced plaids. While I have a lot of plaid in stash, I don’t sew them that often. And, when I have, the placement has generally worked out for me.

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Except this time. Meet the Unbalanced Devil Plaid.

With this Cascade Duffle Coat my main focus was making sure the plaids matched at the side seam BELOW the bust dart. What I didn’t realize until after I cut out the back bodice is that the plaid is unbalanced. Yes, I was mostly focused on the horizontal line matching up throughout. But, the off balance of the brown stripe to the left made my eyes TWITCHY.

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The real solution to this would be to cut the back with a center seam and flip one side upside down and cut. That way the plaids would be balanced. But, I’d have to do that for fronts and sleeves and that was just way too much finagling for me.

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Because past me bought five yards of wool coating from Fabricmart back in 2015, I had enough fabric to recut the back. While the right and left do not mirror each other (on the right below), I do have the bolder brighter dark brown stripes equidistant-ish from the center.

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Original to the left. New cut to the right.

I chose to center the turquoise rather than the wider brown because I want more of the turquoise to come through. Well, I really wanted more of the smaller white plaid to come though. But, you can see above where it got me trying to center that 🙄.

What’s really interesting is I did a little poll on Instagram and it was pretty much a 50/50 split on if this was worth recutting. As sewists, we are definitely too hard on ourselves 🤷🏾‍♀️.

While I like it marginally better with the plaids more balanced, I may come to regret it if my sleeves are a mess and I don’t have enough fabric to recut!

And, below: I’ve got the lining cut and sewn and am pretty happy. This is a size 14 with a 1″ FBA grading to an 18 at the thigh.

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