Posted in sewing

Grainline Cascade Duffle: The Reveal

Cascade Duffle (15 of 16).jpg 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.

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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:

Cascade Duffle (16 of 16).jpg 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).

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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.)

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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.

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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.

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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.

Cascade Duffle (4 of 16).jpg 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).

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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.

 

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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.

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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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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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Posted in sewing

Starting a Winter Coat: Cascade Duffle by Grainline

Every year I say I’m going to make a coat, then I don’t. I started one in 2014 and the muslin was a disaster. I sourced wigan from you back then and didn’t move forward. Last year I pin fit the Cascade Duffle by Grainline and lost steam and time. I also muslined a Burda coat I’d long loved. But, it was a horror on me.

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Friends, I have five (possible seven) cuts of wool coating and four cuts of rain coating sitting in my stash. And, when I say sitting, I mean stacked in corners, on chairs and crammed on shelves.

So, within the next year I’d like to make three coats. A camel wrap coat, a navy anorak/  rain coat with a hood and a plaid duffle coat. I figured the plaid duffle coat would be hardest, so I’m starting with that.

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I’m going to document my process here. Mostly to help anyone else out who decides to tackle this with a similar body type.  Secondly to have an old fashioned blog post. I post so much more on Instagram now. But, I miss long documentations for reference. For the record, I don’t think Grainline is particularly friendly to my body type: busty and booty. But, I love, love, love duffle coats and have never found one in store that would fit across my chest. And, as this is not particularly fitted may still work!

Based on the finished measurements and wanting enough ease to wear a sweater underneath, I’m going with a 14 grading out to an 18 at the hip/ upper thigh.

Pattern Alterations:

  • FBA: 1″ darted FBA to the garment and a 1″ princess seam FBA to the lining and facing.
    • There is a lot of ease in this garment. But, I really like things to fit as well as possible. And, on other Grainline wovens I’ve made had terrible draglines without a FBA.
  • Lengthen center front / zipper placket 1″ and interfacing piece
    • Done because of the FBA
  • Lengthen two-piece sleeves and sleeve lining 1″
    • I like a really long sleeve and read a few reviews that thought the sleeves were short
  • Widen bicep / arm  and lining 1″
    • I find the Grainline sleeve crazy narrow. And, when I measured there was barely an inch of ease.
  • Merge bottom and front bodice together for front and back
    • I’m working with a plaid fabric and have no desire to match plaid there
  • Merge / overlap the hem facings for the front and back
    • Nice touch. But, I don’t need it for this.
  • Narrow shoulders .25″ on garment and lining
    • I was gonna do a full half inch but decided I wouldn’t mind if I had shoulder pads
  • Swayback adjustment .75″ on garment and lining.
    • For the garment I took it from the shoulder to eliminate the need for a center back seam.
    • For the lining I took it from the waist with a horizontal overlap/ dart and made sure to true the hem.

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I usually trace indie patterns. But, with 40 damn pieces I threw caution to the wind. That said, I would suggest buying a copy shop version of this pattern. That way, if you need to recut a pattern piece you can pretty easily.

Above is my pin fit. I also tried it out on my body and it’s pretty good I think. Here are my general steps over the next month or so

  1. Cut lining, sew lining, hope it fits!
  2. Mark pattern for plaid placement
  3. Layout and cut garment fabric from one layer of fabric
  4. Interface garment fabric and make back stay
  5. Construct main garment
  6. Attach lining
  7. Finish by Christmas. I know that’s so far away. But, I don’t have as much hands on sewing time as I used to.

That’s it for now. I’ll work on the lining and keep you posted.