Posted in sewing

Slightly Dressy Spring Coat – Burdastyle 2-2011-125

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I’ve been calling this teal beauty a jacket… maybe because it’s lightweight so I don’t think “coat”. ¬†But, it seems to clearly be a coat pattern. Discuss.

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As you see, I finished my spring jacket from the February 2011 issue of Burda! We were at my inlaws on Maryland’s Easter Shore for Passover and got to snap a few photos on the water.

I really wanted to try and push my skills and make a jacket with a bit more technique and time. So, this one took me a solid six weeks of work with many fidly bits.

This pattern tops out at 44 so I needed to grade out to about a 50 in the lower thigh. I also made a FBA, a swayback adjustment and added almost 2″ in width to the sleeves / bicep. I pretreated the fabric by sewing a mesh bag and washing in the washing machine.

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When I teach, I talk about when and why you would use Hong Kong or bias bound seams. I also do demos of flat fell seams and blind hemming But, I didn’t really have a good garment to show it off in. Now, I do! And, now I understand why garments with these techniques cost twice as much as they absolutely take twice as long!

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Interior details…

I used fusible interfacing on the center front, collar and pocket flaps. I do not have any interfacing in the chest, back, or hems. There are places where you can see the chest collapses a bit. But, I did not want to make a tailored spring / rain jacket and I wanted to leave it unlined to show off the reverse of this bonded fabric.

If you have this fabric, do not use fusible woven. Way too stiff. A nice weft fusible is the way to go. Press with a press cloth because the fabric shines on the non stripe side. And, don’t use too much heat or steam. The fabric is easily overworked and misshapen and the fabric will separate. If it does separate or crease, heat it back up, and press it back to gather with a clapper — leaving it in place until it cools.

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Sleeve insertion.

Well, that’s a tale of two cities! The (my) right sleeve was set with tie interfacing in the ‘tailored’ method. The cap pops and I had minimal issues setting it in. The fabric doesn’t have a great deal of ease and is like working with leather.

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The (my) left sleeve was set the traditional method and I’d broken a sweat by the time I was done. Either way, puckers sewn in to the fabric DO NOT PRESS OUT. Same with the bust darts. You can’t press shaping into them. So, I have perky darts due to the fabric and a collapsed cap on this side.

And, now I think because of the tie interfacing I probably cannot machine wash this coat ūüė≠.

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There is a small drafting error with the coat collar in pattern 2-2011 #125. The collar stand and collar are too short by about 1.5″. It works out fine for me because I have a short neck and don’t like getting my foundation on my clothes. It just doesn’t meet closer to the middle as it shows in the line drawing.

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I mitered the back hem inside and ¬†used a 2.5″ turn up. I wish it was 1.5″ to 2″. I think it would have been easier to have a nice hem. Not that the bottom is rounded. But, the fabric doesn’t ease well. I ended up making a blind hem on my blind stitch machine using nylon thread. While I only use this machine a few times a year I am always super pleased with the results.

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The only thing I REALLY wish I’d done is remembered this comment from Marcy when I finished my Cascade Duffle coat. The bottom fronts don’t meet the way I’d like. ¬†This is for a couple of reasons I think….

  1. I make a too long a FBA at 1.5″. I need more width than length and forgot or don’t trust myself. So I end up with jackets, coats and dresses too long at center front

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2.) ¬†If I’d read Marcy’s comment or remembered, I would have tried to cut the CF a little off grain to have the flaps meet better. I did add a covered snap. Let’s see how much I use it! Um, also — there’s a reason garments have snaps here and not buttons. ASK ME HOW I KNOW.¬†

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All that said, I think I don’t mind that much. Only in the light of posting it on the internet for all to see do I feeI must confess my crimes. I’ve wanted to make this pattern since it came out SEVEN YEARS AGO. The fabric has been in my stash for TEN YEARS. I really needed a spring coat to wear that wasn’t a totally casual item. And, I worked harder on this with finishing techniques than I may have on anything else. So, I will wear it for the six weeks a year it’s weather appropriate here in the Mid Atlantic!

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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 ūüėÄ.

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 ūüėÄ

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

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.

Posted in sewing

Butterick 6244: In Which I Conquer My Fear of Plaid

I love plaid so hard. I have so much plaid in my stash I could open a kilt shop. But, I hardly¬†ever sew plaid¬†because I’m terrified of matching.

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Forgive my pigeon toes. Please.

I was inspired to make this waterfall coat for two reasons. I have too much coating fabric that’s not getting sewn (eight cuts and counting). And, I saw a very cool Burberry poncho that I couldn’t afford. I made my friend Sheryl go to Burberry with me to try this on. It was flawless. I also tried on a duffle coat and had small tears in my eyes when I put it back on the hanger.

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Said poncho is $900

This fabric (ostensibly Burberry) was $5 or a yard during my ‘trench coat with wool liner’ phase about five years ago. I never made that warmer but the fabric remained. I in fact have it in a second camel¬†color way (that will hopefully become a poncho next season).

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I sewed this coat in bits and pieces over two weekends. Which is really good for me. It allows me to not mind techniques taking a bit more time. I thread traced my darts instead of just marking (or eyeballing) them with chalk.

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I actually did all the flat fell seaming with my terrific Bernina foot.  And, for all these small touches, it made a big difference in my construction process.

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It was very windy

Because I don’t sew Butterick often I wasn’t quite sure what size to go with. Based on the finished measurements, I sewed a 14 grading to a 16 in the thighs. I did baste the side seams to make sure I had a fit I could live with. I also decided to forgo an FBA because the coat isn’t meant to closed and there’s a ton of drape / ease here at the front. Overall, it’s got a very modern blanket coat vibe and I could have probably gone down one size.

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I made only one alteration which was to shorten the shoulder seam. Of course, I shortened it after I’d sewn in the sleeve :-/

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One main sewing tip if I may. If you have a walking foot, use it. I think nothing will ruin the lines of this coat more than waves / wonkey narrow hems. Plenty of steam and a walking foot will keep the bias under  control.

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I’m feeling pretty accomplished that I sewed a revered plaid coating. I didn’t get the plaid quite right at the front (sad trombone). But, I figure in movement it’ll be hard to tell.

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Posted in sewing

Spring Raincoat in the Middle of Fall: Burda 9-2003-120

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I managed to finish my spring raincoat in the last week of October. Heh. I have the best timing ever. I cannot believe this took me about a month to make. Which, if you read my blog before last year, would know is a ridiculously long time for me. I once made a winter coat in two weeks! It was even harder getting photos now that I leave the house at 7:30 am for work and don’t get back in until 7 pm. It’s dark when I leave and dark when I get home.

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Also, I SWEAR to you, each time it rained I felt like I was being taunted. Now that the jacket is done, it’s just cold :-/ As I said last post, I left my rain coat in Amsterdam back in September. Nothing tells you how much you need a rain coat until you don’t have one!

Unfortunately, my DSLR camera is in the shop. So, we’re using my (still very good) point and shoot. But, I was hoping to try out some of the shooting ‘red’ suggestions. The photos below aren’t too bad. But, the red is photographing hot making it hard to see some of the details. On to the jacket!

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This jacket is a basic parka with interesting details — something I think Burda excels in– when they aren’t making sack dresses. You could easily take about any parka pattern, add some D-rings and zippers and have the same look. But, this is also a good reason to hold on to your older Burdas. There’s a gem in there somewhere. This magazine is well over ten years old.

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I’m a little late on completing this jacket because after I posted my last update I installed the zipper and tried the jacket on for the first time. Well, when I tried on the jacket, the casing wasn’t balanced (one side higher than the other)¬†AND it wasn’t hitting my waist (too low). So, it looked pretty terrible. I sulked for a day and then decided to spend a few hours taking out six¬†rows of teeny¬†tiny stitching for the casing and redoing the whole shebang. When I re-sewed it, I moved the waist band up about an inch and added the missing fourth row from my first go. ¬†I was worried about the waistline casing then looking totally and completely overworked. But, this fabric actually heals pretty remarkably! And, totally waterproof.

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Redoing the waistband casing was absolutely worth it. The jacket is not  super fitted to begin with and I really needed the waist definition. The fabric was from a local warehouse sale and about $2 a yard. I seriously think this jacket was $20 to make or less! I did NOT tape the seams on this jacket. Because of all the topstitching, the seams were fairly water tight.

On this pattern, I made a 1.5 inch FBA, took 1/2 inch off the shoulders and made a swayback adjustment. I sewed a 40, grading out to a 46 with a touch more room in the thigh. My friend Liz thinks the jacket is a hair too big for me. But, I think it fits and allows for some boxier clothing underneath (i.e. the wool sweater I ‘m wearing).

What else… I wasn’t sure how to do the zipper so that the fabric lips covered up most of the teeth. I didn’t quite trust the Burda instructions and just did it my way. It’s not as closed as I would have liked. But, the blue zipper down the center isn’t as distracting as I thought it would be. And, I do love that the brass peaks through. I also found that NO NEEDLE (microtex, leather, sharp, universal) ¬†I had wanted to top stitch through the zipper tape and two layers of my fabric. One of these days, I need take a minute and flesh out my needle stash.

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Speaking of zips… this two-way zip is 36 inches instead of the 40 asked for in the pattern. And, it was only $2.50 locally from Stadham Sewing in Baltimore (compared to $5 to $11 I saw online). The blue 9 inch zippers on the side were only 75 cents too.

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And they had this tiny 4 inch zipper for the totally useless sleeve pocket (I hope that yellow wax washes out!). I love  that place. I really may go in one day and buy four zippers in every color and length and just stash them.

The jacket is unlined and I am fine with that. The fabric is sturdy and doesn’t ravel.

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Overall, I’m pleased with this jacket. And, I’m really glad I had my heavy Bernina to sew it with. I was looking at the top stitching on Jordan’s jacket and it’s kind of wonky compared to this. You really need a heavier machine when you’re dealing with unruly material.

For this jacket, I went with contrast ribbon rather than the recommended leather. While I love the color variation, these ribbons act a fool on the regular. Please see below. If I take the jacket off and let it sort of crumple on the floor, the ribbons comes loose entirely. I’m contemplating stitching them down to keep them in order.

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The best thing about this project? It might our best photo shoot together.  I might not have to fire Jordan as my photograper.

Ahhh. Onward. I’m starting a winter coat next. At my current sewing pace, I figure that will be ready just in time for spring ūüôā