Join me in my adventures as I write romance novels and sew vintage and contemporary fashion.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Progress on Butterick 3721 and a Bad Thing

I made some decent progress on the gray Victorian cut away coat over the weekend--and had a bad thing happen, which I will get to in a bit. I followed the pattern directions for the most part, except for a few added stitches here and there.

The entire front of the jacket is interfaced/underlined with hair canvas. The darts are sewn treating the fabric and hair canvas as one fabric and I did that, thinking it'll help stabilize the loosely woven wool.

I debated, then decided to pad stitch the lapels and under collar. It gave me something to do during the 49er game. There's a victory stitched into that under collar.
The under collar was cut in one piece, rather than two and I went with it. Bottom line, this is a costume coat. The pad stitching really helped the roll of the lapel, though and this is good practice for pad stitching non-costume wear.

I decided to make the slanted welt pocket in the jacket front before doing the pad stitching on the lapel. I have enough fabric to cut another front if something unfortunate happened--but I don't know if I have the patience to pad stitch another lapel. That's probably why the welt pocket went in smoothly. It's even on the correct side.

The welt is actually a lot crisper than it looks in this photo. This wool
photographs lumpy.

Photographed pre-thread-trim.
Now that I'm done with the fronts, I'm underling the rest of the pattern pieces in black batiste...

...and while doing that I discovered the bad thing. The thing that would have been devastating if I didn't have almost two extra yards of wool.

The flaw. And not just a little flaw--a put your finger through it flaw--on the sleeve. And I found it after doing all that pad stitching.

How many times did my mom tell me to always check both sides of my fabric carefully before cutting? Like a zillion. Usually I iron my fabric and thus examine it, however, I steam shrunk this fabric in my dryer, then hung it to cool. Since it was wrinkle free, I simply laid it out and cut. Won't be doing that again.

So that's were I am as the work week looms ahead of me. I'm just thankful I'm still making a gray coat and not a long gray vest.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Coats, Coats and More Coats

It was 87 degrees here today, so, of course, my thoughts turned to making coats. I have four in the queue and one on the wish list.

The first coat is not for me. Dickens Fair is fast approaching and I've decided to make a new gentleman's coat. I'm thinking cut away instead of a frock coat, using Butterick 3721. I'm making it in gray wool, which is loosely woven so I've decided to underline it with black cotton batiste to give it more body. I plan to start this coat soon--as in within the week.

Following that I plan to make a retro coat using Simplicity 4563, which appears to be from the early to mid-1940s. I have some retro looking plaid wool, which I plan to underline with white cotton flannel to add a layer of warmth. I decided to make the single breasted version because I didn't feel like buying four extra buttons.

Number three on the list is McCalls 6800. I bought some wool online for a purpose I can't recall, and when it came, it was no where near the color I'd thought it would be. It's a cheerful pink with traces of yellow and lavender--more spring than winter, but maybe that's what one needs in the winter. A cheerful coat. I like the fabric...I think. If I don't find a 1960s pattern I like before it rolls around to the number one spot in the queue, then I'll make version A or D of this pattern.

And then there's Vogue 1419 and my accidental linen. I decided to join the LLadybird Vogue 1419 sew along last week and was glad to see that one of the three suggested fabrics for this pattern was linen, because I mistakenly bought coat weight linen (online) last spring thinking it was dress weight. I assumed that the fabric would languish in my stash for years before I found a use for it, but I was wrong. The sew along starts at the end of the month and I'm excited to participate.

And finally the wish list...I saw this coat pattern, Vogue 8211, reviewed in a back issue of Threads magazine and fell in love. The 2006 out-of-print pattern wasn't on eBay at the time,but I kept checking. Eventually it showed up, but for some reason, only in sizes 6-8-10 and 18-20-22. I fall in the middle, unrepresented bracket. I bought the pattern in the smaller size and plan to grade it one of these days. Once that's done, I'm going to find the perfect fabric; however...I have a feeling that this project will not see the light of day in 2014. It looks more like a 2015 coat anyway.

And that's the plan. Yes, my ambition is greater than my allotted time (winter), but I'm hopeful that I can get at least three of these coats done before spring...just in time for the end-of-winter wool sales.

Friday, September 5, 2014

McCalls 4444--Lobster Dress!

I made a lobster dress this summer.

It started when I bought McCalls 4444 on eBay this spring and asked my daughter to pick out fabric. Nothing appealed and I was starting to think we were going home empty handed, when my daughter told me she'd found a cute lobster print. Cute and lobster are two words that do not generally juxtapose.  I envisioned a lot of red claws and protuberant antennae on a bright background, but instead she showed me this rather tasteful navy blue print. There's nothing like a whimsical arthropod motif for a summer dress. We purchased two yards.

I washed and dried the fabric, laid in out and soon realized that I had a problem--the grain was off just enough that the lobsters wouldn't match if I folded the fabric to cut the pattern. In my world, we match our lobsters, so I laid the fabric out as a single layer and cut the pieces one at a time, matching each side so that the lobsters ran true.
Carefully matched lobsters
After that, I assumed the dress would be a slam dunk, but no. I had pinched out an inch of the bodice and contrast bands when I fit the muslin, so that the bodice didn't gap--and cleverly forgot to add an inch at the back.

My daughter tried the dress on and there was a big problem with the back--as in a two-inch gap between the buttons and the button holes.

I took no photos because I was desperately trying to determine just how I was going to fix it. Take the bodice apart? Frankenstein something together? The back had been so cute before I fixed the front.

While I was considering ripping the contrast off the bodice and maybe crying a little, my daughter calmly suggested adding a ribbon.

Don't you just love a clear mind in a crisis situation?

I cut off the back strap an inch from the vertical strap, tucked the raw edges in, then poked the end of a wide ribbon in the opening. A little hand stitching and viola!

This is one of those dresses that needs a body in it to look good, but hey--look at that matched lobster print!

I love the ribbon! So glad I messed up the back.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is the Lobster Dress.