Sunday, February 26, 2012

Early spring coat, courtesy of Patrones Joven

I love Patrones coat patterns for several reasons, but I think the biggest reason is the sleeves.  Not only are the designs super cute, but they fit so well if you are twiggy of the arm like me.  I didn't bother with a muslin for this coat because my first Patrones coat fit so well.  This one is from the same issue, design 28.  Mine is made in a Vera Wang teal and navy tweed that I bought from last year, interfaced with silk organza (never again, that was way too much work), and lined with gold flannel-backed satin.  It's cozy and just the right weight for early spring in New England, when you still need a heavy coat but don't need your 700 down fill wind and rain resistent coat.  It's still cold but not Arctic cold at this time of year.   
Patrones 285, No. 28
I think it should have been the same length as my raincoat, but because I used really bulky fabric (think afghan throw) the turn of cloth shrunk the coat quite a bit.  You can see the difference between the pattern piece and front in this photo.
I lost about an inch in the bodice piece, which then affected the overall fit.
Now, on to the coat.  I did all the hand sewing for the interfacing during the week.  I've been under the weather and I guess the upside of being at home and spacing out in front of the TV is that you can do that while mindlessly basting interfacing to fabric.  On the downside, I am going to be really behind when I get back to the office this week.
At the end of a chilly Sunday morning walk.
You can kind of see the curved front when the coat is closed.  Also, let it be known that I am unable to pose for a photo without making some kind of goofy face.
The turn of cloth (I'm blaming the coat's shortcomings on the super thick fabric) shortened the bodice and I don't think you can see it from the front, but definitely from the side.  I would make this coat again in a lighter coating so that the bodice makes it over my bust.  As it is, the skirt drapes from almost the fullest point, making the coat a little tent like.  
If I stand with bad posture the tentiness isn't so pronounced.  I'm also showing off one of my single welt pockets.
Here it is from the back.  It fits very well in the shoulders.
Now that you've seen my new coat from all sides, can you spot my cutting mistake?  (Hint: look at the front skirt.)  I cut the front skirt on the cross grain.  I didn't notice until I put the coat on after finishing it and thought that the plaids didn't match up quite as well as I thought they would (they match very well in the bodice, which is princess seamed, if I say so myself.)

Photo showing lining and facing.  I'm grateful for my steam iron that tamed everything and put it in its place.

The fabric was challenging to work with.  It was so thick that I had to pull it through my sewing machine at some points.  It also had to be interfaced.  Being so loosely woven (it really is not unlike a granny square afghan throw in that respect), I didn't want to go through the effort of sewing a coat for it to just become a shapeless heap after one season.  Because I basted organza to it, the basting stitches would get stuck in the feed dogs of my machine, further confounding the situation.  Because I refuse to hand stitch unless absolutely necessary, bagging the lining was criminally frustrating.  Luckily I have a steam iron that will beat the fluffiest fabric into submission because otherwise the fabric would have won and I would be posting picture of a shapeless pouf.

Despite the problems posed by the fabric (and ultimately, less than satisfying fit) I'm pretty happy with this coat.  The look is very retro, and it's cozy without being too casual.  And hopefully, nobody will know about the cutting mistake.  Except for you.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Single welt pocket notes

I just finished a marathon coat sewing session.  I'm particularly happy with having figured out how to make a single welt pocket.  There are a million ways to do anything, and this is how I did mine.  I took photos of the first one I did so that I could remember for the second one.  This isn't a tutorial per se, if you know the basics of a double welt pocket, I think you can follow along... but the following may only be useful to me.  If you're here because you want to learn how to make a welt pocket, here is a great tutorial on making double welt pockets from Gorgeous Things.

I wasn't thinking and didn't use fusible weft on the pockets.  As it turned out, organza underlining works just fine.  The pocket placement is marked in chalk.
I basted a scrap of organza to the front.  
Stitch on the marking on the other side.  You can see I wasn't quite sure where the markings were, but that's OK so long as I cut to the right stitching line in the next step.  I used a short stitch in the corners.
Cut through all layers, making cuts to the corners.
Flip your piece over and pull the organza scrap through.  Press it.  You want to make as perfect a window as possible.
Believe it or not, I know it's hard to see, I am pinning the raw edge of the welt to the bottom raw edge of the opening.   Stitch as close to the corners as possible, because this will help you keep a nice rectangle shape.
Stitch the triangles on the end to the welt, trying to keep the rectangle shape as much as possible
If all goes well and you didn't stitch past the top edge of the welt when stitching the triangle, you should have a welt that fills your rectangle window.  I'm checking here to make sure I didn't overstitch.  This is a good time to press that puppy again to make sure everything is in place.
If you've been doing everything right, you've stitched the welt to the bottom and side of the rectangle.  Pin a pocket piece to the top part of the rectangle and stitch, making sure you stitch all the way to the clipped corners.

This is an action shot, of what, I'm not sure.
I hate hand stitching, but I ended up hand stitching the other pocket piece to the welt.
Stitch the pocket seam.

Press it.  You can see I stitched the pocket to the welt again at the top, that's where that mess of thread is because my tension was off.  Stitching the pocket to the welt will keep it from flopping around inside your coat.  Floppy pockets = sad pockets.
Ta dah!  Here's how it looks on the outside.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Vogue 1283, the perfect dress

I saw this dress in Vogue Pattern's spring 2012 lineup and new I had to have it.  I made a muslin according to my measurements, meaning I needed a 10 (there were no measurements on the pattern), and (I've learned) it worked out perfectly.  Here's the final version, in winter white 4-way stretch jersey from's Vera Wang sale last year. 

I wore it with a sweater today.  It is still winter, after all.
I love this design.  I like S-shaped detailed in dresses, and have Vintage Vogue 2787, which I've never gotten around to making because it just didn't seem very wearable to me.  Cut to Vogue 1283, by Tom and Linda Platt, which continues the S-shape to the back and is like a more current version of the vintage design.
Vogue 2787, great in the front, but with coffin back.

I'm not done gushing.  I love the fit.  It skims the body and flatters.  I'm a little disappointed that the arms aren't more form fitting but I've already known that I have twiggy arms.  After seeing annie11's Pattern Review, I considered cutting a size 12 and am glad I didn't.  Like annie11, I didn't need to insert  a zipper at the neck.  I think I might regret having used 4-way stretch jersey, because in my experience it stretches out of shape, but I have already ordered fabric for the next iteration of this dress.  

Some nitty details: the dress is short.  I usually raise a hemline by 2 inches, but only raised this hem by 1 inch.  I used stitch witchery on the sleeve and skirt hems, and was a little disappointed by the fabric bubbling in a few spots.  I think my fabric is a little too light weight for stitch witchery to work its magic.  The dress is comfortable and easy to wear with the self lining, even if you put the lining in backwards (whoops, but I don't think the neckline differs from the front to back.)  I used clear elastic on the seams and neckline instead of stay tape and I think it gathered the neckline in a little bit, but I'm not bothered by it.  Overall, I'm thrilled with this design and plan to make another.  I could see how you could make it in two colors, and think it would look great... but it's a little too adventurous for me.