Butterick 6385: Cafe au Coat

I’m soooo glad that I decided to plough ahead and do a wool coat in spring because it’s snowing today and I have had more than one opportunity to wear it already.  For some reason I figured Butterick 6385 was the easier of the two coats on the one I  should work on first. In reality I think that it was just the least expensive of the two ( less and lower cost fabric) so If I messed it up I wouldn’t feel as bad. The pattern itself was harder.

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The fabric I used was a 100% wool coating from Fabric.com in the color Cafe au Lait. I bought it during one of their 70% off sales so I scored 3 yards for just $36. Turns out I only needed 2 yards….and suggestions on how to use the last yard? Once it arrived it seemed a bit thin (again, hindsight it was probably fine). After reading an article on threads called Understanding Underlining I decided some flannel would make a cozy addition to the interior. Boy was it time intensive! First you cut out the flannel out of the same pieces as the coat.   Then stack them and baste down the middle. Trim the flannel to account for turn of cloth. The hand baste the flannel to the wool and treat as a single piece.  I think the extra effort was worth it because it made the coat super warm and toasty but I don’t think I will be using it on my blue coat because everything got very bulky.

Once I stitched the panels together I trimmed the flannel pressed the seams open and then catch-stitched all the seams by hand hoping to alleviate some of that aforementioned bulk.

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So much hand work, my fingers were hating me! At this point I took a break to make my easter dress.

Having never done a coat before I found some interesting details in the pattern. I’m not sure it this is standard or not but I think it makes my coat seem more special. The lining has its own separate pattern pieces and the center back includes a little pleat to allow extra mobility across the back in between the shoulder blades.

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The pocket (per the pattern) has wool on the side touching you and lining on the other side. So if the pocket peaks open you only see wool but the bulk is reduced by using lining for the other half

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The lining is attached around the wrists and neck but is allowed to hand free across the bottom. I took a quick look at my Calvin Klein coat and i’ts made the same way.  I liked this because the lining doesn’t pull in any weird way. I did some thread chains to attach the lining at the various seams.  I also catch stitch the coat hem so there are no visible topstitching.

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Enough construction notes…you want to see this puppy on right! You’ll notice it’s missing buttons. I bought some nice big wooden ones but when it came time for buttonholes I could not get my machine to do them. It made them just fine when I did a test on double thickness of wool but for some reason  it’s just too thick to work on the coat.  I could sew the holes by hand with a blanket stitch but I’m worried that it would look to messy and I would hate to mess up all the work I did with messy button holes. For the time being it’s to be a closureless coat. Lesson learned, do bound buttonholes on the next coat ( that one only has two so it shouldn’t be too bad).

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me-thinks I may have over pressed it

I can’t help but feel like a girl-boss when I wear this coat. It turned out almost exactly like I envisioned.

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Butterick 5814 – Betty Bombshell

I apologize for my lapse in posting. I have been trying to get a youtube channel up and the weathers been so grey and gloomy that it has been difficult to take photographs. Also I have now managed to stuff my stash full of fall/winter fabric just in time for spring so i’m sort of at a quandary of “what to make next”. I am sort of wanting to make a wool coat but fear that being out of sync with the seasonings will make for a bad blog post….Im coming into that dangerous time were the the blog is starting to dictate the sewing  and not the other way around which is not were I want to be!

For todays dress I used the bodice of Butterick 5814 and a self drafted skirt.

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I spent weeks working on the bodice and ran into a slew of fitting issues. I wanted to lengthen the front but of course the pattern didn’t provide any lines . I also tried  to raise the neckline a tad for modesty ( though I think its still a little bare and I may add some lace in later). I also futzed around with the sleeves since they kept falling off. I eventually got it to an OK place but i’m not 100% pleased with it. The pleats in the bodice create some fullness that Im not loving. I tried to take my time and tried some new (to me) techniques. I used some twill tape to stabilize the bias cu v-neck and back line. I also added in so stay tape before sewing in the zipper.

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The bodice also has spiral steel boning added to the lining. I made casing for the boning out of rayon seam binding from my stash. It’s all inclosed inside the lining so you won’t see the green when it is done.

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The skirt was a headache as well. I used an online tutorial for how to flat draft the skirt and the first muslin had these wacky wide fins on my hips. It took 3 more tries before I got something I was happy with and even still I had to pull the dress on and off a half dozen times shaving millimeters off to get the perfect fit.  I also contemplated for a while on what to do with the lining. The fashion fabric has a slight stretch to it which makes sitting down in a form fitting pencil skirt a little more comfortable. However I knew I wanted to wear this dress with heels which means stockings are needed and that means slippery lining. I ended up putting in a full lining out of matching bemburg. I left the skirt lining bigger then the fashion fabric in order to accommodate thigh spread when sitting. I am happy I did because I think it adds a luxurious feel to the finished dress.

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You’ll also notice from the above picture that I added a kick pleat to the lined skirt. I am very happy with how this turned out though I don’t think I would self-draft this again. I want to try and find a pattern that already has it included so that I can get the precise angles.

At least for now I feel like all the effort was worth it because I feel like Marilyn when I put it on even if the bodice is  bit wonky!

Unfortunately the fabric doesn’t photography well. The  sheen of the sateen brings out every little wrinkle. If you want to see the dress in motion Click Here

Simplicity 3688: the “whine” pants

I have had this pattern for quite some time now and never got around to making anything from it other then stealing the skirt pieces for another dress. I bought a pair of pine green wide leg trousers a few months back and I really loved the way looked on my so I figured this was a good pattern to start with for a me-made version.

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The end result was everything I had hoped. The only thing I would change would be to add some pockets and do a curved waistband.

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So why are they my whine pants?  Well first off they are wine colored but I had such a hard time making them that I was whining the whole time! Don’t get me wrong the pattern is actually pretty easy to make but I was a bit of a perfectionist and redid several parts 2 or 3 times ( Zipper, Cuff, and Waistband)…also when I finished Tony whined that I made another retro pattern.

I made a couple of alterations. I added 2″ to the front and back crotch length ( so 4″ total) it makes it hang a little low but it’s just perfect when I go to sit down so I’ll take it. Also most of the authentic 40s pants seem to do the same thing. I also added 5″ to the length of the pants. Some of that additional length was used to make cuffs. I think the cuffs really help to anchor the wide leg and help it hang better. Finally I widened the waistband to be 2″ though I wish I had curved it so it would have sat close to the body better.

This was my first lapped zipper. I must have watched that tutorial 8 times and it still took me 3 attempts before I sewed it correctly.  I overcame my obstacles in the end!

I took a fellow bloggers advice and put the zipper in first and then adjusted the fit along the darts. Boy did it need adjusting. In the picure you can see how I more then doubled the length of the front dart and widened them. I also took in the center front and back seems as well. After it was all said and done I think I took in almost 3″

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All the effort was worth it because I think they hang beautifully and they make my legs look ten feet long.

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Finishing the Formal Dress

I gave up on my blue taffeta dress quite some time ago. I had already decided to make something else for the event and it was just staring at me in my pile of failures. there were just so many things wrong:

  1. The original idea of a draped bodice was just beyond my capabilities.
  2. The icky polyester taffeta would be sooooo uncomfortable to wear.
  3. The design doesn’t have much mobility.
  4. Completely unpractical to travel across the country in a plane with the giant petticoat.

Pattern Review.com was running a UFO contest in January so I thought it might be worth just finishing it for the contest and maybe I could even recoup the material cost with the gift card winnings. Spoiler Alert:

UFO Contest 2017

 

I found out about the contest on January 29 and procrastinated a few days before starting. It had to be submitted by Feb 4th and I wasn’t sure I had time to do the dress justice.

I started with making the skirt. I want to do this before the bodice since I know that it will take up the most fabric and I wanted a properly full skirt.

To start I used the waist from a skirt pattern in Gertie’s Ultimate dress book.

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I placed it on the corner of the fabric and then used a tape measurer to mark a 30″ skirt around it. I cut one on a fold and two  on the salvage. I sewed the three panels together and pinned the box pleats in place, ironed them and basted it.

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Since the taffeta unravels like a beast I decided to finish the top edge with some black hem tape so I won’t have to worry about it as I handle it. Ialso finished the bottom with a blind hem.dsc_0067

Now onto the bodice. when we last left it looked like thisdsc_0047

Despite all my efforts I could not get it to work. I would drape it, pin it, sew it, put it back on the dress form and suddenly it would transform into a tortured mess. I think I did 3 tries before I abandoned it.  A quick pivot and I ended up with this:

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I had already drafted the bodice as I had intended the draped fabric to attach to it. I glammed up the neckline with some simple beading using grey glass pearls with smaller black iridescent beads flanking either side.

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I’m not sure I will ever wear it out…I’m not sure I’ll even keep it together, I mean this bodice is just too impractical. I may cut it up and turn the bottom into a skirt and salvage the beading for another project. Or perhaps draft another bodice with a little more coverage. I still don’t think I will call it quits on this dress until I run out of fabric and can’t do anymore! The skirt on OTOH is what retro dreams are made of. So much fabric and the perfect shape with the matching petticoat. I didn’t even bother putting horse hair in the hem like I had originally planned.  I will certainly be coming back to this skirt design perhaps in a more  casual fabric.

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Now it’s off to fabric mart to spend my winnings. One thing’s for sure, I am getting the Ginger Jeans pattern that I have had my eye on for months!

Simplicity 2446 Blazer with Contrast

I asked Tony what I should sew next and he picked blazer so that’s what I did! I used the same Simplicity 2446 pattern as I did for my Chocolate Wool Blazer, this time I was inspired by view B and picked up a 1/4 yard of black velvet for the contrast collar and pocket flaps.

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I felt like my last blazer was a bit too long waisted ( I did add 1.5″ to just as standard practice) so this time around I removed the extensions and went back to the original pattern length. I did however keep the arm length adjustment from before. Unfortunately this blazer was not as enjoyable to sew, both the plaid and velvet were a fraying nightmare. Mostly I just wanted to be done with it….now that it is done I love it!

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I remembered to snap a picture of the insides this time before I turned it right side out. In an effort to not make another trip to Joann’s I made my own shoulder-pads this time out of batting and some remnant material. Also in the shot is the fleece that is used as the sleeve heading which gives the shoulder a nice roll.

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Even though the velvet in the collar is interface bottom and top it not as crips as I would like. I did a line of invisible hand stitching in the seams where the collar attaches to the blazer to keep it from looking baggy.

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For the front I sewed button holes in but I don’t think I will be buttoning this so I didn’t cut them open. For the front leather buttons I used small black buttons to secure them on the back side to make it look clean and professional.

 

For as much of a struggle as this was to make i’m still pretty pleased with the results…but I have decided to put off any more jacket/coat sewing for awhile. I just want to make a satisfying girly dress next.

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Trial Run of Simplicity 1070

I have purchased all the fabric to make the complete outfit on Simplicity 1070 ( Skirt, crop top, and jacket) but I thought I would try out the skirt first to see how it goes.

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I cut and sewed up this skirt on one afternoon and then wore it on a business trip the next day. On its first outing I realized that the knit interfacing I used was not going to work so its been sitting in my closet for a few weeks for me to think of what to do. I finally just removed the facing and cut a new facing this time using just a woven interfacing instead.

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Its weird that the pattern very specifically says “Knits Only” but the skirt has a back zip and I think would actually work better in a woven because you wouldn’t have that stretching out on the waistband throughout the day.

The woven interfacing certainly help it fit a little more snugly but I am still having issues with the facing rolling over to the outside despite under stitching. I will have to go back to the drawing board and think of a way to resolve this before I  set out making the complete outfit. One thought I had was to do an encased thick elastic waist band that you fold over to the inside so that you still have that same smooth line on the outside and no zipper. The only issue with that is this is supposed to sit 2″ above the waist and I have a feeling that elastic would slide down and sit at the natural waist.

 

 

Self Drafted Vest

After sewing a cushion for uzzi out of the wool remnants from my blazer I figured I had just enough left to make a vest. With no pattern that I liked I decided to try and copy a RTW vest from my closet. For my first copycat it didn’t go too poorly though I did make it a wee bit too small. Guess its time to lay off the cookies 🙂

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I also had enough of the original red lining to do the whole vest so other then the buttons this was a complete stash buster!

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The insides have a wool facing along the front center and the rest is bemburg

 

I think it looks really great with the blazer, though I need to make some higher waisted pants (I’ve got my eye on you Ginger Jeans!).