24 November 2012

Stuck

Three glorious days (including leaving work early on Wednesday) have gone by and not a single stitch has been sewn.  Not.  One.  Don't get me wrong; the desire to sew and create is overwhelming.  Though when it comes to actually doing something, nada.  My sewjo is a fugitive on the run and it's been like this for the last few weeks. 

I'm not productive at the pottery studio either.  When my sewjo takes a break, I can usually keep the creative juices going at the wheel.  This time around?  Nothing.  I might try to go in today for a marathon bowl-throwing session for an upcoming charity event.  We'll see.  Right now, my mind says 'meh.' 

I know what's causing the drag in my motivation. I've experienced a number of heartbreaking disappointments over the last couple of months and it's taking me some time to get over it.  From finally realizing it is time to let go of two situations to regaining almost all the weight I lost last year, "being stuck" is the best way I can describe my current emotional and creative state.  Thankfully I have some very supportive and loving friends in my life with really strong and water-resistant shoulders.

That's all for now.

L

20 November 2012

Sewing Lady Grey

Thanks to everyone for your lovely comments.  I am very happy with my coat and will definitely wear it until it turns arctic.  The coat doesn't have enough built-in warmth to last through a Michigan winter, but it's perfect for transitional fall-to-winter weather.

Fabric & Notions:
  • about 3.5 yards of wool coating (90% wool, 10% nylon)
  • about 2 yards of flannel-backed satin lining (52% acetate, 48% cotton) from Vogue Fabrics
  • light-weight hair canvas from Steinlauf & Stoller
  • fusible interfacing for the facings, collar, and hems
  • small piece of pre-washed muslin for back stay
  • walking foot to ensure even fabric feed
  • silk thread for all hand sewing
  • 90/14 universal needle
  • twill tape to mark lapel roll line
  • 2 11" by 2" strips of bias fleece for sleeve heads
  • serger & thread
  • shoulder pads
Alterations:

Curvy girls, Colette Patterns is your friend!  The pattern drafts are for curvier figures and full busts.  While this is only my second pattern made from this company, a scan of the reviews for other patterns shows that her patterns work on curves.  I have yet to see one of her patterns not flatter someone. 

It is rare that I can sew straight from the envelope; almost everything needs an adjustment.  I started with a straight size 14 and made a muslin out of medium-weight upholstery fabric.  The muslin showed the need for a couple of minor adjustments.



The adjustments only had to due with length.  The front was too long within and below the lapel.  The upper back was a bit too long and I needed a swayback adjustment.  Aside from that, everything else looked okay to me.  No FBA required!



Construction Details:

Tailoring the Coat

If you want to make the coat strictly following the Colette Pattern instructions, then the construction is very straightforward.  I opted to tailor the coat as part of Gertie's Lady Grey Sew Along and as Faye stated, sewing this coat was truly a labor of love.  There is a great deal of hand-sewing with stitches and techniques that were new to me.  Tailoring the coat included hand-basting hair canvas to the front and side front; taping the lapel roll line; pad-stitching the lapel and under collar; interfacing the hems, facings, and undersleeve, inserting sleeve heads; sewing a back stay; and catch-stitching the seam allowances to keep them flat.  This is a lot of work, but well worth the effort. 



The information contained in Gertie's series of blog posts is invaluable and I highly recommend it to anyone who wants a properly tailored coat. The techniques presented in the sew along can be easily adapted to other patterns.  I intend to use them to sew a full-length wool coat complete with lining, interlining, and all the other fixins to keep me nice and toasty through the bitterly cold northern winters. 

Sewing the Coat

All of the raw edges were serged, sewn together on my machine, and pressed open.  I used my clapper to make the seams nice and flat and my tailors ham to press along the front and back princess seams.  I also used a walking foot to ensure even feed of both the fabric and lining.

Pocket Bags
 

The pocket bags are a bit long and tend to hang below the hem. I hand-stitched the bags to the nearest seam allowance. One pocket still tends to dip below the hem, so I will probably just make it smaller by serging off some of the length. My hands are small so I don't think I'll miss the extra room. I knew from following Gertie's sew along that the pockets were low. I thought about moving the pockets up during construction, but they seemed to be too high for me. If you sew this coat, keep this in mind and perhaps give yourself an extra inch or two in length before cutting out your fabric or devise some other plan to handle the pockets.
Belt Loops
 

Initially, I sewed the belt loops onto the back of the coat. I moved them to the side because I didn't like how the loops stuck out at the back. The loops still "bubble out" at the side, but it's less noticeable. If I make this again, I will shorten the loops a bit and maybe add some interfacing for stability.
Shoulder pads
 

I couldn't decide if I wanted to include shoulder pads or not. I have meaty shoulders already and wasn't sure if the extra fluff would be a good thing - especially since this is to be worn over other clothes. Eventually, I settled on a thin shoulder pad (about 0.5-inches thick) and think it looks okay. I compared this shoulder pad to that of a RTW pea coat that I own and find the thinner pad looks better.

Conclusion:
Coat love is in effect!  I love the style and fit of this coat.  It's moderately warm for the weather we're having an a great addition to any wardrobe.  Many thanks again for all of your comments.  =)

Until next time, be well!

17 November 2012

Preliminary Pics of Lady Grey

I only have three pictures to share of my completed Lady Grey coat.  My colleague was on his way out the door and graciously offered to take a moment and snap some pictures.  When I have time to set up my tripod, I'll try to get more shots outside.

 

I love this pattern.  There are some areas that could use a bit of tweaking, but in all I am quite satisfied.  I thought I started a blog post reviewing the pattern alterations and sewing construction, but I can't find it.  Soooo....yeah.  I might just copy and paste what I've written in my pattern review.  =)

Until next time, be well!

L


15 November 2012

YSG: Ramblings

1.  My new 2012 car is in the shop.
2.  Seriously.
3.  To say that I am having a WTF moment underestimates the moment.
4.  For real.
5.  The fuel tank has to be replaced.
6.  O_o
7.  Of course, I just filled that mofo too.  It will be full when I get it back.
8.  "Stand" by Donnie McClurkin is on constant repeat.
9.  The US Court system is a joke.
10.  And not the ha-ha-I-think-I-peed-a-little kind of joke either.
11.  I haven't sewn a stitch in almost a week.
12.  Change is coming.
13.  I had a great workout today.
14.  I forgot what it was like to drive an automatic.
15.  I keep looking for the clutch.
16.  Lady Grey is finished.
17.  The fabric is starting to get fuzzy.
18.  I didn't know wool pilled.
19.  Jon Stewart is hilarious.
20.  Hmm.


L

06 November 2012

Quick Update

Lady Grey Update
I am really close to finishing my Lady Grey coat.  All I need to do is sew on the snaps and attach the pocket bags so that they don't fall beneath the hem.  Finally, I'll take it to the dry cleaner's to give it a good press.  I'm working on a post about sewing the coat, but that will have to wait as work is super busy right now.



Carnival of Skirts
Thanks to everyone who offered encouragement about that crazy Vogue skirt.  I've decided to put it down for now and come back to it.  I really appreciate the feedback and will definitely work on it again. I still intend to complete one skirt for Faye's sew along.  I've cut out a black and white houndstooth skirt and just need to cut the lining.  Hopefully I'll be able to get to it this weekend.

Until next time, be well!

L



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