31 March 2014

McCall's 5525 (trench coat): Progress

After finally catching a break from busy times at work, I got a chance to sew this weekend.  My trench coat is coming along slowly, but surely.

Remember these pictures?
Yeah, I didn't use any of this.  Hah.  I was looking forward to working some silk magic but ended up ditching that idea in the end.  I still plan to make the navy blue trench coat, but for fall instead of now.  The red stretch cotton sateen was a world of swears waiting to happen, so back to the stash it goes.

I went traditional with a sandy-colored cotton twill with a hint of sheen on the right side.  Despite the dull color, this was the right choice of fabric.  It's not too heavy and presses nicely.
I'm sort of half-following the instructions.  I completed the back first and fiddled around with the front - filling in blanks as I needed.  For example, I made the button hole in the back yoke before attaching it to the back.  Why in the world would you want to work a buttonhole after the whole coat is constructed?  In fact, the instructions save all of the buttonholes until the end.  O_o  Who thought this was a good idea? #FailWaitingToHappen
I'm not feeling the gun flap.  I hadn't pressed it yet in this picture, but have since then.  I'll give it another day on the dress form before deciding to keep or ditch it.  I don't know why it's puckering like this.  Maybe I needed to adjust the flap for the FBA.
I included a back stay out of pre-washed muslin.  I do this on (almost) all jackets and coats.
The jacket and sleeve hems are interfaced as well.  For some reason I thought the hem was 5/8" so I cut strips just slightly larger than that.  Then I read (somewhere) that the hems are 1 5/8".  Oops. 

Here's where the coat stands.  I have to refit the sides and decide on the gun flap before I can go on to the epaulettes.  In the meantime, I tried out button ideas and I think the dark brown buttons make the jacket look timeless.  Problem is:  I only have ten buttons and I need eleven.  I bought the buttons over a year ago and can't find them anymore.  Waaaah. 

That's all for now.  Until next time, peace!


23 March 2014

McCall's 5525 (trench coat): Fitting & Adjustments

I make a muslin for everything.  As much as I try to talk myself out of doing it, I know it's a necessary sewing evil.  Before I cut out the pattern pieces, I compared them to the pieces from Indygo Junction 740 and Lady Grey.  They were so off (as in small, way small) that I almost ditched the pattern.  Why re-invent the wheel when I have two patterns that fit well already?


Not to be outdone, I forged on anyway.  I made a 1" FBA, removed 3/4" from the center back and side back seams, and added the length back to to the hem. 

Then came the muslin.

The coat is big in the hips and waist, but that's an easy fix.  I sewed 1/2" seam allowances along the princess seams, but could probably go back to 5/8".  I'm going to attach the collar next.  If I like it, I'm ready to cut out the shell fabric.  

I also shortened the sleeves two inches.  Do people really have arms this long or am I just freakishly short?

Finally, I decided to not use the red stretch cotton sateen.  It's a rather thick fabric and I think that could create a lot of bulk when it's time to sew the collar, band, and all interfaced pieces.  Instead I will use a light-weight cotton twill that I acquired in my recent wagon-falling incident.

I was going to sew view C with the length of D, but I will make the shorter length instead.   I'll sew the longer version for fall.  Incidentally, I think I only have enough fabric for the shorter version.  My fabric shrunk a nine inches (O_o) after washing and drying.  I'm going to press the fabric today and lay out the pattern pieces.  Hopefully I can get everything to fit!

Since I am using a different fabric, I need to select a new lining.  I'll use some Ambiance from the stash.

Spring is my favorite season and I'm so glad it's here!  The birds are singing, the sun is bright, and the snow is melting.  Wheeeeeee... =)


17 March 2014

8 Weeks...

...is how long I went without a fabric purchase.  Well, almost eight weeks.  I bought two yards of quilting cotton to make more napkins and two yards of lining for my wool jacket.  That doesn't count, though.  Those fabrics came in and went right back out into the regular rotation.

These latest purchases on the other hand...the stash that shall not be named has just grown by several yards.

Tell me I'm not the only one watching the wagon ride into the sunset.


16 March 2014

Next Project: Trench Coat

Apparently I can't stay away from time-consuming and challenging sewing projects for too long!  I've been eying a trench coat for weeks and now that I have the fabric, game is on.

My first thought was to use a red stretch cotton sateen, but since acquiring a REALLY NICE navy cotton twill, I am thinking about using it instead.  I bought three yards of the twill with the intention of making a jacket and pencil skirt.  But I can't shake the idea of using it for the trench coat.  Hmmmmm....maybe I should make two trench coats...

I was also concerned about topstitching the stretch fabric and what type of interfacing to use.  I made a skirt out of stretch cotton sateen, but...uh...that's not a coat. =)  

In the meantime, I made a couple of pattern alterations and a muslin of McCall's 5525.  So far, things look pretty good.  I'll detail the changes I made in the next post.

It's not too late to join the Trench Coat Sew Along.

Until next time, peace!


10 March 2014

McCall's 6841 (knit top): Complete & Other Stuff

After finishing the funky bells, I needed something simple to sew.  View C of this pattern has two pieces.  TWO.  Can't get more simple than that, right?

When this pattern first came out, I wasn't a fan because of the giant front drape.  But after seeing several versions, I decided to try it.

Sorry for the single crummy photo.  I was too tired to go through the motions with the tripod and camera settings.  Why do we still observe Daylight Savings Time?  Waaaaaaah!  

  On with the review...

Fabric & Notions:
  • 2 yards of purple rayon Lycra knit
  • sewing machine for pleats
  • serger and coverstitch machines for seams and hems 

Fitting/Alterations:  I cut a medium and didn't make a muslin.  I figured the ginormity of the front drape would provide enough ease.  I didn't make any adjustments.

Instructions:  The first thing you're instructed to do is finish the edge of the front drape.  Knits don't ravel and this step is really unnecessary.  I knew this and tried to finish the edge anyway.  Bad idea.  I serged about six inches and stopped because the fabric was getting chewed up in the worst way.  I picked the stitches and left the edge raw.  Sanity?  Check.

The top is simple to construct.  The only step that gave fits was the part where you roll the top in a burrito to sew the back neck to itself.  I couldn't wrap (hah!) my head around the orientation of the garment.  After arranging the top in a way that mimicked the drawing, I was able to sew the correct edges together.  To make this part easier, make sure you mark the shoulder notches with chalk.  This will help with making sure everything is properly aligned.

Construction:  Easy peasy.  Sew pleats.  Sew CF.  Sew sides.  Sew shoulders.  Burrito thing.  Hem. 

Wear Factor:  It's great to hide my affinity for most things chocolate (no chocolate cake/ice cream..bleh).  The only thing I don't like is the fullness in the back.  I tried to add some shaping to the side seams, but it didn't work.  I think this is just how the top is designed.  The only thing I found a bit annoying is that the stitched CF sometimes falls to the outside - if that makes any sense.  I found myself adjusting it constantly.  Score:  7/10

Conclusion:  I'll probably make one more - maybe in a print.  This is a pretty distinctive style and I think one or two is enough for me.

Funky Bells Update

I wore the funky bells skating on Friday.  When I asked my skate buddy (who knows that I sew) what he thought about the jeans, he grabbed a "bell", wrapped it tightly around my ankle, and said, "Much better."  Bwahahaha!  What does he know?!

For the most part, the jeans survived the 'roll test.'  After prolonged wear and movement, I could feel that the front crotch length was way too long.  If I make another pair of pants from this pattern, I definitely have to make an adjustment.

Trench Coat Sew Along
A group of us are planning to sew a trench coat for Spring/Fall.  If you're interested in joining, head on over to the Trench Coat Sew Along Blog.  It's not too late to join and all are welcome!

Until next time, peace!


07 March 2014

Trench Coat Sew Along

Thanks to all who have expressed interest in sewing along with me.  I'm ready to begin working on the coat and am excited to join you.  

Head on over to the Trench Coast Sew Along blog for more information! I created a button/badge to add to your blog if you'd like.


05 March 2014

Let's Get Our Sew On

Sweet.  I'm glad to see a few folks willing to jump into the "trenches" with me.  I'll set up a separate blog in a couple of days and send out an invite to join.

BeccaA writes:  "I have just been mulling over some trench patterns. I just made my daughter a Robson trench and would like to make myself another trench. Burda has several patterns that look interesting and I am also considering making a Robson for myself. I think I want to do some tailoring innards for this coat--hair canvas? pad stitching?--and this has been my hold up in deciding what to do next. It would be great to have some company on this project."

I agree 100%.  I'd love to have some company in the construction of this coat and that's why I'm glad many are interested in sewing along.

Niema writes:    "Darn it! I think if I make another trench coat my husband will take my sewing machine away. But I do have some coral and yellow poplins...hmm. Count me as a maybe."

It was your minty fresh trench that started this!  If you all haven't seen Niema's coat, check it out here.  

Lisa Finley writes:  I'm definitely interested! How soon do you want to start?

Yes.  Let's talk timelines.  I'd like to have my coat done by May.  If we start soon, I think this is totally possible.  I can suggest a timeline for sewing, but there is no obligation to follow it.  Low bar, folks.  Looooow bar. =)

Here's what I'm thinking:

Now - 15 Mar:  gather pattern, fabric, and notions
15 Mar - 31 Mar:  muslin and alterations
1 Apr - 30 Apr:  sew and tell

Whaddaya think?  Too long?  Too short?  Missing something?


04 March 2014

I Want a Trench Coat

After a lengthy project, I like to "take a break" and make something simple for a while.  I did that.  I made McCall's 6841 (post forthcoming) and want to make other simple tops.  The thing is, I cannot stop thinking about making a trench coat.  I've read skimmed almost every single review of McCall's 5525 on PR.  I pre-washed my stretch cotton sateen and scoured the internet looking for ideas on lining fabric and buttons. 

This coat is happening.  Maybe even two.

Anyone want to sew along with me?  I have no set timeline - except to have it ready to wear in late April/early May.  We can break it down by weeks and tasks. There was a trench sew along a few years ago that seemed to be quite successful.  I think it's time for another one!

If you're interested, let me know!


03 March 2014

Lupita Nyong'o - Gorgeous!

Everything about her is just fantastic and her stylist knows how to pick the right clothes, styles, and accessories.

source:  Tom & Lorenzo

She wears regular clothes, too, and is still stunning.  Gorgeous!!

I actually sewed something today.  Details soon!


02 March 2014

In Memory of Dr. Lee Lorch

I am saddened by the passing of Dr. Lorch.  He was simply a wonderful man whose dedication ending segregation and promote equal rights for all was immeasurable.  I had the great pleasure and opportunity to meet and connect with him during a program for women in mathematics several years ago.  To listen to him talk was like watching the cosmos - lots of energy, history, and promise.

An obituary for Dr. Lorch appeared in yesterday's NY Times.  Click here to read. 



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