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Tailoring the Vogue Coat, pt 2

23 Dec

Man. Tailoring. It is always (always!) worth the extra cost and effort, but lord I always forget how much extra effort is actually involved. I’ve been plugging along on my coat since I last posted my progress, so here’s what I’ve been up to in the meantime!

I finally got the padstitching on the lapels done. That alone took the longest – not because padstitching takes forever, necessarily (well, I guess it depends on the size of the lapels), but because I kept putting it off for as long as possible. I was not looking forward to how long it would take. Guys – when I finally sat down and made myself do it, I finished both lapels in like 45 minutes. I’m such a baby, haha! Fortunately, while I was putting off the padstitching, I was not sitting idle – I skipped ahead of the instructions, and assembled the coat back (minus the tailoring) and lining, so that should save me some time now.

Now, I totally could have skipped the padstitching – it’s not 100% necessary, although it will 100% of the time make your coat look sooo much nicer. RTW coats do NOT have this sort of tailoring in them, and they obviously get away with it because people still buy them. But look at what a difference it makes:

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

If you can’t tell, the padstitched lapel is on the left (the side that overlaps), and the one that hasn’t been padstitched is on the right (the underlap). Do you see how flat the non is in comparison to the one with stitching? It’s pretty incredible!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

LOOK AT THAT ROLL LINE, JUST LOOK AT IT.

Padstitching, in a nutshell, is basically just sewing diagonal stitches in straight lines (eventually forming a bunch of chevrons) using silk thread, so the hair canvas adheres to the coating fabric. You don’t sew all the way through the fabric – just pick up a little nip here and there to keep things connected. You hold the fabric+canvas over your fingers so it is encouraged to roll while you sew, and then when you’re finished, you steam the shit outta that sucker so it is hold it’s shape. Again, time consuming and not totally necessary, but it really is the difference between “Hey, I made a coat” and “~*Hey I tailored a fucking coat are you so impressed*~”. I mean, I’m impressed with myself and I haven’t even finished the thing yet!

After I finished the Dreaded Lapels, I focused my attention on the collar.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

First, I sewed the two under collar pieces together. These are cut on the bias, so they will stretch and sit correctly underneath the upper collar. They are also cut slightly smaller than the upper collar, so the seam will roll to the underside and you won’t see it. That’s the plan, anyway.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring
Vogue Coat - Tailoring

To sew the interfacing pieces together (remember, they need to be on the bias so I can’t cut them on the fold), I removed all seam allowances and zig-zagged the pieces together at the center, secured with a piece of seam binding. I then marked my roll line and, I know, it looks really shitty. Sorry about that.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

As with the lapels, I marked the padstitching lines with my trusty Sharpie. Above the roll line gets heavy padstitching (1/4″ tall, spaced 1/4″ apart) and below the roll line is more lightly padstitched (1/2″ tall, spaced 1/2″ apart). This will help the collar to stand so it looks nice and full and not sad and flat.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

After I finished padstitching, I wrapped the collar around my tailor’s ham and, again, steamed the shit out of it. So qt, so pro.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

I drafted a back stay, although my pattern doesn’t call for it. It’s always a good thing to include, though – it’ll reduce the strain on the coat back from moving your arms around/hugging people, and thus give your coat a longer lifespan. Plus, you can use cheapie muslin and I love me some cheaping out.

By the way, I use the term “draft” veryyyy loosely. I pinned my back and side back pieces together (so they would be one continuous piece with no seams) and marked 8″ below the neckline and 3″ below the armhole, then used my curved ruler to connect the two lines.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

The resulting piece (cut on the fold, because, again, no seamlines) is the back stay. I pinked the bottom edge so there wouldn’t be a sharp line on the outside of my coat. Real talk: this is the only reason why I own pinking shears at all. For tailoring. I’m not even kidding about that a little bit.

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

The back stay then lays on top of the coat back and is basted to the arm holes, side seams, neckline, and shoulder edges. The bottom just kind of flaps free in the breeze. And that’s all there is to it!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

I also stabilized my shoulder seams with twill tape – no real reason, except that my Tailoring book (lol why the fuck is that listed at $65 what is this madness) said it was a good idea so I just went along with it. It should reduce the strain at the shoulders, which is good because this coat is starting to get a little heavy!

Vogue Coat - Tailoring

Finally, I catch-stitched down all my seams on the coating fabric, catching only the underlining. Honestly, I should have done this as I sewed each piece – I really had to reach up under the back stay to get some of those seams sewn down – but I wasn’t thinking about it at the time. Catch-stitching down the seam allowances is one of those weird optional steps that isn’t necessarily bad if you skip it (like I was planning to), but it does help keep everything in place on the inside, thus prolonging the life of your coat. And, I mean, it’s sort of relaxing. I really love to catch stitch, what can I say?

So there’s that! I’m mostly done with the fiddly tailoring at this point – I still have the sleeves to deal with, but they shouldn’t be too bad. Since I’ve already assembled the lining, it’s really now just a matter of putting everything together.

My original plan was to have this finished by Christmas, but I’m now shifting that to a (hopeful) NYE completion date. Construction hasn’t necessarily been dragging- I just haven’t been home at all to work on it! My dad ended up in the hospital last Monday, where they discovered that his colon was completely blocked due to cancer, so they wheeled him into emergency surgery on Tuesday and cut out 30% of that shit (pun intended). They also removed a bunch of lymph nodes and tested those – turns out that stuff is cancer-free, which is AWESOME – but he does have spots on his liver that will require him to go through chemo. Scary, scary shit, man. Fortunately, my dad has been a total trooper and by Wednesday morning he was walking up and down the halls like a champion. Things are good now – he finally passed gas yesterday (lol @ us being excited about my dad farting, considering he regularly likes to stink us out), and we’re hoping he can be home in time for Christmas. Fingers crossed! Although, to be honest, I’ll totally spend Christmas in that tiny hospital room if I have to!

I don’t like to discuss my personal life here much, this being a sewing blog and all, but my dad is a pretty inspiring/amazing dude. He regularly runs ultra marathons – 50-100+ miles at a time, up a mountain, sleeping in the bushes, that’s all normal for him. I laugh when someone corrects me for saying 500k (“Oh, you mean 5k, silly.” “No, dipshit, I meant 500k. He ran 314 miles.”) when I brag about his racing. And dude is fast – he regularly smokes out all the little 25 year olds who run the same races. Not bad for a 54 year old who looks like Santa! Not to be a total sap, but getting to spend the last week with my family (despite the less-than-ideal circumstances) and knowing that my dad is going to be a-ok is literally the best Christmas present I could have ever asked for. I’m just so thankful.
❤️❤️

Anyway, I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas! I’m hoping to get in some much-needed sewing time – my machine has been idle for way too long :)

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Tailoring the Vogue Coat

5 Dec

When I originally posted my Vogue coat muslin posts, there was quite a bit of interest about what goes in the process of making a coat from start to finish. I’m not one to tease, so here’s a glimpse into what I’ve been up to, coat-wise, for the past couple of weeks.

The first thing I should mention is that coat-making isn’t hard. It is time consuming, for sure, but anyone with a few projects under their belt could easily tackle this. It might take you a couple of months, and you may have some hair-pulling moments (either with deciphering instructions or actually trying follow them), but it’s doable. I don’t know who started this whole thing of ~omg coat-making is so hard~ (probably the same person who said that sewing with knits was also difficult. Nope! It sure ain’t!), but, ugh, just ignore them. It’s not hard. It’s time consuming, it’s expensive, and you definitely need to muslin the shit out of your pattern before you even think about cutting into your coating… but in reality, it’s not terribly different from making a lined skirt or dress. You just need to follow a few more steps. You can also totally omit the whole tailoring part, with the special interfacing and padstitching and bound button holes and all that – and then shit gets super easy (well, as super easy as sewing a lined garment can get :)). Personally, I don’t see the point in spending all that money on a garment if you’re not going to go all out and do the whole nine yards, but then again, I think tailoring is fun. So do what you will.

My first task, post-muslin, was to start cutting the plaid coating. I won’t go into detail on that process – basically the same steps as the tutorial I posted on matching plaid – and it took foreverrrr. Seriously, I think I spent close to three hours just cutting the outside fabric! WOOF. I also had to cut interfacing (I am using hair canvas, which is a hefty interfacing commonly used for tailoring purposes, such as coats!), lining, and silk organza. The silk organza was a last-minute addition – I originally wasn’t planning on underlining, although the pattern calls for it, since I don’t need my coating to be super warm in our mild winters. However, my pattern is a fairly structured peacoat, and the coating has a bit of a loose weave, so I decided to underline with silk organza to give it that nice crisp hand without adding a lot of bulk or unneeded warmth.

Vogue Coat WIP

Silk organza can be expensive, and some people like to use poly if it’s not touching the skin… but personally, if I’m going to dump all this time and money into a coat, the couple dollars in price difference doesn’t really effect my final budget. So I went with silk, since it presses nicely along with the wool.

The bonus part of using an organza underlining (or really, any underlining at all) is that you can mark directly on the underlining and you don’t have to worry about it showing through the coat fabric. I totally use a sharpie. Go ahead, judge me.

I underlined my pieces flat on my tabletop (see this tutorial if you need more info on underlining!), using silk basting thread and going alllll the way around each piece. Every piece is underlined except the facing – only because I ran out of silk organza :). I will be interfacing that piece with a fusible. This process took a long time, but it’s pretty relaxing work – perfect for grabbing the computer and watching shitty documentaries. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.

After underlining, it was time to put in the bound button holes!

Vogue Coat WIP

I was actually a little scared of this part! I don’t know why – I’ve sewn plenty of successful bound button holes in my day, and used a different technique each time. Maybe I’m out of practice, but for whatever reason, I was not looking forward to this part and I definitely put it off for like, a week. Which is shitty because bound button holes are the kind of thing that get done before you do any other work on the coat, so that meant the project was put on hold until I got my ass in gear and put those damn button holes in the front piece!

To make my button holes, I wanted to try yet another technique, so I downloaded Karen’s e-book on bound button holes and followed her instructions. Folks, these are the prettiest, most perfect button holes I’ve ever made on the first try. Seriously! If you have any concerns about doing these, or have fucked them up in the past, you should definitely check out her book. I think I paid about $3.50 for it after the rate conversion. For $3.50, you really have no excuses.

Vogue Coat WIP

I mean – look at them! I even managed to match up the plaid on that particular one, ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

As I mentioned previously, the instructions include all the steps needed for a fully tailored coat, so fortunately I don’t need to compile a list of steps and modify the pattern to suit my needs. They are a little different from the previous coats I’ve made, in that some of the pieces are sewn together before you start with the interfacing and pad stitching. Personally, I like to do all that before I assemble the rest of the coat because it makes it easier to handle, but I’m also a stickler for following instructions. So, I attached the pocket, the front and side pieces (being careful to match up the plaid, which for some reason took me like an HOUR. Shifty plaid, go die.). I attached the interfacing using long basting stitches with my silk thread. This took a while, but I also recently rediscovered all my favorite awful pop-punk and ska bands from my youth, so I may or may not have had a personal dance party in the process.

Vogue Coat WIP

Here you can see some of the details – the hair canvas, the uneven permanent basting with the silk thread, my underlining, the pressed open seams. It’s coming along, that’s for sure!

Vogue Coat WIP

Next, I sewed my twill tape to the roll line of the collar. This will help the collar keep it’s shape as a wear it, since the twill tape will dictate how it falls at the fold line. You measure your twill tape to the length of the roll line, then subtract 1/4″ from the length and ease the coating to the tape and catch stitch it down. Pretty simple, but it makes a huge difference in the finished coat.

I also marked my pad stitching lines on the collar, but I forgot to take a photo. I totally used that sharpie, too. Ha!

Vogue Coat WIP

So that’s where we are now! The coat fronts have been mostly assembled – I just need to pad stitch the collar, and it’ll be ready to attach to the back and side back pieces. Obviously, it’s not anywhere near completion, but that doesn’t stop me from pinning it to my dress form and pretending it’s a coat. Call it inspiration, or call it a kick in the pants, or whatever. Either way, I’d love to finish this by Christmas, but we’ll see!

I know the plaid looks like it doesn’t match in those pictures, but the fronts are not properly overlapped. Trust me. Three hours of cutting means all the plaid fucking matches, dammit.

What’s on your sewing table this week?

The Vogue Coat: Muslin #2

15 Nov

Well well, 3 posts in one week! That doesn’t happen too often, huh? Hopefully y’all aren’t tooooo sick of hearing from me, because I have lots to say apparently!

Starting with yet ANOTHER muslin post. Forreal, tho, y’all were so helpful in my last muslin post, that I’m sticking my hand back in the cookie jar again. A little help, yes yes?

Coat Muslin, part 2

First things first, you probably noticed that this coat looks entirely different – that’s because it’s a different pattern altogether! I ended up scrapping the original Vogue pattern plan – a shame, because I really wanted to use it (it was a gift from a reader, and I like to make use of awesome things, see), but there’s no point in trying to make something work that needs, well, that much work. Especially considering all the modifications I’d have to make beyond just sizing – including drafting a new lining, facing, and undercollar. No, no thank you.

So I dug around in my stash and pulled out Vogue 7666, which happens to actually be in my size. And to make things extra exciting, this pattern has all sorts of fun goodies in the instructions for creating a beautiful hand-tailored coat – things like separate lining pieces, instructions for padstitching, a marked roll line, etc. Fun!

Coat Muslin, part 2

I made up a quickie muslin and here are the pictures! Based on everyone’s suggestions, I am wearing this muslin with a sweater underneath, and I slipped some shoulder pads in the muslin as well. The shoulder pads may be on the large size, I dunno, they were in my stash.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I think it fits much better than the first, off the bat. Look, the arm holes are normal!

Coat Muslin, part 2

I can’t tell if the shoulders need to be narrowed a little, though?

Coat Muslin, part 2
Coat Muslin, part 2

Back and sides look ok.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I know the back looks a little loose, but I honestly can’t go much smaller without making the coat difficult to move around in.
Also, ignore that weird shit going on at the bottom half – there will be a back vent there, but I didn’t bother sewing it in the muslin, ha.

Coat Muslin, part 2

I know the collar and lapels are kind of weird and pointy, but I like them! Keep in mind that they will be a little bit smaller – the 5/8″ seam allowance is there, and once I get the facing installed there will be notches and topstitching and all that.

I also need button help! What would you choose? I really love these black glass buttons from Mood Fabrics – one, two, three or four?

Or do you have a better suggestion? My only requirements are that they are black (sorry, but I think anything other than black is just going to look off with my fabric choice), 1″ with shank, and they reeeeally need to be $3.50 or less because I need 8! Again, you can see my fabric and pattern in this Instagram picture.

Coat Muslin, part 2

Sooo, to sum up: coat muslin #2, y/n? See any fitting changes I need to address before I start slicing in to my beautiful coating?

Vogue 2765, The Muslin

4 Nov

I’m afraid I don’t have a finished object to show y’all today. For exactly one week now, I’ve been dealing with a kidney stone that will NOT leave my body. Seriously, I’ve had these before and they generally pass within a day or two, but these little shits have made a home inside me, I guess, and no amount of water (or other weird home remedy, yes, I drank the olive oil and lemon juice, eww) will expel them. I hate peeing into a screen, I hate taking painkillers, and I hate this little segment of my life right now. I missed half a week of work last week, and get up to go to the bathroom about every twenty minutes on average. Shit blows.

Anyway, enough about me and my TMI, let’s talk more about… me! While I didn’t make anything finished, I did finish the muslin for my Vogue coat! Let’s have a look see.

V2765 Muslin

To be honest, I’m a little underwhelmed. It’s just so… meh. But then again, it’s a coat muslin made with a patchwork of different muslin fabrics, two different sleeves, and I’m not wearing a sweater under it. I was, but I took it off for the pictures because I don’t know why. I guess I wanted to make sure that it still looked good when it was loose. It’s not like I always wear a sweater 24/7, this is Tennessee we are talking about here.

I can’t tell if it really looks ok or if I’m just delusional. Help me.

V2765 Muslin

My pattern was a size too big to start, so I sewed most seams with a 3/4″ seam allowance and I think that really helped with pulling in the fit. It still looks a little loose, but this is also lightweight muslin and not a heavy coating.

V2765 Muslin

The underarms, though. Yikes. Need to raise that quite a bit.

V2765 Muslin

So, more about those sleeves. The right side is the original pattern piece. It’s terrible. I actually left it on so we could laugh at it together. The left sleeve is a two piece sleeve from my Fabiani coat (whyyy can’t I just wear that this winter? Wish it still fit :’( ). I definitely like the two piece better, but it needs some tweaking as it’s a bit tight when I have on a bulky underlayer. I sewed it with the same 3/4″ seam allowance, so I think the normal 5/8″ will be fine.

V2765 Muslin
V2765 Muslin

Ahaha! See how bad the underarms are? Granted, that’s the shitty sleeve, where the problem was actually worse.. but still. It’s bad either way.

V2765 Muslin

Speaking of the original sleeve, this is why it’s so bad. It is a straight line from underarm to wrist – no tapering whatsoever. So the cuff, you can see straight to the elbow. Who thought that was a good idea?! God, it’s so terrible.

Anyway, I’m still on the fence about this, although I will say that leaving it alone overnight on my dressform (which, if you were wondering, is almost entirely what I use the dressform now these days. Putting shit on it so I can decide if I hate it the next day) gave me a ~fresh eye~. I guess I just want to make sure I’m not off my rocker here.

To recap, the fabric I’m using is this black and white checkered coating (which I’m almost having second thoughts about because, ughhh princess seams) and I haven’t settled on a lining, but I’m leaning heavily toward tango red. Also haven’t picked buttons (lolol I’m a hot mess), but I’m thinking toggles would be FUN.

Soo, what do you think? Vogue 2765, yea or nay? See any other fitting issues I failed to mention (beyond the underarms)? Want to sew a coat along with me (I’m going the “barely tailored” route)? Have any well-wishes you’d like to share with a lady who needs to exorcise this demonkidney stone? I’m all ears!

Sewing Plans – Fall/Winter 2013

20 Sep

The best part about the season change is planning a new wardrobe, amirite? As my current plans appear to be spread all over the world (some on Pinterest, some on Flickr, some just in my head), I like to group it all into one place. So here we go!

Of course, there are the not-as-exciting basics – leggings and hoodies and sweaters. I also have specific plans for special patterns and fabrics, which can be a little harder to keep track of – hence this post. Obviously y’all don’t come to my blog for my stellar photography and photoshopping skills, so overlook that part, thnx. Also, I got way too into this and could have continued slapping pictures together and creating link parties here for the next 24 hours, but I made myself stop at 10. You are welcome.

Hawthorn
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Hawthorn dress, with some sleeve modifications.
Fabric: Blue/Purple cotton plaid from my stash (srsly been hoarding this for a couple of years)

Tania
Pattern: Megan Nielsen’s Tania culottes
Fabric: Linen/Silk suiting blend, also from the stash. This stuff is so beautiful and I’ve never settled on a suitable pattern for it. The more I wear my summer Tanias, though, the more I love the idea of a flippy wool miniskirt. Except by skirt, I mean shorts ;)

Archer
Pattern: Grainline Studio’s Archer button-up
Fabric: Plaid Cotton Flannel. Actually, can I just make everything in flannel?

Anna
Pattern: By Hand London’s Anna Dress – short with slash neckline
Fabric: Sheer black with sparkly leaves all over, another stash piece. God, this stuff is amazing. I plan on wearing it over a black slip, instead of lining.

Zinnia
Pattern: Colette Pattern’s Zinnia skirt (the newest one!)
Fabric: Anna Sui Satin Panel print. I don’t know why I’m so in love with this print – nor am I sure it will actually fit on the skirt pattern pieces – but I’m willing to try.

Peter and the Wolf
Pattern: Papercut Pattern’s Peter & The Wolf Pants
Fabric: Stretch suiting (with flocked polka dots!) from Mood Fabric’s store. DREAM FABRIC, Y’ALL.

Pencil Trousers
Pattern: Burdastyle Pencil Trousers
Fabric: Floral Stretch Denim

Vogue 1610
Pattern: Vogue 1610, vintage
Fabric: Floral border print jersey, a fabric gift from Carolyn. What’s funny is she also has apparently made this same pattern (although not with the same fabric I’m planning, obviously). Does that sound like fate or what?

Lola
Pattern: Victory Patterns’ Lola dress
Fabric: Thakoon Cotton sweatshirt knit

Vogue 2765
Pattern: Vogue 2765, vintage
Fabric: Black & White Plaid wool coating

Ok, now we need to talk about this coat. I haven’t decided what view to make – it will be short, but hood or no hood? I also haven’t settled on a lining color, so let’s have some opinions! Midnight Blue? Tango Red? Mandarin? Buttercup Yellow? I don’t really want to go with white or black, too boring!

What are your plans for the new season? Anyone else want to make a coat with me? :)

Sewing the Robson Trench Coat, part 2

29 Apr

Following up on last week’s Robson progress post, I have a few more bits and pieces I’d like to share before the ~big reveal~. I normally hate dragging these types of projects out over several posts, but I think this coat deserves more than just a single post (plus, I haven’t taken pictures of my newest projects! So consider this filler, ha!).

Robson Progress

Last week, I left off with the main body of the coat completed – everything from the collar, to the facing, to the hem. All that was left was the sleeves, the belt and belt loops, and the buttons. Easy enough, yeah?

I WISH. I about killed myself over those dumb ol’ sleeves! Putting them together was easy – even with the added step of trimming/grading the sleeves and adding the bias binding – but setting them in took me close to 2 hours, and there was lots of scream-cussing involved. The hardest part was getting the bias binding on the sleeve seam allowance once everything was set in – mostly because the area was obscenely thick with all those fabric layers, and also because I’m an idiot and I trimmed the seam allowances to super short before putting on the bias binding.

PROTIP: Sew one side of the bias binding on before you trim down those seam allowances. It will give you much more leeway in an area that’s already pretty tight to maneuver around.

Lace Trench

I will say that, despite my troubles, those sleeves set in perfectly the first time – and they look beautiful! The drafting on this thing is pretty amazing.

Lace Trench

Hemming the sleeves was also kind of tough, because the total circumference of the sleeve was smaller than the circumference by the throat plate. Which means I couldn’t just slide the sleeve over the arm of my sewing machine and go in the round – I had to do some horrible wedging and go VERY VERY slowly. To keep my hem even, I stuck a piece of tape on the arm of my machine (you can barely see it in this picture, if you squint) and used that as a guideline. My hems turned out pretty straight and even – not that you can see it with that busy lace pattern :B

I did come across one problem when sewing the sleeve tabs – the pattern calls for you to sew 3 edges, right sides together, and then turn right side out and press. Well, I tried that…

Lace Trench
Lace Trench

And, um well, I’m not sure exactly what happened. HAHA. I guess my loop turner just grabbed the lace and not both layers? Anyway, I was able to shove the underlining back inside the lace tube with a knitting needle, but it made me think about how I was going to tackle the belt and belt loops, since they are also sewn the same way.

To make the belt loops, I followed the same procedure as for the Thurlow belt loops. You can see a tutorial on that here (from my Thurlow sew-along!).

Lace Trench

For the belt, I folded in 5/8″ along each edge and pressed it.

Lace Trench

Then I folded the whole thing in half…

Lace Trench

And topstitched along all four sides. This made for a nice, crisp belt – without having to worry about turning a long tube and ending up with that… thing.

Lace Trench

Here is my finished belt. As you can see, I made a few changes – I decided to use a buckle instead of tying the belt, as I think it makes the coat look a little more trench-y. It’s just a basic self-covered buckle that I pulled out of my stash, and covered with the navy sateen that I used for underlining (also, the sticky guide in the kit was all dried up, so I used spray-mount on the fabric to get it to stick aaaaand I didn’t go outside to do this, so my sewing room may or may not be covered with spray glue jsyk). I also narrowed the belt by about an inch – I’m not sure exactly how much, I just kept hacking at it until it fit in the buckle. With this in mind, the belt loops were also shortened to accommodate the narrower belt.

With all that done, it was time to add the button holes and buttons! Not much to report on that – I used my button hole cutter to slice through the holes, and I am pleased to report that they are decidedly unhairy. The buttons were sewn on with silk thread, which I first ran through beeswax – I wanted them to stay on that damn coat! I moved the bottom buttons outward slightly, so the coat is more straight than A-line (I just think that suits my figure better!). Oh, and I didn’t bother with the interior buttons – I don’t ever use those things anyway, meh.

As it stands now, the coat is finished! I am so proud of it and I can’t WAIT to show it off :) I even got some super-fancy pictures taken, and damn it looks good.

Here is a sneaky peek because I can’t help myself.

IMG_6541

Stay tuned!

Sewing the Robson Trench Coat

22 Apr

Spoiler: There are no finished projects in this post, sry2say! I’ve been working on this coat for the past week, and I thought it might be beneficial to show some progress photos as well as share some tips :)

Anyway, let’s get down to business. Have y’all seen the newest addition to Sewaholic patterns – Robson Coat?! AHHH. I’m on Tasia’s pattern tester email list, and every time she sends out an email for testing, I’m almost always too busy with current projects/too poor to buy fabric (as was this case) so I have to pass… and I always think, “Man, I’m going to regret passing on this.” Sure enough, when the official announcement came out, I considered punching myself in the face out of frustration, because, FUCK. That coat is awesome and I need one, weather be dammed.

What really sealed the deal for me was getting an eyeful of Novita’s lace version. It’s just jaw-droppingly beautiful, and I immediately wanted to be a shameless copycat and make my own version (of course I asked first ;)).

This is the lace I am using for my coat:
Robson Progress - lace fabric
It’s from Mood, of course, and I think I bought the last of the bolt in the store so you can’t have it nyah nyah nyah ;) It’s labeled an outwear fabric, and it’s nice and weighty for a trench coat. At $20 a yard, it was definitely a splurge (and remember – I had to buy underlining, bias binding, buttons, thread, interfacing, all that fun stuff!), but I recalled Novita saying she only used 4m to make hers, so I ordered 4 yards and it was just enough. Yay! The lace is underlined with navy cotton sateen, and the bias binding is made with white/navy polka dot cotton batiste.

I’m not going to sugarcoat – this jacket requires quite a bit of stamina to make, as it takes a loong time. I spent at least 8 hours just prepping the dang thing, before I even got to sewing! Cutting the fabric pieces (twice, since they are underlined), making my own bias binding (because I clearly don’t have enough to do as it is), attaching the interfacing, basting the underlined pieces together, marking the notches, etc etc. I chose to do all this before I started sewing, just to get it out of the way.

Robson Progress - fusing interfacing

My garment press made fusing interfacing fun! I just stuck the pieces in the press, sprayed them with water, and set a timer on my phone for 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, I flipped the pieces, sprayed them again, and fused for another 30 seconds. Since the press doesn’t require you to stand over it and hold it down (like an iron), I could get other things done in the meantime…

Robson Progress - thread

Such as prepping my thread and winding bobbins. My bobbin winder is amazing and self-motorized (no holding down the pedal!), so I was actually winding bobbins, fusing interfacing, AND dicking around on Instagram at the same time! GLORY.

Since my coat has several different colors going on, I am using three different thread colors. Part of what is making this take so long is that I have to keep changing out the thread with practically every step!

Robson Progress

Deciding on how I would handle the underlining took a lot of thought. Since my lace is see-through and the inside of the coat is not lined, I had to take that into consideration when it came to fusing the (BRIGHT WHITE) interfacing to my pieces. Thankfully, all the interfaced pieces do require a facing on the opposite side, so I simply fused my underlining to the wrong side of my cotton sateen.

Robson Progress - underlining

Then I stacked the lace on the sateen and basted the pieces together – all 30+ of them (yeah, there are a LOT of pieces in this pattern!). THAT PART TOOK FOREVER AND EVER AND EVER. Thankfully, I was able to get them machine-basted, which definitely sped up the process – I think I would have cried if I had to hand-baste all that!

More info on underlining can be found in this blog post, fyi!

Robson Progress - test button hole

I also had to consider how my button holes would look on the lace. Fortunately, my machine makes pretty awesome button holes, so combined with my new button hole cutter, I think they look pretty profesh, yeah?

I was planning to do a whole series of posts on this coat – but honestly, once I started sewing (like, actually sewing, and not prep :B), it’s pretty fast and straight forward! There isn’t a lot to elaborate on as far as the instructions are concerned. I did want to share a how I dealt with the binding, though – the instructions just have you fold the binding in half and wrap around the edges of the seam allowance (as like this), which is fine when you’re working with a lighter weight fabric – but not two thicker fabrics sewn together! I actually tried to bind a seam as per the instructions, and then laughed for about 20 minutes when I saw how ugly and sad it turned out!

So here’s my advice to you~ for those bound seams-

Robson Progress - trimming seam allowances

First, pull your seam allowances apart (you will need to remove the basting stitches holding the layers together) and trim down the shell fabric to 1/4″. This will greatly reduce the bulk of your seams, making it easier to wrap the bias binding around the remaining seam allowances.

Robson Progress - trimmed seam allowances

Here is the seam with the shell fabric (blue lace) trimmed down. You may also want to trim down your underlining at this point – not too much, just enough to get the edges even if they aren’t already. As a sidenote, sorry about all the thread/cat hair. Apparently, cotton sateen is a magnet for EVERYTHING. Who woulda thought?

Robson Progress - bias binding

Open one side of your bias tape and pin it to the seam allowances, right sides together with raw edges matching.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Sew the bias tape to the seam allowances – try to get your stitching line right along the opened fold. I use a long basting stitch for this step; it’s really just to keep things in place while you top stitch.

Robson Progress - bias binding

When you flip the binding to the other side, it should naturally fall into place.

Robson Progress - bias binding

Top stitch with a matching thread. See how nice that looks? It’s an extra step for sure, but totally worth it in my opinion. With a thicker fabric, it can be hard to get that tiny bias tape folded around the edge with an even stitch and both sides caught in the fold. I’d rather take my time and get things done right the first time, rather than try to take short-cuts that result in a personal one-on-one with my seam ripper :)

Robson Progress - grading seams

Another tip if you’re sewing the Robson is to be sure to aggressively grade those seam allowances by the collar, because they can get real thick real fast.

Robson Progress

I have the body mostly done at this point and it’s become quite a beast to wrangle under the sewing machine. I’ve taken to pulling my top drawer out and using it as a tabletop for the bulk of the coat.

fucking cat
fucking cat

Since all the interior seams are finished with binding, I haven’t needed my serger at all for this project – so I took the opportunity to take it in for it’s yearly cleaning/maintenance. As you can see, Amelia is pissed that she has to share her ~window seat~ with that dumb ol’ machine.

Anyway, it’s look great so far-

Robson Progress
Robson Progress

I love how nicely that collar rolls! Just beautiful!

I plan to have this finished within the next week or so. Since it’s for the Mood Sewing Network, The Big Reveal won’t be until May – sorry! I’m such a tease.

Next Knitting Project – Another Sweater!

20 Jul

A few months ago, I mentioned that I was working on a second Agatha sweater – this time in black yarn. After about 2 weeks of knitting, I put it aside to work on something new & fresh, i.e., the Miette. Welp, that’s all done now & I’ve learned that I am unable to chill between knitting projects, so we’re back at the black Agatha. And, wow, is it knitting up WAY faster than the first one!

This is essentially just a dupe of the first Agatha – same yarn, different color. Same gauge, same size, etc etc. I am using Cascade 220 in a heathered black (although it looks super jet black in these pictures, there are subtle streaks of grey irl) with my trusty size 5 needles. I picked it up about 3 weeks ago & I’ve already finished the body. Magical!

This post also explains a little of my absence this past week – I’ve been housesitting since Tuesday, and while I did drag both my machine *and* my serger to the house (!!!), I haven’t gotten much sewing done because the commute is stupid long (I am staying in Hendersonville for those who know Tennessee… and I work in Midtown. Ughh!) and by the time I get back, I really just want to sleep. Ha! At any rate, I’ve been working on a pair of shorts that I’m REALLY excited about, so hopefully those will be finished soon!

Agatha v2.0 - body finished
My friend Amanda took these pictures of me. The background is where I’m housesitting – isn’t it gorgeous?! I made her crop my face out because I wasn’t feeling well & it totally shows.
Also, I had to lighten the pictures a bit since the black did not want to photograph at all.

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Agatha v2.0 - body finished

Ok, this next picture is a really terrible picture of me, but look at the view!
Agatha v2.0 - body finished
LOOK AT THE VIEW

I have also just decided that this sweater will be formally named the “blagatha.” That is all.

Underlining: The Why & How

15 Jun

I’m currently working on the madness that is Simplicity 1803 (seriously thinking about calling this dress The Disaster Dress, if that means anything) and I thought I would share a few of my trials & tribulations with y’all. I’ve had a lot of comments requesting a tutorial for underlining (or even just asking wtf underlining is exactly), and while I haven’t been able to fulfill those requests in the past – but today is your lucky day! Underlining day, yaay!

First up, let’s talk shop. What exactly is underlining? Some people tend to confuse it with lining; this is incorrect. Lining is a duplicate garment that hangs separately inside your dress (or skirt, or pants, or whatever) that covers all seams for a nice clean finish. It is constructed separately and generally only attached by a few seams – perhaps a neckline, or the waistband of your skirt. The hem usually left free-hanging for ease for movement. Consider lining the inception of sewing – a garment within a garment (see what I did there?).

Underlining is when you sew two pieces of fabric together & treat them like a single piece – kind of like some relationships (ahhh I’m on a roll today here). Since the underlining is actually sewn to the back of your fashion fabric, the seams do show & the inside of the garment doesn’t necessarily have that clean finish.

Underlining is wonderful for a variety of reasons – you can use it to stabilize your fashion fabric to give it a bit more body (like with my Bombshell dress), to add a layer of opacity to an otherwise sheer fabric (my Swiss Dot Violet really benefited from a batiste underlining), to add a layer of warmth to a coat (the lining of my Lady Grey is underlined with cotton flannel), or even to brighten up your fashion fabric a notch (look at the difference underlining made on my Gingham Peony!) If you were concerned about the integrity of a delicate fabric – lace, or vintage, or… I dunno, vintage lace – you could underline every piece for additional strength. Underlining has lots of uses, it’s awesome!

For my dress in question, I am using this pretty black eyelet from Mood. The whole thing is quite see-through so I knew ahead of time that it would going to need some kind of backing to keep certain places under cover. I originally planned on just dropping a whole lining in the thing & calling it a day, until I realized that you would see every single seam through the eyelet – and by every single seam, I mean eyelet seams & lining seams. I’m using Bemberg Rayon here (LOVE!!!!!) and that stuff frays like nobodies business. I started imagining little shreds of turquoise popping out all over the place & it gave me the willies.

So I decided to underline instead. An added bonus is that it totally negates the two issues I was having with the individual fabrics – the Bemberg was sliding all over the place, and my sewing machine was throwing a giant fucking fit every time I tried to sew over the textured eyelet. By sewing the two fabrics together, the Bemberg stays put & provides a layer over the eyelet that keeps the needle from freaking out. Yeah!

This process is pretty easy. I’m almost embarrassed to even post this.

1
Cut each pattern piece from both your fashion fabric & preferred underlining fabric (as I mentioned here, I’m using Bemberg Rayon – which is traditionally a lining fabric, but it’s main job for this dress is opacity). The pieces should be mirror images of each other. I like to go ahead & snip all my notches, it makes things easier to match up. Don’t worry about your pattern markings (the kind you use chalk or tailor tacks or whatever for) just yet.

2
Place the underlining on the wrong side of the fashion fabric. If your underlining has a right side, make sure it is facing the wrong side of the fashion fabric (so when you flip the whole thing over, both right sides should be facing up). Pin everything together – I used these tiny silk pins because my lining shows pin holes.

3
Then you just sew the lining to the fabric! Here are some tips:
- Yes, you can sew it by machine. I chose to sew by hand because the rayon is super slippery & I wanted it to shift as little as possible. It also makes ripping the basting stitches out MUCH easier. If you sew by hand, you want to keep things as flat as possible – sit at a table! It’s very mindless work, so feel free to watch a movie (or two!).
- Sew giant basting stitches using one strand of thread. Pick something contrasting so it’s easier to pull out the stitches after you sew the seams. I used orange thread; I thought it was pretty haha.
- Try to stay well within your seam allowance – you can see that mine is less than 1/4″ from the edge. I think this makes it easier to pull out the stitches (it’s not anywhere near the 5/8″ SA, so I’m not actually sewing over the basting with my machine) and it hides any pin-marks that may get left behind on delicate fabrics.
- You may also notice that I did not sew along the bottom edge of the piece. Call me lazy, idgaf. The basting for underlining is really there to hold the pieces together until they are properly sewn. I’ve found that I can usually get away with omitting the bottom hem & any seams that extremely short (such as the point between the princess seam & the armscye). Play around & see what works for you!

BONUS TIP:
Next project involves eyelet... And a ridic amount of underlining, ugh
(sorry about the crappy Instagram picture!)
For super precise darts, thread trace the dart legs through both layers after you have basted the pieces together. This keeps the fabrics together while you sew the dart, and eliminates any weird bubbling that may otherwise happen.

4
Here is the other side of my underlined piece. Cute!

Now that you’ve got your pieces all basted together, you can treat them like one piece of fabric. You can transfer your fabric markings to the underlining side of the fabric so it doesn’t show on the front. Sew as you normally would, and make sure to pull out your basting threads as you sew each seam.

Here is how my bodice is looking as of this morning
5
Since this is an underlining, and not a proper lining, you will still have to finish your seams & deal with facings. My seams are serged; my facing is a simple cotton broadcloth as the eyelet was too bulky.

7
I love the subtle peek of turquoise :D

6
I am including this picture because it looks like a uterus, and that is funny to me.

So that’s it! Hopefully this brings a light to some of the mystique :) As always, let me know if you have any questions!

The Makings of a Bombshell

2 May

Hey-o! I’m not quite finished with my Bombshell yet (only one video left! ::sob::), but I thought we could discuss some of the inner workings that are going on inside this monster of a dress.

Bombshell
I have the zipper & lining inserted & I’m pleased to report that everything still fits exactly as it should! Yay! I don’t know about y’all, but when I’m fiddling with a dress this snug, I end up trying it on a LOT. Lots of pinning & basting & walking around my sewing room in my underwear. I’m sure my neighbors just love me, ha.

Here is my lining – completely boned (lol)
Boning the lining
The lining is 100% cotton batiste (and it is quite sheer, as you can see all my little red markings, oh well) and the boning casing is double-sided satin ribbon that I sewed into little tubes.

Putting the boning (lol) in was a BITCH. OH MY GOD I HATE CUTTING SPIRAL STEEL BONING. There are 11 pieces inserted here, all different lengths, all tipped with their little metal tips… it took me an entire episode of LOST to cut & tip those little suckers. Putting on the tip was easy – Karen has a good picture showing exactly what this entails – but the cutting was so so awful. I was using Landon’s wire cutters, and when I complained that they weren’t cutting the boning (lol), he gave me the side-eye until I made him try it himself:
Spiral Steel Boning
This is how far he got.

Anyway, I got them all cut (obviously). And I’ve heard lots of people say to cut the side spirals & it will just pop apart – well, good luck with that, I basically just manhandled mine until they gave up & fell apart in sheer agony lol.

Everything else has been smooth sailing, though!

Bombshell
The lapped zipper turned out gorgeous.

Bombshell
There is a black petersham zipper guard (1.5″ wide, if yr curious!)

Bombshell
Oh, right, the zipper is hot pink!

Bombshell
As is the petersham waist stay :)
I just love fun/colorful surprises in my clothing :)

I still need to have this dress finished by Saturday afternoon… all that’s left is the vent, hem, and halter strap. The dress fits fine without the strap, but I really don’t like how I look in strapless stuff. Right now I’m debating how wide to make the strap – WWYD?

As a side note, Me-Made-May is going splendidly (you know, the whole 2 days it’s been May), and I have made an executive decision to not post daily outfit photos on this blog. Instead, I’m going to compile them weekly & dump them all that way. I am posting daily in the Flickr Pool if you feel like lurking everyone’s progress, though!

Also, this has nothing to do with the Bombshell dress, but look at the chicken I painted last night!
LOOK AT THE CHICKEN I PAINTED
I went to a painting class with my friend Carla. So much fun! The chicken’s name is Bud, by the way :D This will go nicely with the poppies I painted with my mom. Yessss.

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