Friday, 15 January 2016

Construction Details for Vogue V8626 Coat

Now that is a dry title! In reality, making this coat was a roller coaster. Mostly it was fun and interesting and I learned a lot but there where a couple of times when I was just like

... ! >:(((

You know?

One was when I sewed up my side seams a tried on the coat for the first time.

Super weird ugly silhouette! I nearly shit a brick. It took an extra couple of hours but I was able to fix it by taking 6" from the width at the hem, tapering to just below the waist and eliminating the unflattering hip bump...thing.

...Anyway, the other thing that tripped me up needed some serious surgery.

I had constructed the lining with the lambswool interlining (all in one day. I was seriously on a mission!!!!) and attached it.

I was all ready to hem it when I realized the problem:

My pleat goes right to the hem, so for me to enclose the raw edge of the lining in the hem of the coat, the lining has to be, like, folded into the pleat. but because the coat and lining were separate, the coat pleat and the lining pleat are stacked on top of each other. I needed to treat the lining and the coat back as one. How the hell is that supposed to work???!?!

I scoured the internet but couldn't find anything that was helpful. The instructions that came with the pattern just said to hem the lining and the coat separately. Which is totally gross. Seriously. Ugh.

It took about 15 hours of stewing on it but I came up with a plan that I thought would work.

So on the off-chance that someone else encounters that same issue, here's what I did:

(Side note: Everyone else should stop reading right now because this is boring unless you're actually making the pattern. Thanks for stopping by!)

Okay, so for those of you (are there any of you?) who are making V8628 and want to enclose the lining in the hem of the coat, read on.

I you haven't sewed the coat yet, listen up: BASTE THE BACK WAIST SEAM when you sew across the back pleat. Coat and lining. Okay? Okay.

If you're reading this, chances are you're way beyond that. Don't worry though - everything is going to be okay. Your first step will be to undo the gorgeous feather stitching you did when you put together the lining.

While you have your stitch ripper out, open the back waist seam in both the coat and the lining to release the back pleat. (You might want to baste the back bodice pleat first but if it's been pressed you're probably fine.)

Once the lower back pleats are released, treat the back lower lining and the back lower coat as one. According to the pattern instructions, you would have made the lining pleat and the coat pleat as mirror images of each other. You might want to re-press the creases in the lining so that they match the creases in the coat but I didn't and everything turned out fine. I just gave it a nice steam after I was all finished.

So at this point you've refolded the lower-back pleat, treating the lining and coat fabric as one. Baste, and then and sew it to the back coat bodice. Leave the back bodice lining free for now. Press the seam upwards.

Re-sew your feather stitches to tack down some of the bulk of the back pleats. Fold the back bodice lining hem allowance over the back waist seam. Slip stitch or fell stitch the bodice lining to the lower-back lining.

Boom. Done.

...Well, hem it and then you're done.

Saturday, 2 January 2016

The Adventure of the Ulster Coat

Happy new year friends!

You may have noticed that it's been very very quiet around here. Well, here on the blog. Things have been very busy in the real life, what with Christmas and being the best sew-er evar!!!

I finished the coat on Christmas Eve, just in time for the unseasonably warm holiday weather!

I'm so happy (and surprised) with how well it turned out! It's so comfortable and cozy.

While working on the muslins, I was having trouble telling whether or not the proportions were going to be flattering, but I think it looks really smashing!

You may recall that this is very much inspired by Sherlock's Belstaff Ulster. I immediately fell in love with the pleating in the back of his coat and I think my version stands up admirably to the original. I only wish I had included a pleat in the back bodice to match the back of the skirt, but I was unsure of how to line it so I kept it simple. As it was, I had to really wrangle the lower lining to get it to work with the pleat and the enclosed hem, which was non-negotiable. I'll be posting a step-by-step of what I did. I have no idea if the way I attached it is conventionally acceptable, but I couldn't find a satisfactory answer online, so I had to improvise.

Speaking of Sherlock, did you guys watch the Abominable Bride yesterday? I'm still trying to decide whether or not I liked it. There was definitely some stuff that happened that had me like "what's the point of this?" and then there were the scenes with Moriarty, which I thought were brilliant and hilarious. Man, that Andrew Scott is an absolute nut! Such a good villain.

Speaking of villains, here I am acting mysterious and turning my coat collar up so I look all cool. Tragically, The fabric I used is a little too soft and drape-y to keep my collar popped. I'm also missing the cheekbones necessary to really do this look justice. Such a pity.

I ended up using three different patterns, plus adding my own drafted pockets. After lengthening and fitting Vogue V8626, I was having trouble finding the collar shape I wanted. I just didn't really know what the type of collar I wanted was called! I posted on reddit and someone suggested that I wanted a peacoat-type collar, so I bought the Burda Style pattern for "Navy Peacoat 10/2014 #125." 

Turns out what I wanted was just a wide peaked lapel with a very deep notch. This was my first time sewing a peaked lapel but things went pretty smoothly, thanks to Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket. Finally, I added cuffs by modifying a pattern that I found at Value Village - McCall's 5524.

Of critical importance to the success of this coat was its movement when worn. Early in my research I saw something - I can't remember where - that recommended the use if drapery weights in the hem. This is absolutely genius. I'm so happy with the way this coat moves that I had my wonderful photographer/cinematographer friend, Brian, make a gif for me!

(The ground was soooooooo slippery!)

I should mention that Brian Chambers took all of my photos for this post and is an absolute champ. I knew that I needed photos to do the coat justice. Thank you Brian!!

Edited to add: I just watched TAB again and I totally do like it.

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Well hello! Long time no see. I've been so mired in getting my pattern ready, I couldn't for the life of me be bothered to post on my progress. Ugh.

But in the last week, I've finally started the actual sewing!!!

And not a moment too soon because I was right on the brink of saying to hell with the whole project. So many endless tweaks!

But now I've started I'm so excited for this coat!! I'm hoping to have this finished by Christmas. That's about as much time as I took to make my jacket last year, but this coat will be a lot more work. I'm underlining the whole thing (except the sleeves. or should I include the sleeves? I have no idea what I`m doing) with horsehair canvas, plus I'll be interlining it for warmth.

What do you think? Can I make it?

Saturday, 17 October 2015

I think I need help with my winter coat muslin

Hi there friends! I hope I can count on your help with this muslin!

It's been so long since I've used a commercial pattern that I feel like I'm out of practice in fitting.

On a side note, there were very light flurries here today. Winter is right around the corner!

Well, my first muslin is a bit of a hot mess.

  • Collar is gaping and sloppy-looking
  • wrinkling between the bust and the waist
  • front is swinging apart, very slightly.
  • boxy looking through waist (I want it to nip and flare out at the waist, like an A-line dress)
  • Those sleeves are pretty huge, especially below the elbow.

See what I mean about the waist? There's a lot of extra fabric, especially though the bust.

Here's the pinning that I did. I took a bunch of fabric out of the front length, and took a bunch of circumference out of the waist and bust.

Ugh, okay. lots of work to do on the back. Here I've taken it in at and above the waist and pinched out some extra fabric at the back of the neck. I had taken out some pleats and I'll be putting them back in. Because I need more width across the butt. 

Here is the side view, before and after pinning. This is tricky because I feel like the pinned version is less flattering from the side. Ugh, I can't tell. It also looks like it's swinging forward so I've either taken too much length out of the front or I might need to take out a little length from the back at the waist.

Please let me know if you have any ideas!!!

Monday, 12 October 2015

Countdown to Winter

Oh hello friends!

Wow, okay. So I took an unintentional 2-month break from sewing. I took my machine in to the Workroom and long story short, the people who work at the Workroom don't care about their customers.

...Anyway, I've finally got my machine back and it's crunch time for me to make a winter coat.

Remember how I was gushing about Sherlock's coat? Well, I'm going for it!

I'm using V8626, which I had in my stash. It's a little more princess-seam-y and a little less classic menswear-y than I had pictured but I think it will work out just fine with a few (million) tweaks.

The biggest change will be to make it double breasted with a notched collar. The pattern comes with a collared version but the collar is meant to stand up and even overlaps a little. I think it's ugly, so it's gotta go.

My favorite detail of this pattern - and the reason why I bought it in the first place - is the beautiful pleats in the back. I'll be extending the princess seams through the waist seam to the hem, so I can add a cute little belt detail. The belt detail is mission-critical.

Beyond that, I'll also extend the length of the coat, add cute little flap pockets (if it makes sense. I hope it works!) in the princess seams, add patch pockets (maybe), add cuffs (if I can find some info on how to do it).

Speaking of which, does anyone have a tutorial they can share on how to add cuffs to a coat like this?

I've made a preliminary muslin, I'll be posting picks soon because I have no idea how much ease I'll need in this thing. It's pretty baggy. I think my biggest concern is that I want it to be flattering.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015


Hello friends,

This skirt is a bit of a departure for me, since I don't usually wear things that cling to the hips and thighs but I just had to have this skirt!

If you can believe it, these photos were taken at an LA airport motel. It was the last day before we flew home and I really wanted to get pics of my skirt! They had beautiful gardens, for some reason.

Originally I planned to just make more more pants, but I was holding up the fabric to figure out the direction of the print and changed my mind. I'm so glad I did!

I used this pattern from Mad Mim. So easy!

I'm glad I've been hitting the gym in the last 7-8 months. I don't think I would have had the confidence to wear this!

I'm also really loving the body harness I'm wearing in these pics. I got it from H&M for about $5 and I've gotten so many compliments. It's got a kinda effortless-sexy vibe, don't you think?

Saturday, 5 September 2015

More fabric!

Oh hai fellow fabric lovers!

Ok, so right after I spent a small fortune on fabric in July, I saw this and could not pass it up!! (then I made a draft of a post about the fabric, which I then forgot all about. The post, not the fabric, I mean)

Another woven stretch sateen, another sheath dress!

The tile-like pattern reminds me of the blue mosque in Istanbul.

10/10 would visit again.

For this one I'm planning to use a Frankenpattern with a boat neck and little cap sleeves (totally Mindy-inspired) and my basic pegged skirt with back vent. I originally thought I'd have plain white on the shoulders (like a yoke) and hem, to keep the pattern from being too overwhelming and busy near my face. But I kept waffling about exactly how to do it and whether or not I thought it would actually look good or just look weird. Now I'm like eff that, I just want to get started.

Hey, look! I did a quick-and-dirty croquis. Guess I'm still procrastinating.

I feel like it's got a Dolce & Gabbana vibe that I'm really digging on.

I still have no idea when my sewing machine will be ready so I'm going to be using my viking even though the tension is all wonky, at least to make up the muslin. Hopefully I get my Bernina back soon!!!