Friday, September 24, 2010

Coat: Skirt & Sleeves

This project has been nice to work in chunks so that I can have little achievements along the way.  I prepared the skirt by attaching the interlining and opening the windows for the buttonholes.  In this pattern (Butterick 5145) the front facing is attached to the bodice.

Then came attachment of the lining.  I sewed the lining hem to the coat hem by machine, right sides together.  The lining is 3/4" shorter than the coat.  I was very glad I thread-basted the hemline with red silk thread.  I learned to love thread-basting seamlines - it is reassuring to see where the stitching line belongs, or in this case, the hemline. 
It's not possible to see it, but I sewed the hem to the interlining and then flipped up the lining.

 Next, I sewed the center back pleat, pressed and set the skirt aside. 

On to the sleeves!  I used these nice sleeve heads that I got back when I joined the Great Coat Sew-Along.  (I had sewn 2 coats the previous winter so I did not sew a coat during the sewalong, but I did get the all-important notions when Marji generously organized them for the group.  Thanks, Marji!)

I looked at Els sleeve head tutorial and determined that the outer edge of the sleeve head gets sewn along the seam where the sleeve is set in to the coat.  The notch belongs at the shoulder seam and the longer end belongs on the back side of the sleeve.

You can see the sleeve head inside the sleeve here: 
(The front of the coat is towards the left and the back of the coat is towards the right.)

I cut the seam allowance down to 1/4" and zig-zagged to neaten. 
 And the bodice is hanging up, ready to meet her friend, the skirt!  After the skirt is attached, I'll insert the bodice lining.  And I will get some buttons.   There are lots of great buttons at The Trim Buyer on Etsy, that Kristine found.

I just love this fabric!  It has been very cooperative.  I have to be careful then pressing.  Even with a press cloth, it's not hard to over-do it.

I want to thank you for your nice compliments on the coat and the comment on my blog posts.  It is pretty easy for me to document my work because I do this on my job.  It is very quick to make a few pictures and add notations and I will refer back to it in the future (when I forget what I did!)  Plus, documenting really reinforces what I am learning as I go.  (That is true on my job, too.  I like documenting my work.)
And the dress form from Wolf isn't here yet.  That will come in early October.  I have a nice little sewing organiza-va-cation planned soon.

*Have a nice weekend*

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

I cannot keep this to myself....

My husband sent this "news article" to me today:


ROCKVILLE, MD - Ms. Robin D* was deemed worthy of an impressive award in the fields of Beauty, Grace, Talent, Artistic Ability and Overall Wifeliness by the Panel early today. The comments from the Panel's spokesman, Mr. Howie B*, were effusive in their praise for Ms. D*. "She's a national treasure, that's for sure!" Mr. B* commented, "The earth needs more women like Robin. In fact, she'd make a good Queen of the World, in my humble opinion!"

Robin's tireless efforts in the field and specifically her recent volunteer work with the difficult Montgomery County Grand Jury were also singled out by Mr. B* as deserving special praise, respect and acknowledgement. "To think that she does all she does and still makes the time and effort to create beautiful sewing creations just baffles the mind!" When asked about the whole wifeliness spectrum Mr. B* could only gush, "I'm not going to go into all that right now. Suffice it to say that she Feathers a Mean Nest!"

Though no monetary aspects are directly connected with the Medal, Ms. D* was later seen sporting an impressive looking honker on her left hand, which was evidently what Mr. B* was alluding to when he was heard to quip, "She should have a dozen of these!"
This man is priceless.  He makes me laugh!

Friday, September 17, 2010

the coat is coming along

Soon this whole coat will be put together.  I have sewn the sleeves and I suppose they will go in next.  I decided to sew a little bit of top-stitching in a slightly lighter shade of gray.

Here is what the pad stitching looked like on the undercollar before it was assembled:

The lining is going to be a little tricky in terms of the sequence of construction.
I will make a regular lining for the bodice and attach it as one would normally expect.  But the skirt of this coat has a large pleat in the back and it seems best if I apply the lining more as one would apply an interlining.  In other words, I will attach the lining before I sew the pleat and attach the skirt to the bodice.  It just seems better this way to me.  I do want to sew piping between the edge of the lining and the front facing.  I think I'll have to attach it to the facing.  And I am betting there will be hand sewing involved.

Buttons?  I don't know yet.  I bought some at Mood, but I don't like them that much.  I checked G street and nothing excited me there.  I found some at Michael's that I liked.  I just wanted to LOVE my buttons.  We'll see. 


Friday, September 10, 2010

Coat: Bound Buttonholes and interlining (pic heavy)

To sew bound buttonholes, I used the strip method.  Claire Shaeffer explains it beautifully in High Fashion Sewing Secrets.  First you cut a strip of fabric - mine is 2 inches wide.  After some experimentation, I decided to apply fusible interfacing to the buttonhole strips, and to the bodice front.  I used Pro-Sheer Elegance to reduce fraying without adding bulk.  Fold the long strip in half, then stitch 1/8" from the edge. 
Now cut the strips down.  I rely on a rotary cutter for neat results:
I remind myself every time:  That is a sharp blade, so be careful!  You want to keep all of your fingertips!
The strip is pretty narrow once it's cut:
In order to sew buttonholes accurately, careful marking is essential.  After experimentation, I decided to sew lines, but first I marked the lines on the back with chalk and the ruler.  Then it was easy to sew right on top of the chalk lines with orange thread and a long stitch.  I liked that because it gave good markings to both the front and the back of the garment.

The clear ruler is my favorite notion (after the seam ripper, of course :) 

The 3 vertical seams represent the center front line, and the outer edges of the buttonholes.  Then I sewed a horizontal line for each buttonhole.   This made it easy to align the strips.  The strips are sewn with the cut edge along the horizontal marking line.  The top and the bottom strips are butted up against each other, as snug as possible.  I used a short stitch length (1.5) for strength.  The stitch must start and stop at the exact edge of the marked line (the orange basting stitch).
After this step, turn it over and carefully cut a slit for each button hole. 

While I'm at it, let me show you how the interfacing works:
(click on any image to see it better)
Hmmm, I don't seem to have a very clear picture of a buttonhole to show you how they turned out.  I took all these photos last weekend and just slapped together this post in the last half hour.
Well, I'll include more pictures next time.  You know I am not finished chronicling this project!

The best part is the fit. I love what Kenneth did to the shoulder line.  The shoulder seam is a curved line that follows the slope going up towards my neck.  I think it actually helps my shoulders look a little more square.  It feels wonderful on me, too.  Clothes that fit well always feel so much better!

There is still a lot of work left to do, but no rush... 
It was not easy to start this project on a hot & humid day, but I am so glad I did.  It has been a pleasure to work on something that I don't desperately need finished immediately.
Have a great weekend and sew like the wind, my friends!
Thanks for stopping by and sharing the journey.

Monday, September 6, 2010

I have no modesty

When I last visited Wolf Dress Forms, for the final posture check, I shucked my clothes and asked Burt if it was OK for DH to take pictures.  With a straight face, Burt asked, "Can I keep my clothes on?".  He is funny.

And while I am revealing my lack of modesty, I thought I'd share my special sewing clothes with you.  I am talking about what I wear when I sew.  [Attempting a haughty expression here.]
I am not one of those frumpy Americans who wears jeans and fleece and trainers everywhere.  Oh no, I carefully dress correctly for each activity. 
(Not like Gigi who wears pajamas when sewing).
(Or Peter, who ... well, let's not go there.)

I have special sewing pants.  They used to fit me more like real pants are supposed to fit, a long time ago.  But I have them broken in right.  Now, they are my best and FAVORITE pants.  When I put on these pants, I mean business.

So anyway ... I got up at 5am and had a long lovely Sit & Sew session.  I made progress on the bodice of my coat.  The fabric is a wool -cashmere blend that I got from Michaels on sale for $8/yard.  I took lots of photos along the way so I'll probably write more blog posts when I am suffering from sewing withdrawal during the work week.
But now, it's only 11am and I am off to have some fun out in the gorgeous weather with DH.  I think we are going down to Georgetown.  I think I need to change my clothes first.  I'll ask him what he thinks.

~*Happy Sewing and May You Always Dress For Success!*~

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dress Form - coming along well

Today was the final fitting for my dress form.  This is Burt, the main guy in charge at Wolf Dress Forms.   Here I am wearing the muslin I left with him when I placed the order.  He took a few measurements and checked a few things. 
The dress form is still a bit smaller than it will be when it's finished.  There is another layer to be added.
This is what the measurement chart looks like.

I am so happy with the progress on the dress form!

I also got photos of me in my skivvies; side by side with the dress form.  Now that I have studied the photos, I am thrilled with the results! 
Sorry, I am not up for posting photos of me in my underwear, though.  You can take my word for it!!

Wooooooo hooooooooo!!!!!!!!