Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Trench coat from stash

I needed a new lightweight coat.  I'm going to Wellington for a few days with one of my sisters next month to visit family. (That reunion at Christmas has sparked a few more!) My other light coats are getting a bit tired, and while still serviceable, not nice enough for a trip away - you know how it is!

In the interest of having as much spending money as possible while away (ie, some) I figured I'd see what I could do using only stuff I had on hand.

As it turned out, without buying a single thing, I could do this.

The pattern is from one of my back collection of Burda magazines, 03/09 #119, with the pockets from #115 from the same issue. Everything I used to make this I already had - pattern, fabric, lining, bias binding (on the bottom of the lining), interfacing, thread, sleeve belt buckles.  The tiny lining inside is from leftover scraps from the wool/cashmere coat I made several years ago, so I give myself a bonus stashbusting point for that!  There are no buttons.  I didn't have any, so for now I'll wear it belted or open, and will add buttons when I get around to it.  (Although I did put a nice keyhole buttonhole onto the gun flap, just because I like how it looks. And it was a chance to use my beloved Greist buttonholer.)

Here's the inside.  I like the tiny partial lining.

The only problem I had was with my first attempt at binding.  I cut strips from fabric left over from a pair of rather funky pants I'd made for David once upon a time, and I could NOT get my machine to stitch on it no matter what I did.  It kept skipping stitches despite trying every type of needle I could think of (leather, stretch, regular [several weights], jeans, microtex,).  A walking foot didn't help, and neither did my usual fall back of stitching through paper.  Given that I had successfully topstitched the pants for David, that drove me NUTS! (Click on the pic for a bigger, clearer view)

So I ended up with this, and a massive dose of frustration.  

The fabric I ended up choosing for binding is a regular woven, and behaved perfectly.  I'd still like to have had that silver though.

Meanwhile my Alabama Chanin skirt is now being seamed!  All six panels have been stitched and snipped and I just have to join them together, add a waistband and rosebud stitch the hem.  Just in time for my trip.
( I was working on it on holiday, so my cousins want to see it done now!)

And because I MUST have the next Alabama Chanin project lined up for when one is finished, I have stenciled the pieces for another tank dress.  This is the Abbie's Flower stencil, fattened up a bit.  Um, yeah, stitching these is going to take a while.  I'm not snipping out the interior of the shapes, or beading on this dress, so it'll be a bit more wearable for every day.

OK girls, can we all guess what project is coming to every craft night for the next year?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Copying a RTW skirt

My lovely 83 year old bride-to-be brought me a skirt which she likes to copy for her wedding outfit.  It is one of the simplest garments to copy, being a simple six gore skirt - no darts, no gathers, no intricate details.  Here's how I like to do it.

Firstly I had to have an appropriate surface.  I need to poke pins through the garment into paper, so it has to be padded, but not so soft that I can't hold down garment sections with my hand without distortion.  Like this.  This is a blanket folded in four, and when I press down the paper distorts, which would make an accurate copy harder to achieve.

This is the blanket folded in two.  When I press down on the paper there is very little distortion. A carpeted floor is also good, but hard on the back to be hunched over!

To copy each section I placed pins vertically through the piece to be copied to hold it in place, then used another pin to poke through at intervals all along the seam lines all around the piece.  I couldn't get a photo of the the pricked holes unfortunately, but basically after pricking off the piece you connect the dots to reproduce your garment section.

To copy the centre front I aligned and pinned the seam lines and lined up the CF along a ruler before following the same process.

After adding nice wide seam allowances, the pattern is ready to go.

The first fitting showed the skirt needed minor alterations at the waist, and the top a couple of tweaks, which show up nicely when drawn onto my toile with a sharpie.  The shoulders are too wide, the waist needs to come in a little, and the CB seam needs to be slightly more contoured.

The sleeve didn't hang well when moved into place, so for our second fitting I modified it to raise the sleeve cap and narrow the sleeve.  This is the altered pattern on top of the original sleeve. (The diagonal overlap is where I joined two pieces of paper to make the original sleeve pattern.  Ignore it).  The pattern has been slashed vertically and horizontally, with the vertical slash overlapping, and the horizontal one spread.

At our second fitting this was a big improvement, but I'm going to do the same thing again to get a bit more height and a bit less width.

And for myself I've started working on a trench jacket.  Progress post on that to follow!