Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Off and On

My inner perfectionist took over for a bit last night and the collar and band came off the coat.  I trimmed as much off the ends as I could w/o messing with the actual collar, and cut a bias strip of hymo and painstakingly whipped it down to the already graded  collar/band seam allowance, then I put the collar assembly back on the coat.

It went in MUCH smoother, and the collar band stands up nicely.

So all I have to do now is catchstitch the inner band/facing seam to the outer band/coat seam and I'll be back to where I was when I got home from work last night.

Maybe I'll get the sleeves in tonight...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Two steps backwards

Moan about the collar band, part two...

Finished all the handstitching on it and got the sideseams sewn up so I could actually try on the coat.

I wasn't happy with the collar band...it had some bagginess/rippling going on due to being kinda squeezed into the available space...but I thought I could live with it.

However, once I put it on I realized that it really wasn't beefy enough to support the collar...it kinda flops around.

My fabric is a tropical weight wool gab...not at all heavy...but the fusible tricot just wasn't stiff enough to hold it up.

What to do, what to do.

I could ignore it; it's not really something that noticeable.

But I wasn't happy.

I've just about convinced myself I need to pull the whole thing off, take the collar off the band, sew the collar band at exactly the end of the collar (right now, there's about a 1/4" notch that sticks out beyond the collar) and maybe tack in a strip of  hymo to hold it up.

Or maybe just putting the hymo in there would support it enough to get rid of most of the ripples.

Hm. All I'd have to undo then would be the hand stitching.

Might be worth a try.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Still No Pictures :-(

I thought I 'd be able to share some photos of the trench coat progress...I really am making some!!...but, while the new computer is up and running, the Microsoft photo editor that I was using on the old machine apparently has not been part of the upgrade and I can't edit my photos to get them into what I consider 'post worthy' shape.

So I'll give a little report.  As of this morning, I'd gotten everything done I could possibly do before making buttonholes and I pulled out the Kenmore and made some keyhole buttonholes in the pocket flaps, the sleeve tabs and the shoulder tabs.

The pockets were then staring me in the face...I'll admit, I was really intimidated by those pockets, and the directions were, at best, sketchy.  I altered the recommended process a bit; I did NOT slash the dart open until after I was satisfied with the placement of the flap and pocket bags.  All in all, it was probably easier than doing a regular welt pocket with a flap, but, well, I'd be nervous doing that, too.  Cutting into the coat front is just scary, period.

Next up on the nervous-o-meter was the collar.  I already had the collar constructed and on the band, ready to be attached, so I gulped and kept going.  It gave me some aggravation; the band was a bit bigger than the neckline.  I'm not sure why, other than after all the wrasslin' I wondered if I put 5/8" seams on the ends of the band pattern (although I don't know why, unless I thought I had to match the front or something) and then sewed it w/ 3/8" seams, which would've made it about 1/2" too big...and that's about what it seemed to be.  I need to check the pattern tracing.

But, by clipping and stretching the coat neckline and the facing neckline and workin' it, I managed to get it on and, surprisingly, it's not too awful, once it's pressed out.

But, should I decide to make another coat from this pattern, I WILL be checking that.

Current status: pressing out the lapel points and the long facing seams and catchstitching the facing/inner band  coat/outerband seams.

My Sweet Babboo has been sewing a coat, too...something called a 'Hunter's Frock', made from unbleached canvas,  for his frontiersman group.  He's using a pattern from Missouri River Patterns -- and he's handsewing it.  With a needle and linen thread.  He's been toting it around with him for the last 6 weeks or so, working on it every chance he gets, and he's farther along on it than I am on my trench.

How embarrassing.  :-)  Fortunately, I'm in the rapid progress stage; even the lining is completed and ready to go in.  If I can manage to get into the sewing nook at all in the next few days, I should have something that looks like a coat.

'Course, the finish work is all hand sewing...hemming and lotsa buttons.  So he could still beat me.


Saturday, April 05, 2014

Moving to 7...

Which means all my photo files are in limbo land at the moment.  So I'm not going to be able to post any photos until we get the old XP tower switched out for the Windows 7 machine that has been sitting in the middle of the room waiting on 1) all the files to be backed up to the external drive and 2) My Sweet Babboo to have a few hours to block out to switch wires and install the software.  I'm hoping he can get to it in what remains of the weekend, but, well, you  know how these things go.

So, now that I think (I HOPE) I've got all my stuff on the external drive, I'm free to do other things...like laundry and sewing on the trench coat.  I've been doing it in an extremely unorthodox sewing order, but I'm trying to get as much done as I can before I pull out the old Kenmore so that I can use its button hole cams to make keyhole buttonholes.  I've got to do them in the pocket flaps, the sleeve tabs and the shoulder tabs.  Then I've got to put the coat together before I can add the rest of the button holes.  I don't want to haul the machine out, put it up, then haul it out again, so once I set it up it's going to stay up until I get all the buttonholes made.

So, as of right now, all the little bits are done to the button holes.  The front and back shields are made; not 100% sure I'll use them but they're done.  The back has the darts in, the pleat sewn up, basted up and hand basted flat.  The rain fly has been lined and attached to the shoulders.  I've thread traced the stitching lines on the darts on the front where the pockets will go.  The front and back facings are sewn together.

I'm starting on the lining.

I probably should take some photos of it while it's in progress, just for documentation purposes.  But I'm not going to be able to post any photos (including the Choir Wardrobe...:-( )  until we're on the other side of the switcheroo.

Whee.  Here we go...

Tuesday, April 01, 2014

Watching the 'Bee... (Spoiler Warning!)

It was semi-finals on The Great British Sewing Bee today.

Yes, I'm going to talk about what happened, so if you don't want to know yet, you are excused and encouraged to close the window and come back later. ;-)

Fair warning?


I fully expected Lynda to be one of the last three standing.  She was off to a great start in the semifinals with her adorable draped-on-the-mannequin dress that, thanks to Patrick's word of advice, she did NOT overdo.  The sleeve challenge was not so good for her, but there was still no indication of what would happen to her on the second day of the no-pattern week sewing.

My heart broke for her.  I've been there...that odd garment that creeps up every once in a while that just seems to be doomed from the start, the one that seems to get in a bigger mess as more effort is put into making it right.

And of course it's something that  just can't be ditched.

Patrick and May said before their final discussion that Lynda was inconsistent.  Well, so am I.  I'll have something that turns out spectacularly, then a row of so-so garments, then the one dud that makes me wonder why I thought I could sew.   Her horror at realizing that she did not have enough fabric to cut her dress took me back to the recent realization that I'd cut the wrong piece out of the face fabric on the trench coat.

I'll even tell you a secret...despite my checking and rechecking, somehow the very first thing I did to that coat was fuse the front interfacing to what I intended to use as the right side.

I guess I'm glad it was the first thing; if I'd done the first side as intended and THEN messed it up there'd be no fixing it.  But the coat is now being constructed matte side out instead of the shinier twilled side out.  Because, well, that's what you do...make the best of it.

And I've watched Lynda make the best of it all the way through, not only with the garments that she's won individual challenges with, but also with the ones that just didn't work.  She hung in there and did great work, so-so work and had a couple of duds.  That's sewing for most of us.

I think that's why I have enjoyed The Great British Sewing Bee so much.  It really is real folks.

I think I could've more or less kept up with the challenges up to this point, although I'm not sure how well I would've handled the 'high street transformations'. I'd just have to hope that the costumer anointing would kick in.   But today's program's no-pattern week would've been over my head.  I don't sew that way...I don't even own a dress form.  I've drafted some skirts, but that's about it.  I don't think I could do a bodice or a sleeve.  My idea of copying a garment is finding a similar pattern and altering it up.  So I don't think I'd've made it through this week.  I'm really impressed with how well those ladies did, especially given the time constraints they had. 

Delighted to see the little bit on Madeleine Vionnet!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Choir Wardrobe 03 30 14

The last Sunday for Mint green/navy blue/tan or brown, and I have to admit I'm kinda glad.  I don't have a boatload of mint in the wardrobe, and that scarf has been worn for 4 out of 5 Sundays this month.

Normally, spring break week is when I pull out the spring/summer clothes and put away the fall/winter wardrobe...but, seeing how it snowed on Monday, I'm not quite ready to part with the warm stuff yet.  But I did open my out-of-season box and pull out the mint green rayon Simplicity 2599 tank top that was the garment that left the remnant that turned into the scarf.  It's kinda fun wearing a matching top and scarf; at least one person thought the scarf was part of the top.

I covered my bare arms with the brown-embroidery-on-stretch-denim McCall's 5191 Jacket. 

Easter colors next Sunday!

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Trench Coat...a little bit at a time...

Back to the 20 minute-at-a stretch sewing.  Takes forever, but at least there is some progress.

I started with the little bits...the collar, the belt, the pocket flaps, the shoulder and sleeve bands, etc.  Got them done to the topstitiching.

I'd decided to use a dark charcoal for my topstitiching; it matched the buttons and I thought that would make a nice detail.

The first item to be topstiched after I changed out the thread was the back shield.

Folks, once that thread was on the elephant gray coat it looked blue.

I guess it's just the contrast.  Away from the coat fabric, it looks dark gray.

Laid on it...it looks navy blue.


So I've unpicked that topstiching and will redo it.  I considered just using black, but the buttons are a swirly gray, so I nixed the black (now I'm wishing I'd just gotten black buttons). 

I guess I'll just use the matching thread to topstitch.  Won't be quite as striking, but, given the way things are going here, maybe less contrast will be a good thing...