Wednesday, April 30, 2014

C'est Fini!, well, almost.

I still need to pull out all the basting stitches in the pleats and give it a good steaming, but all the sewing is done. ;-)

Hopefully I'll get a review-useable photo or two before the week is over.

Woot!! :-)

Monday, April 28, 2014

13 Buttons

That's all that stands between me and a finished trench coat.

13 buttons.

The button holes are on... and they'll do.

My biggest on earth do I mark the placement of the inside buttons, the ones that button at the top and the waist to secure the underlap of the double breasted front?

I am gonna hafta study on that one....

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Next Week for Sure

I did have hopes of finishing the trench coat this week....

Um, for those keeping score, My Sweet Baboo did take his Hunting Frock to the big camp out this weekend, but, in his own words, it's wearable...but not finished...

Anyway.  This is the week after Easter.  I am the church data base admin.  The sum of those two facts translates to...not much time for sewing.

Plus, the drama magnet spring play (Noises Off...hysTERical!) was this weekend.  The Flute Player was not on stage...she was in charge of props...but, being good theater parents, we went to Opening Night on Thursday...and today there was a fundraising dinner before the show.  Since I was there, and I had to hang around to take her home anyway, I volunteered to help with concessions.

Anyway, what that meant was that I stuffed the trench coat into a tote bag and took it with me last night and tonight, to work on while I waited for the show to end so we could go home.

I got the hem in and the sleeve lining sewed down.  And I had a bit of extra time, so I redid one of the  epaulette carriers.  And I was greatly encouraged by the folks who noticed what I was doing and had very nice things to say about the coat.

I've got a wee bit more hand work I could do...I could sew down the epaulette buttons and the pocket flap buttons; I could sew the belt carriers on and I could sew the belt onto the slider buckle.

But the next major step is to topstitch the front edges and sew in the button holes.

Once that's done,sewing on the buttons will be the only additional thing.

I'm beginning to think about the next project...and I'm gonna stick to the SWAP plan, although I'm not going to get ANYTHING done by the deadline except (hopefully) the trench coat.

I really, really need a button up white shirt .  That may be next...

Monday, April 21, 2014

End in sight...

Dunno if I'll finish this week or's possible, though.  We'll see...

Got the hem pinned and pressed but I think I'll put the lining in before I actually hem the coat, that way I can finish off the bottom of the facing when I do the hem instead of just slipstitching it to the hem fold of the coat.
 So I thought I'd pull a couple more pics off the camera and show them...

The collar band fix; I've got the bias hymo tacked into the collar band here; next step is to tack the seams all together.

I could NOT get a nice flat coat photo of the inside; it kept slipping off the ironing board.  But at least you can see the key elements I added... namely, the front and back shield and the sleeve header.

Finally, here's one more bit that I added...there are two buttons for the sleeve tab; one in a sort of normal position and a second one a couple of inches over, to cinch up the sleeve a bit.

However, there really isn't any support for those buttons.  I fudged the first one over a bit and put it on the seam allowance so that it had some support, but that second button is just in the middle of nowhere.

So I cut a wee bit of interfacing and fused to the button position on both sleeves...just to give those buttons something to hang on to.


Sunday, April 20, 2014

Choir Wardrobe: Easter Weekend Edition

Sewing blog.  For talking about sewing.

Sometimes I have to remind myself why I post about what I wore, for goodness sakes, when there's so much stuff that is so much more important to talk about.

I will refer you to the  link to the Choir Wardrobe explanation on the side bar, take a breath, and talk about what I wore.

Old stuff, all of it.  Someday I will finish the trench and commence to updating the rest of my wardrobe.

I'm just glad that April's colors are primarily ones that are in my wardrobe...purple and gray, and some yellow.

Anyway, Friday night I pulled out my One Yellow Top (Simplicity 2603)...yeah, the one that was missing all last summer.  I found it when I switched the fall wardrobe in October; somehow, it had gotten mixed in with the fall clothes and stored for the summer.  It's paired up with my slowly disintegrating gray modal knit Jalie 2919 cardi.

Replacing that cardi is high on the priority list; it really is falling apart.  The fabric has several holes that are just showing up for no discernible reason.  Fortunatly they're still quite small, so it works for what is basically stage wear, but, wow, I canna get much more from her, cap'n... Lee Jeans?  Maybe?

  And, lookit, on Saturday it's another Simplicity 2603, this one out of a sparkly gray poly/rayon knit, with the gray denim Jalie 2320 Jeans Jacket.  (I totally did not realize I did that...)   I don't remember which jeans I wore, which is really sad considering it was just last night.

Today I managed to wear something other than Jalie and Simplicity; this is the Loes Hinse Sweater Set from yummy bamboo jersey.  I had a yellow bracelet on when I left the house this morning, but I think I pulled it off and left it in my office as it was getting in my way typing.  I actually attended the Friday night service, and then sang in the choir, grabbed the data entry cards and worked in my office for the other 5 services (two on Saturday evening and three today).  I honestly don't remember taking the bracelet off; but I know that bangles typically annoy the stew out of me when I'm typing, so that's my guess.  Coldwater Creek jeans today...

Church staff have all been given tomorrow off; I forsee laundry and, if I manage it, some work on the trench.  My Sweet Baboo is getting very close to the finish line on his Hunting Frock...very close indeed...

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Photo tests...

Downloaded Picasa and I'm slowly figuring it out.

I have to move the photos to an 'export' folder in order to resize them...the resized versions go in the export folder, while the originals remain untouched in their spot.  Makes sense, I suppose, it's just a paradigm shift.

So, I pulled a few photos to check the process:
 Drafting the pattern for the fleece batting sleeve header...

It's a really thin batting, used for baby quilts, I think.  It came in a pre-cut package and went into the sleeve very nicely.

 The back and front shields.  Incidentally, I've got that put in and I love the nice smooth look it gives the shoulder area.  Plus I can sew the shoulder pads straight to it.

I will take some more photos of the interior of the coat before I put the lining in.
Buttonholes by the Kenmore.

I read somewhere that a buttonhole should start exactly one button's width from the finished edge.  I think that might be a bit too far away for the tabs, but not enough to redo them. Just filed away for 'next time'.

Actually, I was supposed to use a smaller size button for the tabs, but I didn't catch that until after the WAWAK order w/all 7/8" buttons had arrived.  I'm not stressing over that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Moving on...

Before I jump into the progress report, I have a question.

Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a downloadable photo editor? Or, maybe I should rephrase that...does anyone have experience with a cheap photo editor?   I just need something that will crop and resize pictures, nothing fancy schmancy.  Microsoft apparently removed the photo editor from  their home package; I always used the one that was included in our Microsoft 03 package on the old HP, but, well, that has gone the way of all electronics. I really want to post some photos...

So.  Back to the sleeve dilemma.  Debbie had a very good point...something that Cynthia Guffey has stressed in her can't judge fit of a garment unless you've got both sleeves on.  I knew that...but I didn't really want to put that other sleeve on just to take it off again.

Then I had a facepalm moment...I'd already FINISHED the had both sleeves set in, cut at exactly the finished sleeve length at the moment.

So I pulled the lining out and put it on.  Hm.  Looked promising, so I took a breath and put the other sleeve on.

Yeah, it's still pretty long.

But when I cross my arms, the sleeves hit precisely where I want them to.

I need that extra length after all.

So...woot woot, I pressed the sleeve seams, pulled out all the gathering/basting stiches and serged the seam allowances.

I'm looking at a fair amount of handwork now; I've got a floating back shield that I attached at the shoulders to floating chest shields and I'm going to hand tack that assembly to the shoulder seams and the armsceye seams, and have a look and see if that gives me just that pinch of extra support or if it really makes the top boardy.

And I also have some fleece sleeve headers to put in as well to support the shoulder cap.

None of that is in the pattern guide, btw.  I'm making it up as I go.

Then I will add the shoulder pads; at some point in there I'll hem the sleeves, too.

Then I'll put the lining in.

I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There's only one more major hurdle now...the buttonholes.  The Kenmore makes nice ones, but with the cam set up it's always a bit of a guess as to just exactly where it's going to start sewing in the button hole pattern.

I'm still trying to think how to get rid of that guessing...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tripped up again....

Got one of the sleeves on last night and could not resist putting it on to get a glimpse of what the finished coat would look like and had a bit of a shock.  If you go back and look at the photos of the muslin, you'll see that the finished sleeve length hits right about the bottom of my thumb joint...which would be about right for an overcoat.

I was really surprised, since I almost ALWAYS have to shorten sleeves.

But that looked good.  So I made no alterations.

And last night, when I put on the one-armed coat, I found that the finished sleeve length hit about the tip of my thumbnail.


I did put the muslin on over a sweatshirt, since I wanted to make sure it had ample ease for wearing over a bulky underlayer.  The only explanation I can come up with is that the muslin fabric just didn't slide over the sweatshirt fleece totally and I didn't catch it.

But I went to work today, thinking in my head about how simple it will be to shorten the sleeves, especially since I caught it before I had them both on.

I came home, put the unattached sleeve on the ironing board and suddenly was confronted with a detail I had forgotten.

I'd put a lovely bit of fusible interfacing on the hem.  To fix it properly..., well, I'm not sure I can fix it properly, since I will not have to remove enough length to cut away all the interfacing.  But I definitely want interfacing on that hemline.

So...the only other alternative would be to shorten the sleeve from the top.  Which is probably do-able, I just haven't done it before.

Or, do I just leave the extra length, knowing that it will allow me plenty of ease for bulk in chilly weather?


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 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 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 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!