Monday, February 28, 2011

I am done

Finally, after a long hiatus, my new winter coat is complete.

The details,

Butterick 4665, now out of print, wool melton cloth, with silk tie fabric lining both from Fabric Mart, I think. Some stash buttons. My sewing skills were a bit rusty but things gradually came back to me. I have worn the coat out in the snow in Toronto. I have knit a lot of scarves to go with the coat over the last couple of years, it will be a pleasure to get them out and use them. I am quite pleased with the fit. I feel ready to start another coat or jacket. It does look like my pressing could be better.

Thanks to everyone on the blog who helped me through this and also my husband who photographed and told me how things were fitting that I couldn't see in the mirror.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Welcome to The Great Coat Sewalong

I'd like to welcome you to view the process and progress of a number of sewists as we've journeyed together to make well tailored winter coats in a venture I titled

The Great Coat Sewalong.

Along the way everyone who's participated has put themselves forward and given and accepted advice and encouragement. Especially I'd like to thank, for their added input and participation:
Linda F - administrative blog stuff
Lindsay T - editing and administrative blog input
Els of the Sewing Divas for her wonderful advice, well written tutorials, as well as for sending over those wonderful sleeve heads.
Tany and Paco Peralta for beautifully written and illustrated tutorials.
Ann Steeves and Kathleen Fasanella for input and allowing links to their tutorials.

And every participant for putting it all out there.

If you are a member of this Great Coat Sewalong and are still sewing (some of us are, you know), you still have posting and commenting privileges.

If you are an observer viewing this for the first time, enjoy! There are links on the sidebar to various different aspects of this sewalong, from sources to a list of who's making what pattern to links to posts with some guidelines. Be sure to scroll way back to the beginning to see what went into the preliminaries, prior to cutting into the fabric. The effort many members put into fitting will be an eye-opener.

If you are not a member here you will not have the ability to comment or post to this blog. If you'd like to comment on an individual's efforts you may follow the links provided in their own posts to their individual blogs. Many of the participants also can be found in the message boards on Stitchers Guild and on Pattern Review.

Have fun!

*Please note that while you are free to avail yourself of the information contained herein, and you are free to link to this blog on your blog, please note that none of this information may be copied or reproduced. The exception is that content of each participants post's may be duplicated only by the creator of the post, and he/she has the right to publish it wherever they please.

Monday, November 30, 2009

A Gallery for finished Coats

In the wearable muslin category, Digs got it down, July 13. See more pics and full post here.

Line honors go to Summerset, who finished her project early in October.

Posted Oct 13, 2008

By Summerset, Vogue 2873 Final post here

Posted Oct 22, 2008

Digs Burda 7856 (in addition to or in place of the major project that is in the works)

Posted Nov 12, 2008

KayY's coat. Vintage Pattern. Vogue 2671 Dior Coat. Pattern Review here

Posted Nov 13, 2008

Lindsay T's coat. Vogue 7978 Pattern review here

Posted Nov 23

Tany's coat. Blog details with further links here


Ann of Anns Fashion Studio

Ann of Gorgeous Things

Cennetta of Mahogany Stylist

Liana's cashmere coat


Erika B

Melissa of Fehr Trade



Cafe Couture

Still under construction
(as far as I know):

Claire S.
Mary OK
Susan (fabricluver)

Friday, March 20, 2009

A Second Coat

I have completed a second coat using V2449. This is a tweed from Emma One Sock, trimmed with a charcoal wool melton and leather diamond appliques.
It is now the first day of Spring and the coat will be put away until next Winter!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Finished my coat, better late than never!

Here is my finished coat. Finally, with issues along the way. I have now posted a review of it on PR and on my new blog.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Mary OK's finished coat

Mary OK's coat with Marfy design inspiration.

I finished! Here are some pictures with the coat worn over the suit I wore when fitting the muslin. It is a bit too snug in the arms and across the shoulders, perhaps because I did not anticipate how much room the lining would take up, especially with flannel underlining the body (but not sleeves) of the silk lining. Oh well -- it will look better over a dress or sweater!

I am very pleased with the result, and I have learned so much as a result of this project. I am very grateful to Marji for setting up the sewalong and to the many others who shared their expertise: Tany, Paco, Els, and the many many participants who commented on fit, construction, and other aspects of the project.

The eggplant wool melton is from Gorgeous Fabrics, and is the same fabric Dawn used. The silk lining, collar velvet, buttons, and thread are from GStreet Fabrics, Rockville, MD. I used vintage hair canvas from my mother's stash to interface the front and the lapels, and of course, I used all of the fantastic coat notions - shoulder pads, sleeve heads, tape, wigan - that Marji supplied last summer. Dog hair is courtesy of my yellow retriever mix, Abby!

Some details:

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I'm so close to finishing I can TASTE it! Next up: Hem coat (I basted the wigan in place last night). Insert lining, with a narrow strip of contrasting silk between lining and facing. Sew buttons.The lining is assembled, so I hope the pieces will go together quickly.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Claire S. - starting again

Well, after the holiday rush in Nov & Dec and the big clean-up and organizing of my sewing room in January, I'm starting on my coat again.

I have the back done - underlined and and sewn together with the shoulder stay piece attached.

I stalled on the front - bound buttonholes or not. I decided NOT - or I may still be working on this coat NEXT winter. So I'm going to go with the snaps, I could have regular buttonholes made later if I want.

My next step is cutting out and attaching the hair canvas to the front pieces. Possibly in the race for last place, but now making forward progress anyway.

Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've just posted photos of my muslin over at my blog GMarie Sews. Please go take a look and let me know what you think.

Your opinions and suggestions are welcome and appreciated.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Progress, finally

I have finally cut out and interfaced my coat and started sewing the lining. I got waylaid by shoulder problems and then surgery. A whole lot better these days and I am getting some sewing done. I will post pictures when I am further along. Right now I am trying to decide whether to add buttons or not. My dh bought me 2 large buttons on ebay from my favorite jewelry designer. I really need to decide soon if I want to make bound buttonholes, or I'll be taking it in to Jonathan's to make machine made buttonholes because my machine will never work on this thick fabric.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Progress update

I'm sorry to say my coat project isn't soon to be finished. I worked on it more than 80 hours and yet, I'm at step 25 out of the 75 steps on the instructions sheet.

Saying I'm discouraged is, at this point, an understatement. I realise I shouldn't have selected such an advanced pattern, I was way too optimistic and too confident.The fitting took me an anwfull lot of time. Then I spent an other awfull lot of time testing and trying the traditionnal tailoring of the collar and lapels, only to abandon them for soft tailoring after I realised I can't possibly choose such a slow route or I will spend the entire year working on this coat alone. Then I practised a dozen times bound buttonholes on the very thick wool I use for the coat until I felt I got them down to a T only to end up with a mediocre result on the coat itself. The flap pockets do look OK from the outside but beware looking at the pockets from the inside... Again, mediocre result. These were successive blows to my sewing mojo and confidence since I practised so much and got them just right on practise fabric scraps and then messed them up on the coat. Very disapointing.

I wanted to throw away the whole thing and start sewing kitchen towels at least a dozen times lately. Finally, I decided to be more stubborn than the difficulty at hand and I'm determined to finish the coat. Only, I won't hold my breath... I will most probably take it easy, and not try so hard. May be I need to step away from it for a while, hide it under my bed or some more secluded place, then return to it after I successfully sew few easier, faster, more rewarding things (like kitchen towels ;-))

Right now I'm stuck at the underarm gussets. My hesitation has to do with insecurity after my sad performances on the coat itself despite my tests efforts for bound buttonholes and flap pockets and also because I don't feel I truly understand how the gussets should be stitched.

I suppose I could say rendez-vous in a few months. I can't even say in a few weeks (let alone few days).

Meanwhile, all the beautiful coats I see here are totally inspiring. You all did a great job. I can fully appreciate the amount of work and skills it takes and I say Brava to all of you.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Cafe Couture's Dress Coat Finished

Hi everyone! I would like to thank you all for your presence here on this blog, such a pleasure to sew along with you all:) I appreciate all the tutorials posted here and thank you Marji for accepting my humble participation:)

Here's my finished coat (actually finished in end october). The only one I finally decideded to sew, as I had problems with the second coat's size grading. Grading a pattern is not an easy thing to do for me and the result was only dissapointing.

Well, let's now focus on my dress coat :) It is actually a short sleeved coat whih I wear with long black wolen gloves, like in the pics above.

This is a vintage Burda pattern from the 1975 and I loved the style. I just altered the pockets and moved the belt above the waist line.

I loved to sew it beacause it's kind of unique and the back is original too.

Here are some details:

And this is the original pattern:

Monday, January 19, 2009

I've Only Just Begun

I've finally gathered all of my supplies - except maybe shoulder pads, which I thought I had ordered with my samples and other supplies, but. . . . I did purchase some at JoAnns today. I don't know if they will work, but they will be a start. I ordered interfacing today.

I also managed to trace the important pattern pieces for a muslin. My goal is to press and cut the muslin after work this week and get it to photo stage before the weekend.

When I purchase the wool from Ann, she said I didn't need to worry about pre-treating. Should I take it to my local dry cleaners to steam, or will it be fine? Also, how should I pretreat the lining? It's poly? Machine wash & dry even though the coat will be dry cleaned?

I've stalled on converting the sleeve to two pieces. I'm not sure if I'll carry on with that or just use the one piece sleeve since I don't really understand the significance of the sleeve being in two pieces. Okay - off to cook dinner.

still working

Digs and Melissa, Congratulations! It is encouraging to see the new coats pop up on the blog.

I'm still working on mine. Today it feels like I'm rounding the corner. The pieces are beginning to go together and it is looking more and more like a coat.

IMHO, the best thing about bound buttonholes is that they are DONE! I'm looking forward to not having all the stress of working buttonholes in a finished garment. I expect to finish mine by the end of January.

I have conquered Stalingrad!

Yes, it's done at long last; I wore it for a test stroll yesterday and to work this morning despite the fact that it's still missing one front button (the local store should re-stock by week's end). Yesterday's photos clearly show the uneven, temporarily pinned up hem with lining peeking out - but all's finished now. I posted a Siege of Stalingrad review for it on Pattern Review. The whole pictorial story can be viewed on my flickr site under the Vogue 1266 set.

This is my 3rd GCSA coat. It was certainly the most complex and time consuming one of the lot. I've learned a tremendous amount during the entire 6-month exercise. Thank you, co-sewers for all your ideas, tips, and process descriptions! And, thank you very much Marji (HUGE BOW), for starting this blog. There's no way in a million years I'd have thought of making a coat without it. Now I see that making a coat doesn't have to be any more intimidating than making a well tailored jacket. Isn't that the best lesson for all future sewing?!

How did I do in comparison with my wishful thinking of last July? Well, I did make the McCall's 5247, but only in a lightweight tartan twill, not the cashmere, which I decided to save for a more interesting pattern. I did make this Vogue coat; I didn't even begin the Burberry-wannabe trenchcoat, but spring is still far ahead; and, to my great surprise, I found a raglan-sleeve Burda pattern for a fun little impromptu short coat that was easy to make and is super comfortable to wear.

OK, who else is still working on their coat? De-lurk and let us rah-rah-rah you onwards!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I finished!

After months and months of inactivity, I managed to finish this, my first ever coat, while it's still cold outside!

If you'll remember, way back in May I laid out what I wanted from this coat:

As far as my coat needs go, I walk to work about 35 minutes each way every day, and my commute takes me over the very windy Tower Bridge! So I need my coat to be very windproof and warm (which I think the Thinsulate will provide) but also very long so my legs don’t get too cold. I know from experience that the wind goes right through jeans and corduroys, and god help me if I’m wearing a skirt!

I can safely say that I've succeeded! This is by far the warmest coat I've ever had - even when we had gales on the river a few nights ago, I didn't feel a thing through the coat (though I could through my scarf and double socks, ugh!). The walking ease really helps, too - unless the wind is blowing directly from my left, the flaps stay closed of their own accord and my legs stay extra toasty. It's not particularly fashionable and the shape isn't exactly flattering, but it's warm and that's what I wanted!! I feel I could join the Russian army with this coat with just the addition of a fur hat...

I've got a ridiculous amount of photos and way, way more backstory on everything I did with this coat over at! Thank you again, Marji!!