Saturday, May 17, 2008

Thanks, Marji

For your wonderful "thoughts on fabric" and "pattern ideas". I bought two patterns today - one is the McCall's 5247 and the other is the Burda 7855. I think I'm leaning towards using the Burda pattern.

I also went to Denver Fabrics this afternoon, and since they have downsized the brick and mortar store, the selection is sorely lacking from even a year ago. They're online shopping selection is much larger than they're brick and mortar store. Doesn't pay me to buy the fabric from them online only to pay tax and shipping. The only wools they had were all dark and one or two bright colors (a fuschia and a green). They do have a wonderful selection of silk charmeuse!

So, I'll be shopping the internet tonight - I have already looked up several and they are all promising.

Ann at has some luscious colors of wool

So does

and I think I'm in love with an eggplant colored wool blend at

Off to do more browsing................

Thinking phase

One, I am excited that I decided to participate in this. I have never made a coat. I have made lots of jackets. I did make a Vogue pattern that perhaps was a "short coat", that I made out of wool/cashmere blend. I have some fabric in my collection that is coat worthy. Yet, I have been eyeing some fabric at Gorgeous Fabrics that are definitely for coats short or long.

Two, I am undecided about the coat style as well and need to go through my patterns to decide. I think I need to start with something simple. If anyone has suggestions for a coat pattern for a 5'3", petite person, suggest away.

Three, when supplies are listed please suggest sources for some of the items, as all I have available close by is JoAnn's. Perhaps I should have more coffee or at least read the sidebar! Thus I am thinking I will need to make some online purchases.

Thanks, Marji for putting this together.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Question on wool

I am so excited to be part of this sew along. I haven't sewn a coat since my two DD's were very young - about 39 years ago, so this is going to be like starting all over. I did make welt pockets and bound buttonholes on those coats.

What type of wool is your preference for making a coat? There is wool gabardine, wool flannel, wool coating, and several other types, and I'm getting a bit confused. Also, what would you suggest for a lining?

Denver Fabrics is about 5 miles from my house, and I'm planning a visit to feel the different wools. That is the only fabric store, other than Joann's, with anything other than quilting cottons. I am not adverse to buying online (I do it quite frequently).

I would probably only wear this coat on Sundays or other "dress up" occasions. I live in metro Denver and I have several nice jackets that I would wear with casual clothes, so this coat would not get worn daily.

I don't have a pattern yet, but plan to look at McCalls, and Butterick tomorrow as they are on sale at Joann's. I am also going to look at patterns on Ebay. Oh, dear, I have to shop!! :D

I'll Go First

I know the timeline for this project has a bit of time to begin, but I'll start with why I want to do this. I am the queen of starting projects, but I'm always off schedule. There used to be a day (many, many moons ago) when I could start a project on Friday and finish it in time to wear to work or school on Monday. Somehow, and I have no idea how, my time management skills have deteriorated over the past two decades and it now seems I start things but rarely finish them in the time I have allotted. I'm working on changing that, and I'm also trying to finish things up rather than leave them in a bag half done, cluttering up the place and providing no useful garment.

Marji has a great idea. Coats are big projects, especially winter coats that tend to have multiple areas of interlining, interfacing, lining. Also details like welt pockets, lapel and collar details, bound buttonholes, you name it. It takes a while, and I'm the sort that waits for a cold weekend to start one. Then I don't finish it before the weather changes, and it sits till the next winter because I want to sew things I can wear. Starting a coat in July, and working on it only in bits (so presumably one can do other projects in the between-times) is brilliant. So, I've tentatively picked my pattern and fabric (from stash, pattern I bought recently but without a plan for it) and I'll go through my notions and buttons and such soon to make sure I have what I need. I should, I certainly have enough stuff. Great project! K

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Thoughts on Linings

Adele Margolis, in her book Fashion Sewing for Everyone, reminds us that "The lining must not interfere with the already considerable shaping of the garment. It is designed, stitched, and inserted in such a way as to permit freedon of movement. ... In deciding how much or how little substructure to use in any garment, be mindful of the fact that anything that goes into the inside of a garment adds to its shape, its body, its weight, and its warmth. Don't get so carried away by the idea of an understructure that you overload you garment with it. Many fabrics need only the gentlest persuasion to keep them in line. It is a joy to wear something that doesn't feel like a suit of armor or weigh a ton. Strike a happy balance."

I had intended to write about interfacings, underlinings and interlinings next, but I'm getting emails requesting I write about linings first, so that is what I'll write about today.

A coat lining needs to be a bit sturdier and more abrasion resistant than linings for other types of garments.
You want it to have a slippery enough surface that it slides over your other clothing easily. You want it to be tightly woven and smooth so that it doesn't catch on clothing or jewelry you may wear, and you want it to stand up to friction as it rubs against your other clothing and you put your arms into and out of sleeves.
(This is starting to read like a text-book, sorry.)

I'm just going to talk a little bit about weave structure and fiber, and then link to some sources, and you can ask whatever you want from there.

Weave Structure for Linings
Satin - Charmeuse falls into this category.
A satin is a fabric that is woven with long yarn floats on the surface, giving that characteristic shiny, slippery surface. There are many weights of satins, from the lightest weight charmeuse to the heaviest weights of duchesse satin suitable for wedding gowns. For a lining you want a soft lighter weight satin that is not stiff. Charmeuse is a good choice.
Flannel back satin is a lining that doubles as interlining for added warmth.

Drawback: The abrasion resistance of a satin is not up to the same level as that of a twill, or even a strong taffeta.

Taffeta - a plain weave fabric more tightly woven in the weft than the warp. For linings you want a piece-dyed taffeta - soft and pliable, as opposed to a yarn-dyed taffeta - the kind that rustles when you walk and you make evening gowns from. Ambiance is a taffeta lining. (see note below in the link section regarding Ambiance as a coat lining.

Twill - Twill weaves are very resistant to abrasion and are very durable. Denim is a twill weave fabric. Lining fabrics are available in both plain twill weaves and broken twill. An example of a broken twill is a herringbone. I picked up some fabulous silk twills for linings at Fabric Mart last fall - they were labeled as "Tie Silks". I'm using one of them as a lining in a coat I'm making. Click on the picture at the right to see the enlarged photo and the weave stands right out.

Jacquard - also referred to as Damasks, these are the beautiful fabrics with patterns woven into them, sometimes they're solid and sometimes print.

Bemberg Rayon - Bemberg is a trade name for cupramonium Rayon. Advantages - anti-static, affordable, breathable and comfortable to wear. Rayon is a man-made (remanufactured) cellulose fiber made from wood pulp. Ambiance is a Bemberg Rayon. Another Bemberg, very similar to Ambiance is by Berenstein. These are the two that are most readily available in most fabric stores. Both are a lightweight lining, and unless you're making a spring coat or live in a very warm climate, are probably too lightweight for a coat lining.
Berenstein makes a nice Rayon Twill lining for coats.

Silk - For a coat lining, a hefty silk charmeuse (19mm or better), a silk twill, a silk crepe de chine, or a jacquard may be good choices.
Advantages: breathable, comfortable, luxurious
Disadvantage: generally more costly than other alternatives.

Polyester - advantages: generally very affordable. Disadvantages: static can be a problem, not breathable, polyester retains body odors.

Acetate - There are more acetate coat linings than any other type of lining made from acetate, and I'm not sure quite why this is.
You'll find some of the classic menswear linings in acetate twills, and they can be quite handsome. Acetate's biggest plus is it's affordability, it's biggest negative is that it's abrasion resistance is low and it must be dry cleaned. (for a coat that is not really a relative consideration)

Not recommended for winter coat linings:

  • Silk habotai, aka China Silk, is, IMO too lightweight and not durable enough to stand up as a coat lining.
  • Ambiance and the Berenstein equivalent lightweight Bemberg rayon lining
  • Polyester linings sold as linings - I'm thinking of Logantex Hang Loose, and Joann's brand "Posh" and "Sun Silky" are generally also, IMO, too lightweight to act as coat linings.
Sources and links

  • Flannel back satin insulated linings that will add warmth are sold as Sunback TM available at Manhattan Fabrics and JandOFabrics , (Sunback is an Acetate/Polyester blend fabric.)
  • and Kasha TM available in a wide selection of colors at Vogue Fabrics in Chicago. Kasha is a Rayon/cotton blend fabric.
  • an example of a jacquard woven satin: Hollywood Lining at B.Black&Sons.
  • a broken twill herrinbone lining Diamond Lining at B.Black&Sons.
  • Thai Silks print gallery for an awesome selection of silk charmeuse

Specialty Fabrics, Rainwear

ONLY If you're planning to make a trenchcoat in this sewalong, please answer the poll just to the right, on the sidebar. I want to get an idea of how many trenchcoats are in the offing, and how many want to work with a raincoating fabric.

I am no expert with raincoating. All I can do is collect some information in the books, and talk to those who have worked with it.

The very popular B*Berry rainwear fabric that is everywhere will present some sewing challenges.

Kathryn (FZXDOC)is currently making a coat with it, and has graciously agreed to let me reprint here her findings. (thank you Kathryn)

I'm still working on my turquoise raincoat from that same Burberry Reverse fabric that I bought from Michael's Fabrics. The fabric is really much better behaved than I thought it would be. I have inserted welt pockets and am flat felling every seam, the old fashioned way (cutting/turning/topstitching). My raincoat has LOTS of fabric in it, so just physically pushing that amount of fabric through the sewing machine takes time and effort. Here's what I'm using so far:

* Microtex Sharp size 80 needles most of the time, and switching to Universal 110 needles for the really thick areas.
* Naomoto gravity feed iron set to the highest temperature with steam. No problems with the creases holding nicely. I use my vacuum ironing board to cool the pressed areas off quickly, so perhaps that aids in the crease control.
* Silk organza presscloth for almost every seam, although sometimes when I press from the wrong side I do not use the presscloth.
* Extra fine Patchwork Pins by Clover. No pin marks anywhere, even when the pins are left in for days at a time. (It's been slow going due to lack of sewing time Undecided)
* No holes persist when I have to unsew an area. I haven't unsewn any long seams, though, just small spots. But the needle marks seem to go away quickly
* Mettler Metrosene polyester thread. I wanted to use a shiny rayon thread for decorative topstitching, but it proved to be too fragile for this fabric. I couldn't find a TIRES silk thread close enough in color, or I would have tried it.
* Tailor tacks made with elastic thread hold exceptionally well and don't leave visible holes in the fabric when removed.
* There was a lengthwise crease in the center of the fabric from being folded on a bolt, I imagine. It does not want to press away completely, so placement with respect to that crease is critical
* As I mentioned earlier, there is a misregistration of the stripes across the width of the fabric, so that the stripes are one pattern repeat off from selvedge to selvedge. This is especially noticeable for pieces like a back piece or a back yoke placed on a fold, because the stripes may not fall in the same place on both shoulders
* The fabric wrinkles easily, but the deep wrinkles hang out quickly. The coat has an overall soft wrinkled look of a well washed linen with handling, though. Since I don't press my raincoats before wearing, Grin , I suspect the coat will always have that faint over all wrinkled look. I chose the solid side for my public side. The soft overall wrinkling is not apparent on the striped side.
* I have not had a problem so far with the layers separating with heat and steam or lots of handling.
* I have not had a problem so far with the fabric discoloring due to the heat/steam of the ironing process. The deeper colors might show this effect more than the lighter turquoise I am using.
* The fabric frays ever so slightly. If I worry an edge, I can get frays to come out but they don't come out of their own accord, even with all the handling required in building a big raincoat.

That's about all I can think of for now. It's a fun fabric to sew with, so anyone who has it smiling at them from their stash should make it their next project! Smiley


She further went on to elaborate:
...the fabric is not coated on the outside that I can tell, but it is very firm (as in no give nohow) and would not ease well. Like **, I was able to do the tiniest bit of easing with the sleeve into the armhole, but it was a nearly flat sleeve head and really had less than a half inch of fabric to be eased.

About the fabric itself, It has that rubbery raincoat feel to it, so the fabric must be sandwiched to a rainproof inner layer, perhaps. Both faces of the fabric feel cloth like.

The misregistration of the stripes is very subtle--it's not as though you could tell it by looking at the fabric itself. It's like each batch of stripes was shifted a millimeter or so across the width, so by the time you got to the other selvedge, you have a huge mismatch.

You would probably only be able to notice it when you place the pattern and see that each piece should be cut single layer so that the stripes can be matched up manually before cutting. The only problem occurs on a piece that is not seamed across the width of the body. By that I mean that you would be able to match the stripes, cutting each piece singly, for the front pieces, the back pieces with a center back seam, collar pieces cut on a seam, and the sleeves. The only problem that I can see is for pieces cut on a fold where you cannot shift the pattern for each half so that the stripes fall where they should--so that each half matches the other. I think across half a body width, the misregistration is subtle and you probably would not notice it on the garment itself, especially if the stripes are matched before cutting, so that each pattern piece is properly aligned.

Perhaps someone who has sewn a coat with the stripes on the outside can jump in here and give their experiences with cutting the pattern and matching the stripes. Since I put the stripes on the inside, the problem was transparent to me.

**, I love using elastic thread for all of my tailor's tacks on almost all of the fabrics I sew, except very fine fabrics. It really stays in no matter how much you manhandle the fabric. It was a tip published in a Threads magazine maybe 12 years ago or more. I've used it ever since. Works great!

edit to add information from comment section

Bloggerfzxdoc said...

I think a set in sleeve may be a challenge because this fabric does not really ease all that well, and pressing/steaming does not seem to make it shrink or conform as natural fibers do. There is a fair amount of give on the bias, though, so set in sleeves may be possible, using the method of stretching a bias piece of tie interfacing or wool crepe across the top of the sleeve to force it to gather up prior to setting it in. I'll take a scrap of my fabric and test that possibility and report back.

Susan, I'm using an OOP Issey Miyake Vogue pattern--very big and very full with sleeves that have only a slight curvature at the top of the sleeve.

Nancy, I did not prewash the fabric. It has small creases from folding (during shipping presumably) in it that are very visible on the solid side and that don't want to press out. Those creases may come out with prewashing, though. I'll toss a scrap into the wash right now and see what happens. I'll report back on that too.

Bloggerfzxdoc said...

OK, the prewashing results are as follows:

*Machine washed in cold water with Tide detergent on the delicate cycle.
*Machine dried on the delicate cycle.
*The turquoise side of the fabric turned a shade darker! Imagine that!
*It is much more drapey than the unwashed fabric.
*The little areas where there were creases that would not come out were still there, but not as noticeable.
*The fabric shrunk lengthwise by about 3%. (a 23.5 inch piece shrunk to 22.75 inches)
*The fabric shrunk on the crosswise grain by about 5% (the 10.125 inch piece shrunk to 9.625 inches)
*Water beads just as nicely on the prewashed fabric as on the original fabric.
*The prewashed fabric wrinkles just as easily as the original fabric: like wrinkles in a soft linen. The hard wrinkles disappear with time.

I just put in a set-in sleeve using some of the fabric scraps from my raincoat project. I used the Vogue trenchcoat pattern that I used before for the kiwi eyelet trench and the Chanel-type trench. The sleeve in that pattern does not have much ease: less than 1 inch. It also has a seam that runs down the outside of the arm from shoulder point to wrist.

Method I used:

*assembled the sleeve upper and underarm seams.
*seamed the bodice shoulder and side seams
*cut a piece of wool crepe, about 2 inches wide, on the true bias, and about 10 inches long.
*placed the strip of crepe on the wrong side of the sleeve, letting it extend about an inch below the front armhole notch.
*set stitch length to 3.0 mm
*lowered the needle so that it was just inside the 5/8 inch seam allowance line (at a scant 5/8 inch, that is)
*pulled the strip of crepe tightly while letting the sleeve armhole seam area feed through from front notch to back notch. Raised needle and trimmed the leftover length of crepe. The sleeve was slightly gathered from notch to notch.
*placed the sleeve on the tip of a tailor's ham and steamed the seam allowance only, patting the fabric to try to force it to curve into the shape of the shoulder area. Let the fabric dry.
*inset the sleeve according to the pattern instructions (in the round).

You can see the set in sleeve on my Flickr photo site

Having set in that test sleeve, I have to say it wasn't that difficult. But then it did not have a great deal of ease. Less than an inch of ease in the sleeve cap is manageable, from my little test. I would think it would be very difficult to ease 2 or more inches into an armhole with that fabric.

So I would recommend for patterns with a set in sleeve that the ease be reduced to less than an inch, if possible. Sandra Betzina in her book Fast Fit shows how to reduce sleeve ease.

I also took photos of the kind of creases that I found in my fabric from perhaps being on the bolt or creased in shipping, just so you all could see what I was talking about. These creases may have only been in my piece of fabric.

That's the end of my testing for the evening.

Have fun, everyone sewing your rainwear fabric. I'm loving working with it!


May 29, 2008 10:31 PM


Here's a link to those test set in sleeve and crease in the rainwear photos:Rainwear Fabric Tests

And when I said the turquoise side turns darker after prewashing, it is not really a whole shade darker, just slightly darker!





Kathryn is a member here now too, and I invite her to answer any queries you might have in the comment section.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Edit: I've just entered the timeline onto the sidebar, so I'm un-postdating this entry. It should fall down to the end of the site now, in real chronological order.

I'm really excited about the enthusiasm for this project.
Thanks for bearing with me while I get it all set up.

Right now I'm thinking that next week I'll finish the source list and start a materials list for what you'll need.

I plan to discuss:

  • Fabric
  • underlining and interlining
  • interfacings
  • linings

all the rest of it (shoulder pads, sleeve heads, wiggan, etc, can wait for awhile)

June 1
I want to start going through the muslin process.
I'm assuming that everyone is going to want to make a fitting muslin, to check both the fit and the style.

July 1
I'll put up the first post about beginning construction

I'd like to take a poll now. *see poll on sidebar. Also, you may leave a message in the comments
How many are planning a notched collar with roll line and how many are planning a coat with a stand up or peterpan or other type of collar?
If you don't have a pattern or haven't made a decision yet, please let us know that too.
Have you chosen a pattern? If so, which one?

If you have pattern and fabric already, feel free to post. we'd love to see pics.
In fact, I plan to put a list of links down the sidebar for pattern numbers and fabric.

Thanks everyone for your interest and participation.
ps. I'm post dating this post to keep it at the top for awhile.

Specialty and Luxury Fabrics

I want to take a minute to post about some of the specialty fibers out there.
I've noticed from reading many of the posts that there are two separate fabrics that both will require some special handling that many folks here plan to use. And then there is the question of the mohair that Susan has asked about.
The specialty fabrics are Cashmere, and the B*berry raincoating that is turning up everywhere.

first off, I'll talk about specialty animal hair fibers.
Cashmere is the fiber of the Kashmir goat, and comes from Asia, Tibet, India, and parts of China. It's expensive because the annual production is relatively small and demand is fairly high. There are varying qualities of cashmere available now, determined by staple fiber length and fineness of the fiber. The fine short fibers are 1-3.5" long, the coarser longer fibers vary from 2-5". It's also known to be warm relative to the weight of the fabric.

Mohair is the fiber of the Angora Goat. The fibers are fine and silky and measure 4"-6" or 9"-12" depending upon how often the goats are sheared. Mohair is "remarkably resistant to abrasion and wear" Paraphrased from Textile Science by MarjoryL.Joseph c. 1977.

Claire Schaeffer, in her Sew Any Fabric Quick Reference Guide recommends "Simple designs, minimal seaming, topsitching." She cautions to avoid intricate details when working with 100% animal hair fabrics.
She recommends lightweight silk as underlining to add structure for coats and jackets. I'll add a recommendation of the fine cotton batiste or silk/cotton batiste (see Farmhouse Fabrics silk cotton batiste blend)

When pressing both cashmere and mohair it's really important to test press scraps first and use a press cloth, and press on the wrong side only.
Again, Claire Schaeffer cautions that Mohair is easily damaged by steaming and improper pressing. Covering the ironing surface with a towel or piece of wool will help to protect the right side surface from crushing.

Adele Margolis, in The Complete Book of Tailoring Suggests designs with simple lines and few pattern pieces for Mohair fabrics, and underlining with china silk or silk organza in a matching color.

Both cashmere and mohair fabrics should be treated as Nap fabrics and a one-way layout should be used.
This information applies also to fabrics that are wool/animal hair blends. ie wool/cashmere or wool/mohair blends.

The two lines the 464 pg The Vogue Sewing Book devotes to instructions on "sewing with luxury fabrics" says "Don't skimp on the inner fabrics: interfacings, underlinings, and lining fabrics should match your fashion fabric's quality. And please, make a test muslin--the time spent is well worth the effort".

Bottom line, if you're planning on sewing with an animal hair fiber, other than wool, plan on underlining, and plan on using some extra care in sewing and handling.
All of my knowledge and experience, and everything I've been able to look up in my various source references, all make me feel confident in saying that you can make buttonholes, collars, and pockets in lovely coats using animal hair fabrics, including mohair.

Susan, I think the design lines of the jacket that you're looking at would be fine with a mohair fabric. I would avoid designs with gathers, pleats, and any other fussy details. But Vogue 2884 is a loosely fitting jacket with just a few pieces, so I really think you'll be fine.

KayY said...Threads #91 (November 2000) has an article on sewing with mohair which recommends caution in lining and underlining mohair because of the sag factor. It suggests quilting layers together à la Chanel, or letting the lining hang free at the hem. Sandra Betzina is the author.

Thoughts on Fabric

all material contained here is by MVZ and the Great Coat Sewalong and may not be reproduced without permission.

One word: WOOL
There is nothing that tailors easier, there is nothing that is so responsive and fabulous to work with.
Again, if this is your first coat, you want to choose a fabric that will make it a fun and pleasurable experience.
I would suggest a tightly woven wool tweed or solid wool flannel in a coating weight, (these are sometimes brushed so that the surface appears to be a bit fuzzy - and might be labeled "brushed flannel" "brushed coating".)
Other specialty fibers that are classed as wool and are wonderful for coating fabrics are:
  • camels hair
  • vicuna (let us know if you a. find vicuna, and b. what the cost is!)
  • cashmere
A consideration when choosing fabric: 100% content of any of those fibers are going to be luscious but will also require underlining for support.
One of the coats (well, a coat so short it can be classed as a jacket) that I'm going to make for this sew-along is going to be of 100% cashmere. It is soft, and the fabric is a bit more fragile than most wool. By underlining it I'm going to protect it from some of the bagging out at the elbows and seat that could happen.

Fabrics that are blends will give the best characteristics of both fibers.
-A 50/50 blend of wool/cashmere is going to be soft, warm and lovely while strong and resilient and less susceptible to abrasion. See these fabrics that Ann at Gorgeous Fabrics has right now. (NAYY, I swear, it's just that she's got such a great selection and great pricing.)
-Many wool coating fabrics have 10% nylon content. This is again to add the strength of the nylon to the wool.
You may find coating wool that is "double woven". Both sides may be used as the right side, and in the case of double woven wools where there are two colors some really fun special effects are possible. Manhattan Fabrics has a fabulous assortment of double faced coating wools right now. Like this, and this.(I personally would save the two color double woven wools for a less structured, unlined reversible coat.)
Fashion Fabrics Club also has a wide selection of coating wool at comparable prices.
A search at Mood Fabrics for "coating Wool" returns 194 fabric selections but not all of them are coating fabrics, and not all of them are wool - so be selective in reading your online fabric descriptions, even after using the search function.

oh, I've been online browsing for coat fabrics and just found a true camels hair fabric at Textile Studios.

There are many other sources, and I suspect from reading the comments many of you sent when emailing me for the invite, that many will be shopping your stash.

I would not suggest a wool gabardine for a winter coat. Nor would I suggest wool gabardine for a first jacket project. It's a fabulous fabric, but it can be unforgiving to work with. IMO it's the most challenging of all the wool weaves to work with.

Next week: a discussion of underlinings, interlinings, and support fabrics.

Pattern ideas

all material contained here is by MVZ and the Great Coat Sewalong and may not be reproduced without permission.
Pattern images belong to the pattern companies and are linked.

If you already have a pattern, great. If you don't, and this is your first coat, here are some of my thoughts: (and I'm looking mainly at classic coat designs)

**Please leave a message in the comments with your pattern number or BWOF number
if you've chosen already**

  • Look for a pattern drafted with a 2 piece sleeve.
  • Shoulder princess seams are easier to adjust for fit than armhole princess seams, and provide flattering vertical lines. If you're easy to fit or are adept at fitting, either seam type is good.
  • Full notched collars with a roll line are not difficult, we'll be going through the whole process here to make one, but they will require a bit more of your time than stand up or applied collars.
  • details like pockets are easily changed.
  • the decision to underline will be made based upon the fabric and pattern choice you make
  • the decision to interline will be made based upon how warm you need your coat to be

Vogue 7978 Vogue 7979

patterns It's unfortunate that Vogue has just added V7979 and V7978 to their discontinued list - both are very well drafted with shoulder princess seams and are still available by ordering on their website. Both of these coats also have collar variations and inseam pockets.

McCalls 5247 is a pattern that I know a few folks here either have or are considering.
It has the 2 pc sleeve and vertical princess seams. Again, I assume everyone here is willing to make a muslin, so fitting issues will be worked out then. I understand, although do not know for certain, that there is more wearing ease built into this pattern than the comparable Vogue patterns. (I'll discuss appropriate wearing ease measurements when we get to muslins in June).
I'm going to go buy this pattern today at the $1.99 sale just to have it so I know what some of you are working with.

Simplicity 4403 is another pattern that would be a good choice, and another that is discontinued! (and still available through their website acc'd to the info on the website)
Burda 7855 is still in print and should be in the drawers at the store.

Vogue 8346 Vogue 8307

If you choose a full skirted design, such as Vogue 8346 and Vogue 8307, you'll want to consider underlining the whole coat to support the wool in the fullness of the skirt.

I'm certain that there are great patterns available in some back issues of BWOF, and if you own those, great. There are also many many great OOP and vintage coat patterns.
I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

A Pattern I'm not crazy about, and why: Butterick 4665 doesn't have a 2 piece sleeve

Just for fun, follow this link for a look at my own personal coat pattern collection

I received an email from someone saying she was going to buy or trace a size larger than she typically wears to account for the wearing ease.
If you were thinking along these same lines, Don't.
A coat pattern is drafted taking into account the fact that it's meant to be worn over other clothing and has wearing ease built in. The first week in June, when we get to the step about muslins I'll post the guidelines for the amount of wearing ease (know that it's ballpark 6" - 10") and go through measuring the tissue prior to cutting. But when buying your pattern, buy your correct size.

Re a one piece and two piece sleeve:
When I cover fitting the muslin and pattern drafts I'll talk about the one and two piece sleeve, and cover how you can change your sleeve from one piece to two piece if you want to.

Next up - a discussion of fabrics.


In addition to those listed as sewing along on the sidebar, these are participating.

Ann, Beth, Chris, Claire, Connie B, Debbie, FirecrackerKTM, JeannieCrockett, KarenT, Kellie, Kelly, Laura, Lorrie, MaryJ, MichelleP, NancyK, Rosecy, Sandra, Toby Wollin

Still to come:
List of materials

if you would like to receive an invitation to participate please email me at mlweaving at yahoo dot com.
Construction will begin in July.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


This post, and the most recent and relevant posts offering some direction will be post-dated to keep them at the top of the thread. In order to see what others are posting, after you’ve read the top posts, please scroll down.
As soon as we move on to the next step, or I think everyone has had a reasonable amount of time to view a post up top, I’ll edit the date so that it can fall back where it will chronologically, and will post a link for it on the index in the top box on the sidebar. There are several links there already, beginning with the one on pattern ideas.

I am honored, humbled, and more than a little intimidated that several true experts in the sewing field and sewing blogosphere have written me to offer help and use of links to their tutorials, and/or accepted invitations to sit in and observe here. You’ll notice some of their names already on the sidebar.
Thanks and Welcome to Gorgeous Things AnnS, Els, Kathryn, FashionIncubator’s KathleenF, Liana, MaryBeth, PacoPeralta, and to Tany and Summerset who’re sewing along with us.

You’ve all noticed, this sew-along is now closed and viewable to members only.
1. Blogger only allows for 100 members on a blog now. With 88 people who’ve been sent invites who want to sew-along, and another 10 who’ve been invited to observe, we’ve limited out on blogger!
2. It will keep us all on track if everyone begins at the same date – at least viewing the information if not actually cutting into fabric. If I left this open to view, we’d end up with people coming in all along the process, and eating up a lot of my time asking questions trying to play catch-up. I learned this a long time ago, teaching classes.
I’m seriously considering opening the whole blog up to public view, in October, after the sewalong is finished, and After I’ve had a chance to edit out what I may decide to keep aside as course material to be used at a later date, and After you’ve all had the opportunity to edit anything that you may not want open for public consumption. I’ve gotten a few emails from people who work in public areas and are happy this is a closed blog right now. You’ll have an opportunity to remove anything you post later, before I publish this for anyone to see.

I’ve noted that I may decide to go ahead and use what I’m developing here, as course material. Please be assured that I will not use anything you post, nor will I use any tutorials I link to, without express permission, which I will seek if I decide to pursue this avenue.
Please, if you want to share what you’re making here, by all means, do so on your own blog. Again, I just ask that you not publish any of the directions I write, or copy any of the tutorials I link to, without getting the permission of the person to whom the tutorial belongs.

Happy Coat Sewing – this is going to be fun!