Saturday, May 31, 2008

Fun Facts to Know and Tell

First off - is anyone else as frustrated as I am with blogger taking Forever to load this blog?
It's because I have it set to show 1 month of posts.
We're posting too fast and furious friends, so, as inconvenient as it may be, I'm going to go into the template and change it so that only the last weeks worth of posts show. It'll speed up the load time considerably.
I did make it so that all posts for the last month are labeled and linked on the sidebar, so you can look at the sidebar to see what you might have missed...and you can always go to the bottom of the blog and click on "see older posts".

  • Stats: there are 98 people currently registered! Roughly 10 of them signed on only to observe, yet some of them are now talking about actually sewing along. Wouldn't it be AWESOME if, at the end of September, we have 100 finished coats? I think it's a real possiblity!!!
  • there are 3 polls on the sidebar - if you haven't looked at them and voted, please do so.
  • right now it looks as if there are 9 trenchcoats planned.
  • one poll asks if your fabric is coming from stash or if you have to purchase it - 41 answered stash, 24 answered purchase. If you're one of the 25 or so who haven't answered yet, how about taking a minute to choose one? If you just bought your fabric, just for this project, you can answer #2 - only if it really was in stash already answer #1 - it'll be interesting to see. Who knew so many people stash coating fabric?
  • the other asks collar style, and I really need to just take that one down since so many have already posted their plans. That was just to help me get an idea.
  • I will be putting up a poll soon asking if you plan to use sewn in interfacings and traditional tailoring techniques, or fusible interfacings and the more modern "fusible tailoring" techniques, or if you plan to use a combination......but I can't put that up until I finish editing my post on interfacings and get it up - soon, I promise, Soon.

Don't worry, if you haven't ordered interfacings, waiting on this blogpost - you've got til July before you'll need it, and last I knew, no online vendors were taking 4 weeks for shipping. I hope to get enough info up so that you can make an informed choice, even if you've never done either one before.

Totally apropos of nothing, I got my hair cut this AM. I was trying to grow it out, knowing that life on a boat is a lot easier with hair tied back. I couldn't do it. I HATED my hair as it was getting longer. So today - Chop Chop.

Supply lists


  • Needles - for tailoring you want short fine needles, labeled on the package as Betweens
  • silk thread OR rayon embroidery thread for marking and basting -do NOT sweat this one. if you don't have easy access to silk thread, just go buy a spool of Sulky machine embroidery thread - or Madeira - Rayon embroidery, not poly embroidery.
  • all-purpose thread to match your fashion fabric, and separate thread if you need it for your lining, if your lining is contrast.
  • topstitching thread. I'll discuss this at length in a separate post.
  • Beeswax - easiest to use from a dispenser like this - available Everywhere!
  • pencil
  • tailors chalk
  • tailors ham for pressing and
  • a press cloth - (I use a square of silk organza)

nice, but not necessary:
  • Cotton basting thread this stuff is not for sewing with, but is great for basting, and rips apart when you want to remove it.
  • Tracing wheel and tracing paper - I use the old fashioned waxed stuff in large sheets from Greenberg and Hammer - comes in 4 colors
  • all the other fun pressing tools like point pressers and sleeve boards and sleeve rolls - they all make pressing easier, but you can make-do without all of them. They represent a huge investment.
  • Wiggan for hemming
  • stay tape - fusible or sew in - straight and bias
  • sleeve heads *see below
  • buttons - you'll need these early on if you're planning on bound buttonholes. If you want to make buttonholes by hand then you can wait awhile on finding these.
  • shoulder pads - you can make these, but I will not be going over making shoulder pads, so if you do, you're on your own. You will want uncovered pads, and they come in different shapes for raglan and set-in sleeves, and in different sizes based upon what type of garment they're for and how much pad you want. I have a wholesale source locally (well, sort of local, they're way downtown) that I might be able to use. The avail sources I'm finding on the net are woefully inadequate.
Note, for those few of you making men's coats - someone NEEDS to get a mens tailoring reference. And, check out the Kit available at B.Black&Sons for menswear tailoring. You'll find straight sleeve heads, linen collar interfacing, undercollar felt, and shoulder pads in it.
SewTrue has the chest pads and blade pads that are found in menswear that are not found in women's tailored coats. For menswear I've seen them all over the place - but you can buy "Coat Fronts" by the size, precut and padded. These are at SewTrue, but I believe they also have them at B.Black, Greenberg and Hammer, Atlanta Thread, and maybe at the Sewing Place.

I have a question for everyone in the continental US - Canada:
If I were to put together a package containing a pair of sleeve heads, and an adequate amount of staytape and wiggan, would you be interested in buying it and having me send it to you? Would you be interested in having me include shoulder pads? I would need to cover my costs. I'm thinking that with shipping it wouldn't be more than $10.

The next question is:
If I were to put together a sample set containing 4"x6" samples of a variety of interfacings, including hair canvas, hymo, fusible acro, a fusible weft insertion interfacing, possibly a form-flex - would you be interested in that? That would allow you to sample without having to order yardage. Again, I'd have to cover my costs and shipping- but I could get a lot of samples out of a half a yard of each, so the cost to each would be minimal.

Els (of the Sewing Divas) has contacted me and offered to sell coat sleeve heads (jacket sleeve heads are smaller) to participants here - I'm just going to quote from her email:

I have sleeve heads for coats ( 35 pair in white and 35 pair in black ) which I can sell, although I am not a retailer. Just happen to have a large stash.

These sleeve heads have a longer length and are used for coats.

The sleeve heads for a jacket are shorter in length and also a bit steeper in shape.

The price is € 0,95 ( 95 euro cents) US $1.55 per pair but I can sell them for a special price US $1.20 per pair for this occasion, as part of my contribution.

The sleeve head that I was planning on using from Atlanta Thread are straight and have a foldline delineated into the header. I'm pleased to be able to try these.
What Els will do is send me a batch (saving out some for any of you already in European locations) and I'll repackage and ship from here along with the rest of the notions.
If you want a set of these, you MUST leave a comment here in the comments. I'm not going to be responsible for trying to sort comments and emails and determine who got dibs first. There are 70 sets - coat, NOT jacket size, so I'm going to limit the quantity to one per person, unless we have extras. If you're making more than one coat, you can request materials for as many coats as you need, and I'll add the other type sleeve head for the additional coats.
(if you live in Europe, Els has indicated that she will send a set to you - sign up for one here and we'll take care of the logistics of paying Els directly and getting addresses, later)

in your comment please specify notion kit with shoulder pad OR notion kit without shoulder pad.

Patrice's Sewing Plans :)

Hi Everyone!!
I'm a tad bit late tossing my hat into TGCSA but I'm here! :)

I will attempt 3 coats. I'm a southern girl who now lives in Saint Louis. I've experience 2 winters here and when I tell you it gets cold... please believe me it gets COLD!
I've managed with a little puff jacket but I would like some variety for this coming fall/winter season.

So here are my choices....

I will attempt view A (in red)

Just looking at this pattern I already know the sleeves will have to be lenghtened, however I think it will work on those not so frigid days.

And finally... I will be trying my hand at this coat again. I attempted last year and it was a huge interface disaster!!

Lisette M's Coat

I finally decided on this coat pattern from Burda WOF September 2005 # 102. I matched it to a cut of cashmere/wool in my stash. For the lining I chose a silk jackard and the buttons are wood. I also bought cotton flannel for underlining.

Cafe Couture Vintage Coats

Hello to all Great Coat Sewalong participants, this is my first post here and I am hapy to introduce you the patterns I've chosen for my coats. I could not limit my decision to one, so I'll will be making two - I know I am not the only one in this case :)
Here are some details:
The Dress coat pattern (black and white picture)comes from the Burda Jan. 1975 German edition and wll be made from a black fine wool fabric which I bought some time ago. I picked this pattern because to my eyes it is an unusual clothing and suitable for soft winters in Paris as it has short sleeves. It may be elegant when belted and worn with a dress or cooler with pants and flat shoes.
The second pattern (hereafter)is a Burda 1974 Sept model, and I like the collar and the length and i'll probably wear it with large pants and high heels. I'll scan the back view of the pattern and publish as I go on with it. The fabric for it is cafe-au-lait wool with different nuances of brown stripes, but really soft. I intend to cut in stripes horizontally for a beter vintage effect.

I did not buy the muslin, neither the lining yet, but plan to do it next week (did not have any in stock of it and wanted to know exactly the type of coat I'll make before buying). I'll complete this post with pictures of the coat patterns drawings from the magazines (which I need to scan).
P.S. Marji - I am so grateful to you for organizing this coat sew-along, this is a première for me and I am constantly thinking of how I would do this or that, will I alter the patterns or not, is fabric suitable all these kind of things etc. etc.- and then I find most of the answers on the Great Coat Sew-along blog. That's great!

The Great Coat Sew-Along: Mohair for V2884? Fabricluver - Susan

Vogue 2884 alpaca jacket

Robin's Fabric & Pattern: Vogue 7979

I will be sewing Vogue 7979 - the double-breasted version in knee length.

Here is the fabric I bought at G Street in Rockville last weekend. They were having a nice sale with an extra $20 off coupon. It may appear a little boring, but I swear it is really lively in real life. There are lots of fabulous little spots of bright colors and it will be a versatile workhorse.
I really wanted a black & white herringbone, but nothing looked just right. In a completely unrelated shopping mission for a home dec. project, I visited Michael at A Fabric Place.
There it was - the perfect black and white herringbone, on sale no less.
So I bought enough of that for a coat, too! There is a small picture on the website for item #497700 in Wool/Mohair/Silk from Italy (Ermenegildo Zegna). If you are still looking for fabric, I highly recommend a phone call to them - get some swatches- maybe he's got something you like. Now for lining. I think I will get that from Atlanta Thread. I have used their high-count Bemberg lining in the past and love it, love it, love it. I also have a lovely coat with a silk satin lining in it. Personally, I will never do that again. It seems to be the ultimate static magnet. I wonder if anyone else has had that experience with pure silk satin? What a disappointment becuase it sure was expensive. So for me, it is Bemberg all the way. So breathable and comfortable.
(I doubt if I will make both coats- the hard part will be deciding which one to sew!!!)
Happy Sewing, all!

Erin's Plan

I'm so excited to be a part of this sew-along! Thank you Marji for setting this up. Now let me start by saying I put my skills in the beginner to advanced beginner category, so you can count on me to be asking a lot of questions.

For my coat, I will be sewing Simplicity 4403. I think a couple other members are using this pattern so I'm looking forward to seeing it take shape from their perspective.

For the fabric, I've had this wool houndstooth fabric in my stash for almost 18 months now. I got it when Cy Rudnick's fabrics (Kansas City area) went out of business. I knew I wanted to make a coat out of it, but I never got started.

Now I need to get the lining, interlining, and maybe underlining? So many linings, I'm a bit confused. For the lining I am looking at either a flannel back satin or twill. I think I will need underlining, but I'm not sure. My fabric isn't very thick and the fabric is quite drapey, so perhaps I will need some for structure? Any advice is appreciated!!

My First Post - My First Coat

Well, I hope this works, this coat sewalong will be a lot of firsts for me...posting-wise and sewing. I'm in the group of 'already overwhelmed' :-). I was going to follow along quietly but I guess if I'm going to make the most of this opportunity, I'd better jump in, pick a project and just do it. So here goes...

I've got 3 meters of a charcoal wool flannel from Fabricville (Fabricland to those of you in Western Canada). Never worked with wool, this is really drapey and doesn't seem as thick as I expected for a coat fabric, so I hope it is actually coating weight (as it was advertised as such)...winters here in Montreal get pretty cold so I will underline (?) with cotton flannel - someone please tell me that the cotton flannel you are all referring to is the same as you would use for PJ pants, that's what I've got. Hopefully it will be warm enough, but if it turns out, is wearable and is just warm enough for Fall, I will still be thrilled.

This should be enough fabric to make V8346, View A which I really like. I pulled it out last night and read completely through the instructions (and didn't chicken out yet !). And so, a deep breath...

books for reference

Recommended References

This is the book that was originally published as the Singer Tailoring Guide. I've got both copies, they are the same. Good basic info, Lots of pictures.

Adele Margolis has excellent books, most OOP as far as I know. This is the book that I own. There is an updated version, also OOP, and both are available on through the used booksellers there. Excellent reference book.

The complete book of tailoring for women who like to sew (Unknown Binding)by Adele P Margolis (Author)

And my old standby
Vogue Sewing. Mine is from the 1970's. They've just released a new edition, updated. I haven't looked at it and so I don't know if they've watered it down or if it still has all that old great information in it.
This is a pic of the New one, I don't have a pic of my old standby.

Not my favorites: Don't beat me up if you like these - this is MY opinion. I own these books, and quite frankly don't think they're worth the $.

Buy the Tailoring book up top instead.

I also own and will refer to Claire Schaeffer's books on Couture Sewing, Roberta Carr's books on Couture Sewing, a Variety of Fabric references, and my old Textile Science book - which I will never let go of.
oh, and I have a collection of about 75% of all the Threads Magazines ever published. ;)
There are lots of other references out there - and lots of tailoring books. Some are much better than others. If you own one that you think is particularly good, or one that you would NOT recommend, pls feel free to leave the info in the comments.
*Let's please limit it to references specifically pertinent to sewing coats/jackets.

ok, I just pulled out a book I haven't looked at in a long time.
Great Sewn Clothes from Threads Magazine
There are 29 used copies for sale at Amazon right now, starting at $3.94.
If I didn't already own this book, I'd be first in line buying it right now!!

There are 17 more copies available at right now.
I'm going to contact Taunton Press Monday and see if I can get permission to reprint parts of some of the articles here.

oh, thought I would add.
This one is on my WISH list at Amazon Tailoring:
Classic Tailoring Techniques: A Construction Guide for Men's Wear (F.I.T. Collection) (Paperback) by Roberto Cabrera (Author), Patricia Flaherty Meyers (Author)

and it sounds as if this one should be too. Both Tany and Els have quoted to me from it in the last 24 hours.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Underlinings and Interlinings

Underlining / Interlining / Interfacing
Fusible / Sewn-In / Combination

Traditional tailoring is done with traditional materials and sewn-in interfacings. However, in light of today’s improved processes for creating quality fusibles, and in consideration of time and cost, even High end designers are using some fusibles in their Pret-a-Porter jackets and coats now.

What you choose now will, to a great degree, effect the final drape and shaping of your coat. For best results, you should sample Before you start mounting and fusing your fabrics.

Underlining – Body and Sleeves Only
supports the fashion fabric
Underlining is mounted to the fashion fabric prior to sewing, then both fabrics together are treated as one.
Use with Fabrics that need stability:
• Boucle
• Loosely woven tweeds
• Soft animal hair fiber fabrics such as Cashmere and Mohair
• Any fabric that feels fragile,
• And, May be needed for wool flannel if pattern has full heavy skirt (such as V8307 and V8346

Not necessary for most wool flannels that are coating weight, wool tweeds that are tightly woven, and Melton.

Fabrics for Underlinings
• Fine cotton batiste
• Cotton broadcloth or high quality muslin
• Silk broadcloth
• Cotton/silk batiste blend
• China silk
• Cotton flannel – as underlining/interlining (preshrink!)
- Fusible - textured weft insertion products such as Armo-weft, Angel-weft

Interlining – Body and Sleeves Only
Provides added warmth
Interlining is treated the same as underlining, except that it is a layer intended more to add warmth than stability.
If you’re using fabric that requires an underlining, use one that serves both as support and warmth such as cotton flannel, OR use a lining such as flannel back satin that serves the dual purpose. In any event, do not plan to underline, interline, and line.

Fabrics for interlining
• Cotton flannel
• Lambswool interlining – soft as a cloud, expensive and difficult to find
• Lightweight Thinsulate TM

Source list:
See links on sidebar for
Farmhouse Fabrics - batiste and broadcloth
Vogue Fabrics - cotton flannel in many colors
MacPhee - Thinsulate

leave your suggestions for sources in the comments, and I'll add links

Muslin for fitting garment

Regarding the fitting muslin:

Personally, I use muslin as something just secondary to pattern tissue.
It is not meant to be worn. It is meant to work out the fitting issues, and in my sewing room many times it Becomes the pattern after the fitting is done.

I don't use a "muslin" as a "wearable test garment".
For a coat or jacket I'll use a heavy weight muslin.
I had quite a bit that I'd purchased from a local store that has gone out of business, but I'm just running out now. LindsayT emailed me that she picked up some at the FIT store in NYC last week. The heavy stuff. Link on the sidebar for ordering information from FIT, or, I also found some online here which I think is similar to what I've used. B.Black has some here.

There are questions being asked about whether it is suitable to use a home dec fabric, or heavy denim for the muslin stage.
Think about the draping qualities of your final fashion fabric. IF your fashion fabric is as stiff and heavy as the denim or hdec fabric, go ahead and use it.
My guess though, is that your ultimate fabric is not as stiff as a denim or a home dec fabric.

The muslin that I use, and have suggested, is a tightly woven cotton that isn't as thick or heavy as a woolen, however, it does have some small degree of drape - it won't stand alone in a corner without a body in it. I find it works well as I get a good idea of fit, and I can see my markings and I can draw or write all over it.

On my own personal blog you can see a dress that I just started working on for my dsd that is in it's first muslin, to get an idea of what I'm talking about. It's the 2nd or 3rd entry down now.
It's made using the lighter weight muslin that I buy by the bolt at Joanns, using a coupon, and typically pay 50 cents a yard for.
The muslin I use for coats and jackets is heavier, more tightly woven, and a bit costlier, but when you consider the investment of time, and in many cases the significant investment in materials as well, I think it's worth the $5/yd spent.
OTOH, if you're easy to fit, and you are confident of the pattern, then you may decide to tissue-fit, or use that non-woven pattern tracing material to "tissue fit". It's up to you.

Note: Have more muslin on hand than you think is the minimum essential for cutting your garment.

No need to pre-shrink the muslin - it isn't ever going to get washed or worn.

Gaylen Decision's Made!

Last night, I sat down with JB and the pile of coat patterns - okay so there were only 5! After discussing the options I decided to go with V8346. I'll be making the red view - that length, that collar, everything.

This morning I called Ann, and ordered 4 yards of the Princess Red Wool Flannel. I still have to decide about lining. I don't think I'll need to interline my coat as it never really gets cold in Western Washington, but I'll ask for opinions at my next ASG Neighborhood group meeting.

To keep JB happy - I also asked Ann to send me swatches of the August Green, eggplant, and bright peony wool flannel. Who knows, I may end up making more than one coat. I'm feeling slightly (okay really more like I'm drowning here) out of my element here. I just hope I don't mess this up.

I'm already behind!

But I'm here now. I have two coats in mind, and although I've made coats in the distant past, I haven't done such serious sewing in many years.

The first of my ideas---and the most likely at this time---is a simple coat with a standup collar made of an alpaca fabric purchased on eBay. The color is a rusty brown, and my plan is a very embellished garment. I've been buying bits and pieces of coordinating color ribbons for a couple of years.

The other contender is a taupe cashmere. Warm and lightweight, but as I type I realize I want to do the alpaca. I'll post a swatch and order the lining this weekend. (Thanks, Marji, for this Sew-A-Long, and for the link to Vogue Fabrics Kasha lining.)

Laura's Great Coat

well, I consider it a great coat.... Hi, I'm new to blogging, so any help and suggestions there would be great. I've decided on Vogue 1266, view C. I've purchased the red wool flannel from Gorgeous Fabrics (I'm really curious as to the exact color. I'm hoping it's a deep red.) and for the cuffs and collar, I'm going to use faux black lambs wool from Emma One Sock. I ordered a swatch and have to try it, though I have never sewn with it. I'm sure some of you have. Any thoughts on this? Also, I'm not sure what to use for an underlining. At first I thought about batiste, but after reading Marji's post today, I'm thinking cotton flannel.

I may be over doing it tho. I live in Atlanta, Georgia and our winters last about 3 months - Jan. thru March - and for this southern grown girl, it gets darn-right cold. Some of you may scoff at this, but when it drops below 45F, I'm freezing. I would never make it up north!

Anyway, I'm glad to be here and looking so forward to learning new techniques and seeing what everyone turns out.

Q&A number 1

Someone writes, and many others have expressed similar thoughts:
Thank you again for taking time to answer my amateur questions!

Well, the people here who are experts don’t NEED the questions answered. They’re mostly along for the ride and to get some sewing done. You’re welcome, certainly, but please folks, ask the questions and either myself or someone who does know should be able to answer them. Don’t apologize, feel silly, or worst case – not ask, because you think it’s an amateur question. Answering the questions is how this whole thing got started.

Kathleen wrote
about interlinings and underlinings and differing terminology in the comments under the appropriate post.
I find it interesting, However, for the purposes of This Sew Along I’m going to use the same terminology I’ve always used. First, I need to be able to write the way I think. I get mixed up enough typing different letters than I’m thinking at times, without trying to change my thinking about what’s what. So, for everything that I write here, please refer to the definitions I’ve set forth in the guidelines posts.

ClaireC writes:
I will underline in cotton flannel. I already have white. Would you recommend I purchase red or black? The fabric isn't see through at all, being coat weight, but I wonder if a darker color might be better.

I like to match my color, because that’s how I am. But, I happen to know someone who’s on this sewalong, who’s used printed children’s flannel before as underlining. It’s not going to show – so use whatever makes you happy.

You Will want to wash that cotton flannel in hot water and hot dryer several times to get all the shrinkage out, whatever color you choose – we’ll talk more about that in June.

Jenny writes:
Am I correct in assuming that whether to interline or not is purely personal preference? I was planning to use thinsulate with my wool flannel to make a winter-worthy coat. Is wool flannel already thick enough without? I guess it's hard to say without feeling it... I think I'll go with the thinsulate.

Yes, Interlining for warmth is strictly personal preference. I have several coats that are simply too warm for where I live now – I used to live in Northern Michigan and they were perfect – here they are overkill. My purple coat will be underlined because the fabric needs the support, but I’m leaving the interlining out so that I can wear it without heat exhaustion.

If you are using a coating weight flannel, unless you live in the Arctic Zone or have to walk across windy bridges like Melissa does, may I suggest using a cotton flannel or lambswool to interline? Based upon KayY’s experience, Thinsulate may present some construction issues that you don’t need. If you really really need a lot of insulating warmth, you could interline with the lambswool then use a flannel-back lining (Kasha or Sunback) and you’d have a coat worthy of the coldest Minnesota winter.

for Stitch-stitch and Lucinda

I have the link for the Armani jacket interfacing techniques in my next post (soon, I promise) – but it’s here if you want to peek. Taunton Press has an index to all the Threads issues here. I’ve been going through my back issues, and found an article back in issue 27 where Claire Schaeffer took apart a Dior jacket and found a similar structure using fusibles and sew-in’s, in combination.

MaryOK writes in relation to using a wool gabardine
I think I need to underline this garment for weight (not warmth). I have several underlining choices in my stash, and wonder how big my test samples should be.

Underlining is meant to support the fabric you’re using, not change the weight. In the case of fusing texture weft to boucle, it changes the texture only to the point that the fabric isn’t as fluid. With a wool, the fabric itself should be beefy enough for the coat you want to make. If you’re underlining the gab, it should be only because you want the gabardine to look crisp enough for your design. I’m not certain exactly what you mean by underlining for weight, if it’s to just support the gabardine, then fine, but if you’re trying to make a lightweight gab heavy enough for a coat by underlining, I think you may not be happy with your results.

Regarding Gabardine

There are woolen spun yarns, and worsted spun yarns. Both are woven into fabrics that have very different characteristics. Woolen spun yarns are low twist spun with shorter staple fibers and are woven into fabrics such as wool flannel that have loft yet are lightweight, increasing their insulation value relative to the weight of the fabric.

Worsted spun yarns using longer staple fibers that are highly twisted and spun tight are woven into hard finish fabrics such as Gabardine. They are beautiful, but Not among the easiest fabrics to work with. They require careful preshrinking before tailoring, and must be pressed carefully to avoid seam allowance shadow and show through.

Susanne, the owner of FineFabrics, is joining us, and she’s got a jacket underway in gabardine right now. I’ve asked her if she wouldn’t mind writing a bit about sewing a jacket or coat with it….and I’m putting her on the spot by posting this before she’s had a chance to tell me whether or not she can.

As an aside, for a bit of interesting information on Worsted Woolens read this from a Bestoke tailor, and>this> about the history of worsted wools.

Nneka writes:
Of the underlinings listed (and including silk organza) does anyone have any thoughts on which are less or more "intrusive" on the original drape of the fashion fabric?

Same as above – you want to choose an underlining that will support your fabric without changing the weight of it. And, you’ll need to sandwich some underlinings between your wool and your linings to see.

If it’s too lightweight, it’s no good because it won’t do what it’s supposed to, yet if it’s too stiff, heavy or beefy, it’ll overwhelm your fabric. I’ve got a very lightweight felted wool from Ungaro that I’m going to test out with a china silk and a cotton batiste. I think cotton broadcloth would overwhelm it. I’ve got a boucle that I started to make a coat from without underlining (what was I thinking of?), that I’ve got to take apart some seams on, and underline it. I went and bought a black cotton flannel that is soft enough to move with the boucle, the color matches the fabric so any show-through is not a problem, and it’ll suppor the boucle wonderfully. I can’t fuse this one, as there are metallic yarns making a plaid in the boucle, and they don’t like to be ironed.

My point is, each fabric must be tested with all the fabrics and interfacings you plan to use. You might feel you’ve got a great match, until you layer it and find that – you don’t.

BTW, silk organza is my underlining of choice for dressmaking – for silks (excepting silk crepes), for wool crepes, and for many other fabrics. It is not, however, my choice underlining for coats. Personal preference and experience. And as I hope to emphasize throughout – there are different ways of getting at the same problem. You might try out 4 different underlinings and like the weight, feel, and drape of the organza the best – then use it.

Re fusibles – you MUST fuse a sample to understand how it affects the drape of the fabric. The fabric (net, knit, whatever) and the fusing agent (glue) combine to create the end result. Easy knit is a fusible that I like in hand, and Absolutely detest once it’s fused – it ends up feeling like a board due to the glue they’re using.

And I will say that of all the underlinings I’ve tried with various boucles, sew-ins and fusibles, I’ve been happiest with the weft insertion fusibles (such as Armo-weft). Knock this traditionalist over with a feather!

NancyK writes:
Is there a way to change an armhole princess to a shoulder princess?

Yes, and it’s easy. Basically you’re going to convert the dart shaping from the armhole to dart shaping emanating from the shoulder. If you want I’ll draw it out and take pictures. I’m not drawing in Paint,net for awhile, I’m not very good at it.

MarilynB asked about thinsulate

I’ve never used Thinsulate. Others here have. I’m copying and pasting the pertinent parts of some of the discussion between Melissa Fehr and KayY. Kay made a coat last year which she reviewed on Pattern Review here, and had some challenges with the thinsulate.

Posted by KayY to The Great Coat Sew-Along

A caution re the Thinsulate you linked to - 150gm weight is quite thick and does not drape, even slightly. I used this weight in a very different type of winter coat I made in 2006. I reviewed it on PR in a review I've just edited to fix picture links so should be near the top. If you go to the pictures you will see how this weight of Thinsulate drapes (it doesn't). If you can, you could choose a lighter weight of Thinsulate (it comes in 40gm for example). Or substitute more traditional tailoring materials such as lambs wool and kasha lining. Once you layer, and especially if you include a windproof layer (i.e. chamois in the upper back) it will be plenty warm.

Posted by Melissa Fehr Trade to The Great Coat Sew-Along

thanks, Kayy. I'm trying to avoid transatlantic shipping charges because they're really expensive from merchants right now. Pennine Outdoor seemed to have a few possibilities other than the Thinsulate so I've emailed them explaining what I need and asking for their advice. They're outdoor (camping, trekking, etc) specialists and they seem to know their stuff, so fingers crossed. In addition to the Thinsulate, fleece, and microfibre, they also stock something called Meraklon which they say has a really high thermal insulation power, is heard wearing and fast drying for winter sports. So perhaps that would work if it's not too thick, but it's so hard to tell without handling bolts of this stuff! Hopefully I'll hear back from them soon and I'll write an update post with what I find out...

Posted by KayY to The Great Coat Sew-Along at May 29, 2008 8:14 PM

I am planning to add a chamois piece in the upper back of my winter coat to block the wind. It'll go between the coating and the lining/interlining sandwich.

Posted by KayY to The Great Coat Sew-Along at May 29, 2008 5:10 PM

There is a source in Canada for lighter weight Thinsulate - it's Textile Outfitters ( But I would still be wary of the drape factor. Another material you could consider for interlining is a lightweight polar fleece. I used that in another jacket - very warm, and drapier than any weight of Thinsulate.

Linda writes:
Can you mention pretreating wool fabric?

It's on deck for June, along with making your fitting muslin. You do need to preshrink your fashion fabric, even if you plan on dry cleaning it. I'll go over the London shrink method, steaming, and sending it out to the dry cleaners to have them steam it.
We'll also be graining up these fabrics.

Ok, there are undoubtedly questions that I’ve failed to answer. If I didn’t get to something you need to know, and no one else has popped on to answer it, leave a message in the comments here and I’ll get to it.

*is there someone who’s really really well versed in using blogger that might want to sign on as an admin for this blog, just to help me along with housekeeping issues? Email me.

Digs' "Dream On" coat plans

Well, the title says it all - so many coats, so little time!

I have plans for three:

1. Fall coat: coral-coloured cashmere (from Michael's). This is my first-choice project: I love the fabric, and I'm willing to forgo all else to make it. I haven't quite yet settled on a pattern. I have just 3.3 yds (3.1 m) so it won't be a long or complicated coat. At the moment, the pattern possibilities are: Vogue 8438 view B; Vogue 7978 view D or E; or McCall's 5247 view C. Vogue 7979 is no longer available in our neighbourhood.... For underlining choices I have cotton batiste, cotton-silk batiste, and silk organza. Wow, they all seem so WIMPY: can they REALLY do the job???!!! I'd love it if someone could advise me as to which would be best. I'm not going to use fusibles. I'm also thinking, what about a fine worsted or gabardine wool as underlining? It would provide plenty of body and improve warmth. Warmth is very desirable here in Ottawa, the weather can change from summer to winter overnight! This coat's lining will be a silk charmeuse in a lovely red/orange-dominated colour mix. I think it's that brilliant Mandelbrot-wannabe orange "Maggy London" one from Fabric Club, but I bought it so long ago, I don't quite remember its origin. It's wild though, and I love it. The solid fashion fabric and jazzy lining work very well together.

2. Winter coat: black with grey pinstripe, wool-cashmere flannel. This one's from a fabric supplier on ebay, and I have 5 yds. I want this one to be a long "Russian soldier" type coat, and my pattern is Vogue 1266 view B: double breasted with a large collar. I have a black silk jacquard with gold zodiac prints for lining. I'm also thinking of using a Fabric Club freebie, a polyester knit fleece, as interlining for warmth. The fashion fabric feels sturdy enough not to need underlining, but I'm willing to be persuaded otherwise. Should I use some silk organza, just to keep it all together?

Here's a link to the fashion fabric and lining.

3. Rain coat: yup, I got 3.3 yds of that Burberry-style raincoating cotton from Michael's (and 2 yds of the turquoise to make a jacket for my DS). Well, having looked at this acquisition for a while now, it sure seems very-in-my-face red. I'm not sure if I wouldn't prefer my raincoat to be more neutral - like the tan that's currently available from Denver Fabrics (and yes, I just ordered 4.5 yds of it!). This one is not intended to be warm, and I have the matching lining. I want to do a shameless classic trench knockoff out of it. No pattern picked out yet, but it'll need to have the front & back yokes, the back vent tab, the belt, the sleeve tabs, and the epaulettes. I would LOVE it if I could fit a hidden hood under the collar, but this may be too much to ask (comments???). Pattern suggestions, anyone? I might adapt McCall's 5480 for a hooded above-the knee jacket, since I already have that one, and it has the raglan sleeve I'd like to try. I'm going to stall on this one, as our local pattern supplier is having a succession of weekly specials, so over the next couple of weeks I'm going to pick up some patterns that might be adaptable.

Most of all, I'd love to make at least one of these in a raglan sleeve pattern. Apart from the M5480, which is pretty unfitted, I haven't found THE appropriate raglan coat pattern yet. Would love to hear a hint as to where to find one!

Advice, comments & criticisms are ALL more than welcome!

ClaireC's Coat Plan

I want to start by thanking Marji and all the sewing experts who have agreed to help us with the sew-along. I personally am overwhelmed and touched by the continued generosity of the sewing community!!!!

Now, for my plan:
Simplicity OOP #4403
The wrap version
The fabric is a yummy, silky, luxurious Michael Kors mohair/angora blend that I purchased from in December 2005. I found the receipt with the fabric and gasped at the cost. I must have been out of my mind.... I almost changed my mind....almost....
I will underline in cotton flannel. I already have white. Would you recommend I purchase red or black? The fabric isn't see through at all, being coat weight, but I wonder if a darker color might be better.

The lining is a black Kasha lining ordered from
The heavy-weight muslin is on it's way to my house.

One last comment....I love seeing what everyone is making from the wool coats to trenches. You are all very inspiring to me. Oh much so..that I gave in and bought the B*Berry fabric and lining from Vogue Fabrics. Enabler alert: Vogue Fabrics has the striped twill lining that matches the outerware fabric. ;o) Now I have hopefully inspired you also to join me in adding to the fabric collection........

My final decision

I have agonized over what pattern to use for this coat sew along. I narrowed it down to Vogue 7978, McCalls 5247, or drafting a coat pattern using PMB4. I got an email from BMV Club announcing a one day $5.99 McCalls pattern sale. I ordered the McCall's pattern.

I will probably make the red version, but giving serious thought to View A (blue). This would be different from what I always buy in RTW, red one is pretty much the style I always go for.
I am still undecided about fabric. I am leaning toward a more solid color but want to do something besides black. I have some coat fabric in stash but it is in the plaid family and have real concerns about using it for this first time full length coat.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Making a trenchcoat is indeed a different process than making a winter coat.
Because my intention here was to write the guidelines for tailoring a classic winter coat, I'm going to sit back and watch the trenchcoats here as they are assembled, along with everyone else.
I have one or two in my stash and pattern collection to make - they just aren't on the agenda yet.

There are some notable trenchcoats that have been made in the last year or so and have been blogged about with great advice and directions on how to proceed. I know there are more out there, but these members of the Great Coat Sewalong are the ones I'm linking to.

Tany's trenchcoat with very complete instructions - it's a course in itself.

LauraLo's Trenchcoat review with a synopsis on her blog. Complete record of the process.

Summerset' Trenchcoat -This link takes you to the finished post. If you follow the tags for Trenchcoat the rest of the process is there.

If you don't already follow the blogs of these 3 accomplished sewists - well, be prepared to spend some time and sit back, enjoying the eye candy and the excellent advice and material.

Kathryn has also made some trenchcoats, and while the process isn't documented on a blog, the photos are available in her photo albums. Beware, her photo albums are a place to get lost for hours all by themselves. Kiwi Green Eyelet Short Trench , Her Chanel knockoff trench and the Burda Riboon Trenchcoat

Nneka's Texas Teal Topper

Well, originally I was going to just read-along, but I convinced myself that I couldn't pass up the opportunity to sew-along with all the talent on this blog. Besides, I didn't want to take up a space here and not have something to show for it. I've never made a coat before, so I'm hyperventilating my heart is beating a little fast as I type this, but here's my plan:

I don't need anything too heavy for our mild Texas winters. I think this fits the bill. That's Vogue 2935, a Sandra Betzina design. I'm planning on view A, but not so sure about the hidden placket front.

The fabric is a wool blend basketweave coating from I intend to line it with a silk jacquard. The pattern, fashion fabric, lining (2 options) and tailoring muslin are all currently on order or in transit, so I'm not yet sure how this fabric will feel or act or what type of internal structure (interfacing, underlining, etc.) I will need. There are a few other less exciting wools in my stash that I can substitute in a pinch.

I also have some of the lilac/rose Burberry raincoating and some trench patterns, including the BWOFs previously mentioned and Vogue V8480. I'll be paying close attention to those of you doing trenches or using that fabric for future reference. All said, I'm excited for the adventure.

Mary OK's Short BWOF Trench

My project for this sew-along will be this trench from January 2008 BWOF, style no. 128. I plan to use a bright red wool gabardine trimmed with warm gray and cream synthetic python trim, mottled dull gray buttons, and a dull dark gray belt buckle. I think I need to underline this garment for weight (not warmth). I have several underlining choices in my stash, and wonder how big my test samples should be.

Lucinda's Plan - McCall's 5525

Hello all, I'm surprised this coat hasn't been mentioned yet! I've chosen to make view B from McCall's 5525 for this sewalong. I'm a little apprehensive since this is the first time I've ever tackled a project this complex, like many others here, so it will be quite the experience! I figured this would be a great coat for fall, and with the 3/4 sleeves, it would look smashing with some elbow length leather gloves.The pattern calls for lightweight cotton and cotton blends, even raincoat material, but I guess that I'd be able to use some wool gabaridne since it's supposed to be a lightweight coat.

Any input about the fabric would be great, whether or not to go with something else. Ideally I'd like to make it in wool or something of the same variety.

Cidell's project -- BWOF trench circa 2006

Wow. This is going to be so much fun! I thought I would post my project in the hopes it inspires someone else and we can compare notes along the way. I'm making up this trench from the September 2006 BWOF in the red B*berry fabric. I'm planning on making a wool button out lining so I can get a little more wear from it. That and bound buttonholes are about as fancy as I plan on getting.

Soooo, anyone else considering this pattern?

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Special care when handling velvet

Adding to Marji's excellent article on sewing specialty and luxury fabrics:

There are many kinds of velvets, depending on the fabric composition, density of the pile and its surface finishing (crushed, burnout, etc). The velvet that I’m going to use is 100%cotton velvet which has been said to be the easiest to handle among velvets because it can be pressed (on the wrong side) and you can even make direct contact with the iron on the pile when you press a seam open. In spite of being the easiest to handle, this fabric requires special care and techniques. I will summarize them for you:

Storing the velvet before cutting: This fabric crushes very easily and it can gain permanent markings and crease lines on the pile side. For this reason, the best way to store it is using an empty roll of fabric and covering it with a muslin remnant to protect it from dust:

Pre-treatment: I’ve read somewhere that 100%velvet can be washed and dried by machine but I don’t do that, because I don’t take the risk of disturbing the evenness of the pile. What I prefer doing is steaming it with a hot iron (normal cotton heat setting and vapor set to its maximum), on the wrong side, applying very light pressure and preferably over a marble surface. The velvet shouldn’t be disturbed until it dries completely (and if you use a marble surface it can take some time to dry). This technique is also indicated if you need to revive old and crushed velvet.

Garments suitable for being made of velvet: simple style lines for fabrics with body, vertical seam details are preferable to horizontal seam details, avoid round seams, no topstitching. Facings may be omitted or sewn using another fabric like satin (when using cotton velvet this is not necessary).

Cutting layout: a single layer “with nap” layout should be used. I prefer cutting against the pile so the color becomes richer and darker.

Marking: Tailor tacks, thread tracing (using silk thread or thin machine embroidery thread), tailor chalk on the wrong side.

Fitting: Making a test garment (muslin/toile) is mandatory since it’s impossible to recover an already stitched/pressed seam; after unstitching it the pile will be creased permanently. Making sure that the fit is perfect and no more alterations will be needed BEFORE stitching the final garment is the only option when using velvet.

Underlining: There’s no need to underline a velvet garment unless you intend to add more structure than the velvet itself already has. Nevertheless, all the other tailoring techniques for supporting the fabric (interfacing, back and chest shields, tailor tape, shoulder pads, etc.) can and should be used.

Interfacing: This is probably the only type of velvet where it’s safe to use fusible interfacings, as long as the interfacing used has a little stretch lengthwise (thanks Paco for this tip). Lightweight sew-on tailoring interfacing can also be used with optimal results. I intend to use both for my coat.

Lining: I prefer full linings for velvet made garments. A bright contrasting lining is my preference for adding more interest to the inside of the garment.

Stitching: Always stitch with the pile; use double basting and/or pins, and a walking foot (even feed foot) if you have one. When pile is hold together against pile, the fabric shifts so one layer will pucker if you don’t use these techniques to prevent this from happening. I’ll use size 80 ballpoint needles, a 2.5 stitch length setting and cotton thread.

Pressing: Use a needle board, a velvaboard or a self fabric cover (with the pile up) on the pressing surface. Self fabric (or a needle board that bends) should be used on the seam roll and the tailor ham. Use paper strips on the underside of the open SAs for preventing imprints, apply light pressure and steam with the iron, using the fingertips to set the seams open while they are moisturized and hot.

Seam finishing: I will make little diagonal cuts along the SAs just to prevent the seams from puckering. If this fabric ravels too much I may zigzag the raw edges, otherwise I’ll leave them as they are. All seams will be pressed open (I think there are no darts on my coat but if there were, they should be cut and pressed open too). I may also tack down the seam allowances (NOTE: if using a free hanging lining, consider binding the SAs.)

Buttonholes: I will run some tests but I will favor bound buttonholes or hand stitched tailored buttonholes.

And this is all for now (I will update this entry with further information later, including pictures and book/website references)

Adrienne's Plan

Hi guys!!! I'm Adrienne and I am SO very excited about making my first coat. I have already been planning for my fall wardrobe so this is just right on time lol. I know it's not even summer yet but hey lol.

I am planning on making two coats. I might possibly add in a third (lighter weight jacket) but that has yet to be decided....I have a few more days to make up my mind lol.

First up is Vogue 8438
I'm making view a out of a lipstick red Flannel coating I purchased from Gorgeous Fabrics last year.

I also want to make Butterick 4665

I want to make view c. I thought about making it black but I already have a black rtw coat in my closet so I might go for a colbalt blue ;-) I'll decide on that a little bit later lol.

So there you have it. I'm super excited about my first coat, my first sew-along and all the techniques I am sure to learn!!

Thanks Marji for making this happen!

Lindsay T: A Wool Boucle Coat

Here are my coat plans:

Pattern: I wanted to try the Hot Patterns Riviera coat but it looks like my pattern order (actually an exchange with another HP pattern) won't arrive on time, so yesterday I ordered an OOP Vogue, 7978. I am going to make the stand-up collar, double-breasted view.

Fabric: A wool boucle that I bought at Paron Fabrics in the city. This is a past season Missoni that I gravitated toward for its multicolored flecks of yarn. As many of you know, I live in jeans and I think this coat has the versatility to go with denim or fancier fabrics. This boucle is a little more tightly woven than most boucles, so hopefully it will wear longer. I purchased fusible weft interfacing to bind the boucle to so it has even a little more stability.

Lining: Black silk charmeuse from Mood Fabrics.

Interlining: Black cotton flannelette from Rosen & Chadick Fabrics

Trim: None purchased yet, but I'm thinking about some kind of black velvet trim. Black looks great with this boucle.

Question for Marji: Will I be treating this coat like a longer version of a Chanel jacket, meaning quilting the lining and omitting the facings? Or do you recommend I make it like a regular coat?

Melissa's long, grey overcoat

I've been planning on sewing myself a new winter coat for a while now, and I've been lurking here for a bit, but after I saw the timeline over on the right, I finally realised I can jump right in and sew this alongside all my other summer sewing!

I've already bought my exterior fabric - some gorgeous charcoal grey, 100% wool coating fabric from Rosenberg's (they've got lots more fabric than what's listed on the site!).

I will also soon be buying Thinsulate for my underlining, as soon as payday comes and I can finance all the other fabrics I want from that site alongside it! I'm still undecided on my choice of lining fabric because I'm so tough on the linings of my RTW coats. I'm trying to sew only with natural fibers these days, but I think silk will be far too fragile for me.

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 (wich 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!

Keeping all this in mind, I've decided I'm going to sew #102 from September 2005 Burda World of Fashion magazine, which someone else on here has kindly already scanned:

I don't think I'm too far behind schedule here so hopefully I won't need to play catchup! I'll be posting these updates simultaneous on Fehr Trade so outsiders can still see what I'm up to!

Jamie's plan

This is going to be my first attempt at making a winter coat. I've made a lot of jackets and some unlined spring/summer coats in the past, but never anything like this!

I was originally going to make the Vogue Michael Kors coat from hubby's charcoal wool flannel, but he remembered that I had promised to make a coat for him too! So I'm going to attempt to make two - one for him and one for me. His will be from a very dark heathered charcoal wool flannel and Burda 8275:

I'm going to shorten it because he wants it to hit mid-thigh.

For mine, I went back and forth between a solid wool mohair blend (so gorgeous!) and a wool blend houndstooth. I wasn't sure of any of the patterns I have for the mohair, so I decided to use the houndstooth:

I'll be using McCalls 5247 View C (the version in red on the pattern envelope):

I realized after I put away the camera that I actually took a picture of the wrong side of the fabric, but you should get the idea :)

My only concern with this fabric is that it has lines of lurex running through it and I've heard horror stories about what happens when the needle hits lurex. Any thoughts??

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

NancySeattle's plan

Hello everyone! A great big thank you to Marji for starting this adventure. A thank you to everyone in advance for the help and advice to come. This is great timing and helpful in (finally!) making my first winter coat.
I will be using Burda 8292 view D. It is actually very close match to a much loved, well worn Kenneth Cole coat that I've had for four years. I have a well aged red/burgundy wool flannel from that I will be using. I believe I have lining and cotton flannel for interling in the stash closet. I went shopping this weekend at Joanns and Hancocks and came away with two sets of buttons as possiblities. I am so excited!

Source for Tailoring Muslin: FIT Bookstore

Marji asked me to post about the tailoring muslin I got from the FIT bookstore, which also sells sewing supplies.

This is wonderful stuff; you can tell it will give you an accurate idea of how your coat will shape up. FIT sells it only as a batch of 5 yards for a total of $21 (5 yards = $21, plus shipping).

I just called FIT and confirmed you can place phone orders. Call (212) 217-7717 and ask for the FIT Bookstore. Store hours are Monday-Friday 8:30 am - 7:00 pm;
Saturday 10:00 am - 3:00 pm; closed Sunday.

Mohair for V2884? Fabricluver - Susan

I have a black mohair that I purchased from Kashi/Metro Textiles last year that I am thinking of using with V2884. The pattern doesn’t list mohair as one of the recommended fabrics but what are your thoughts? I think a short coat will be the best for mohair since sitting on it would tend to crush the fibers and maybe cause a shine.

I also have a two sided fabric (black on one side and plaid on the other) like some folks have purchased from Michael’s. I’m not sure where I purchased mine from but it was advertised as being the same fabric. It will be for a trench and if I have time I will work on it as we go along. This fabric seems rather stiff and I look forward to seeing the sewing recommendations.

Work is slow for me now so I’ve had some time to read over all the posts. It has been great to sift through them and then see what will work for me. Thank you Marji.

Monday, May 26, 2008

KayY - Woo Hoo - I'm in!

This is my first blog post! So exciting! I saw Marji was nearing the magic number for this sew-along (75) so I had no time to consider and just joined. I need a new winter coat - something made of wool. And something to coordinate with a fur scarf I purchased on the spur of the moment last summer. I think the scarf is made of mink - and it's black and blue.

I have two possible coat fabrics in my stash, which look OK with it - here they are:

I have 3.3 metres of this heavy wool tweed. You can see that cream/white/grey yarns are laid over and woven into the black base. The wrong side of the fabric is more black with white dots where the yarn is woven into the base.

Or, a more supple fabric:

This black bouclé is a drapier, firm weave. I have 3.1 metres of this fabric. It has a hard surface whereas the grey/cream tweed is softer, but thicker and so stiffer.

I also have 2.1 metres of another heavy soft tweed which unfortunately does not coordinate with the scarf but is very nice. Here it is, along with a coordinating lining fabric also in my stash. If I am REALLY organized I could make a fall/winter jacket out of it.

Since I am determined to make a wool winter coat that will show off my fur scarf, I need your advice as to which fabric you think is better, and what kind of collar I should aim for. I have Simplicity 4403 and am considering the Peter Pan collar. I also have zillions of old Burdas which I will look through.


Tany - My plans for a winter coat

Hi sewing friends! For those of you who don’t know me, I’m Tany, a Portuguese sewing addict and author of the blog Couture et Tricot. I finally gave in and joined this great sew-along and this is what I have planned for my winter coat:

This model is featured in the Patrones n247 magazine and the original is made of wool with a diagonal weave twill (I’m not sure this is the right word – Marji, please correct me if I am mistaken Thank you Marji!). Here are some detail shots of the coat:

As you can see all the seams are topstitched; I will pass on the topstitching since I plan on using velvet for this coat. Today I purchased the fabric (100% cotton black velvet), and some of the notions, including a beautiful red jacquard lining, the buttons and the satin ribbon for the embellishment:

I will be posting my project notes both here (in English) and at my blog so the Portuguese speaking friends can follow my progress too.

Finally I want to thank Marji for making all this happen and for all the help and support she has been providing to all the participants. With everybody’s help we'll live a wonderful and rewarding sewing experience in which everybody will learn from each other!

PattiF - Vintage Vogue 2884--traditional tailoring

For a couple of years this carcoat pattern and a marvelous cranberry wool/cashmere blend from Candlelight Valley Fabrics have languished side-by-side in my stash. I do not intend to make my own shoulder pads, but I look forward to using some of the recommended traditional tailoring methods: I will underline with a fine batiste (from Farmhouse Fabrics) and will interface by padstitching hair canvas (from The Sewing Place). For the lining fabric I've selected a silk satin print from my collection. This piece came from Vogue Fabrics; it features hot pink roses on a black background.

Alexandra's planning

Marji, thank you for this great idea! I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts so far.

I have two fabrics I am considering for this coat project. One is a really pretty, fuzzy, black coating that is either all wool or a wool/cashmere blend. (I don't remember. It came from a friend of mine when we swapped fabrics after coming to terms with colors we could wear and those we couldn't.)

The other is a lighter weight dark gray wool herringbone. It would likely need Thinsulate or something similar to make it warm enough for these German winters.

For patterns, I'm considering Vogue 2988...

...and Vogue 8307, the short version.

I think I'd want a belt with both of those, even though the second one looks like it has enough waist shaping. I just really like the look of belted coats.

I am going to look for reviews of V2988. For V8307, I don't have to look far - Tany made it up earlier this year and posted extensively about it.

My DMIL, wonderful soul that she is, made a special trip to JoAnn's to pick up these patterns for me. While I'm waiting for them to arrive, I'll gather all the necessary materials and notions, as per Marji's sewing timeline.