Saturday, August 31, 2013

Cape Coat, le sigh.

Yesterday was the last day of the cape-a-long and was my cape coat finished by then? No it was not!

I blame the weather. It has been too hot and muggy in my sewing room for me to be in there for long. The cape coat is pretty detailed to begin with and then I had to add even more details. Like some Turn of the Cloth fiddly stuff.

Turn of cloth is when the facing of a collar or cuff or, say, a cape on a cape coat, is smaller than the collar or cuff or cape itself.

And, of course, I had to draft both the collar and the cape part myself which means two or three mockups of those elements, lots of pinning and trying on and so on.

Then the pockets! The pattern I adapted came with a perfectly good pocket pattern, but I had to fiddle with it. The velvet is fairly thick so I wanted to use something lighter for the pocket bag. I decided on muslin.

But the muslin is white and I feared it would show. Even a tiny amount of it would really show up against the dark brown. So I cut the side edge of the pocket a couple of inches in so that the pocket has two pieces. Fiddly, but it worked out nicely.

I based my coat off a Burda pattern and we all know what that means, right? That's right, dear friends, NO SEAM ALLOWANCES. I kinda like this feature actually. Sick and wrong, I know, but there it is.

I lay the pattern pieces on the wrong side of the fabric, trace around them with chalk, and add the seam allowances using a 5/8" strip of heavy card. Then again with the lining.

Oh! AND! to deal with the lining and facings, I had to trace off the pattern pieces from the the regular pattern pieces. Burda, you know. There wasn't a line for the back facing so I had to make that up. My proudest moment? Notches. I remembered to mark notches.

So this is where I am. the lining is all sewed up. The body of the coat is all sewed up. The cape and the collar are basted on, though I need to rip and re-do a couple of things. The sleeves are together and the sleeve linings are basted on.

Once I get the lining of the body in, I think it will be just finishing stuff. I may not do a vintage pattern for September's challenge, but I will definitely keep my friends over at The Monthly Stitch up to date on the Cape Coat (from hell).

Tuesday, August 20, 2013


I think I have mentioned FABLE before?  It's related to SABLE and BABLE, and here at chez moi, we have all of it.

FABLE is Fabric Acquired Beyond Life Expectancy. SABLE is Stash, or yarn, and BABLE is Books. I'm sure there are other acronyms that work and judging from the state of the mess here, I have probably reached it.

Can we talk about my FABLE for a minute? I like the high-end stuff apparently, no polyester, no acrylic, s'il vous plait. Worse, I like the high-end stuff to be, well, inexpensive. Luckily, I discovered Fabric Mart which has some good sales sometimes. I get stuff from Mood Fabrics now and again as well.

It's cashmere. It's not 100% cashmere, but it's something like  30%, and the rest is wool. It's navy, 50-some odd inches wide, and I have 3 yards of it. I considered making my Cape Coat from it but decided I wanted something simpler and more classic. I could go with an outer wear coat or a jacket. We'll see. Suggestions and ideas are welcomed.

Here is a close up picture for texture.

It's so hard to get a decent photograph of fabric! At least it's not red, I guess. Even Fabric Mart didn't have a great image--I just went on faith. I mean, cashmere!

The next thing I want to show you is this rose tulle stuff. I got at either Fabric Mart or Mood--FM I think. On sale of course, last year. It was all the rage for a while, but I really don't know what to do with it. I have used it as background for photos, but that is about it. If it were a brighter color, like purple, I might make something for one of my younger nieces, but it's black.

Again, 50-ish inches wide, 2 or so yards. I really like it, but have no ideas about what to do with it.

Lest you think I only buy fabric in black or navy, or to make clothing for myself, here are a couple of pieces I got to do home dec stuff with.  Prints!
 This is a cotton I purchased at a fabric store in Portsmouth, NH about a month ago to cover a feather duvet thing we have.

Okay, so it's not exactly a color, but it's not solid black either.

After the cape coat, this may be my next thing. The nights are already getting cool and that feather thing is very warm.

The last thing I have to show for today is this piece of linen I got at the same fabric store. I am going to make a couple of pillows for the library (remember our BABLE?) The writing is Italian and it looks like some kind of ledger or inventory, not literature. But it's really cool and the fabric has a nice hand.

Friends, that's all I will subject you to today. In parting, I just want to say, I do actually have colors in my life!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Cape Coat Progess

The cape coat is making progress. It really is! I mean I haven't actually cut into the cloth, or even the interlining. In fact, I don't even have a complete pattern yet--but almost!

The fabric and buttons are all collected.  The velveteen is from Fabric Mart, but I dragged myself up to Joann's (which I really don't like) for the lining, and crazily enough found some great buttons for it, so I am thrilled.

 I am afraid the buttons are leaning towards steampunk which I really don't want, but the cape part is modest enough so hopefully it won't go too much in that direction.

I started with Burda 12/2012 #104, the long wool coat. It has the princess seams I want and a skirt attached to the bodice which I cut down for a shorter jacket. I drafted a shoulder cape for it and am working on a collar pattern piece.

Also it has pockets!

The muslin is a real mess right now, but it is doing it's job. By that, I mean it fits me the way I want it to and I was able to work out the cape bit and the collar bit on it.
The shoulder cape pattern

There are a few things about Burda patterns. One is that the coats I've made from them have two-piece sleeves which I love. I like the fit better and it gives a tailored garment a more classic look.

The other is; extracting the pattern! They come three ways; you can buy a paper pattern at a fabric store with seam allowances and everything, you can buy the magazine and trace a pattern from the tangled mess of the pattern page, or you can download a pattern from the website and fritter away your youth taping pages.

The one I am working with is downloaded and taped (and taped and taped). The trick is to first make certain you are printing only the pages you need. They sometimes have pattern pieces from other styles than the one you are making.

The other trick is to find the pages with, say, the sleeve piece and tape that together, then tape the pages with the bodice, and so on. Don't tape 40 pages together then start cutting out the pieces from there. That's just crazy-making.

That's all for now, dear friends. But before I go, here is a gratuitous cat butt picture.

Bats the cat.