Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sewing By the Book


 I wrote this post awhile ago, but never got around to posting it.  I combined it with the post on my finished coat.

Sometimes you can break the rules and other times, not such a good idea.  Necklines need staying,  A garment is  taken on and off a lot during fitting and has lots of opportunity to stretch and stretching creates problems.  I did not stay the neckline right away. I don't usually think that stay stitching works all that well, but stay tape does and it should be done before you take it off the cutting table so that it has no chance to stretch.  The collar on this coat has a right angle that's sewn into an inside corner.  If the neckline is too long a bubble will form when you try and pivot around the base of the collar which is what happened on my coat. On the top side of course, because that's the one that's shows.  I ripped the collar off and took off the tape, that I applied after I'd already tried it on a few times.  Way too late by that time.  I had to ease the collar back to the correct length   so that I didn't get the bubble in the corner. If I'd followed the rules I would have saved myself a lot of work and aggravation. 

What else did I do wrong on this coat?  Too many things.  I always, always have to narrow my shoulder seams by 3/4" on Burda.  Why did I think that this one didn't need to be shorter?  Fortunately it worked removing it after the fact, when I like to do it in the pattern of course.  Fortunately I won't have short sleeves because I made them longish on purpose because I always seem to have coat sleeves that are too short when I drive. I guess I need longer gloves.  My lack of organization on this coat has made it take twice as long as it necessary. Note to self.  Make a damn list of construction order! (Or, sew with a good book next to you.)  This is really the best way to sew well and efficiently without instructions.  And readers?  These are are some of the most obtuse Burda instructions I've seen and I've seen plenty.  They rival the instruction booklet for our new Blu ray player for obtuseness. No, you are not stupid. The instructions are truly bad.

Now for the coat itself, which is finally finished.

The coat is finished  finally.  I like it, I don't love it, though it grows on me as time goes on.  If you'll recall I used Claire Kennedy's re design of this Burda coat to eliminate the hip band.  I left in side seams, she didn't .
Coat  Burda 120 9/10
 The original  coat is made of boiled wool or the equivalent and the construction is lapped. I used conventional sewing techniques with a wool coating that was in my stash and bought at one of Micheal's Fabrics half price sale.  The lining is silk charmeuse from one of Fabric Marts big sales.  I think it was Anna Sui and probably no more than $5 a yard.  It really loses something from the tall, broad shouldered model to my narrow shouldered body.

Other changes I made:
I eliminated the hip band, the hidden front zipper and I eliminated the back darts which wouldn't have worked for me. 
The collar is annoying, but easy to leave open when I am driving.  It was also much too high in the back for my short neck, so I took it off and made it narrower by about a 1/2".  Actually, I cut another one.  I had interfaced both sides and it was too stiff and annoying.  The issue of the shoulders are  problematic.  While they are the proper width for me, they totally  change the triangle shape of this coat as seen on the model.  Because I narrowed the shoulders after the fact, I would have loved the sleeves to be a bit longer, which wasn't possible because the hems are all curved and faced so I couldn't just turn up less.

I left in the zippers on the sleeves because I liked them and I had a pair in the house. Always good to use anything from stash!  I didn't put in the hidden zipper for the closing because it would have made this  difficult to sit and drive in and after all, I live in the suburbs.  I put in 3 large snaps below the top button which work well.  It was also easier to install and it's easy to undo.
The pattern called for a decorative  snap at the top.  I put in a leather bound button hole which I like.  It's a rather plain coat, with the seams that attracted me to the coat not all that evident in the finished coat.  Adding a nice scarf to the neck hides the nicest part of the coat, the button and buttonhole a the top.
The only other detail I'm going to mention about the construction of this coat is that I used lambswool interlining to interline the lining.  Never again.  It stretches.  I hand basted it onto the lining and trimmed it out of all the sas after the seams were finished. but it is really pita.  If I want a warm coat in future I'll use a warmer outer layer and interline with cotton flannel.  I cut the fabric on the cross grain so that the border ran along the bottom.


I honestly don't want to go into a real review of this coat. This was so not a labor of love and I just want to move on.

What's up next?  Cleaning my sewing room, which is bad.  That and putting away the mountain of fabrics that seem to have accumulated on my bookshelf.  How the hell did that happen?  I have a very nicely organized fabric closet.  It's just that most of the contents  seems to be on this shelf!
I will say that I am done with winter sewing.  For once I want to be ahead of the calender.  Spring is my busiest season and I really need some spring pants and things, so that's what I'll sew.  Specifically?  Not so sure yet.
Have a great weekend.

25 comments:

  1. oooh, I love your coat! More than just like :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. The coat does look nice! I especially like the zips on the sleeves. I've moved onto Spring sewing as well.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Nancy K your coat is simply gorgeous. You are so tempting me!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Nancy,

    Your coat is wonderful. I plan to make one too and appreciate your efforts on the pattern and construction issues. Thank you for the tip on the lambswool. I didn't order yet so I won't. Sew Intriguing always uses cotton flannel to interline her coat and uses it as the muslin too.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Nancy,

    If it's not too late, what about shoulder pads ...or perhaps you've tried and decided against?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Nancy,

    Love the coat. I am sorry you don't love it, but it looks great on you.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There are shoulder pads in there!

    ReplyDelete
  8. It is a great coat, and I'm sure not loving it now has to do with all the trouble it took to make it. It's gorgeous on you, love a little detail like the leather bound buttonhole.
    And yes, sometimes you just want to go on, a full review is not always the thing to do after finishing. Looking forward to your spring sewing.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I hate when a garment starts out problematic because that's usually a sign that it will remain that way through completion! Still, you conquered it, and your coat looks fabulous! Really, nice sewing!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I see what you mean. The Burda model (apart from being straight up and down) has the shoulders extending and you have them more fitted. Perhaps you could have kept the hips and shoulders similar width and filled out the shoulders. Not to worry though, cos it still looks good and the colour is perfect for you. Love the lining too.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thanks for the rundown on "what not to do and why," it's incredibly helpful, if that makes you feel any better.

    I like the coat, for what it's worth...

    ReplyDelete
  12. Glad that you persevered. The coat looks wonderful! Perhaps next winter, when you take it out of summer hiding, having forgotten the frustration of making it, you will see it in a better light.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I used my husband's computer and it was signed in to his google account. So Stephen=Me. I still like the coat.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Love your coat.....Give it sometime, you will love it too.....

    ReplyDelete
  15. Wow, what a lot of work! The zipper detail on the sleeves is very cool!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Despite your difficulties you have, as always, done an amazing job. Your coat looks so fabulous - very chic and sharp, the sleeve zippers are a wonderful design detail.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Well worth the effort and working through all the issues. I understand why you might find that collar annoying. Personally I can't stand anything high on my neck, but I live in a warm climate.

    ReplyDelete
  18. It is a beautiful coat though Nancy...and I love the bound buttonhole and zippers on the sleeves!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sometimes I find I have to leave behind the trauma of a big sewing project for a while before I can really start to appreciate the good things, rather than just seeing all of its (and my) flaws. Coats are definitely a trauma, and I hope you get to enjoy your coat for long enough before it warms up to see how lovely it is!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Nancy,
    The coat is marvelous and you look beautiful in it. All of the changes are just perfect. I especially like the bound buttonhole and the omission of the band at the waistline.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The coat looks terrific. Great job!

    ReplyDelete
  22. I don't know, I think it's pretty rad!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Well I know this was a labor, but think of all you learned on this coat. I think it looks great on you. And I hope you wear it a lot. It's funny how a coat you didn't think was good when you finished it and you go back to it, and it's amazingly fresh and fun.

    ReplyDelete
  24. I love this coat! It looks like eliminating the waist band works very well. Thanks for posting. This pattern is still on my list of should-make-for-this-winter ( its summer here..)

    ReplyDelete