Sunday, July 3, 2016

Why Do I Only Seem to Finish Winter Coats at the End of the Season?

Seriously, I never seem to finish a coat at the beginning of the season. I dither about the  pattern, I make at least two muslins after numerous fitting alterations.  I play with the details.  It's a  time consuming process.  This coat is my all time favorite of  coats that I've made. The fabric is a gorgeous mohair, wool and silk blend that I've in the collection more than a few years.  It was bought at one of Michael's online 50%off  sale .  If I remember correctly it's Zegna. It's fabulous. The mohair and silk make it light and airy while the wool gives it stability.  The lining is a silk charmeuse from one of  Fabric Mart's famous sales.  My inspiration was a Saint Laurent coat selling for over $2500. I had a Burda pattern that I'd made a muslin from. for a round necked coat. . I liked it because it had a shoulder princess line in front and a plain back.  I wanted a slightly oversize coat that would fit comfortably over a heavy sweater or two, and it does.  I've taken all of Suzy Furrer's classes, which are fabulous by the way, and used her neckline and collar class to change the plain front to a notched collar.  I change necklines, especially in knits, all the time but this was my first notched collar  and I am very pleased with it.  

I love  simple coats with something different that makes them stand out and here it's the oversize pockets.  I made several paper samples and I still ended up making them twice.  The coat also has bound buttonholes, my go to for coats.  I hadn't made them in awhile, so that meant lots of samples with some different methods. Judy Burlap's bound buttonhole instructions, available on her website, are some of the easiest, best I've used.  I made three buttonholes that  match and all of the lips are even. 

When I plan a coat I debate endlessly with myself about how much tailoring structure I really want in the coat.  For this one I wanted a light soft look and feel because the fabric is airy and light.  Allison Smith's class on Craftsy gave me the opportunity to try hybrid tailoring.  It's light but gave me just enough body for this coat.  I think that I am addicted to Craftsy classes!

 All in all I am very pleased with the coat, especially the fit.  I finally got the armscye and sleeve fit perfected.  I have a low right shoulder that has a bit different rotation than the left one due to an old injury, so while the left one will hang perfectly, the right one is a different story.  I learned that I need to rotate it more than the left one.  I also learned that my narrow shoulders need a higher sleeve cap. to hang perfectly. This I got from another Craftsy class, Lynda Maynard's fitting class.   I've had the shoulder problem for 34 years but age has changed it as it has the rest of my body. Learning to fit my aging body has sometimes been a challenge.






 Do you ever find that you have more ease in the front or back of a sleeve cap?  This
was one of  my problems.  I could feel the back of the cap against my shoulder.  The sleeve cap ease needed to be balanced.  I walked the front and back of my sleeve against the front and back of the coat armscye.  When I got to the shoulder point I marked it on my sleeve cap.  The ease needs to be the same on either side of the shoulder point on the sleeve cap.  I adjusted it by removing from the front and added to the back of the cap.  It really works.   I found this information in Sarah Veblen's Photographic Guide to Fitting.  I keep finding more and more useful information in that book. Because of my shoulder issue I still had to adjust the right sleeve cap a bit more than the left. It worked and as you can see in the photos there is no excess at the back or front of my cap. It's fits into the armscye perfectly.  The back of the coat looks a little big, but this is exactly how the original looked and it makes it easy to wear over heavy sweaters.  Here I'm just wearing it over a t shirt. 

The other thing I do to accommodate my uneven shoulders is to add to my right shoulder pad. I add padding and keep trying it on until both shoulders look even.  Then I use some tailor tacks to keep the layers together.  




I usually start with existing shoulder pads, especially if I want to use extended pads which are not easy to make yourself.  Apple Annie fabrics has some very nice shoulder pads that are a combination of set in and raglan. Years ago Threads had a series of articles on Armani tailoring and this is the  type of shoulder pad he uses.  Because my low point is really that my arm is lower, this really makes it easier to even up my shoulders. I add the padding to the end of the pad but not into the extension.  As you can see, it works well. It also fills out the sleeve cap. I didn't use a sleeve head.
The photos we took that showed the lining weren't great, so when I get a chance I'll take some new ones and post them.  



17 comments:

  1. Beautiful, Nancy! And thanks for all the suggested classes and resources. I haven't made a coat in years and it's definitely time.

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    1. It's so worth it! You know the quality of Michael's fabrics. So many beginners ask do you save money sewing, a coat is one of those items that you really do save money on. To me using a silk lining is the ultimate luxury and not one you find even in a lot of high end designer coats. Worth every penny and the time spent.

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  2. Your coat looks wonderful. I love the simple lines of it too.

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  3. Oh, Nancy, you've achieved a beautiful coat with a perfect fit! Even though the winter season is past just think how pleased you'll be when that first cold snap arrives. All your hard work for a great fit produced the desired results and I really like the slim pants with the oversized top. Karen

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  4. Your coat looks perfect! I love the Craftsy classes too and have all the ones you mentioned.

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  5. What a wonderful coat. Fantastic fit. Appreciate the recommendations for Craftsy classes. Good to know they are so well done.

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  6. A beautiful coat, Nancy! You're all set for fall/winter!

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  7. Oh wow, your coat is just stunning - the care you've put into it really shows; it looks so upmarket and perfectly fitted.

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  8. Love the shape and the fit. Sad that we can't feel the fabric.

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  9. I love your coat, the fit is perfect!

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  10. Super gorgeous and super jealous!!!

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  11. Gorgeous! I admire you for having stuck to it and finished the coat now. You'll be all set for next winter. Come early spring, I can't wait to get at the warmer weather sewing.

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  12. What a great coat for tooling around next winter. It looks tres chic and fits beautifully!

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  13. Your coat looks fabulous, I think you should see this as being ready a season early rather than late!

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