Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Vogue 8346 - View B: Part 4, Canvas Interfacing

The next step on my coat is attaching the interfacing to the coat front and undercollar.  My resources on this were a Craftsy class called "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer", and a book called "Tailoring: the classic guide to sewing the perfect jacket".

I've found this book to be very useful, as it shows three different ways to interface a coat; the complicated and time-consuming way I'm doing, the quick and easy way with fusible interfacing, and a combination of the two.  Basically, the difference between them is the finish.

Anyway, both book and class show you how to make and attach an extra layer of interfacing at the shoulders.  Below you can see the outline for mine in green on my coat front pattern piece. 

And this is the actual pattern piece. 

This is cut from the canvas interfacing and is sewn to the shoulder.  Thankfully this can be done by machine, because the next bit is hours and hours of hand sewing! 

The lapel is pad-stitched to the front of the coat, then twill tape sewn to the roll line and edges. 

Then the under collar also gets pad-stitched, but it doesn't need twill tape.  The Craftsy class is great for a detailed explanation of this. 

Not going to lie, this bit is really time-consuming, and does get a bit tedious, but it's lovely once it's done! 

Finally, the collar and lapels are shaped with water and steam from the iron.  I got this technique from a Craftsy class called "The Starlet Suit Jacket by Gretchen Hirsch", but I don't think it's available any more.
Here's what I did - I sprayed the pad-stitching with water from a spray bottle, and then blasted it with steam from the iron, the iron doesn't touch the fabric though.  Then I shaped the collar around my ham, and held it in place with pins. 

One lapel was shaped using my seam roll, and the other with some rolled up tea towels.  Everything is left to dry, and can then be sewn up so it actually starts looking like a coat!

Next will be setting in the sleeves.


Thursday, 14 September 2017

Vogue 8346 - View B: Part 3, Buttonholes and Back Stay

I wasn't going to make bound buttonholes, but when I got my buttons they were too lovely, and I felt they deserved bound buttonholes.  So I made them the same way as the buttonholes on my green coat, which was to make them using the instructions from this ebook by Karen from Did You Make That?. 

This method uses welts to make the "legs" of the buttonholes, and I found this to be so much easier than using the method with a patch of fabric.  Here's what my buttonholes look like.  Sorry about the fuzzy photo!

And here's what they're like from the back.

This is my practice buttonhole.  Needless to say, I'm pretty pleased with them!

The back stay helps to stop the upper back of the coat from stretching.  I drafted mine using the Craftsy Class "Classic Tailoring: The Blazer".  These attach to the centre back, side back, and side front pieces.

Here are the pieces attached to the back of my coat.  They are sewn to each piece within the seam allowance, then the coat pieces sewn together.  The bottom edge is cut with pinking shears so a ridge doesn't show through.

I've also seen back stays made in one piece, and did this on my green coat, but it makes more sense to me to support each seem.

Next time I shall waffle about the interfacing.


Sunday, 10 September 2017

Vogue 8346 - View B: Part 2 - Alterations And Embellishments

This is my second post on the construction of my winter coat using Vogue 8346 - View B.  Click on my previous post for the first one.  In this post I'm going to attempt to not waffle too much about the alterations and embellishments that I made.



I ended up doing a lot more work than I expected to my pattern.  The majority of it was to get the shape of the collar and lapel that I wanted.  I'd love to be able to give an in-depth explanation, but a lot of it was just winging it! 

As mentioned in my first post, I was disappointed with the lapel.  The pattern has two different collars, a shawl collar, and a collar and lapel.  When I unfolded the pattern I expected to see two different pieces for the coat front - one for each collar.  Turns out I was wrong.

There was one coat front piece, then the shawl collar piece, the other collar piece and then a separate piece for the label. 

Attaching coat front and lapel was easy.  I just marked in the seam allowances (in red in the photo), folded over the lapel seam allowance, and lined it up with the coat front.

Next I wanted to make the lapel wider, and round out the end.  So added some paper, and got out my fancy French Curves. 

On the pattern, the collar and lapel separate at the point where the lapel rolls back on itself.  Naturally I didn't want this!!  I wanted the collar and lapel to separate further along the lapel as on my Butterick Jacket below.

I did find one of the Craftsy pattern drafting classes helpful though as a starting point on changing where the collar and lapel meet.  It was "Patternmaking And Design: Collars and Closures".  

Basically, what I did was to decide on a point where I wanted the lapel and collar separate.   It ended up being the short purple line that I have marked with the blue pins in the photo below (ignore the green circle, that was Plan A).  I also curved out the bit where the lapel meets the neckline.   

The collar took a bit more work...


Firstly I made the collar bigger by adding more the outside edge and blending in towards the back.  I also rounded out the end.

I'd made a toile using the original collar and lapel.  I marked on it where I wanted the collar and lapel to separate, and then measured the distance of the gap between them. 

Then, from the collar edge, I measured out to where the break from the lapel would be along the seam line.  From that point I measured down the distance taken from the toile as above, and connected them all up.  The final bit was to draw a line out the outer edge of the collar.

That is really hard to describe, and hopefully makes more sense in this photo.

Finally I rounded all the lines out, to give the shape I wanted.  Below is what the Upper Collar piece looks like with the point where the collar and lapel meet marked with blue pins.

This is how it turn out.  The original collar and lapel is on the left, and my changes are on the right.

On the original pattern the same lapel piece is added to the facing, so I added a bit to the outside edge from the top of the lapel to the where it meets the coat front.  This is so the facing/coat lapel seam will roll under slightly.  This is the same as cutting an under collar a bit smaller than an upper collar.


The sleeves are one piece sleeves (why?!), so I converted them to two piece sleeves using the Craftsy class "Patternmaking And Design: Creative Sleeves".  I also added a big cuff as in my inspiration photos in my last post.  Also I shortened the sleeves by 7cm - 3.5 cm above and below the elbow.


The only change I made to the fit was to shorten the body by 1" at the lengthen/shorten lines above the waist. 


I had a bit of fun with these!  There are epaulets on the shoulders, I'm not sure if I'll go with these, but we'll see.

This tab thingy on the back, which I love.

And this faux pocket flap on the front.  I could make proper welt pockets, but I couldn't be bothered, and the pattern has pockets in the side seams.  You can just about see it on the right in the photo below, which is what my toile ended up looking like.  Excuse the wrinkles!

Sorry this turned out to be a lot longer than expected, but I know future me will find it helpful to have this recorded somewhere!

Until next time,


Monday, 4 September 2017

Vogue 8346 - View B: Part 1 - Inspiration

One thing that is a basic requirement for living in the British Isles is a decent winter coat.  Unfortunately you can be wearing it from about October to March (and maybe September and April too!).  I made this green winter coat in January, but my black shop bought winter coat has definitely seen better days.  So, obviously, I'm going to make a new one!  

Winter coats don't make themselves in a weekend (more's the pity!), which is why I'm starting it now; also, I really don't want to be hand sewing black fabric with black thread when it's dark in the evening.  As I've already done a lot of work on it before even cutting into the fabric, I'm planning to do a few blog posts on this.  I love reading posts about the thinking and construction behind garments, so I'm hoping some people will find this interesting.

I had pinned this gorgeous coat on Pinterest ages ago, I believe it was originally from Top Shop, and it's basically what I'm aiming for.

I love the big collar and lapels, the pocket flaps and epaulets.  But there are a couple of other coats that I'm pinching ideas from too.  This Alexander McQueen number below is absolutely gorgeous.  It's pretty similar in design to the Top Shop coat, and I love the big cuffs on the sleeves.  Also, lets take a moment to appreciate the amazing print matching on the tartan!

I also love the tab on the back waist of this Burberry coat, so am hoping to incorporate this too.

After a lot of searching, I finally settled on Vogue 8346, View B.  I found lots of patterns for notched lapel coats which were single-breasted, but this was the only double-breasted coat I could find.  I'm a bit disappointed with the lapels and sleeves, but will talk about that more in my next post which will about all the alterations I made, and the embellishments I've added.    

But I'm very pleased with how my toile has turned out, and my fabric is gorgeous.  It's a slightly textured fabric from Sherwood Fabrics, and is 80% wool and 20% polyester.  It's doesn't have a name, just a reference number which is SA743.  And, even better, it was originally £28 per metre, but is on sale at £15.90 per metre.  Hurray! 

I'm going to use some red polyester Duchess Satin for the lining, and I got it in The Spinning Wheel in Belfast.  I don't think I got enough thought, so might have to go back for more - not a hardship!

My buttons are from Totally Buttons, and are so lovely that I decided to make bound buttonholes.  If you follow me on Instagram you will see that they are already done.

Me being me, I can't do things the easy way, and am going to hand-tailor the lapels and collar.  I really enjoyed doing this on my Butterick 4610 jacket, so want to try it again with this. 

Next time I will show you my toile, and the pattern alterations that I've made.

Have a great week,


Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sew Over It Eve Dress - Version 2

I always admire wrap dresses, I even have a Pinterest board about them, but this is the first front wrap dress that I've made.  I made the Colette Patterns Crepe Dress years ago, which wraps at the back, and I loved that dress, so really should make it again.  Anyway, I digress...

This one is the Sew Over It Eve Dress which went straight into the sewing queue as soon as I laid eyes on the pattern.  I bought the PDF pattern, because I think I'm the only person in the world who prefers them, and made Version 2 with the long sleeves and straight hem.  My love of the 70s is well documented, but I didn't think the 70s flutter sleeves would be very cardigan friendly, and I'm not a fan of a high/low hem.

This is a loose fitting dress, and a wrap is quite forgiving fit-wise, so I made a straight size 10.  My only alterations were to shorten the sleeves (can't remember by how much), and I also took about 7" off the length of the skirt because it was really long, and I am really small!  My skirt is 20" long plus the hem, as that's my preferred skirt length in general.  And as I'd shortened the skirt so much, the front skirt piece fitted onto my folded fabric.  Hurray!

This, by the way, is why I love PDFs.  If I make a mess of the alterations, I can just print it out again.  My only complaint about the pattern is that there are no length/shorten lines on any of the pieces, and they would have been helpful.


My fabric is some viscose from Abakhan Fabrics, and is called Feather Print Javanese Viscose.   I got 3 metres for the bargain price of £4.12 per metre, and I'm pretty sure I've seen it on some other websites too.  As I had shortened the skirt considerably, I used much less than 3 metres, and I should have enough left for a sleeveless top.

I didn't use anything to stabilise the fabric because I didn't think it needed it (I've worked with trickier vicoses), and also, I couldn't be bothered.  Kind of wish I'd sprayed it with some spray starch though, it would have made life a bit easier.

I love this little shoulder yoke and gathers.
The instructions are really great, and the only thing I did differently was to stay stitch the bodice front edges (the bits that wrap over each other) as soon as I unpinned the pattern pieces.  I live in mortal fear of neck edges stretching (well, maybe it's not that bad!!), but I always stay stitch any neck edge, and have never regretted it. 

The neck and wrap edges are faced using stay tape, and the instructions are really clear.  It's a bit fiddly folding the edge back on itself, but just takes a bit of patience. 

I'd read a few reviews about how tricky it was to turn the belt ties right side out, but I think I got lucky with this fabric.  I used a wooden barbecue skewer (the blunt end!), and it did the job, although I think I'll treat myself to one of those little metal hook thingies for turning out rouleau loops.

This dress is so comfortable to wear, and the skirt front that wraps under extends right over to the side seam, so there's not much risk of flashing too much leg!  I added a little pop fastener to the bodice wrap to keep it in place, but this has a lot to do with my fabric being quite drapey.  I can see how this wouldn't be necessary in a heavier fabric.

I'm delighted with how this dress turned out, and it's a little bit different to what I'd usually make.  Also, I definitely predict more wrap dresses in my future, including maybe the Sew Over It Ultimate Wrap Dress for my increasing pile of jersey fabrics.

Have a great week,


Saturday, 12 August 2017

Vogue V1537 Coat

This pattern is Vogue V1537, which is a coat and a dress.  It was released earlier this year, and as soon as I spotted the coat, I had to have it.  A half price pattern sale at Weaver Dee made it even nicer!  
I've only seen one version of this coat made up, and that is by Fiona from Diary Of A Chain Stitcher.  Her coat is fabulous, click on the link and you'll see what I mean.  Here are the pattern line drawings, and the photo from the pattern envelope.

Vogue V1537

Vogue V1537
The pattern is beautifully drafted, all the princess seams lined up perfectly (because it's really annoying when they don't!).  The instructions say to ease stitch the centre back and front princess seams.  That seemed a bit odd, as I thought the centre fronts and side backs would be the bits that needed ease stitched.  But I didn't need to ease stitch anything, as the seams went together without it.

All the instructions were clear, especially on clipping and sewing the collars, and also on attaching the lining.


I did three things differently though.  The first was not to make the bound buttonholes, because I couldn't be bothered.  And, boy, was I glad I didn't!  My fabric turned out to be a bit of a nightmare, but more on that later.

Second was how I sewed the pocket linings.  The lining and pocket are sewn right sides together, then turned out and hand-stitched to the coat.  Then they are top-stitched to the coat with a 1 cm seam allowance.  I used a little trick that I learnt on the Craftsy class for my Butterick 4610 jacket.

I cut out the pocket lining pieces, then trimmed about 2 mm off the edges and the bottom (not the top edge), then I sewed the lining to the pocket.  It takes a bit of finessing to get the two edges together, but once it's turned out, then the main fabric rolls slightly to the inside.  This is similar to cutting an under collar slightly smaller than a top collar.

 You can see how the main fabric is rolling to the inside below.

Which meant the I could catch the needle in the rolled-in bit of the main fabric when hand sewing the pocket the to coat.  If I made this again, I think I would make the pocket lining from a colour similar to the main fabric, then there would be no issues with the lining fabric accidentally showing.

The third thing wasn't something that I did this time, but would do if I make this again.  I found that when I was sewing on the sleeve tabs that they didn't overlap as much as they should have.  I ended up moving them in by 1 cm from the raw edge of the sleeve seams, but next time I would cut them a bit longer.


As mentioned by Fiona, when attaching the lining the instructions talk about sewing to the small circles above the hem.  I, too, couldn't find them, so sewed to about 5 inches above the bottom of the coat.  I could have sewed to about 3 or 4 inches though.

On to my fabric.  Sigh...  This is some red stretch twill from My Fabrics.  It's lovely fabric for this style of coat, but it hated being gathered at the sleeves.  I don't think it helped that the sleeves are two piece sleeves, so the gathering stitches are going through two seams, but it absolutely refused to gather even one centimetre.  I ended up easing the sleeve in by hand, and it turned out ok.  

Also, I don't love how the collar is rolling back on itself.  I've spray starched it, but it could be nicer.  That said, it looks a lot better in these photos than it does in my head!


All of my top stitching was done with a triple stitch, which took ages and used loads of thread, but I love how it looks.

The lining fabric is from Minerva Crafts, and I bought it about a million years ago!  It's finally found it project.  It frayed like nobody's business, and I ended up taking the pinking shears to the seams.  There was red and white thread everywhere!

I was trying very hard not to drop my coat on the wet ground!
I love how my coat has turned out, and it's just the thing for the UK Spring and Autumn (and some Summer days too).  


Have a great weekend,