Sunday, 25 September 2016

Pointy edge coat pocket

Here is a closer look at the inside pocket of my recently finished coat and a quick run through how I added it!

The points I have edged my inside pocket with appear to be called prairie points and are the type that can be nested as described in this McCalls post. I saw this idea somewhere else and it was described as a Hong Kong pocket or something similar, so is something traditionally found in tailored garments. Mine is a lot clunkier and less delicate than the example I have seen because I wanted it to look like teeth to scare my children (naturally), but you could make this look far more delicate with smaller nested points.

To start, there was no pattern for an inside pocket, so I just free hand cut into the fabric two pocket pieces. It is a rectangle big enough to store a phone and the extra bit on the side is big enough for my hand to fit in and out of. That extra bit is 1.5cm wider than the bottom edge.

I folded back the edge flap by 1.5 cm (wrong sides together) and pressed along this line on both pocket pieces.

I then marked with chalk the end of the pocket opening so I know where to start sewing when I come to make the pocket up. I used a seam allowance of 1cm for the pocket seams.

I cut a long strip of the lining fabric which measured 6cm wide, but you can alter this to make smaller or larger triangles.

I pressed it along the length with wrong sides together and then chopped it up into short lengths. They look approximately 6cm long, but I don't think you need to be terribly accurate with this method. The McCalls link I mentioned above is far more methodical if you want to work to a more precise formula.

 I then folded the rectangles I cut in half and pressed them to make small squares. The squares have two nicely finished, pressed edges which will form the pocket edging.

My pocket is on the left hand of my coat, so I sewed the triangles to the pocket lining piece with the extra flap on the right hand side (if the right side of the fabric is facing up).

I used the pressed line on the pocket lining as my stitch guide and just kept adding the points as I got to the end of the last one so they are butt up next to each other. I just went by eye to make sure the height of the points are the same, but you could easily draw a chalk line for accuracy.

Important - Make sure the points remain within the seam allowance of the pocket bag!

Yet another example of my non-methodical approach to this technique is the excess from the points in the picture below. Just trim these down in line with the pocket lining edge.

Make the pocket up! Sew the two pieces with right sides together and with the points pointing inside the pocket. Don't go beyond the stitch line along the pocket opening when joining your pocket pieces together. FYI - The seam below at the bottom of the pocket opening is an 'L' shaped seam if you are planning to cut the same shape pocket as me.

Pin the pocket bag to your coat lining centre front edge and sew in place. It is the edge with the points on you are attaching to the lining (although you could sew the points to the coat if you prefer).

Next flip the pocket back around to the wrong side of the lining  and that's pretty much it!

When you hand sew your lining into your coat you can also sew the remaining edge of your pocket down.

I was just making it up as I went along to try an idea out, but you can iron out any kinks and make a much nicer job of it if you have a go!

Friday, 23 September 2016

Finished coat - Vintage Vogue 9939

All finished and I am a bit sad about that as it was a really enjoyable make, but then I am also really happy to have something for the new season and finished ahead of actually needing to wear it. A rarity!

It was such an easy make really. It took time because of all the hand sewing, but there was no fitting because I already new I liked the fit from a previous make and it does not require loads of different interfacings or interior structure. I added interfacing to the centre fronts and collar as instructed and hand sewed it in place rather than heat set it, but that was it! When I hand sew the majority of a garment or thing like this I tend to keep going with it, so although my interfacing had a gluey side, I chose not to fuse it. Crazy huh?

There are more close up detail shots in this post and notes about the length of the coat, but this finished length is what I shortened it to. It finishes below most of my dresses which I like and has retained the feel from the original illustration (I think).

Not much else to say really. I added a pretty cool inside pocket, which I can show in more detail if anyone's interested!

The lining is all sewn in by hand, which I love doing. It is satisfying to get everything sitting exactly where I want it with no pulls or dragging. The lining is a dark brown slinky twill satin. Probably synthetic, but I can't remember. It's possible it may contain viscose, but who knows...

I haven't pressed anything on this coat (apart from the lining). The under collar on the back looks as though it's rolling back, but everything else is laying fine, so I think I shall probably leave it! Also the bottom hem is looking a bit soft in these pictures like it could do with a gentle press, so I may just do that. All seam allowances are sewn down flat and haven't been pressed.

I opted for the fastening as suggested in the pattern which is just at the collar. Well it says loop and button, but a hook and eye is pretty much the same. I think I will add one at waist height, but on the inside of the coat too so it doesn't flap about in the wind, but I do like this simple finish.

Anyway, that's it from me and all set for the cold weather! The olive colour is not really represented in these photos very well, but it basically goes with everything in my wardrobe. As for the boiled wool itself, it seems the perfect texture for a coat like this (although required underlining). I'm unsure how it will wear as it looks prone to bobbling. If anyone has experience with this fabric then please share.

Thanks for following along with me and happy winter sewing! xxx

Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A winter coat in the making!

I am definitely thinking about my winter wardrobe now, but I guess we all are! The thing I have started with is the thing that's probably the biggest investment in terms of time and materials. A winter coat! I am using a vintage pattern, Vogue 9939, and it's one I've made up before (pre-blog), so know what the fit is like.

I am also using fabric from my stash that I had set aside last year, but never got around to sewing. The fabric I am using a boiled wool from textile centre. They currently only have a small amount of brown left, but I have seen this type of fabric around in a lot of fabric shops. It is admittedly a lot more fluid than I imagined so not quite right as it stands for this particular pattern. I still haven't finished said coat, but I thought I would just post some progress pics of what I have done so far!

To start off I underlined all the main coat pieces with a surplus shirting cotton from my stash. I cut the main fabric first and simply overlaid it onto the shirting with wrong sides together and cut the underling very roughly with an extra 1" or so extra around the edge. I then neatened and smoothed everything and lined up straight edges where they were present before hand basting the edges. You can see the basting stitches left in on the below picture. The idea of the underlining is to add some structure and body to better suit this voluminous coat. It isn't a quick process, but it is absolutely worth it and really transforms the fabric.

The coat pattern is very plain, but has some good quality details that I wanted to highlight. The pattern calls for topstitching on all the seams, but I chose instead to topstitch the darts only and really make a feature of them. How gorgeous are these darts? The stitches sink beautifully into this squishy fabric. The darts are topstitched in the instructions, but as open darts rather than this way.

If you happen to have and are thinking of making this pattern then the length of the coat as drafted is loooong! I cut a good 10cm off the bottom and sewed a 4cm hem. I did not remember this fact from the last time I made it, so merrily cut out as per the pattern, but look!

The length is totally not in proportion with the sleeves if you were thinking that this may have been meant for a tall person. The sleeves have worked out perfectly without shortening, so the body length makes no sense, but this is an easy fix! By the way, don't judge a coat part way through making it. The coat looks nothing like this now...

To resolve the issue of no top stitching on the collar I under stitched the seam allowance to the under collar by hand.

Note - this photo shows the true colour of the wool I think!

 What else did I do differently? Well, the pockets are bagged out with the lining in the instructions, which would have meant the lining would have peered out from some angles. I bagged the top edge only and folded the rest of the edges in over the lining neatening the corners and hand basting everything before machine topstitching in place.

Next up I catch stitched all the seam allowances to the underlining. I have not used an iron or steam on any part of this coat as I was worried about bruising or crushing the fabrics texture. The only bit I did go near was the bottom of the centre back seam as it was looking a bit rippled, but that was it!

So here it is from the inside! Everything is stitched down and from the outside it looks finished.

 A sneak at the outside!

I am so enjoying this project that I am eeking it out quite a bit. I don't want it to end and am loving all the hand stitching.

I shall hand sew the lining in and maybe add a sneaky inside pocket to the facing seam. I have an issue with bagged out linings I must admit. I am not keen on machine stitched hems on the main fabric and it's easier to make sure that the lining isn't going to pull the coat up when you insert it by hand. Each to their own though and sometimes these projects are restricted by time or the fact that you really don't care for hand stitching, which I totally get. I wouldn't say that I sew incredibly beautiful stitches by hand (I really don't), but I do love doing it!

Monday, 12 September 2016

Denim Bennett dress with self fabric belt

Catchy title eh?

So the other day I shared with you guys the bonus sleeve pattern piece for the Bennett dress and today I thought I would go into more detail about the two sleeved samples and in particular how I made the denim self fabric belt!

I'll just quickly go over which details I changed on the linen dress. Not much really, but I did level out the hem on the longest version and add two patch pockets on the dress front instead of one. The only other thing I added (that is not part of the pattern) is to add belt loops either side of the bib. I never wear this style unbelted, so felt it was just a nice extra detail to thread my leather belt through and keep it from slipping.

With the linen version covered the changes to the denim dress were the same with regards to the pockets and hem, but I did add a self fabric belt. I really love this detail and it was dead easy to do, so here's a quick tutorial!

This is the same as another belt I made earlier this summer to wear with a jumpsuit, but that was an independent belt that went around my whole waist, where as this one hooks onto the dress.

The belt is gathered over some elastic with small hooks either end which attach to thread loops sewn directly to the dress. The beauty of the thread loops is that they are so subtle you can easily still wear the dress without the belt or with a different belt of your choosing.

I used 3cm wide elastic which I cut to length by trying on the dress and holding it around my waist. Even though elasticated I left it fairly loose, but nipped in.

1. Cut an 8.5cm wide strip across the width of the fabric and your elastic to size as per above.

2. Sew your length of fabric into a tube with right sides together and a 1cm seam allowance. Trim the seam allowance down by half and turn back through.

3. With a safety pin on one end of the elastic start threading it through the fabric tube using your safety pin to guide it through like a needle. The seam of the fabric tube should be on the flat side of the elastic not the edge and this will be the back of the belt.

4. Before the elastic gets pulled entirely pulled into the fabric tube, pin the other end to the bottom end of the tube.

5. Keep pulling the elastic through gathering the fabric down. If it is feeling gathered enough before you get to the end of the tube put a safety pin into the elastic to stop it pinging back and cut the excess fabric off. I think I ended up with about 40cm excess because the fabric is fairly thick, but on a thinner fabric the full width may go over the elastic nicely!

6. Still making sure to not lose the elastic back into the tube fold fabric ends over the back of the belt and machine sew down. I folded a doubled 1cm fabric allowance over the end of the elastic (the elastic reaches the very end of the belt, but is not folded over).

7. Sew on some small dress hooks onto either end of the belt. I did two on each end, but neglected to photograph this step!

8. Next I sewed some thread loops to hook the belt onto. I did two sets to keep my options open. One set on the seam of the central bib and one set on the topstitch line. I used the end of a machine needle to gauge the loop size.

Now, I now feel it is my duty to say here that this belt is no more!!! It is very sad, but I lost this in town on Saturday and I know it is because the hooks were too loose. I should have just pinched them a bit more closed with some pliers and I knew it, but alas I did not action this thought in time. I have enough fabric for another crack, which I will definitely do, as it's one of my favourite elements of this dress. Maybe I'll even do some hand stitches to keep it firmly in place next time as I am unlikely to want to wear this dress without the belt (although I was wearing it today with a leather belt).

Mishap aside, I hope this tutorial was helpful!