Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting back to my roots

Ok.  Getting back on track here.  I've decided to make the cover trench coat from the Japanese coat book.  It's been while, and I have to admit that it's been easy to drift into pre-printed patterns.  It's been a treat to open up an envelope and, VOILA.... a pattern and instructions in English.  But I have all the materials to make the trench coat, so it only makes sense to move forward with it.  Plus it would be really nice to have this coat for fall.  

For those of you not familiar with Japanese patterns, the book above is sitting on the pattern sheet.  All the pattern pieces are overlapped onto a single sheet.  It's like finding the hidden pictures in the kid's magazine Highlights.  Hmmm.  where's the collar stand?  

Once again I'll extol the virtues of Swedish Tracing Paper.  Here I've rolled it out over the pattern sheet.  It's translucent and very durable.  

I find a pattern piece to trace and pin the tracing paper onto the pattern sheet.  It's a good idea to let your eye follow the shape all the way around before tracing.  There are so many intersecting lines that it's very easy to get mixed up and get off track.  It's best to know where you're headed.   None of the pattern pieces include seam allowances or hems.  I use a small ruler and make little dashes all around the pattern piece at 5/8" with a pencil.  Then it's just a matter of connecting the dots.  Easy but tedious.  I've learned from my previous 2 coats that the Japanese size XL isn't even a size M by American standards.  I was able to alter this pattern during the tracing process.  I increased the shoulder width by 3/4".  This ends up giving me an additional 3" in circumference of the coat.  

Jumping ahead, the sleeves ended up being about 2" too long on the muslin.  The tracing paper makes this an easy adjustment to make.  I simply take up a 1" fold while at the same time maintaining the grain line.  A little piece of tape and it's done.  

Here you see the fold taped into place.  The pencil line is the grainline which must be maintained.  The worst is truly over at this point.  On to making the fitting muslin.  


  1. Wow -- I'm impressed. I'm not sure I'd have the patience to trace a pattern like that but you make it look easy!

  2. I actually thought that title meant you were going to stop dying your hair gray...

  3. Oh, I thought you were talking about..never mind

  4. You will probably make this one in a snap. I miss those Japanese patterns- not!