Thursday, October 14, 2010

The photo shoot

Followers, here are pics from the photo shoot, a beautiful fall day on Portland Maine's Eastern Promenade.  Thanks to huzbears Brian and Martin for being my photographers.  The sewing machine is going to be put away temporarily while I work on insulating the attic here at "this old house".  When I return I may work on a short trench jacket in olive green stretch denim.  In the meantime enjoy your sewing adventures.  

Putting it all together

I really worked at a fever pitch to wrap this project up.  My goal was to wear it to the Met Opera simulcast of Das Rheingold on Oct. 9th.  Huzbear Brian was planning on wearing his black opera cape, and although I couldn't compete with THAT, something long and purple would be better than the LL Bean barn coat that's pretty much de rigueur in this neck of the woods.  The diagrams for completion of this coat were completely baffling, most notably how the lining was secured to the back vent and how the collar was finished off.  Even my gal Edna Bishop was of little use.  In the end I just winged it.  I hand stitched the inner and outer collar stands together at the nape of the neck.  The diagram showed some kind of topstitching somewhere, but that just seemed like a recipe for disaster.  I'd much rather spend the time putting in some invisible stitches by hand than to add some topstitching that screams "homemade".  The sleeves and bottom hem were reinforced with hair canvas / muslin just as I did on the duffle coat.  I saved the back vent till last by attaching the lining to the hem at both fronts and working my way around to the back.  With the coat on a hanger I trimmed the lining and improvised until I could make it look like the diagrams.  Maybe some day I'll learn the correct technique (some instructions in English couldn't hurt!).  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Finally, something on a hanger!

I really get a surge of excitement when all the bits and pieces come together and I actually have something that can go on a hanger.  The interfaced under collar is attached.  The plaid outer collar assembly is complete and will be attached to the lining.  I will actually end up making the coat twice and then sewing the two together.  On to the lining.  

Confessions of a hand baster

Here are some construction detail pics.  The layout diagrams for this coat showed something (interfacing?) along the seamlines between the front and backs where they join the raglan sleeves.  An expert sewist from Pattern Review advised me that this is a product called Wigan.  It's purpose is to reinforce the seam and to help it retain its shape since both the sleeve unit and front / back end up on the bias where they connect.  Also the weight of the garment hangs off this seam and it can cause the coat to sag.  Needless to say, this isn't a product I was going to find at JoAnn Fabrics.  I improvised by fusing a lightweight interfacing over the seamline.  The twill fabric that I'm using can be easily stretched, it's also way out of alignment as you'll recall;  so I've pinned and then hand basted every seam.  The small amount of extra time that this step takes has been well worth it.  Plus, I've come to actually enjoy the process.  I'm using red and orange thread run through a block of beeswax, so I have a delightful aroma to enhance the zen of hand sewing.  The improvised technique worked, with the stitching running through the strips of interfacing.  

God? Devil? in the details

I forget which.  I've completed the inside chest pocket.  Once again I deferred to Edna Bishop who provided very clear instructions on how to finesse this tricky bit with just 3 pieces.  My Japanese version featured 4 pieces that in no way resembled what I ended up using.  The area was first reinforced with a strip of lightweight fusible interfacing.  Then the whole contraption was pinned and hand basted into place.  The fabric eventually ends up getting slashed which I find completely terrifying.  Amazingly, once everything is twisted and flipped through the hole...Voila you have a pocket.  I won't confess how long all this took.  I'm just glad that all the pockets are finished.