Sunday, March 22, 2020

Some of my favorite sewing tools

Who wants to talk about sewing tools? Staying home has meant doing some home organizing and closet cleanup as well as sewing. I was tidying up yesterday and thought I could share some of my favorite sewing tools that aren't the usual, such as measuring tapes or scissors which we all have.

I think I'll do a separate post about pressing tools as they are in a category of their own, and absolutely vital for a good sewing result. In fact I waver back and forth as to what is my personal sewing mantra (and what I say a lot in my classes). It's either 1) more interfacing or 2) press it before you go on. Two necessities for sewing success.

Let's dive in. The first item is something that I started using about 4 years ago? At first I used the regular Frixon pens with the fine point, which worked well but seemed to run out of ink and you had to press quite hard on some fabrics to get them to mark. Then I happened upon the Frixon highlighter pens and now I buy them by the dozen. They are like a typical marker in that you can use the wide or narrow side of the tip, they come in all the typical highlighter colors and they do seem to come out fine on most all fabrics. As with any marking on fabric I am selective in use.  They are great for marking stitching lines such as on corners or curves. I tend to use them a lot on insides of garments on the interfacing as they are visible when stitching. I am less inclined to use on the outside of garments but sometimes do. I've read that markings can reappear in cold weather but that's not a concern of mine 🌞.

Frixon highlighter pens


Next are my favorite chalk markers. Without question my most treasured sewing tool is the yellow Chakoner marker which I have had for maybe 30 years? Older than many of your sewing machines and older than some who might be reading right now!  I bought it when I first started taking classes at The Sewing Workshop which was in San Franciso, out in the avenues and owned by Marcy Tilton. I took so many great classes there and when I think of it now it's quite similar to Hello Stitch - same warm and welcoming atmosphere, storefront location, great natural light and a place to commune with fellow stitchers instead of sewing as a solitary pursuit.

Anyway - back to the markers. The Chakoner markers make the finest chalk line and unlike some other of this type of chalk marker the little wheel rolls smoothly. Not sure when I got the blue one but they are both used a lot. And you can refill (carefully) the little stopper at the top comes off and you make a paper funnel and gently tip the chalk into it. I think I had the yellow one for years before I refilled it. I see them on Amazon now, (note the spelling, no "L" in the name) and I've ordered the refill chalks. Only use the Chakoner chalk in them as it is super fine chalk. The Clover chalk markers in that pen shape are also good, and I use them for some items like denim or other fabrics where I don't want to waste my nice Chakoner :).  Any other wheeled chalk markers I have found to be crap but perhaps you've had better luck with them. The wheel on the Dritz ones seems to get bent or stuck almost immediately.

chalk markers

This is another item that I cannot sew without. I think magnetic pincushions are a bit controversial, but I love them. As evidenced by the one in the front, which is the oldest one. No idea why it is so ragged but it still works. And yes I do separate my pin types, the finer silk pins go on the pink and blue magnets and then the less fine pearlized pins go on the red ones. I love to be able to sweep across the floor and pick up any pins that drop. When sewing I keep one next to the machine and one on my work surface, then when the one by the machine gets full I swap them. Note I don't know if it matters but I'm kind of fanatical about keeping these away from my laptop, phone or iPad. Read one time that could could harm, don't know if it's true but why chance it. Note the tape on the red one - it hit the ground and a piece broke off - a bit of tape and it's fine. (that's my answer to a lot of fix it, a bit of tape - and who hasn't used tape in place of a band-aid when sewing. Only me?

Magnetic pincushions


Next up are the Fiskars snips. Are you sensing a theme here? Multiples? I'm a bit scatterbrained when sewing and instead of looking for the one item I just have several and then there is always one to hand. These Fiskars snips are very sharp and I like that spring action, as opposed to putting your fingers in the holes of small scissors. I keep a pair at the studio and people in my classes are always "ooo I need to get one of those". You can find at sewing stores but if searching online they may be listed as pruning snips. It's the same product.

fiskars snips


This is kind of an oddball item, the name molded into the plastic is "Button Elevator" which is exactly what it does. It's used to sew on buttons and give the space needed to create the thread shank. Jackets, coats, any fabric that is a bit bulky, you need to have some breathing room between the button and the fabric so that the button can rest in the buttonhole when closed and not pull and pucker. It does take a bit of practice to get the hang of it, and of course you could use a toothpick, pencil, or knitting needle. I'm sure I bought this at a garage sale or something like that, so if you see one for a few cents give it a try.

Button raiser


More marking tools, this is Wax Chalk. I think I first got some of these way back when at the old Sewing Workshop, which I mentioned above. I ordered a box a few years ago from Atlanta Thread and Supply - which I think was bought out by Wawak? So the box on the right is almost empty but I give them out when I do the jacket tailoring class. One box will last you a while so they are great to share with sewing friends. They are perfect for marking wool, it just melts away with a touch of the iron leaving no trace (but always test first!!!)  I use them on cotton too and so far have no problem. By the way, I really like Wawak - they have great prices and it's so much better to order a variety of zippers or thread from them and have on hand rather than dashing out to Joann's and paying $ 3.50 for an invisible zip.

Wax chalk


This one is kind of a fun treat, when I did a lot of articles for Craftsy (now Bluprint) I color coded pieces in the illustration photos, and one day I needed more colored pencils. I tried these and they are so nice! Since I trace a lot of Burda patterns now they come in very handy. I tend to trace with one color, add fit adjustments with another, and then seam allowances with a 3rd color. In my fitting classes I always recommend using soft colored pencils on any pattern paper, they mark well, are visible and don't tear like a sharp pencil or soak in like a marking pen. I've had this box about two years and it's nowhere near finished. Plus the box is cute and I'm sure it will get reused for storing something else one day.

Prisma pencils

Here's an example of my colored pencil artistry, haha. In this photo I've cut up the jacket front pattern piece to make the side front lining piece which will attach to the facing. More on that detail when I finish and blog about that jacket.

Burda boucle jacket facings

Which I will give you a sneak peek. The fabric is SO unravel-y, I did interface fully but it still wants to shred at the edges. So I just handle carefully. I know some people serge all pieces but for a lined jacket I never do.

Boucle jacket WIP

I have a few topics on my Random Threads notebook page - it's been a while since I did that, and then I do have a few finished items to share. After this jacket I will probably make a top that I can wear with the jacket.

Thanks for all the nice comments on my last post - the top where I decided to try a new shape. This jacket has some interesting sleeves as well. And also for all the love for my red coat - I appreciate it so much.

Stay well everyone and I look forward to seeing everyone's creations in person when we resume socializing in the usual way 🤗

Happy Sewing, Beth

the tulips are definitely making me smile this week.

yellow tulip

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Hello Spring. New season, new style

It's a bit weird to sit down and write a blog post about sewing a new top when the news is so dire. I want to acknowledge that and say I hope everyone is well and doing what's needed. We can all emerge someday (hopefully soon) and show off what we made while stuck at home. I've actually not done all that much sewing since our stay-in-place order was issued. Faced with at least two weeks at home I made a very long list of house, garden, sewing, baking and closet cleaning. Joking with friends I said if I get through all that I will be amazed as it is easy to get distracted by a book or talking on the phone.

That said I will try to provide some sewing content here as we are looking for things to occupy our minds and hands - it keeps us off the news feed, right? News overload doesn't really help and I'm so glad to have the ability to entertain myself with sewing and to share with fellow stitchers all over.

This is my attempt to try a new style or silhouette. I was going for that boho look and not sure if I got there, but I do like this top. The colors are my favorites and it will go with plenty in my wardrobe.

Blue rayon top 4

It's a Burda pattern. What else?  Are you getting tired of reading about mostly Burda magazine patterns? It's just that they are so convenient! and now with two years of magazines I have what seems like a dress, top, jacket for any look or shape I want to sew. Let me know in the comments if there are some other patterns that you would like to see me make and how you feel about my steady stream of Burda magazine sewing. I think it doesn't make any difference as clothes are a collection of collars, closures, pleats, sleeve styles etc and any pattern company is going to mix and match in similar ways (eventually).  This one is Burda August 2018 #103  here it is on their website.

Burda stripe rayon top drawings

I really tried to get the stripes to line up and it's reasonably well matched, one side is a bit better than the other but across the sleeves and body it lines up. It has a separate button band so that needed to match as well. a bit wiggly in places. I didn't really pay attention to what the pattern did with the sleeve cuffs, I just decided to go with the a channel for elastic. Which at least means that when the sleeves are bugging me I can just push them up to the elbow to shorten. (by the way I always think of these sleeves as pirate sleeves - it seems in movies, pirates always have these floppy shirt sleeves)

blue rayon top front

Yeah, this expression says "I'm not really sure about this style on me".

Blue rayon top and jeans

blue rayon top back on form

I bought this woven rayon fabric at Piedmont Fabrics back in October on that beautiful day when I met Yoshimi and Carolyn. So I will wear it and think fondly of them and how great it was to meet in person.

I have a obsession about button sewing, in that I can't stand it when the buttons are not spaced correctly so that one spacing is off and it creates a ripple or makes the hem uneven at the bottom. Although I usually sew on the buttons before I hem and then sew the hem so that it is even at the button band. Told ya, obsession.  So here is a button sewn on, button it, and then mark the spot for the next one.

Blue rayon top button sewing

A closer look at the neckline, it has a very narrow shaped band and a couple of pleats on either side. I would make this again in a cotton voile maybe, or a silk crepe de chine. But for now it will go in the pattern binder as I have plenty of other new patterns to get to.

blue rayon top close up front

Blue rayon top back view

Back view and wearing with my most recent version of the Ash jeans. I think that pattern is great. They aren't hemmed yet. Maybe when they are they will get their own blog post.

Blue rayon top 6

There I was trying to show of those sleeves. Still  not sure about them. In fact now that I look at it the whole thing looks a bit "old-fashioned nightgown" in shape. But I do like the fabric!

We finally have had some rain after not a single drop in February, so the plants are doing better. The pink jasmine on the fence behind me is about to burst into bloom.

Blue rayon top 3

Up next, I'm making a boucle jacket with some interesting sleeves. I'm only a year behind with the year of the sleeve, right? I think this is the year of the ruffle based on what I've seen with the latest spring patterns (was their a McCalls pattern without a ruffle?) I stopped into Stone Mountain Fabrics on my way home from teaching what turned out to by my last class for a while and got a couple of great fabrics for tops that go with the jacket. So my stay at home sewing is at the ready.

I hope you are doing well, staying safe and I'm so appreciative of our online sewing community. Seeing everyone's blog and Instagram posts is cheering and inspirational.

Happy Spring Sewing,

Yes, it's the first day of spring and the garden is starting to look that way. I hope this beautiful tulip is another bit of cheer for you.

ruffle pink tulip

Monday, March 9, 2020

Red plaid wool coat Part 3, completed

It seems to me this is the third time since I began blogging that I have done a very similar thing, which is to finish sewing a wool coat just when spring is arriving here in N. California. While our coat wearing season is fairly short compared to other places, back in the second week in February when I started this I thought I would get a few chances to wear it. On the day these photos were taken the temperature had been almost 80 ℉ here so that is not very likely. However I will be ready for the Christmas holidays in December!

Red coat 16

The light was just going in the evening so I did lighten up some shadows, and in some of these pictures the colors look not quite right.

Red coat 11a

There are two blog posts previous to this one that talk about construction, the first one is about fit and shows the pattern drawing (it's a Burda Easy coat that I downloaded about a year ago). The next blog post is about doing bound buttonholes and a few interfacing details.

The fabric is from Mood Fabrics in NY. I ordered in December when I was in a holiday mood and to me the color is just the perfect shade of red. It's definitely a plaid and I treated it as such, with all that involves. Considering some of the changes I made for fit after I cut it out I'm really happy with the plaid matching result (check out that first blog post for the fitting info).


This was the only photo with the front unbuttoned, which is probably the way I will most often wear it. I really searched for some red buttons or something else interesting but now that I see it I really like the black buttons. Which were in my stash :)

Red coat2

Ok my dislike of what I call novelty linings might be know if you have read this blog for a while, I prefer lining to be a solid and matching or coordinating color. But I was stuck at home recuperating from the flu, well enough to sew, wanting to finish this coat, and this pink satin lining was sitting there in my box of lining fabric just saying "pick me, pick me". It's the exact weight and type of lining that I like for a coat so I just let go of my desire for a matching lining and went with it. Maybe it coordinates, instead of matching.

Red coat lining

Red coat pink lining

SO pink! Lining is hand sewn in all around. I used the same pattern pieces as the coat, added a small pleat in center back and then adjusted the front to account for the facing. There's a photo in my previous post showing how I "free-form" the lining.

Red coat front and back

Red coat back view1

You can see I have my hands in the pockets, after all what is the good of a coat with no pockets?
Yet this version didn't have pockets, the front flap things are just decorative.

Red coat side seam pockets

But I took care of that little issue with some side seam pockets. By the way, I almost always put lining instead of fashion fabric on the back of pocket flaps (or even faux pocket flaps). I just think they are less bulky and press nicely that way, of course they are interfaced to maintain the structure.

See, hands in pockets. And what am I looking at? Probably a wasp building a nest under my patio cover, even the wasps think spring is already here.

Red coat 12

To show that this is becoming a habit - by that I mean making a winter coat when winter has all but fled my part of the world here are the previous episodes.
Shawl Collar Coat from March 2015  and Spring Coat from May 2013. Hmm both of those are Burda and so is this coat. AND my best every Tricolor Coat, also Burda. Are we sensing a trend? Burda has some really great coat patterns and I would make even more but I have no possible chance to wear any more!

Time to run, my garden is sadly neglected since I was sick with the flu for the majority of February. I did get some dahlias planted but have a long list of tasks to get to. Plus I have two pairs of jeans about 80% completed which I sewed as examples for my recent jeans class. Now it's onward to spring sewing, both here in my sewing room and at Hello Stitch Studio. Here's the link for all the classes we have coming up in the next few months.

Red coat 19

Stay well everybody!
Happy Spring Sewing,

Today's garden photo - this year's first tulip and it coordinates so well with my new coat.


Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Red plaid wool coat Part 2, bound buttonholes and other details

Onward with my red wool coat that I started in the previous post. I need to finish it the next day or so as this upcoming weekend we have the Bay Area Frocktails event and I might as well wear it then. Because winter is fleeing fast, it's barely coat weather anymore. Just days of sunshine, which might sound nice and it is, but as usual we need the rain.

A downside of having the flu was that I certainly couldn't go out and buy buttons, so I boldly just made them and figured I would find an appropriately sized button later. Which might turn out to be easier said than done...I did stop by Stone Mountain on Sunday but didn't see anything that looked good with this coat. I have a specific thing in mind which is often trouble when shopping. In any case
the buttonholes are done. I chose a dimension that I thought looked good with the proportions of the coat. They are 1 1/8" wide and the welts are 1/4" wide.


Shown above is my tester. I always do two of them, spaced the distance apart that I'm planning for the coat or jacket so I can see proportions, how they look when completed. I'm a bit of a Goldilocks when it comes to details like this, never use the markings on the pattern and just play around with spacing until it looks juuuuuust right.

With a coat like this with a waist seam you have to take that into consideration, and also the collar area. So I start just under the collar, and also decide where near the waist I want a button, and then work my way from there.

Once I've decided spacing, then it's time to mark the buttonholes. I do it very similarly to a welt pocket, additionally creating what I call a thread ladder so the placement is even from the edge all the way down. Note I've marked the edge seam allowance stitch line, which is 5/8" in from the edge, and then the second red line is the coat center front. The buttonholes should cross over the center front a bit, between 1/8" and 1/4". Depends on the size of button and the thickness of fabric.


Once it is marked in pencil or chalk on the inside I go over each line with a thread trace. Using a very contrast-y thread color. This is going to be used on the right side so that's why the contrast is important. Mostly I use silk thread for this as it pulls out so easily. No knots, just running stitch along the lines.

Shown below, this is what you see on the right side, the blue thread ladder which makes it possible to place all the buttonholes accurately and evenly.


Next step is placing the welt pieces across the button placement marking. I neglected to take a picture when I sewed the welts. I've found that it's easier to start with a length of fabric, about 1.5" wide, press in half with a good crease, then stitch 1/4" in from the folded edge, and then use the rotary cutter to trim the other side so the finished welt is precisely 1/2" wide.


The welt pieces are placed across the button markings, and then the ladder part of the thread trace is used to make the chalk marks which show where to start/stop stitching the welts.


Then I stitch them down, right on top of the existing stitching, reversing at the ends and then tying off the threads in knots. (which may not be necessary but that's how I started doing it so I continue :)
Also I've found that using the open toe foot on my modern sewing machine is really helpful, the regular foot has a bit of plastic in the center that while clear, doesn't really let you see where the needle is going. On my old Singers I do love the straight stitch foot, you can always see exactly where you are stitching.

Next it's time to boldly cut open the buttonholes. I say boldly but I really mean carefully and precisely!


They are cut just like a welt pocket, but in miniature. It's extremely important to make those little triangles big enough so that you can stitch them down at the sides of the buttonhole. I tend to mentally divide the length of the buttonhole into thirds and then have each triangle a third of the total length. With tightly woven fabrics you have to cut very accurately all the way to the stitching, with loosely woven fabrics such as this one it's better to cut where it looks correct, and then flip it over and see how it looks on the right side. Because the loosely woven fabric tends to unravel a bit so it's best not to overdo the cuts. At this point I give it a good press on the wrong side and would probably trim off the ends a bit although not necessary at this point.

They were all finished, pressed, basted shut and I was feeling pretty satisfied with myself when I realized that I hadn't sewn down the edges. Duh! I blame the remnants of being sick for my brain fog. But fortunately I did remember, see below. A wooden kitchen skewer makes a good tool for holding that little triangle bit in place as you stitch, with the zipper foot to get close to the edge.


Ready for more?  Now it's time to deal with the facing at the back of the buttonhole. I don't like the windowpane method, it seems like extra work plus how can you get it to match exactly to the buttonholes in the coat or jacket front? I see a lot of people using this method but I prefer to cut and hand stitch the facing.

Here's the coat with the collar sewn on, and the facing attached. But before I trimmed the seam edge along the front and on the collar.


So here is how I do the back. Once the front facing is pressed I might baste that edge with silk thread just to keep that crease (which I did here).  Then the most important step is to baste around each buttonhole so that the facing is locked against the buttonhole and can't shift. (yellow thread circles below). This is the right side of the coat. Button welts are basted shut also.

Red wool buttonhole2

Then the fun (ha!) begins.
From the right side I poke a pin through each corner of the buttonhole. Then I snip a similar triangle cut on the facing, which will be turned under and hand stitched. Of course at this stage it's really important NOT to cut the button welts.

Red wool buttonhole4

Once the facing is cut open I slip the four edges inside and hand stitch them down to the edges of the buttonhole. In this thick and loosely woven fabric the hand sewing doesn't show. I think hand sewing is something you get better at with practice, like anything else, over time you learn how loose or tight to pull the thread, a lot depends on the fabric you are working on. Also how to bury the stitches so they don't really show.

Red wool buttonhole5

Here's another look.  I think in this one the three sides but not the top are sewn. By the way it makes me crazy how every photo has a different color.
Once it's finished the sewing is robust and then with a good press it is nice and smooth.

Red wool buttonhole 1

So that's the latest on my red coat. This might be more than anyone wanted to know about bound buttonholes but since I took all the photos I figures I might as well write it up.

Another result of my being stuck in the house is that I rummaged through my lining stash and came up with this pink satin which is a perfect weight for a coat. And a bold color choice but I think that now I like it.

As usual, I kind of free-form the lining, using the coat pattern pieces, and trim away at the front in order to match it up with the facings. Hand stitched in as the facing is tacked down already. Plus I'm a  hand stitched lining fan.

Red wool coat lining1

That's Part 2 of this coat, onward to finishing the hem tonight and then time to move on to other things. In fact I also stitched up a pair of Ash jeans yesterday as I teach a class this upcoming weekend at Hello Stitch and wanted to refresh my tired brain on the zipper fly construction. Which always comes out perfect with that Ash jeans pattern/instructions.

Happy Sewing,

Today's garden photo is a throwback to 2018 when this red rose was in bloom. I just looked at it today and it has all kinds of new growth so I'm hoping for some great blooms again this year.


Saturday, February 15, 2020

Red plaid wool coat Part 1, preparation and fitting

Right around Christmas I ordered a couple of different wools from Mood Fabrics. I think I got an email that they had wools on sale, and I had been eyeing both of these fabrics for a few weeks, ever since I got swatches of both of them a few months previous. Any time I order from Mood I take advantage of the free swatches, even if I'm not really interested in the specific fabric it's nice to see them in person and compare to the online description, color etc. I think for some quantity of $ spent you get a free swatch, and then also for your orders you get points, so I had about $ 25 worth of points to use toward the cost of the order. In any case, it was a little holiday present to myself 😊.

So I will jump ahead a little bit and show you this coat in progress. Last week I was still stuck in the house recovering from the flu (quite a persistent bug!) but I'm finally feeling better after 2 weeks. But being stuck at home meant I could work on this a little bit each day, in between naps and Netflix.

I'm going to break up this project into several blog posts. It's been a while since I made a coat and I ended up taking a lot of photos during construction. So in this post I'll review some fit and construction things, then in the next post it will be all about the bound buttonholes. And after that I'll finish it and find an opportunity to take some pictures of me wearing it.


The color is just so beautiful, it's my ideal color of a red coat. And I will be ready next December to put this into heavy rotation for the holidays.

Sometime last year I kept looking at this pattern on the Burda website so I finally bought the PDF pattern and even printed it out. They had some very cute Burda Easy patterns on the old website, I also have a dress that I planned to make last summer but never got around to it. I don't know if this has a pattern number, but due to my strong dislike of zippers in wool coats I was only ever going to make the 1D version. Plus collarless, also not my favorite. I actually don't think this is all that simple, with that many darts and a center front separating zipper  - that is not in the easy category!


This color blocked dress lives on this dress form which I have adjusted and padded to mimic my measurements. It's really useful to use as a comparison for all kinds of patterns, particularly ones with a waist seam as I can see where the seam falls as compared to the dress. This is my go-to method for starting with pattern fitting. I prep the pattern pieces in my size (in Burda it's 38, in Vogue etc. it's 12)
and then I grade out as needed in the waist and hip. Then I pin in the darts, pin together any seams (such as princess seams), pin the front and back together at the shoulder and then put it over the form and see how it lines up. I also put it on myself and do the same checks. Granted that the dress on the form is a fitted dress but that's kind of good, as I can see how things line up, how much ease I want in what I'm sewing, how wide the shoulders are and also where the waist and bust line up on the paper versus the dress on the form.

Coat pattern waistline

You might not be able to see it but the waist seam on the pattern piece is above the one on the dress, and I thought it might need a bit of length, so I  made another comparison.

This is a coat I made a few years ago, which is probably a better comparison than a dress for a new coat. While the paper pattern was a bit awkward over the coat it showed me that the waist dart might need to be lowered a bit. I decided to split the front horizontally and give it about 1/2" more length, and rebel that I am, I didn't adjust the back. I decided that I could make the front and back side seams fit as needed with some easing and steam. Which worked but I'm getting a bit ahead.  I also added another 1/2" in length to the whole bodice at the bottom, both on the front and back pattern pieces but ended up removing that when I sewed it. Fundamentally I just created a 1" seam allowance on the bottom of the bodice pieces to use as adjustment area. On a lot of outerwear I use 1" seam allowances instead of altering the pattern as I like to see how things fit as I go along and a 1" seam allowance on several seams gives me enough room for adjustments I might need.


I also added 1" seam allowances on the side seams for more fit insurance. I think looking at the pattern pieces over the blue coat deceived my eye and I thought it would be too small. That turned out to be quite wrong.

Time to baste! As I have made a number of coats over the past few years I find that I can hand baste them together so much quicker and with more control than sewing on the machine. So I basted the skirt pieces to the upper pieces and also basted the side seams so I could try it on for size. Note the interfacing is not yet applied to the bottom front, but it will be the same as the upper, it's the Pro-Weft Supreme Lightweight from Fashion Sewing Supply.


With this preliminary try on I could see that I overdid it with adding to the side seams, so I seamed it in about 2" in the side seams. Once I decide on the side seams I mark with chalk, and while still basted together I cut away the excess. In this instance I left the side seams at 3/4".  Now I could take it apart and still know that when I sew the sides together the seam allowance is a steady 3/4" all over.


I sewed the sleeves and hand basted them on as well for a better idea of fit in the shoulders and around the bust. I pinned in some shoulder pads and tried it on, it seemed way too wide in the shoulders for the style. I also compared the width across the back to the blue coat and it was at least 1.5 inches wider. So I moved in the entire armhole by 1/2", also taking off that 1/2" at the top of the side seam. That maintains the armhole as the same - just shifting the entire thing toward the center.


In the above photo there is just one pocket flap, since that seam is hand basted I just put it on one side to see abut the placement. The skirt has some small gathers which are covered by the pocket flap. Which is a fake pocket! I did put pockets in the side seams, because a coat needs pockets.  The blue spots on the bottom of the skirt portion are pieces of painter's tape, which I sometimes use to distinguish right and wrong side. With this fabric I couldn't really tell a difference, but I always want to use all the same side so as I'm cutting out I either mark with wax chalk or put a piece of the blue tape.

Also no topstitching as shown in the pattern diagram. Everyone has their preference and I don't like the look of topstitching on wool, plus on this fabric it wouldn't even show. But to me it looks too casual. Another thing to notice - this is a plaid! (go back to the first photo) A lot of work for a plaid that isn't really multiple colors but the line pattern was all I could see as I prepared to cut it out and I knew it had to line up or it would make me crazy. I'm quite happy so far with how that detail has turned out.

So here is where I will leave it. Pockets sewn on, side seams finished, sleeves and sleeve heads attached, bound buttonholes still need some more detail work, collar needs trimming and grading, and then onto the lining.

Next post will be more than you may want to know about bound buttonholes!


My plan is to buy some buttons tomorrow - oh yes - I made the buttonholes not having any buttons but I was stuck at home so I just went for it and I'm sure I will find something nice. Next weekend is our Bay Area Sewists Frocktails event so if I get the buttons I will have a new coat to wear - even though coat weather is rapidly departing the bay area. You know I love summer but I wish it would rain (a lot) before our winter ends.

Happy Sewing,

Reaching back a few months to this lovely little flower on one of my succulents. Which are getting more and more space in the garden.

flowers on succulent