Saturday, November 22, 2014

Coats and other things in process

Sometimes I start writing a post and choose a title, but then have so many alternatives that could have been used.  They stick in my mind as subtitles, footnotes, sarcastic asides, admonitions to myself and all manner of other ways to describe what I am doing. This one could have been "things I have spent time sewing that I shouldn't devote time to right now" or "items I started sewing that I really don't need" or "garments that someone is waiting for and I better hurry up and finish".  So that is where my sewing is this weekend, a bit scattered but definitely some goals on the horizon.

The weather has taken a very welcome turn and we are getting rain! Time for the happy dance or just a very big thank you to the weather gods as the water situation in most of California is still quite desperate. We won't be the Golden State but instead the golden brown state if it is not a good winter, plus how will we have a chance to wear our winter creations? OK, minor point in the scheme of things but all in all the stormy weather is so welcome and a great reason to pour myself a cup of coffee and settle into the sewing room for a nice long session.

Here is what I am doing this weekend. Or in this case I should say did. Last night I whipped up this muslin version of Burda. I think it looks fantastic, even in this version on the dress form.  Note to self : do not use swedish tracing paper to make test garments of coats or jackets. It does not have the feeling or ease of fabric, even muslin is better. I think it fits but is strangely constricting for movement in the shoulders and arms. After I tried it on I compared the paper pattern pieces to those for my blue Burda coat, same size (40) and they measure near identically. I attribute it to the tracing paper which has some pluses for pattern tracing but maybe not so good for size testing on a coat. Also I had already taped together the pdf, and drawn in the seam allowances, so late last night only had to cut out the coat and stitch it up  - yet that took me about 2.5 hours. waaaay longer than a muslin usually takes. 11pm sewing after a long week, not a good idea, at least not for me.

Burda coat muslin

The pattern is this one, a BurdaStyle PDF pattern which I fell for the minute I saw it in their email. It is the Shawl Collar Coat 11/2014 # 111. Not sure if it also appeared in any of their magazines and it does have that dreaded tiny dart in the front princess bodice seam which I despise, but I decided overall it is a lovely coat and something quite different for me.
Burda coat 111 shawl collar pattern
When I actually sew up this coat I will give more details on pattern alteration and the inside scoop on the insides (interfacing etc) which is yet undecided. I will be using the fabric mentioned in this previous post. It is very soft and seems like a good match for that collar. But we shall see!
purple grey wool
One more coat fitting item to mention, I am starting to like using these Burda patterns that have no seam allowances. For flat pattern fitting they are quite good in that you can measure the pattern pieces without having to mentally subtract all the 5/8" seam allowances that are on the Vogue etc patterns (which don't get me wrong - I like having them there). But let's make lemonade from the lemon in the sense that you have to take the extra step to add them, but the benefit is that checking the finished garment measurements is easier. 

Using the finished garment measurements is the only way I can decide if something is going to fit. I don't ever depend on the pattern size, or previous experience/history. I measure every pattern......and I like to make notes right on the pattern at the appropriate spot. If I write it on one of the pattern pieces then it is there for my future reference. Here is an example of my scribble and if I made a math error never mind. Who knew that paying attention to the school lessons on fractions would be so critical in the future ? Not little 2nd grade me. Funny what things from school are so useful everyday and what things now seem so useless.  Also note that the finished Hip measure is larger than my hip measure by 5-6 inches and that is totally necessary for a coat. Could actually be a bit more for some styles but this is more of a coat-dress style.  If your finished garment Hip measurement on a coat is not at least 4 preferably 6-7 inches larger than your actual measure, I think it will always pull a bit in the front or the overlap will not close as nicely as it could.

garment measurements ex

The coat ideas are set aside for now as what I should be finishing today is this dress plus two others in various stages for one of my sewing clients. 
I recommend this Burda dress in my previous Pattern Whisperer post and now that I have sewn it up we are loving it. I recommend it even more.
Burda plus 113B

This is not the most flattering view, but this is turning out really well. And a case of making a perfect fabric choice for particular pattern (chosen by my client Heather when we shopped at Britex a couple of weeks ago). It is a wool sweater knit, quite stable, maybe they would call it a boucle? Anyway, holds its shape and presses well. Perfect for a winter dress. In the photo below not sure if you can see the side bust darts I added, not a difficult change and really helped with the fit. I will detail in another post when I finish this dress as I think it is worth some review. 

Burda dress

Here is a closer look at this fabulous fabric. Now I want some for myself :).  The dress will have long sleeves and a center back zipper. I think a fitted dress, no matter the fabric needs a back zipper for the best possible shaping. 

Burda dress fabric

So that is what I am working on today, and probably quite a bit over the Thanksgiving holiday as well. After I recover from Pumpkin Pie Overload. (I love the Thanksgiving meal but oh, the leftovers are always the best - turkey sandwiches with cranberry sauce and all the pumpkin pie that the rest of the family doesn't like as much as apple :)
OK, off to the gym now in preparation for the aforementioned PPO (pumpkin pie overload). Then it's back to the sewing machines.

Happy pre-Thanksgiving sewing, Beth

and a garden photo for fall. I plant more violas every year, some get eaten by gophers but for the most part they are quite hardy plus self-seed so they pop up in unexpected places - like cracks in the front walkway. They are a reliable cheerful bit of color when the weather turns grey. 

yellow pansy


  1. I'm really looking forward to seeing the finished coat, this pattern is on my must-sew list too :)). Fabulous job so far!

  2. Ooh, this coat is going to be so glamorous! I'm really excited to see it on you!!! I'm working on a coat, too, at the moment, but I'm not expecting my results to be anywhere near as nice as yours!

  3. That coat is really dramatic even in swedish tracing paper!
    I also prefer pumpkin to apple pie.
    Loving your subtitles!!!

  4. That is going to be a great looking coat!

  5. It's a great coat, and yes it is in the magazine. All of the patterns lately have been. It's in the current issue. I think that this is better in your climate than mine, at least for a winter coat. The collar is fabulous but too open for truly cold weather.

  6. Ouh how I love this coat! If I'd be living somewhere warmer I would have made it as my winter coat. Sadly I need to be able to close it all the way up so that the cold winds can not get in.
    I am sure the coat will be fab! I lile the dramatic collar!

  7. I believe that Peggy Sagers said there is no need for that bust dart coming from the princess seam and it is unattractive. I would do some dart rotation and move it to a shoulder dart if you can at this point.

  8. So glad you are making this coat. I love it too!

  9. The coat is definitely from the magazine. The 11/2014 indicates which issue it's from. Brand new by the look of it. I look forward to seeing the finished article.


  10. The coat should be beautiful. Cannot wait to see it.

  11. I am so excited to see the Burda dress made up. There are so many Burda dresses from the magazine that interest me, but no one makes them up. Question: Why do you dislike the "dreaded tiny dart". (I don't like it either, but I would love to know why.)

  12. Love the two front seams in the coat collar...could they be piped in leather or something contrasting? Those princess darts end at the nipples and that is never a good look or fit. If they come from a perfect princess seam that is supposed to be on the bust points/nipples then they are not needed.Thank you for the viola...things have turned ugly here as winter approaches....

  13. I loooooove a coat/jacket that is an off-bust princes seam! I like the design line, maybe even better, than a standard princess! Even for a busty person, that little short dart isn't very big. I also like working with patterns with no seam allowance. That is a throwback from when I took pattern drafting, I think. (I buy Lekala's sans seam allowance, for example.) The only trick is in REMEMBERING which you are dealing with when you are cutting. :)

    This coat is gonna be great!

  14. I was really drawn to that coat too (and yes, it is in I believe the November or October issue), I was concerned that it would not be possible to close the coat up to the neck, which would limit its functionality. Do you have thoughts about this, or are you simply planning on wearing it open as shown on the mode?

  15. I've added both of these patterns to my list - very cute! Can't wait to see the finished coat.

  16. I love this coat! It would be difficult for us petite folks to wear, but I may give it a go, as I love the drama of that collar.

  17. oOOOh I cannot wait to see your coat. I had a massive crush on this pattern when they released it! If only I needed coats....

  18. That coat is going to be GORGEOUS!! Can't wait to see the finished project! Also, the same goes for the dress...I love the style lines of that dress and I'm excited to see how it ultimately sews up for you. Happy Thaksgiving!

  19. ...BTW, 11 pm sewing after a long week is definitely not good! I've been there too, so I really know!

  20. That is such an elegant coat! I can't wait to see what you do with it!