Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Quart coat progress and some thoughts on technique

Every once in a while I make something and say to myself - this is one of the best things I have ever made! Which due to my (perhaps) excessive self-confidence I say kind of often. But it means that I am happy with the things I make, so that is nice.  I am making the Quart coat from Pauline Alice patterns for a friend of mine and I told her yesterday that if this was my size I would be keeping it. OK, just joking but I am really liking how this is looking. Probably due to the fabric choice. Plus the pattern is adorable.

Just a reminder, here is the pattern and the fabric I am using.  This image is a bit dark, the fabric is a blue grey plaid with threads of teal and wine red in the plaid.

quart pattern and fabric

Those pleats are so cute. I think it gives this coat some movement, and are something I have never seen on a pattern before, although it is a detail that I have seen on some McQueen coats in the last few years. Tailor's tacks are my method of choice for pattern marking, and I always leave them in until the garment is about done, particularly in case I need to press again. Also with pleats after making I baste them shut for the duration of the construction, helps them stay put.

Quart coat pleats

Previous comments indicate that there is a lot of interest in seeing the insides of garments, construction and how things look before being hidden by the lining. So here you go.  Perhaps not easy to see but this pattern calls for lots of interfacing which I completely agree with. I do use a mix and match approach to interfacings, combo of weft fusible and knit interfacing. Shoulder pads and sleeve headers are done so the last step with the exception of buttonholes and hem is to add the lining.

Quart coat inside view

Now for my thoughts - here is something I just don't get:  bagging the lining. I have done it exactly one time and hated the result! To me it doesn't compare to a hand sewn in lining. I know that a lot of people hate hand sewing but I really like it and it is the only way I know of to get the collar, facings, etc to stay put invisibly instead of wiggling and migrating when you are wearing the item.

If you are interested in these techniques I did a series last summer on tailoring a blazer, and all the steps appear there.  Here is the first post in that series.

I attach the upper collar to the under collar with silk thread. I suppose I could sew in the lining and then do this step but it would take a lot of wrestling of layers. Actually I have done that and didn't like it, just simpler for me to work with the layers in order, lining last.  The front facings are also hand stitched to the front of the jacket so they will not move.

inside collar Quart coat

Then I sew up the lining and press the edge.

lining Quart coat

To add the lining I usually turn the coat or jacket inside out on the dress form and pin it in place, then hand sew it to the facings. This photo was a bit dark so I lightened it enough to make the pinning visible.  Another thing I did on this coat - which I do all the time, is skip using the lining pattern pieces that come with the pattern. I just use the garment pieces, add a pleat in center back and hand draw the edge of the front pieces.

quart coat lining pinned in

I am nearing the finish line with this one.  I found these lovely buttons at Stone Mountain and they pick up the blue in the fabric but are not overly shiny. My friend Laura Mae told me about a button shop last week which she posted about.  I sort of can't believe I have never been there or even heard of it as it sounds like fun to visit but I have such good luck at Stone Mountain that I will probably stick with them and their lovely wall of buttons.

Quart coat button choice

That is the progress on this coat. Which I want to finish by this weekend as that Burda coat idea is still in mind and I want to make that before summer arrives - which could be soon because it was around 80 degrees F in some parts of the bay area this week. Global warming, eek! I love summer but this is getting strange.  Apologies to all of you shivering in other parts of the continent!

The other thing that occurred to me this week, in the category of things that I just don't get is Colette patterns. They are popular but to my eye not very original and so far my experience has been that the fit is strange and needs a lot of adjustment. Also their examples shown never appeal to me, partly the color/fabric chosen and partly the examples don't look all that well done in fit or finish. But as I have said before I probably don't fall into the category that is their target market so just like the new Vogue pattern release, there is something for everyone out there. If you love them and they work out for you that is great. The only one I ever thought about buying for maybe 2 seconds was the Lily dress pattern, except that I might have at least 3 different patterns that I could adapt to get the same result. And I don't need any new dress patterns. Or old dress patterns for that matter.

I have a new post up today on the Craftsy sewing blog on How to make a box shaped pillow cover. The type you might use to cover a bench seat or foam cushion. So if you are in the home dec sewing mode take a look. Someone wrote on the Facebook comments that it was too complicated, and that made me laugh - as it is slightly complicated to calculate the measurements on that type of pillow, not rocket science but I did add an equation. How else can you do it? Math and sewing, people, they go hand in hand :)

Happy Winter sewing, Beth

Here it is, the first daffodil in the garden. Enjoy!

Daffodill 0215


  1. It is going to be a great coat. I love the pleats.

  2. This patten is so feminine and military at the same time. It's on my Autumn sewing list. I can see why you want this coat for yourself too.
    It's really looking impressive.

  3. Thank you for taking your time to share all the details of the inner construction of the coat you are making. I love hand work and it's great to learn that it will work for attaching a lining.

  4. The first daffodil! Lucky!! I have daffodils but I bought them yesterday at Whole Foods. The first daffodil bloom here is about 5 weeks away.

  5. The coat is looking good and the pleats are a nice detail. I tend to agree about Colette. I've never bought one of their patterns because the fit does not look so good (especially the crotch curve on pants IMO), and the price. I suspect that Colette was initially successful because they were making vintage-look patterns and then styling them for the target market. It's all new to 18 year olds, I guess. I feel like I'm approaching vintage-ness myself, so I tend to steer away from those styles lately...

  6. I love your fabric and look forward to the finished product.

  7. Oh, that is such a gorgeous coat, the details are amazing. I appreciate the inside details, it is so nice to see these and it helps so much. Also, I agree with you, there is something for everyone in the sewing world and I am with you on the Colette Patterns, I think I have purchased the bag pattern and that is all.

  8. I have seen friends try to make Collette patterns fit a real woman and they fail every time and waste good fabric. Love your photos of hand sewing and lining attachment...I've been doing mine that way for over 40 years and think you have the most control and best results too. Looking forward to the finished coat and Spring. Thank you, Beth, for the much loved daffodil photo...we have a bit longer to wait for ours to emerge from the cold hard ground!

  9. Beth, this Quart coat is going to be amazing! I love the fabric you chose. I was inspired by the militar yet feminine look of the McQueen and Burberry coats. I'm looking forward to see the finished coat!

  10. This coat is EVERYTHING!!!! It does remind me of a McQueen coat! I've not sewn or purchased Colette. I don't think I'm their key demo. I think they are great stylists and marketing wizards though.

  11. This coat looks so nice!! I have the (very) distant project of making A classic coat for when I travel during winter time. This could be it! I hope you will show to us the lining section of those pleats, I'm curious to see how the lining does not prevent the movement! Also, on Colette, I agree. So. Much.

  12. It's a beautiful coat with wonderful details and of course your construction elevates it. I hate the completely bagged lining but I do a variation that I learned from Cecelia Podolak's Easy Guide to Jackets that still gives a lot of control. The hems are hand stitched, the facings and collar are sewn to the jacket shell and the front facings are tacked down at the front bust, and the lining is put on separately like yours but it is mostly sewn by machine. I have sewn in the lining by hand but I found that it pulled out. It was a long time ago and I know more about hand sewing now. I should try it again.

  13. This coat!!! I can't get over it! I also can't believe you're making it for someone else! I would have a very hard time giving that to my friend! My first successful sewing project was a Colette pattern... I wanted to learn how to sew and bought a Butterick pattern that was a total disaster. I couldn't understand the instructions and didn't know how much ease was built into the pattern, so I ended up with an ugly, giant sack. Somehow I found a sewalong for the Colette a-line skirt and it seemed so achievable. The instructions were so clear for someone like me that knew nothing about sewing, and I was really proud when I made a wearable skirt. I don't really use the patterns anymore as they're not my style and are drafted for a very different figure than mine, but I'm glad they helped me dip my toe into sewing. :)

  14. Thanks so much for the detailed inside pics. They help a lot. Would also love to see which parts you interfaced with which kind of interfacing. Thanks for your blog.

  15. Beth, that Quart is looking great. It's a gorgeous coat, but for some reason I am thinking of removing the pleats when I make mine. I fear the result on me. Thanks for your tips too. It's interesting for me to read them as you are a professional. As for Colette, I have two dress patterns. They both were a fitting nightmare for me. Some of their recent patterns (except Dalhia) do indeed seem extremely easy. What bugs me is that people seem to go crazy for those simple designs if they come from indie designers but complain if they come from Burda or other magazines....I just don't get it!

  16. The coat you're making for your friend looks lovely. I'm amazed by your sewing techniques that requires time and patience. You're talented. I'd love to see your work on Burda coat after finishing this coat.

  17. Daffodil, OMG, we won't see those for at least 3 more months in SE MN. It's like you live in some strange parallel world, lol. The coat looks amazing - I can almost see the pleats swishing as the wear walks. Awesome. And yes, we DO love the inside shots. I've not been tempted by Collette patterns, either, although I did buy and read through her book a year or so ago.