Saturday, April 24, 2021

Plaid wool coat with a Patrones pattern

Spring is trying to arrive here in N. California and as I said in my previous post, I've finished another coat that will have to hibernate until next fall. 

Combining a plaid fabric for outerwear can be a bit of a tricky thing to get right and I think this simple coat pattern worked for this fabric. As I mentioned in the previous post, this plaid is both uneven and unbalanced so I wanted a pattern that had very few seams. I received this fabric from Minerva and I have posted on their site here, but as usual I like to post everything to the blog.

Plaid patrones coat1

When I saw this fabric on the Minerva website I didn't think the plaid was as large as it turned out to be. So that meant a bit of a rethink on what to make with it. Originally I had planned for a jacket but I thought the large scale didn't suit the pattern I had in mind. That's what sent me looking for a simple coat pattern. Also this fabric is definitely the right weight for a coat and perhaps a bit too much for the type of jacket I like to wear. 

Plaid coat front 7

I think for a coat like this it's all about the plaid matching, if it didn't match then I would consider the thing unwearable.  My previous post has all the details on the pattern used which is from the Spanish sewing magazine Patrones Issue 402, pattern 26.  Last summer I first tried this pattern magazine, which is actually available as an app for iPhone or iPad. Here's the link to that post if you are interested in learning about Patrones. 

Plaid coat side view

I really wanted the facing to match exactly as well, which you can see in this picture below. When you wear a coat like this it's often open and unbuttoned, so the facing shows a lot. 

Plaid coat front 6

However with this large plaid I barely had enough fabric to cut all the outer pieces and the facings needed a bit of help. I had to piece the facing at the bottom edge. I find that doing piecing weirdly satisfying. It's a pattern puzzle that's fun to solve - or at least I think so. Also piecing is a strange looking word, I checked the spelling and that seems correct but it still looks odd to me.  But the piecing is just about tolerable. 

Plaid coat piecing in front facing

Plaid coat inside lining

The lining is something that I received in a stash of fabric and linings that was given to me a few months ago. I get offered a lot of fabric and usually don't accept but this sounded intriguing as it was from a former instructor of fashion design. As it turned out I took a couple of bins which had a bunch of lovely wool crepes (which you will see sewn up next fall) some great linings, a lot of interfacing (always welcome) and quite a few patternmaking books plus teaching materials. Score! This red lining was ideal for this coat. 
plaid coat belted on me

I took these pictures a while ago on a very gray day, which turned to sunshine for the last few weeks. Meaning no coat wearing for me, although it's supposed to rain a little bit tomorrow and that will be our last for a while. 

Plaid coat back on me

Plaid coat 2

I kind of wanted to make a tie belt of the same fabric to give the coat some shaping but didn't have any to spare. With a belt it does give a bit more shaping although I probably wouldn't wear it with that, too much trouble to deal with a belt. 

So that's a wrap on my winter sewing - definitely time to think Spring! 
We have a couple of live/online classes on the calendar for the next couple of months, here are the links to sign up. Note we call it the Hello Stitch Garment Sewing Club - but you don't have to take each month's class. However the sewing camaraderie we've developed has been great, with lots of people jumping in and out depending on their availability and interest. The other night we were talking about meeting up in person for some fabric shopping! very exciting :) Things are finally feeling better here in N. California, businesses and schools are opening back up, people are getting vaccinated and I think we will have a much better summer than the previous one. 

Classes for May and June:
Sew Crop Pants  4:30-6pm Starts May 11  
Sew the Kalle Shirt or Shirtdress  7-8:30pm Starts May 11  (by the way - you can sew any shirtdress you would like if you prefer a different pattern) 

Hello Stitch has a lot of other really interesting classes online as well, embroidery, quilting, paper arts, here's the link.  I think after the pandemic problems are over, the live+online learning habit might continue. It will be interesting to see. 

Today I need to get outside and work on my hanging flower baskets, which have been neglected all winter, and of course more weeding. Tomorrow it's supposed to rain so I will plan on some sewing, I started a silk top in a color I'm not so sure about (grass green) but it may work out. 

Plaid coat unbuttoned1

Happy Spring Sewing,

Today's garden photo, a lone red tulip which survived the gopher attack. Honestly, most years that center island is filled with tulips but this year my little nemesis has caused some serious damage all over the garden. So I just had a few tulips and now I'm investigating more gopher resistant plants! 


Thursday, April 1, 2021

Some jumpsuits for friends and the beginning of a new coat

Oops I've done it again, sewn up a nice winter coat as our weather changes to sunshine and no layers required. If I look back on the blog I seem to have done this a few times. Note to self, make the coat before November. Yeah, that's not going to happen as it is still quite hot here then so I couldn't deal with sewing a wool coat. Consequently I have another one that I may keep for next winter or pass on to a friend. That seems to be the theme of my pandemic sewing, which is just as well since my closets are bursting and I don't need anything. But there are so many interesting patterns and beautiful fabric that I want to sew up. 
I will get to the coat in a minute - this will be the first of two posts about it as it had a few interesting details. But what I have been busy sewing lately are a couple of different jumpsuits in anticipation of my April sewing class with Hello Stitch Studio. For this class we're doing coveralls. I think that is a great catch-all term for what are variously called boiler suits, flight suits, and jumpsuits. They all have a bit of a mechanic's workwear look and I had to be convinced a little, but now I'm fully on board. However I haven't made one for myself. (see above paragraph re: bursting closets) 

So to familiarize myself with these patterns I sewed the Merchant and Mills Thelma Boilersuit for Stacey, one of the owners of Hello Stitch. 


What a great style, it has just the right amount of ease to be comfortable and plenty of pockets to carry everything. I did puzzle a bit over the instructions but that's why I sew up things before my class so I can explain the construction details. 
Not to be content with making one coverall, I managed another one for my friend Halnya (@zigzagstitching on IG). This is the Blanca Flightsuit from Closet Core Patterns, in a mystery fabric which came in the big stash of fabrics an estate clean-out gave me earlier this year. 


Both these patterns have some clever details and some opportunities to learn new skills (hidden buttonhole placket, center front zipper with placket, both a bit tricky!)  
So if you are interested in making a coverall style jumpsuit the class starts next Tues. April April 6, 7pm. for four weeks. By the way - if you aren't interested in this specific type of jumpsuit but want to join in the class anyway that's fine, on Thursdays we sew together, check progress, I answer questions and troubleshoot how things are going. Plus we all get to have some sewing conversation with fellow fabric lovers. 
By the way, for both these garments I chose a size based on their measurements and the fit was nice so I think these styles have a bit of wiggle room and fit is not such an issue  - although I have some ideas about construction allowing you to fit as you go. 
Back to the coat. When I saw this fabric choice as a Minerva Ambassador I was really excited as I've seen a lot of very cool fashion-y plaid coats this past winter and wanted to try one. The slight trouble with plaid outerwear is that you have to choose your coordinating outfit kind of carefully, but I thought that the grey/red/black combo would work out with things I like to wear in the winter. Note I received this fabric from in exchange for sewing it up and posting about it. 
Here's a look at the fabric and a bit about how I match the plaid. This step was cutting out the coat front facings. I like the facings to match the plaid lines exactly as the outer part, and fortunately I had enough fabric to do so with a tiny adjustment which you will see later. For big stripes like this I draw them on my pattern pieces and it really helps to get everything lined up. I generally choose one dominant stripe and use that as my guide line, so here I used the white line. 

Matching plaid on facing patrones coat

Note that this is an uneven plaid - meaning it is not symmetrical so you have to approach it carefully and decide where you want the prominent lines plus how you can lay it out so it doesn't look unbalanced on the back, for example. 
Here's another look at the plaid matching.  I think this was matching at the side seams, front and back. Also for coats I often put a cut-on extension on the pocket area so that you don't see the pocket lining, so much easier than sewing something on. 

matching side seams Patr coat

This is the pattern I used, it's from Patrones digital app, I will have to look up which issue it's from. But my main goal was to use a pattern with minimal seaming and thus simple pattern matching. 

I did a good rummage through my button box and found these 4 red buttons, which were entirely suitable. If I was running out shopping for every little thing these day I might have chosen some larger buttons but these are just fine and had the added bonus of being right there in my stash!


That's a test buttonhole, extra large but I was trying to see if doing it on the bias was noticeable. I decided it was so I went with that. 
Since I took the photos as I went I'm just going to include all the bound buttonhole process photos for those who like details. 
1. Thread ladder

2. Pin welts on outside of coat, mark stitch end with chalk
Buttonhole patr coat 3

3. Stitch on right side, turn and press
buttonhole patr coat4

4. later when facing is attached I slice open the facing, turn in edges and hand stitch to rectangle of buttonhole on that side. (I don't use the "window" method)
buttonhole patr coat 5

Here's a look at the coat in progress, with buttonholes mostly done but before I attached the facing.


So that's what I've been up to. Spring has definitely arrived, time to get out the sandals although we all wish it would rain again - it's going to be a very dry summer. 
Perhaps my next project will be a spring dress for meeeeeeee! I have my first vaccine and with the next one a couple of weeks away I think this summer will be a big improvement over last year. 

Happy Sewing and stay well. 

today's garden photo, I don't think much of azaleas, as they bloom for a short while and then they are done - but oh when they do, the color is fantastic.