A wool coat in July?!?

I’ve been planning on sewing myself a new winter coat for a while now, and I’ve been lurking on Marji’s Great Coat Sew Along site (currently members-only) for a bit, but after I saw her timeline, I finally realised I can jump right in and sew this alongside all my other summer sewing! So the month of May is where we’ll be gathering supplies, then doing muslin fitting in June, and finally starting the coat construction in July in order to hopefully finish in September.

The more I thought about it, the more I felt confident I could stick to that schedule, and now our renovation plans are looking likely to include the demolition of my temporary sewing room in the fall (to make way for our bedrooms and our lounge) so I may not have a place to sew my coat if I wait any longer!

As you know, I’ve already bought my exterior fabric – some gorgeous charcoal grey, 100% wool coating fabric from Rosenberg’s.

The warmest winter coat ever

I joined The Great Coat Sew Along all the way back in May because I’d never made a coat before and it seemed like a great opportunity to gather together with like-minded people and learn an awful lot, too! Even though I (and others) really fell behind on the timeline, I’m really proud to have finally finished my coat while it’s still cold out and to have learned a huge amount of techniques that I never would’ve on my own! So I owe this coat to Marji, really, for setting up and organising the Sew Along, and I’m already planning my next coat…

But for this coat, the pattern was BWOF 09/2005 #102:

I made a huge amount of alterations on the pattern: raised the waist by 1”, lengthened the arms by 1.5”, added a wedge to the lower centre front for walking ease, widened the top sleeve (and shoulder seam) by 1”, and increased all the vertical seams below the chest by about 1/2”. And then on top of all that I changed the pockets and added the interlining, too! It’s probably more alterations than I’ve done on all my other 2008 patterns combined! But as much as BWOF usually fits me straight off the sheet, this pattern didn’t really have enough wearing ease to fit big sweaters underneath…

Previous posts about this coat

Ok, ok, enough with the backstory, here’s the photos!

Patrones wool trousers in progress

I’m only a hem away from finishing a pair of high waisted, wool trousers from the fabulous Patrones 272:

I’ll leave the fine details for the final photoshoot and review, but I’m just so proud of my very first welt pockets. Progress on my wool coat has been stalled for the last few months because the thought of doing the bound buttonholes has just intimidated and overwhelmed me, so I thought I’d make my first attempts at welt pockets first since they’re essentially the same thing, but on a less tiny (and fiddly) scale.

There are tons of instructions on the internet for welt pockets, but I used the supplemental instructions from the Aug 2008 BWOF since I could just have it lying open on my ironing board as I worked. The diagrams were particularly useful, and I think my first attempts turned out great!

Coat interlining

As part of my project to sew my winter coat, I’m finding it tricky to source suitable interlining and lining fabrics here in the UK without resorting to expensive overseas shipping prices.

Following Kay Y’s experience with the 150gsm Thinsulate, I rang up Pennine Outdoor who stock it here in the UK and got their advice on suitable warm interlining fabrics. They stock a huge range of outdoor and sport fabrics, so I spoke to a lovely lady on the phone who helped me through my choices. She ultimately recommended microfleece as the best warm, lightweight, and draping choice for me, but conceded that it wasn’t windproof (but that using a silk twill lining would probably help the wind anyway). The only windproof fabric they stock is very bulky and doesn’t drape nicely, and when I enquired about Meraklon, she said that it was tubular and stretchy and also had a bad drape and that it was more suitable for linings of close-fitting garments.

Best Burda magazine patterns of 2017

We’ve reached the end of another year, and another year of my monthly Burda magazine roundups. I started writing these regular reviews back in 2012 as a way of reminding myself of patterns that I’d otherwise just forget after a few months. Back before I had my own pattern business, I even had time to sew some of them (*sobs quietly to self about lack of time*)!

As I know many of you have said how much you enjoy my monthly review posts (and the stats on my website prove as much), I thought I’d refresh all our memories with a completely biased rundown of my favourites from the past year. In some cases, ones I wasn’t so sure on have become much more attractive, and others that I liked at the time have faded. And in the case of a few months, none of them have really stood the test of time (or I was just choosing them because they were the best of a mediocre bunch), so I haven’t included them at all here.

Burda magazine August 2013

I’m not going to lie to you – there’s a whole lot of ugly again in this issue! After last month’s disappointing collection, I was very hopeful that the first of the Fall fashions would herald a return to some great Burda patterns, but alas!

I’ve tried to shield your poor eyes from the worst abuses and find some nuggets in the poo, but I just couldn’t help it. Happily, though, if you’re Plus-sized, you get the best patterns of the whole issue!

The entire Downton Abbey-inspired feature was just fugly so I’m going to pretend that just doesn’t exist. Moving swiftly on…

When the photos for this issue were first previewed, I would’ve never guessed that the tech drawing would look like this! This seems like it could either be a fantastic take on a basic long sleeved tee, or a really annoying noose that gets in your way and drags in your tea…

What an awful 1980s double sweatshirt abomination, paired with an even uglier leather skirt just to make the sweatshirt look not quite so bad in juxtaposition. Even the model looks sad that she was forced to wear this.

The 1970s Marianne Faithfull feature wasn’t much better (because there’s nothing I hate more than hippie style, or the 1970s!), but it did contain these slim leather trousers. I’m not as keen on the long-line blazer, which, for Tall women, is just going to further elongate them, right?

This red suit is absolutely the best of the regular-sized patterns in this issue! I’m not even usually a fan of blazers but the cut is really great here – classic yet interesting, and it comes paired with a really well-proportioned pair of trousers, too. Even better that for some reason Burda chose to have the coloured illustrated instructions for the blazer, even though they’re usually reserved for the most remedial patterns in the issue (you can see Burda forgot to remove “Easy Sewing” from the top there, which clashes with “Advanced” and “Masterpiece” just beneath it!)

Summer KnipMode roundup

It’s about that time again, so here’s my highlights of the June, July and August issues of my favourite Dutch sewing pattern magazine, KnipMode!

June 2009

KnipMode turns 40 this year, and to celebrate, June’s issue is a special “40 years, 40 dresses” issue! Now, that doesn’t actually mean there’s 40 dress patterns, since some of the dresses are restyles or variations on the same pattern elsewhere in the magazine, but there are still a TON of dresses here, and only a very few garments.

My personal favourites of this issue are the Bottega Veneta & Martin Grant runway homages. Ooh, that BV wide neckline and the pockets(!), and the MG gathering is just spectacular, especially in the tartan that really emphasizes it!

Embroidery and bunting

I seem to be pretty lucky so far to have escaped the constant chemo nausea I was told to expect. I’m on two different chemo drugs now until Sunday when I switch to a third on its own, and so far one of them has had zero affect on the way I feel, and the other seems to be giving me wildly different comedy afflictions each day (first fever & headache, then the next day a weird bumpy rash like mosquito bites all over my body plus breathing problems, then tonight it just seems to be a 2 hour long sneezing fest. weird.). In any case, it’s so far much easier than I was expecting (knock on wood), so it’s given me some time to do some crafting in amoungst my tv and film watching.

Yesterday (Day -7) (in bone marrow transplant land, the day you get your stem cells is Day Zero, so right now I’m counting down to that, 8 July. After I receive them, I’ll go into the positive numbers!)

Yesterday I did a bit of ham-fisted embroidery, finishing up a bit for a baby present, which I’ll reveal when it’s totally finished, as well as finally finishing that Sublime Stitching apron kit I’ve been working on here and there over the last few months (remember this from the al fresco sewing day?).

What I gave…

The tree and the outdoor lights are all taken down, the chocolates have been scoffed, and the last of the pine needles are being hoovered off the floor… My Christmas sewing was in overdrive this year, but it’s not until now that I really get to see how everyone liked their gifts!

My neighbour Jamaica was telling me months ago how impossible it is to find the cute little jersey balaclavas her 3 year old daughter loves, so she lent me one to copy after I had a good look at it. It’s really just one pattern piece, cut four times (two in each fabric) and sewn together along the back/top seam and also on the lower neck seam. You can see the pattern piece in the side photo on the left below (the right photo is the front view with the hole for the face). Then I connected the two around the face hole, turned them right side out, and serged the bottom edge together and left that raw (like the RTW one, which is just peeking out below on the left).