On Saturday we took a “cheer me up” trip down to Brighhton, with the dual purpose of taking me back to my student days (I studied at Sussex for a year in 99/00) and buying some more fabric in some new uncharted ground! I did a bit of research first and found there were a few fabric shops clustered around the North Laines and again on Western Road, so we made our attack plan based on these…
New Fabric Fair
51 Gardner Street, BN1 1UN, 01273 605512
A small shop stocked to the rafters with bolts everywhere, including leather offcuts outside. A huge variety of braided trims, dress polys, stretch lace, and zippers for a pound each. Some great linens, wool suitings, and soft brushed cottons here and the husband & wife team were very attentive, though bring cash as they don’t do cards or cheques!
I bought this super soft brushed cotton (and a matching peach zipper) with this BWOF dress in mind…
On Saturday I went shopping for supplies with Johanna Lu while she was holidaying in town, yay! We hit up Goldhawk Road and MacColluch & Wallis so I was able to get the rest of the supplies I needed for the spring coat, as well as stock up on a few things I knew would be difficult to get online for the rest of the year, like quality interfacings (I knows it when I feels it, okay?). She had the forethought to bring a camera along shopping, so you’ll have to stalk her blog for the next few days to see us giddy in fabric mecca!
I was very disciplined on Goldhawk Road and only bought three fabrics (at the end of the list there) – grey corduroy, since I adore the cords at one particular shop there and I don’t think I’ll be able to go back before Fall, a red & white cotton poplin with stylised flowers that’s already earmarked for two projects, and my one impulse buy – a very cool lycra jersey with tons of overlapping stripes going every which way. Oh, and the lining for my Spring coat.
Speaking of that Patrones spring coat:
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!
Cast your mind back to the heady days of May, when I decided to join hands with the internet and start in on The Great Coat Sew Along, with this beautiful long coat pattern from BWOF 09/2005 #102:
(There are two similar views – mine’s using the exposed buttons and sleeve tabs of 102, but the in-seam pockets of 101.) Anyway, I got as far as the material gathering, muslin fit and alterations, and even sewed together the body pieces of the coat before I lost momentum in August. The half-finished coat has hung in my sewing room ever since, taking up valuable space and making me feel bad every time I glanced at it, but the abnormally freezing cold temperatures we’ve had in London have made me jump back in with both feet to get this finished, because I could really use this on my daily walking commute to work. I’ve got a RTW long wool coat, but with the wind and extreme cold we’ve had, I can feel the cold through what I’ve got now (the papers are gleefully reporting that, at -10C, London is colder than Antarctica right now, and I’ve lost count of the number of Russian-style fur hats I’ve seen out and about).
A few months ago I was devastated to find that all the big London haberdashery shops suddenly stopped carrying Gutermann thread and switched to Coats Duo. I’ve had awful experiences with the cheap and nasty Coats & Clark thread they sell in the States and it wasn’t a good sign that Coats Duo is the same price as Gutermann, but for less length on a spool. Questionable quality for high prices? No thanks, I’ll stick to Gutermann, which has never ever once failed me. It’s quality stuff and I appreciate quality after having sewn with terrible thread – life’s too short for random breakages, inconsistent thicknesses, and frayed edges.
So I was very interested to hear from my friend Alex that the haberdashery shops by him in Cheltenham still stock Gutermann, and since he’s coming to visit us this weekend anyway for one of our charity dinners, I sent him off with a shopping list.