In the spirit of blogging about sewing, I thought I’d kick off with what I'm working on just now, and show you what I bought yesterday!
Much earlier last year, I fell in love with this coat from Plumo:
I loved the fabric/print and the colour combination most of all, but also the shape, the sleeves and the binding detail. But Plumo is expensive (even in sale), and I just couldn’t afford it. Using the Plumo coat as inspiration, I went pattern shopping and came across this on Etsy:
The shape is slightly different – the vintage one is more A-line – and it fastens differently, but I don't mind that at all, as it has the ¾ sleeves, the no-collar option and the binding in View B. I bought the pattern, although it’s a size too small for me, as a development/improvement of skills project: first coat, first bound button holes, and most importantly, first attempt at size grading.
And then, it lay, in the cupboard for 6 months. Once again, I procrastinated – this is an area at which I excel – scared to death of the whole sizing up thing, and made a number of other lovely things instead! I did spend some time thinking about it, and decided that I would first make the view B, in a lovely impractical colour as a “winter going-out coat” (you know - something to wear over party dresses, that’s vaguely warm), and then, if I had the inclination, another more practical version of view A, to wear to work.
Winter approached, and I was in John Lewis for something when I came across this gorgeous fabric.
65% wool, machine washable, for £13 a metre! I didn’t buy it immediately, but when in JL again a few weeks later, went to have a look at it and there was a lot less on the bale, plus a queue of people wanting to buy it. I snapped up a couple of metres there and then – it was just too lovely to miss out on!
I decided to copy the pattern onto sturdier paper to begin with, thinking that if I messed up the grading, and decided to give up, then at least I would still have the original to sell on. After doing this (probably not particularly well – I drew round the pattern pieces onto brown paper), it suddenly dawned on me that I hadn't actually measured the pattern. I did this, and lo and behold, it looked like it was probably going to fit. So, this week I made my first ever muslin. Despite the advice of everyone online, I have never done this. I usually just alter as I go, where necessary, and always felt like a muslin was a waste of time and fabric. Generally most patterns seem to fit OK, and if they’re not perfect I don’t tend to worry about it. However this approach has resulted in a few self-made things that I just don’t wear, so perhaps this should be a learning for me?
I made my muslin for this coat from sheeting that I bought for the purpose. I guess the weight and feel is very different from the wool, but hopefully it will be fine. Anyway… drum roll… the muslin fits! Hurrah! It’s a bit sticky off and on, but then it’s not lined and I was wearing a cardigan underneath (logic dictating that I will be wearing a cardigan under the actual coat…), and I may just reduce the seam allowances to be sure. So yesterday I went back to JL, and treated myself to some premium lining (£12 a metre!) in a gorgeous emerald colour. With some vintage buttons from The Polished Button (not photographed, sorry!), I am all set to go!
I have altered my plans slightly. I am now planning to go straight to the work version (version A) with the collar. I just feel the fabric suits this better, and given that the party season is over, the need for a going-out coat has lessened! I am aware, that this in no way resembles the original inspiration, but I guess the inspiration has taken me on a journey that will still finish with a fabulous coat.
Whilst in John Lewis, I also came across the below wool blend, reduced to £7.50 a metre, that I bought to make a Charlotte skirt with the accompanying lining.
I might do the skirt first, because By Hand London are doing a sew-a-long and I've never done one of those before. Plus the skirt will be considerably easier, so less stressful and a quicker win.
Or am I just procrastinating again?