Monday, 21 January 2013

Two Beautiful Wools

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?


  1. That's a great vintage pattern and I love the fabric you've chosen!!! I must really check out the By Hand London patterns (though I'm definitely a vintage pattern takes quite a modern pattern to sway me away from 1940 McCall'!) Are you based in Edinburgh?

  2. Hi Debi! Thanks for visiting and for leaving me my first comment.

    It's my first pattern. Seems relatively straightforward on first read through!

    I'm really impressed by your ability to focus on purely one year, and one manufacturer! That's real dedication. I, on the other hand, am too easily distracted!

    And yes, I live in Edinburgh!


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