Monday, January 12, 2015


still to do: some top stitching, the elastic, hem and cuffs

By the way - midatlantic peoples, you're welcome for chasing away the well-below-freezing temperatures.   The closer I get to finishing the warmer it is.   For the first time ever, I find myself wanting the awful cold to come back, so I can be snug.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Zipping right along


I decided to go with zippered pockets.  They match the style of the hood/pocket/combo AND they mean that when I fling my coat around (because I'm a graceful lady like that) my things will stay in my pockets.

pocket bags! with bonus toes.
The pocket bags were drafted directly off the main coat pattern - huge side pockets and a little breast pocket - which will mostly store lipbalm, but can fit my phone if it needs too.   (I have an enormous case - re: the general gracefulness that is me.)   

zoomed in pocket detail - complete with snazzy orange top stitching

 The hood is also ready and set to be attached to the whole shebang.   It is lined in thinsulate and quite toasty and comfy to wear round on its own.  I switched it from  two piece hood to what would be  three piece hood if I had a large enough piece of fabric left over after I'd decided the snazzy top stitching would look better in a pair, rather than in  single line down the center.  

poking through its snazzy zippper

Also, after reading upteen thousand blog posts on this jacket, I read a lot of complaints about the interior seams of the hood becoming visible, so I stuck an extra piece of lining onto the interior, which will encapsulate it from all the other seams.

electric blue lining!

Monday, January 5, 2015


My latest project is another winter coat - although this time I'm using a pattern so hopefully I'll be finishing a bit sooner this time around...   It's also a major stash buster - the shell, lining and interlining have all been loitering around the house for years now.    The zippers are new, but all the rest has been waiting for its moment.

I found the pattern to be a good fit with almost no modifications - although I completely ignored the sizing chart and used the finished measurements instead.   According to the instructions I should be in the size 10 and instead I cut out the 4 -  Tasia put in a seriously enormous amount of ease.  I'm also skipping the cuffs and adding  couple inches to the sleeves - I like them to come half way down my hands.

Uncinched - but fitting nicely. 

I'm using thinsulate as the interlining - the weather report is promising chilling temperatures, so I'm turning this into a cozy parka.  It was originally part of my first attempt at making a coat than ended up getting abandoned when the waterproof fabric for the shell ended up being an absolute pain to work with. 

Thinsulate fun times
 Next up - adding the three outside pockets (seriously - how does this pattern not have outer pockets?)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Gatsby Dress

I went a little rogue on the design.

When I made up the original pattern muslin, it was a standard 20s fit - a giant sack, tied tight at the hips and floppy at the waist.  It was somewhat less than flattering.   So, while I could have fitted and fusses and made it work, I just didn't feel like it, and I knew no one else at the party was going for historical accuracy (except Greg - but he's a cheater*).  So - I took a pattern that already fitted in the bodice (VPLL princess slip)  and drafted the VPLL evening gown skirt onto it.

I had some extra fabric, that I attached around the collar to make it resemble the original cowl.   I left the floppy bit in the back - it ended up looking a bit more 30s than 20s (especially with the hair) but it worked.  I also snuck in a side seam zipper - 

I was in a odd mood when I started this dress, and couldn't be bothered to get off the couch - so I decided to do it entirely by hand.    The hem is a double set of running stitches with metallic thread which helps the draping show up and sparkle.

I added beading around the neckline and false cowl.   I got a variegated set.  lots more sparkly bits.  

 Happy New Year!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Purple Coat

After years and years and several changes of plans, purple coat is finished, being worn and generally bopping about town.

It is made of a purpley-rainbow bucle wool, purple bemberg lining and lightweight cotton batting as interlining.   (two layers in the hood and torso, one in the sleeves and skirt)  

I've had it nearly finished for a couple of years now - languishing in my closet waiting for me to figure out the closure and the trim.    However, after my regular wool coat started to seriously fall to pieces, I dug through the stash and found a roll of navy piping that worked.  (This also lead to the self-fabric buttons getting switched for big navy ones.  More pop - and made the pipping make sense.)

The pattern is my own design - a massive franken-beast with a fair bit of redrafting.  It has zippered side pockets, zippered sleeves (a relic from when I wore arm braces daily and needed to be able to get in an adjust them without taking off the whole coat.)  (Happily, its been a while and I rarely bother carrying them around anymore.... Actually I'm not even sure where they are right now.   ::heart swells with joy and wonder::   This coat spans years and sagas and stories -- and this one has come out really well. )   (Seriously - we're talking serious glee over here right now.)   

 frolic frolic frolic frolic

 The giant hood sometimes blows off in the breeze and the skirt part flies open, letting my lovely warm air escape - but the torso is warm and the coat is fun to wear, so right now its my feeling-fancy coat, and I love it.

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Miniature Muslin for VPLL 5941

My coat is done - but the weather is not cooperating - lots of rain, wind and clouds (good coat weather - lousy time for photography) so pictures will come eventually - but for now - on to the next!

VPLL 5941

We've been invited to a Great Gatsby themed new year's eve party - so clearly, I needed a new dress.  I decided to go with the  Fishtail Evening Gown from (I think) 1928.   Its a reprint of a vintage pattern with original instructions (or lack thereof) and a modern tutorial.    The tutorial is somewhat better, but still pretty confusing.   I couldn't even make a muslin, since I still couldn't tell how the skirt came together - so I decided to do a miniature version to save fabric while I sorted it out.

I promise, this is the front
I know it doesn't look like anything much - not the least because the scraps I used were fairly sturdy cotton - but it allowed me to sort out how the seams come together.   There are a couple on the side hip that never get mentioned that are massively confusing when laying out the pattern and much easier to see when one is actually manipulating the fabric.   

100% the back
 The back is pretty tricky, as sewing it together involves flipping it wrong side, right side, wrong side, right side, fold, tuck and sew.   However, with some time, it comes together fairly well (yes, I know the cotton doesn't look like anything but  wad of handkerchiefs - but just go with it.  This was an illuminating learning experience and I highly recommend it to anyone trying to figure out this pattern.)

skirt, under the back flare
 For anyone who is unfamiliar, the vintage pattern lending library is (for my purposes at least) a store carrying direct reproductions of original patterns, going from 1850 to 1959.   From what I understand, actual members can borrow patterns, but I don't do enough vintage for it to make sense to join - however, it is a lovely resource to have available.  (I've been mooning over this pattern for years and finally had a reason to get it.)

Monday, December 1, 2014

sweater! sweater! sweater! sweater!

Look Ma!  No hands!

 I finished my sweater (my first sweater!!) right before Thanksgiving dinner.    It ended up a lot more floppy than intended, but I wore it anyway, and have done so several times since then, despite it being completely unseasonable and not nearly warm enough.   For it is my sweater and I hath knitted it.  

All hail the twisty cables that have been my trusty companions for a little over a year.   
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