Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Making your own Coat:: Part 1

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I finally picked out my next project.  It is going to be a short coat from Simplicity 2508 out of an aqua/forest green boucle wool from Vera Wang.  Making a coat isn't nearly as difficult as you might think, but it does require a lot of prep work. I'm sure that everyone approaches making a coat differently, but I'll share my process with you.


After you cut out pattern pieces, you need to apply interfacing.  I use the iron-on type, and for coats, I like to use a specific type called "weft" interfacing.  You'll need a lot for a long coat, so wait for a sale and stock up!
Depending on your fabric, you might just interface the front, front facing, and collar.  If you have a very light fabric, you might want to interface the entire coat.  My fabric is very loosely woven, so it needs extra interfacing, but because I didn't want to loose it's drapy quality, I decided to just interface the top few inches of the other pieces, as well as the full length of the front, front facing, collar, undercollar, pockets and flaps.


This step can be very tedious, but can go a lot faster if you have a steam press.  The nice thing about the steam press is that the surface area is 7 times the surface area of an iron, so you can finish 7 times faster.  Even with that time advantage, I get bored, so I usually will steam at the same time I do a free weight workout.   Your arms will get a very good workout after interfacing an entire coat!



The next step is an optional one and also depends on your fabric choice.  If your fabric ravels, like a boucle will, you'll be smart to serge finish the edges.  If you don't, while you are sleeping, your boucle will unravel to the point that you will think some ghosts are haunting your sewing room and having a fabric unraveling party.  So, I serge finish all the edges before they have a chance to do that. This picture shows what the serged edges look like.


Now, you can start sewing!  But, before you start, there are a couple of essential tools that I recommend for coat making.  The first is a tailor's ham.  It looks just like it sounds- a fabric covered ham.  This will make pressing curved areas look so much nicer. The picture here is showing the raglan sleeves on the tailor's ham.  See how nicely the ham imitates the line of a human shoulder?


The second essential tool is a sleeve board.  This is like a mini-ironing board, that you can fit items with smaller circumferences like sleeves on.  You will use if for much more than coats.  I use mine for everything, but here is a picture showing how nicely my coat sleeve fits on it, so I can get a nicely pressed seam. 

So, that's enough for one blog post!  Have a Happy New Year everyone!  I will hopefully have a finished coat to show you after the New Year!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Beneficiaries of my Indecision

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I’ve been back and forth and back and forth for days about what my next project will be. My sewing room floor is covered with mounds of wool coatings, each one saying “Choose me! Choose me!”. It’s a tough decision, but my two cats Maddie and Freddie are in heaven. There is nothing better than sleeping on brand new fabric for a cat.

We are running a big sale at SewBaby, and none too soon, as we just got in several hundred yards of brand spanking new adorable children's knits!  We'll start posting them in January, so help us make room, please!

What did you get for Christmas?  I got too much good stuff- dark chocolate candy, specialty jellies, raw honey, a lavender pashima, wine, an Ipod and accessories for listening to my audiobooks at the gym, a 2010 planner,  a Sample Cut Club membership at Fabricmartfabrics, and lots and lots of soap.  I think my family is trying to tell me something with that last gift. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Paisley Corduroy Dress

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I've had this stretch paisley corduroy in my stash for a few years.  It's one of those fabrics that you love so much that you are afraid to sew something out of it in case you make something that you don't love so much.  I call it Fabric Paralysis.  I don't know exactly what got me to get over my paralysis, except maybe just that I saw on the recommended fabrics on Simplicity 2927 that Baby Cord was the first suggested fabric.  I liked this design- especially the pockets that are worked into the curved seam, the curved sleeve hems, and the curved neckband.  I thought that the curvy paisley print just fit perfectly for this pattern.  It was very easy to sew.  Here is a close-up of the front neckband:


There actually is enough room at the neckband to slip this over your head, so I didn't make the button functional.  It is just sewn in place.  With the turtleneck, tights and boots, I think it will be a welcome addition to my winter wardrobe, and I'm glad to have one less fabric in my stash!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Banded Batwing Top

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I'm always on the lookout for easy, easy patterns, and when I saw this one by Kwik Sew, I knew I had to try it.  It is Kwik Sew 3720 and comes in both a long sleeve and elbow length sleeve version.  I believe that I wore things like this in the 80's, but the materials back then weren't as nice.  This is made from a new microfiber brushed knit that I ordered from Fabric.com in a color called "raisin".   It is all polyester, but doesn't feel cold and slippery like a lot of polyester knits do.  In fact, I wore it this weekend when it was chilly, and was really pleased at how warm it felt. 
What I like about it:
-no sleeves to set in
-fits snug around the hips, but loose around the waist
-long fitted cuffs to bring in the batwing sleeves

The pattern has a scoop neckline, but I think this would be nice with a hood or cowl neckline too.  It looks a little plain without the necklace.  It takes around 2-1/4 yards of fabric, which is a lot for a top. I've had dresses that take less!  I think you really need a nice thin and drapey knit for this pattern to work.  A thicker knit would be cumbersome to wear.   I plan to make this again- I bought the same fabric in a cranberry and a pumpkin color.  Sounds like I'm still in Thanksgiving mode!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Giveaway Winner!

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Congratulations to Michelou who is the winner of our December 2nd Giveaway prize!  Thanks to everyone who made comments to enter.  It was fun to see so many different favorites of our patterns!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Giveaway Day

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The popular blog SewMamaSew is sponsoring a Giveaway Day!  We are participating and would like to offer a prize of 3 SewBaby patterns!  To enter, just comment about which SewBaby pattern you would like to win the most.  We will ship internationally, and the prize winner will be selected randomly on December 6th.  Make sure to leave a way for us to contact you if you are the winner!  You will get to choose which three patterns are your prize!

My Wardrobe Contest Entry

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Patternreview.com was having a wardrobe contest from Sept 1-Nov 30.  The goal was to make a 10 piece mix and match wardrobe.  I wasn't originally going to enter, but by last Saturday, I had 7 items that I could enter, so I thought, what's 3 more?  The last three, of course, took me until 10:45 pm last night to finish, and since the Patternreview clock seems to be set on the Eastern Time Zone, I finished just in time.  Whew!

I'm calling it my Green Goddess Wardrobe, based on, of course, the famous Green Goddess salad dressing.  No, not really.  This wardrobe is full of rich fabrics in silk and wool, ranging from aqua to forest green, accented with neutrals of black and cream. The patterns chosen are fluid and drapey. Here is the result!  And here is my official review with specifics about what pattern was used for each piece.


The winner will be chosen by Patternreview.com members, of which there are over 200,000 now!  It really is an inspiring place to visit on the web.
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