Hello again ladies and gents! Hope you’re all enjoying #sewphotohop and fingers crossed you’ve been following my posts throughout September. I’m currently struggling to find time to sew for myself, which is killing me. I have a free afternoon on Sunday and some yummy fabric from So Sew English, so wish me luck!! How about starting the evening with a project review?
Meet my Luzerne trench coat. Do you ever really truly hate a project but keep going?? This is rare for me. I normally stuff UFOs out of sight but I think because I didn’t want to get this jacket too rumpled (hahah this sentence will be extra ironic as you read on) it always stayed in my eye line. I’ve been dipping into it every few months to get it finished. Given that I started this make in May, LAST YEAR, I’m amazed it’s finally done.
So why do I hate it? Let’s get started. The fit of this jacket was really hard to work out for my lifestyle. The amount of ease needed for wearing the trench with a jumper leaves it baggy without one underneath… and I like cardigans which create a hollow at the centre front and lumpy areas at the bust. Having the bust look especially rumpled really grates because I love a great fit in my torso. This is my own fault for trying to sew a relaxed coat when I’m not that kind of dresser. I like fitted clothes so what made me think I’d like a loose fit mac?!
The shape of the collar is also infuriating. It has this weird step that looks out of place to my eye. Its not a stand collar and it’s not a notch collar! What are you!?! Again this is my own issue, you may love this touch. Maybe you never even noticed… it looks so nice on other people’s versions.
Don’t get me wrong… There are a lot of great details. Those lovely pocket edges, the button tabs, curved back yoke, and well fitting sleeves but why oh why didn’t I ignore the pattern and make a longer tie belt!?
I know it’s a nice make but all I see is the creases and fit issues. I’m going to try and wear it more this Autumn with extra layers underneath to see if we can get on.
I used a lovely magenta organic twill from Fabworks which comes in a lot of colours. It’s the perfect weight but has a little bit of stretch which didn’t help my ease issues. And I made metres and metres of bias binding from a scrap piece of Wiltshire Liberty tana lawn. Binding everything takes a loooong time but creates a fun inside.
The pdf pattern arrives in multiple sizes and with separate English instructions – it in fact goes up to a phenomenal plus size range in PDF so bravo to the team. They’re fairly detailed but you may need extra help if you’ve never tried bound buttonholes or sewn a collar before. I made a size 38 without a toile because that is my size in D&D patterns but would definitely size down in future. If you can, buy the paper pattern for this one as it’s a LOT of pages to stick together.
Okay I’ve waffled on enough. For other gorgeous versions from the sewing community check out Sleepless into Bavaria who has made not one but TWO spotty macs, Allie J who clearly got her sizing just right and Stay Junique in her sassy red version.
Hi everyone! Since the weather matches my blogging schedule (sporadic) I thought I’d share a long overdue finished jacket. As some of you will know from my social media posts I have around 40 unblogged makes. Thankfully five of them have been photographed but I still need to find some blogging time which is proving difficult. Let’s crack on then shall we!
If you’ve considered making a jacket as a step into tailoring I heartedly recommend the Colette Patterns Anise Jacket. It has enough new techniques for someone wanting to learn outerwear but not too many that you can get overwhelmed. I in fact made my first version when I was very much an adventurous beginner, in 2013! I copied my favourite blue coat and was pretty chuffed with the results… see my fabulously grainy photo below if you don’t have time to click through. I thought given all those years of experience I’ve managed to accumulate it would be interesting to see how I found the pattern four years later (yep this jacket is a year old people).
Let’s start by saying the sewalong for this jacket is superb. The welt pockets and bound button hole tutorials are excellent and work on many other garments. Probably doesn’t need to be said but welt pockets are super lovely to make but not great for putting your hands in on a bitter English day. The way the back seams curve to match the sleeve seams at the armhole is also my sign of a superior coat. It drives me crazy when they’re close but intentionally not aligned! Also having made several coats since this I realise how special it is to have a separate pattern piece for interfacing the the roll line. The collar is kind of a pain in that it refuses to neatly meet at the centre front due to the way the buttons strain and move. It still comes together pretty nicely and the clean finish you get by hand sewing everything closed at the armholes and hem is very neat inside.
Finding the right interfacing is a mission though and I’m less happy with the boucle version compared to my melton. I was trying to find something that would keep the boucle weave secure but offer the right support and I think I went too stiff. It’s most noticeable to me at the collar where I can feel it sitting slightly unhappily but I think it looks fine. There’s not a lot of help out there for picking interfacing (no magic unicorn saying you must buy this specific weight and brand) because it all depends on your chosen fabric. The only tip I can offer here is that you’re looking to support not harden the fabric or add too much weight. And remember cheap fusible interfacing isn’t built to last and will bubble and unstick itself over time, so if you’re keen to keep your jacket or coat around, invest in the branded stuff!
Let me share two bits of wisdom I learnt from making both coats. Number one – don’t use covered buttons, no matter how confident you are that the wool is safely enclosed inside. Years later, your buttons will pop apart from the strain and embarrass you in front of your peers. Not pretty. Number two – If you’re not a delicate dresser, use a lining with a tiny amount of stretch. I’m not talking a super spandex mix fabric, but just something with a little give. I always pop the armhole seams on my lining by wrestling myself in and out of my jackets without care. The jackets were I’ve used stretch satin have faired much better. Last tidbit – ALWAYS ADD A HANGING LOOP.
My wool was picked up at an excellent open day at Beyond Measure. Grace had sourced small remnants from a Lancashire mill; Offcuts and end bolts, plus colour coordinated bundles. I succumbed to this smooth soft and almost glossy boucle wool with flecks of bright yellow and blue running through. It was £30 for a 1.6m piece, enough for the jacket with nothing to spare! The lining was chosen to match the yellow flecks as good old B&M Fabrics on Kirkgate outside the market. Every time I see it the super flash of gold makes me giddy. Last but not least those fancy polished metal buttons were from Totally Buttons, an excellent online shop.
It’s a great little jacket and fun pattern to follow. I’m also super grateful past-Amy taped together the PDF and worked out all the fit kinks so I could just crack on and sew the new version!! I’m pleased I finally got to share it with you. I’ll try not to wait so long to post again, but while I’m gone maybe have a read of these lovely Anise jackets.
Happy weekend! I’m currently in my sewing room whipping up a quick coat. Aka no tailoring, minimal hand stitching, maybe even no buttons… but welt pockets might make an appearance. Let’s wait and see.
In other news I wanted to push my sewing with a garment that’s pretty different for me. I reviewed the Butterick 5926 jersey blazer pattern that comes free with Love Sewing 49 (out Thurs 25th Jan in the UK). You can also read my thoughts inside the issue but here are the essentials.
Every time I reach for my jeans I agonise what to pair them with. I feel like I’m constantly chasing the ideal outfit that makes me look effortlessly put together; modest and tasteful but comfortable and easy. Generally I opt for a bright blouse and cardigan but it felt like time for a change.
I don’t think I’ve worn a blazer for at least 10 years as I’m petite with slightly squeaky voice and always live in fear of resembling a schoolgirl. The thought of a casual knit blazer was appealing but I wanted to make sure it felt feminine. This pattern calls for stable knits like Ponte Roma but didn’t mention scuba, which seemed like a great fit in my mind. This gorgeous geometric pink was £4 per metre at The Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate and I used 1.5m to make this jacket.
I chose to make view B, the hip-length version with shorter bracelet length sleeves that I rolled up for a relaxed feel and omitted the button fastenings. The blazer comes together really easily but you’re asked to reinforce a lot of areas of the collar and facings with stay stitching before clipping close to but not through the stitching line (always a tense part of the process for me). Shortening your stitch length can help here and a universal needle helped me avoid any skipped stitches.
The recommended hem finish, with stitching that finish along the front edges wasn’t to my taste so I decided to top-stitch everywhere, varying the distance from the edge as I worked my way around. With this approach I had to be careful that the collar still rolled neatly to the outside where the front facing turns out and used a few pins to get the turn point just right.
I also used my trusty blind hem machine foot with an adjusted needle position to attach the pockets which were very bulky to sew in place. I should be on commission for the amount of times I mention that foot! It was also the last outing for my singer overlocker before it committed suicide by firing the blade into the moving parts! Not pretty.
This is a versatile pattern that looks great in a big, bold prints as well as plain colours and feels as comfy as a cardigan. I really think notched collars are very flattering as they frame your face but more importantly they’re pretty fun to sew! Like I say the issue is out Thursday and actually comes with a second pattern, McCall’s 7357 and both are double stuffed with all the sizes inside e.g. 6-22. Winner winner quorn chicken dinner!!
Not quite a tangerine dream but close to the perfect pumpkin, it’s all fruity over in my house with this newly finished orange coat. It’s the kind of orange that is easy to mistake for red… until you try and wear it with real red.
It’s of course the pattern of the moment Vogue 1537. This Kay Unger design was a firm favourite from the Vogue Cocktail Hour which raised money for The Eve Appeal. Check out my previous posts here and search the hashtag #sipandsew to see everyone’s makes.
I wanted a pass at this coat after seeing someone make a wool version on pattern review. You know I like to break the rules and was happy to find a like-minded rebel. It’s of course designed for lighter weight fabrics but who cares about that.
I lengthened the sleeves and skipped the tabs. You might notice extra buttons down the front though I prefer wearing it open. I actually hate wearing single breasted coats but like the way they look. This one is especially bad as there’s no hem vent. Shame on me for not adding one. It’s also lines up at the bottom, I’m just standing funny.
The wool was actually bought with a voucher won at Sew Up North. It was for my fave Leeds market shop BM stores too, how amazing. Thank you so much Sally and Beccs for bringing this coat to life with your awesome raffle. My lining is a stretch satin from Leeds market too. I’ve had terrible luck with coat linings lately where they rip at the seams after about a year’s wear. Maybe I get more aggressive in my coat wearing style after the 1 year mark. This is my fourth or fifth outerwear piece but first full length coat.
I’ve actually been singing the old nursery rhyme oranges and lemons for weeks as I have a mustard coat project lined up but keep changing my mind about what pattern. Maybe the new By Hand London release will be the winner?
BONUS OUT TAKE TIME!! Sexy right?
Hurrah! I’m happy to share my finished peacoat.
This is Vogue 7666, a vintage 70s jacket, trouser and skirt pattern that I got in a random bundle of patterns for £1.50 at a car boot sale.
The coat was sewn over several weeks. As always, I made a toile because I didn’t trust the pattern to fit out the packet. I used an old curtain and turns out I needed to adjust the princess seams, armholes and sleeve length. I am pretty happy with the adjustments but might have taken too much out of the hips and could have made the princess seams a little snugger.
The outer jacket is made from a burgundy wool with tiny flecks of black and gold that are hard to see in the photos. It was £6 per metre from B&M Fabrics at Leeds market. The lining is black silk from a car boot sale too funnily enough. A woman was selling off her mother’s fabric stash and sold my mum a 2m piece for £1.50 which she gifted to me. A burn test proved it was actually silk. Lastly I have faceted burgundy buttons from Totally Buttons which were pretty expensive but really make the jacket for me so I don’t care.
The jacket has some cool instructions for tailoring which made me happy. Each piece is underlining and the fronts, upper back and collar are reinforced with hair canvas. I pad stitched all the canvas and installed twill tape along the fold lines of the collar.
The kicker is that while you can add bound buttonholes to the jacket you can only do it down one side. I would have much rather put bound buttonholes down both to make it truly double breasted but the facing doesn’t stretch far enough over. The lined vent is a nice touch and my home made shoulder padding worked a treat.
What’s left to say! The jacket feels lovely and warm and I finished it just in time for the snow that’s threatening to land.
I do wish the weather was better for photos. Makes me a bit sad to make a jacket I’m so proud of but can’t get good pics of it because of the lame weather.
One thing I want to flag up if you didn’t know, is that this is the same pattern as Lauren’s ace plaid version which you can see here.
And here’s a bonus cat photo of Chewie blocking my view of the instructions.