• Jackets and coats

    Olive Green Vogue 1537

    Here she finally is, my finished Vogue 1537 in Olive Green wool. I’ve been dragging my heels all winter with this one but she’s finally done! When I made my first version of this coat it was LOVE. In fact I still love it…. I just can’t button it up any more. But I might in future so it’s staying put in my coat cupboard.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    If you remember, originally 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. Here’s my second wool version!

    I used my altered pattern pieces with lengthened sleeves and no wrist tabs. And just like before there’s no hem vent. Shame on me AGAIN for not adding one. But you can easily move in this gently boxy coat without one. Plus it does line up but I was victim to the wind which was WILD. I had to choose between all my hair over my face or the hem not matching for the next photo.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    This is my 9th piece of outerwear I think? But second full length coat. And because I made it from wool coating I had to add some extra steps that weren’t in the instructions to prepare the fabric. First you have to decide how to prepare your wool. I like to steam shrink everything by hand with a garment steamer or iron. Other people take the risk and machine wash. And some don’t prep at all. With the horrible rain that UK Autumn/Winter experiences, I prefer to get all shrinking out of the way.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Then I interfaced all the body with medium woven interfacing and the facings with a thicker canvas style interfacing. I decided not to pad stitch the interfacing in place, and used fusibles this time around because although my coating is thick, it’s not the kind of pile you could easily hide all the stitches in. Fusing such large pieces makes me wish for one of those big iron presses that tailors have. You can see I also use bright basting stitches to hold things in place… my idea of fun (I’m so wild, you can’t stand it).

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    When it comes to pressing seams I use a clapper and pressing cloth to hold the heat in the wool and avoid shiny marks from the iron plate. I also use a pair of manilla envelopes under the seam allowances to prevent a seam line mark on the right side of the garment. Then rather annoyingly when I was giving the coat a final press, I totally forgot this and pressed the long back seam creating a shadow/dent. I bet you didn’t even notice it in the photo, but I know it’s there. Hopefully it will fade with time and another steam.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    Its a really lovely pattern with a great dress included. Vogue patterns are filled with nice designer details for a super polished finish. And I love the 60s vibe of the collar. You’ll see this design has large patch pockets but unfortunately I was about 30cms short of fabric to add these to mine. Instead I used the scraps of wool to make hip level welt flaps, for pockets which are lined and functional. Given how thick the fabric is the welts turned out nicely but I prefer a patch pocket for easier carrying of keys/phone/mask.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    The fabric is from Montreux Fabrics (now sold out), from their stall at Knitting and Stitching Show Harrogate. It’s a very thick pure wool coating with an interesting variegation of thread colours. The finished coat is only a little bulky while being pleasantly very warm – my orange version was much thinner. I’m really pleased with the colour out in the world… in my sewing room it looked a little drab. A word I try not to associate with! The lining is rather the star of the show. This cat print satin (also sold out) was provided free of charge from Rainbow Fabrics as a preview of their A/W collection in exchange for an Instagram story. When I saw it alongside the coat fabric the colours paired so beautifully, with the navy and mustard cats popping against the olive.

    Almond rock makes Vogue 1537 a mid length coat sewing pattern in olive green wool coating

    So now I can be warm and dry again until nice weather returns to the UK. And I can move onto another project which hopefully I’ll finish quicker! Thanks for reading to the end. Or thanks for looking at all the pictures.

  • Events and day trips

    How was your weekend?

    “So what did you do this weekend?”

    “Oh I went shopping in London with 50 strangers off the Internet and we took over a Lebenese restaurant. What did you do?”

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    I want to say that this weekend’s meetup in London was so tremendous that I’m finding it hard to describe. I tried to summarise proceedings in an email to my brother and pretty sure I didn’t convey how amazing it was (plus I know I missed bits out).

    So forgive me if I opt out from trying to do it justice. If you were there, well you know. If you weren’t, our delightful host Rachel and many of the FIFTY other attendees will do a much better job than I.

    Instead of a full round up I wanted to hone in some of my highlights of the day.

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    A big highlight for me was how much more confident I felt at my second meet up than my first, especially given the scare factor of such a huge gathering. I think this was partly down to seeing lovely familiar faces. Rachel makes you feel like you’ve known her years. Marie is such a sweetheart, she always makes me laugh. Roisin is like a fantastic whirlwind and didn’t stay long but made a point to catch up with me. And it was lovely to chat with Catherine again (I had a feeling she’d pick my sparkly jersey from the swap).

    Another highlight was meeting so many new people – people I’ve admired and read their blogs from afar and people that write wonderful blogs I’d not heard of before. Sitting with Camilla, Jo and Janene for lunch was great because they were all so chatty and funny. Finally meeting Sallie and confirming my suspicions of her Yorkshire roots was ace. And of course meeting LIZZY! Our international attendee. She really is so so friendly in real life. I felt a bit star struck to be honest; I didn’t get a photo of us together and I felt like I didn’t convey how grateful I was that she brought fabric over for me!

    The V&A is so spectacular I can’t believe I’ve never been before! I’m definitely going again.

    Goldhawk Road was kind of a revelation. It was so neat to see all the fabric shops along one road where we could bounce in and out of them all hunting for bargains. Now some of you may have noticed my desperate desire to find horse print fabric. And since Goldhawk Road is famous for getting end rolls from commercial fashion companies I felt optimistic.

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    I wasn’t disappointed. I also picked up some other delights. Not much mind you as I’d already spent all my money in Birmingham. My swap freebies included this amazing bird print rayon from Lizzy, and a printed silk plus a cute simplicity sundress pattern from a mystery source.

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    Finally, I was amazed by the generosity of Minerva Fabrics and Abakhans. These two companies effectively sponsored our day out. I can’t even begin to convey the amount of fabric, notions and trims Abakhans supplied to the swap. And Minerva gave everyone goodie bags they’d thoughtfully put together – see the awesome felted wool knitted fabric I was given (above). I always thought the blogging community was surpisingly separate from the sewing supply companies but lately my eyes have been opened.

    * Meet up photos by Digpal Singh

  • Other stuff

    Little Black Jacket part 3 – day 1

    This is part 3 of my mini series on the Chanel jacket course I attended in March.

    See here for part 1 about inspiration and here for part 2 on materials!

    Today I’m sharing my progress from day 1 of the course.

    I packed up my machine, pattern, fabric, notions and a travel sewing kit and set off to Roundhay!

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    Gillian the course instructor advised making a toile with at least one sleeve set in and bringing it along for discussion on the first day.

    I traced all my pieces rather than cutting as I was sure I’d need to apply some “creative” sizing.

    I traced a size 12 at the neck/shoulder/armhole/bust and graded out to a size 14 waist and 16 hip.

    What I ended up with was pretty good I think. The shoulder length/armhole needed some adjustment but the fit across the bust waist and hips felt good. For a non-fastening jacket the fronts meet and it doesn’t gape open too much.
    Overall I felt it could have been snugger and Gillian agreed. She also helped me remove 3cm length from the sleeve.

    She advised that although the toile is an excellent indicator of fit it’s often better to fit the jackets again mid-construction because of the wool behaving differently to calico.

    Down to business. First up we cut out fabric and lining pieces, remembering to take into consideration nap, pattern matching and in my case the one way shine of satin. I didn’t use interfacing in the end as my wool had enough stability.
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    The construction was not as expected. Instead of constructing the outer shell and lining separately and the attaching the two, the corresponding shell and lining pieces were basted together and machine quilted.

    This took the majority of the day. We chatted as we went and I made the most of the tips that were shared ready for when I make my second jacket. Here’s a few things I took note of:

    • For a truly expensive looking jacket it’s not enough to pattern-match your fabric in the seams and the sleeves, you should also be matching the pockets.
    • An inch of seam allowance helps you be safer rather than sorry with expensive fabric.
    • Don’t overpress your fabric… in fact barely touch it! Wool is most likely to show marks where you’ve squashed it.
    • It’s not worth overlocking your pieces even if they’re fraying like no-one’s business, as you’re just creating bulk at the seams and wool is plenty bulky enough! Just pink the edges if you need to do something.

    Sorry it’s taken so long to post this. I’ve just started a new job and also Mr AR has been unwell. More excitement drafted and ready to post in Part 4 about day 2 of my class.

  • Other stuff

    Little Black Jacket part 2 – materials

    This is second part of my mini series on the Chanel jacket course I am attending in March. See part 1 about inspiration here!

    Today is all about materials!

    The course is based around Vogue pattern V7975.
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    (I’ve heard people rave about Vogue 8804 from the Claire Shaeffer Collection but believe its out of print now.)

    The pattern calls for Wool and Wool Blends, Tweeds, Boucle, Gabardine and Mediumweight Linen.

    Gillian, the instructor from the sewing school, was kind enough to ring me to discuss supplies.

    We talked about how classic Chanel jackets are made from boucle or tweed and she explained about Linton fabrics, a leading stockist for Chanel.

    If Chanel choose a fabric from Linton for their line the agreement is that no other bolt of that fabric will be sold for two years. This safeguards the design house from replicas appearing in the market and discourages sewers from making themselves a copy at home immediately.

    The pattern does allow for other fabrics as I mentioned and Gillian encouraged me try something more trendy if I wanted. I’m not sure I’m the tweed jacket type so I’ve bought a beautifully soft (so lovely I want to cuddle it all day) plain black wool from Samuel Taylor. I picked an unobtrusive black poly-satin lining.

    Interfacing is needed but the pattern doesn’t say what weight so I have a metre of medium and a metre of firm weight fusible interfacing and will feel it out as I go.

    Notions are listed based on the view you are making. I’m opting for view B with the length of D/E.
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    For this view I’m advised to get braid or ribbon for decoration. I decided to use grosgrain ribbon as trim and my current plan is to use it around the neckline, front and jacket hem, as well as at the cuffs and pockets.

    Gillian also advised the course would cover some additional techniques for making the jacket not detailed in the V7975 instructions.

    As well as interfacing we will be using interlining to add stability, so I have some cotton gauze ready to use.

    Also we will be hand stitching chain onto the jacket’s interior hem. This is another traditional element of Chanel jackets, where the chain weighs down the jacket hem to produce a desirable drape. But I couldn’t find any attractive weighted chain so Gillian and I agreed I should use weights inside the hem of the jacket as well as attaching the admittedly light chain I had been able to purchase.

    Finally I have three spools of black thread and have pre-wound three bobbins so I don’t have to halt progress if I run out. Part of me wants to use colourful thread in case I need to unpick but can’t think like that. Only success is allowed!!

  • Other stuff

    Little Black Jacket part 1 – inspiration

    This is the first post of a mini series that will cover my attempts at making a jacket. Gasp! horror!

    On March 23rd and 24th I will be attending a 2-day course on making a Chanel inspired jacket, hosted by the Yorkshire sewing school.

    And I’m rather nervous… well that’s putting it mildly. I’m chuffing scared!!

    So I thought I’d share some of my inspiration jackets to show what direction I’m leaning.

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    Carven Peplum Hem Boiled Wool Jacket in Black
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    Pyrus grey wool jacket
    Givenchy Black Wool and Satin Jacket
    Givenchy Black Wool and Satin Jacket
    Sandro Valentin jacket
    Sandro Valentin jacket
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    Jaeger London Jacket with ribbon trim

    I love the shoulder inserts of the Sandro jacket, the satin trim on the Givenchy and the simple elegance of the Pyrus and Carven jackets.

    The Jaeger jacket which is last has my favourite elements which is a dreamy looking softer wool and the ribbon trim detail.

    Feel free to take a look at my Pinterest board for more jacket inspiration!