Monday, 2 March 2015

The Project- a work in progress

I realise it's been a couple of weeks since I blogged so I thought I'd better let you all know what I'm doing. In my last post, I said I'd be working on my next vintage pattern pledge, which was going to be a 1970's coat. I'd already chosen the fabric but hadn't bought it yet. So I went ahead and made a muslin but found that the coat was far too big. Time is marching on and I really need an intermediate jacket or coat for when I can finally get out of the puffy-coat. I quite agree with Jen from Grainline Studio, cold weather is either puffy-coat weather or wool-coat weather. There are times when only a puffy coat will stand up to the cold! This is Edinburgh and we seem to get the wind straight off the Arctic sometimes. 

So, after the vintage coat muslin I decided I couldn't face making so many alterations so a garment that I really need very soon. But luckily I had a close 'second-place' pattern I wanted to make and here it is, Vogue 8933. I'm making View B. I made a muslin for this coat and found my swimmer's shoulders and biceps made for too snug a fit and that I didn't like the pockets inserted into the side seams. So, I'll make the next size up and also add the welt pockets from view C. I have made welt pockets before but it was years ago. 

It took sooooooo long to prepare the fabric and cut it and the interfacing and lining out. The fabric itself is a 100% wool black and green herringbone tweed. And it's got orange 'bits' woven though it. I've coveted this fabric for months! Then when I went to buy it from Edinburgh Fabrics they're having a 10% off wool fabrics. Result! 

Preparing the fabric
I basically turned up the steam iron to the hottest it would go and pressed my fabric, giving each pressing 3 blasts of steam. I pre-tested how the fabric would react to such a hot steaming before letting loose on the whole length of fabric but it was absolutely fine. There was no change to the surface appearance from the iron, which I was a bit worried about. I won't be washing this jacket, I'll get it dry cleaned. 

The really scary part was cutting out that lovely expensive fabric. Thought I'd take a photo of the big cutting out!

This is the bit I've agonised over and lurked about on the internet trying to find out what others do. In the end I decided upon a medium weight, iron-on non-woven black interfacing. I also decided to interface the whole jacket. For the front facing section, which includes the collar I followed Sallieoh's example and used iron-on canvas interfacing.  

I really wanted orange or burnt orange lining but there was only a thin polyester lining fabric in these colours which didn't match up with the standard of the fabric. I did find a lovely sating lining, which is probably polyester, but much thicker and definitely more luxurious! It's black but I had the brainwave of adding some burnt orange piping between the edge of the lining and the facings. I've already got a piping foot,  bought some No.1 piping cord and burnt orange bias binding to make the piping so I'm all set! 

To draft a two piece sleeve from the one piece sleeve of the pattern. This actually went well and I made another muslin of the sleeve (photo shows drafting in process). I'm impressed at how well it sits and glad I didn't stick with the one piece sleeve. I followed these instructions on 'Drafting a two piece jacket sleeve from a one piece pattern' by Margaret Komives. The new sleeves can now accommodate my swimmer's biceps and forearms! 
Resources used so far
  • I've bought and read 'Vintage Couture Tailoring' by Thomas von Nordheim which I've found really useful so far. 
  • Margaret Komives instructions on sleeve drafting
Decisions I've made
  • Hand sew the facings to the jacket  so they stay put.
  • Not to bag the lining, I'm going to hand sew it all.
I could probably do with a tailor's ham but now I've started I can't hold up the big project! Is anyone else working on a big project at the moment? I've a feeling I'll be making more outerwear this year so expect to see some more big projects over the next few months.   



  1. Beautiful fabric! I can recommend a tailor's ham, I use mine every time I make darts, i think it really makes a difference

  2. Can't tell you how many times I stroked that fabric in the shop! Yes, I think I need to buy a tailors ham. This fabric takes a press and steam extremely well which is why I've coped so far but I think a tailors ham would help for future projects in less forgiving fabrics. I really must make more jackets this year, my wardrobe has a big jacket-gap!