Wednesday, April 17, 2013

I'm Really, REALLY Late To This Party

I'm just a hem away from finishing Vogue 8648, but I wanted to blog about joining Gertie's 1950's Coat Sew-Along.  Here's the pattern, Butterick 5824:

I love my Pendleton winter coat, but it just got me through my third or fourth winter and it is starting to look a bit worse for wear, so I'm all excited about sewing my first coat, despite the fact that it is Spring, not Fall, and Gertie ended her Sew-Along like, six months ago.  I am not to be deterred.  This is all part of my master plan.  No, really.

Ok, the actual story is that I found out about Gertie's Sew Along when she announced it, but I knew there was no way I would actually be able to choose my fabric and gather my supplies in time to begin with everyone else.  I am a ditherer.  I knew it would take me months to select just the fabric I wanted, and I didn't want to feel like I was choosing and sewing with a deadline breathing down my neck - that's too much like work.  So in my mind, I gave myself six months to get it together, thus giving myself another six months to actually sew the coat - plenty of time before next winter.  I must say, I don't know how to make sewing a coat any less stressful than that.

And dither I did.  First, I waited for a $ 1.99 sale of Butterick patterns at my local Hancocks to obtain said pattern.  Then I went to work looking for the exact right fabric.  In my mind, I wanted something, I don't know, red, maybe.  With cashmere in it.  That was the dream.  In the end I went for this from Gorgeous Fabrics.  It is not red, but a green so dark it looks black.  But I didn't buy it for the color, I bought it for fabric content.  It is made of camelhair.  Did you know that camelhair fabric is made from, you know, actual camel hair?  I did not.  I thought the term referred to the color, since most camelhair jackets men wear are a camel tan color.  But I learned that camelhair is made from the wool on the underbelly of the camel which is very warm and very soft.  And this particular camelhair is very light and drapy, something I felt was perfect for this coat design which has a whole lot of circular skirt to it.  Stiff and heavy is not what this pattern needs.  I was particularly interested in a wool that was VERY warm; if I am going to all the trouble to sew a coat, I want it to be worth my time - this coat needs to be the warmest garment ever fashioned . . .

Then of course, I had to wait for it to go on sale.  I bought my lining at the same time, same place, also on sale, here.  It's a seafoam green and a drapey rayon, so it should get the job done. 

Finally, there was the interfacing.  Gertie recommended this Pro-Weft medium-weight fusible interfacing from Fashion Sewing Supply and it arrived this week.  So I am officially out of excuses.  The coat must be begun.  I only have six months until cold weather shows up again.

I am very intimated by this project, so again, I'm going easy on myself and giving myself six months to get 'er done.  All of Gertie's posts for this project are here.  From reading the pattern instructions and Gertie's posted instructions, I think my two biggest challenges are going to be 1) cutting out; and 2) the bound buttonholes.  Cutting out involves the camelhair fabric (all 6 1/2 yards worth of 60 inch fabric) and the lining, and the interfacing.  Setting aside the fact that I am a slow-cutter-outer, the layout of the pattern pieces involves cutting one layer at a time - which is a huge PITA. 

And my experience with bound buttonholes consists of trying a practice buttonhole once, like nine years ago and saying, "nah", and proceeding to make stitched buttonholes instead.  But I think this fabric and project deserve bound buttonholes, and blessedly, there are only two.  I'll give it a go.

Because this is a big project for me, I'll be working at it a little at a time, with other projects in between.  This is unusual for me; I prefer to work on one project at a time, completely finishing and putting everything away before starting the next garment.  This gives me a sense of accomplishment and order.  Well, what little order I can manage in a sewing room with no order whatsoever.

My plan is to blog about my progress and my thought process on how I approach a project like this (since I absolutely did not have time to do the blogging I would have liked on my wedding dress), but I predict what my blogging will really reveal is how neurotic I am.  Won't this be fun???  : )


Lindah said...

Good luck on your coat project. I've followed along on your dressmaker projects and I'm sure you can handle this coat quite nicely. I haven't done clothing construction for quite a few years, but I did a boy's plaid blazer, a woman's dress/coat ensemble and a woman's wool cashmere blend winter coat. Oh, and a woman's lined wool cape. You can do it. Take your time and enjoy the tailoring aspects. Pay attention to the interfacings, etc because they add the structure. The bound buttonholes are worth the effort. Do a trial run on scraps. They are not all that complicated. Anyone who can do a zipper can do it. Such a sense of accomplishment when it is all done! Have fun!

Audrey said...

Neurotic is not a word I would have chosen to describe you. Organized, methodical, and cautious maybe. I also feel you will do a great job on this coat. And the fabric sounds wonderful. Have fun and enjoy the process. I know I will enjoy reading your post about the process.