My personal coat sew-along continues with Butterick 5824, and if you recall, I felt my two biggest challenges would be 1) all the cutting out, and 2) the bound buttonholes. Well, after the cutting out, the first thing you do is the buttonholes. So for better or worse, I would be getting the hardest part (I felt) out of the way at the beginning of this project. I used Gertie's instructions from her book, and practiced with some cotton from one of my shirtdress projects about a month ago. Not bad for a first try, although I machine stitched around these; I just wanted to get the order of the technique at first, so I didn't bother with handstitching:
Gertie recommends that you use scissors called tailor points to cut your buttonholes. Gingher makes some good ones, but has re-named them "craft scissors" these days, probably as a wider marketing technique since there are few tailors out there, but lots and lots of crafters. I bought them at Joannes and they are the most awesome scissors ever made because they are wickedly sharp right up to the points. You need them to cut the little triangles in the ends of the buttonholes.
I found that making the buttonholes in my drapey camelhair fabric more fiddly than making them in stable, and thinner, quilting cotton. But I pressed onward, and was reminded once again that perfectionism is not only the death of creativity, but the death of productivity as well. So without further ado, here are my coat bound buttonholes:
Okay, not great. But they will be covered by, you know, actual buttons. Plus, I am fairly confident that these bound bottonholes will not become unbound, so I think we have achieved the goal. In the end, I was pleased enough, but then I remembered, I'm not done with these bound bottonholes - stage II occurs at the end of this project went you have to make the corresponding openings in the facings. I'll worry about that later.
After the bound buttonholes were done, the bodice came together fairly easily. I was very glad that Gertie posted a video on how to sew the bodice front to the bodice back at the neckline. I guessed right, but I liked having the video to confirm I was on the right track, rather than silently worrying that I had done it all wrong and one day my coat would fall apart.
After getting the bodice together, the only thing left to do was sew the skirt portion to the bodice portion (because, remember, I sewed the skirt first) and voila, I have a coat facsimile:
The above photo was taken indoors. This photo was taken out of doors:
I tried it on and it looks awesome, but the 90 degree heat did not allow any photographs of me actually wearing it - one of the drawbacks of sewing your winter coat six months early. I am really pleased the way this project is coming along. My biggest challenge has actually ended up being trying to mark the fabric. Alone, my usual white pen is useless, as is carbon paper, and tailors' chalk. I ended up using all of these devices to mark darts, circles, and buttonholes:
I used the red thread to mark the circles - I don't know if my thread marks could be call tailors' tacks, since I'm not sure I did them right, but I got 'er done. I found the best method of marking on this fabric was to use the tailor point scissors for marking notches, and then, right before I was going to sew a dart, use the carbon paper and tracing wheel between the pattern and fabric. As soon as I removed the pattern, I traced over the dart with the tailors chalk, and then immediately pinned and sewed the dart. Even as I pinned and sewed the lines were disappearing on me. And ironing removed all marking entirely.
So steps 1 through 16 are done! I'm letting the coat hang for awhile to see if the skirt stretches before I interface the hem. The next steps for me will be to cut out the lining (cutting out again, sigh), and making the lining bodice and skirt, attaching them together. Bascially, I have do everything I just did, but with lining fabric. It's like making the coat twice. Good thing I started this six months early!
Parting shot: A photo from the early 1930's from the Library of Congress. It was taken in Coffee County, Alabama, which is one county over from Cotton Creek, AL, and I like it because it reminds me of the house my father grew up in. (He was born in 1936.) His childhood home looked just like this - no paint, with a fire place and a stove. I imagine this is how his mother cooked: