Saturday, October 26, 2013

It's That Coat Time of Year . . .

For most of September and October I was in a sewing funk, despite the fact that I made a dress (which I haven't blogged about yet) and I half-heartedly began cutting out a new dress (which I haven't even finished laying out yet).  I think the funk was because of two things:  1) we were in between seasons and I couldn't seem to get much enthused about sewing for summer or winter; and 2) work has been exceptionally busy and I've gotten so behind that my mind is too cluttered to sew.  And here I thought I sewed to escape work, but it turns out that I'm one of those people that needs to be caught up at work and on top of things in order to free my mind for sewing.  So having experienced our first frost, and feeling pretty good about work last night, I announced to the Carpenter that Saturday would be The Day to return to my personal coat sew-along, Butterick 5824, the coat that Gertie designed.  

When we last left off (on June 23rd!), I had completed the outer shell of the coat, and I was feeling pretty good about the whole project.  My bound buttonholes weren't perfect, but they functioned, and I was starting to hope that this project might actually happen!  Then I did what I usually do - I continued to research it ad nauseum by Goggling the pattern number and reading every single blog out there that made this coat.  And I found that a lot of bloggers seemed to cease progress at this exact point, where the outer shell of the coat was constructed.  This was puzzling because so many of the bloggers were amazing seamstresses - how could this be?????

After exhaustive reading, I could only surmise that Perfection had reared its ugly head.  Many of the bloggers seemed stuck on - what appeared to me - imagined imperfections in their work.  There were beautiful coats in progress, but I think a lot of the coats just weren't coming together according to the vision of the maker.  I suffer from this malady as well, and I try to remember that sometimes art happens when you create something that you didn't intend.

I think the other reason that some sewers stopped making progress was the realization that the next step was making the lining, which was basically making the entire coat all over again.  No small feat, given the amount of skirt on this coat. 

So the very next day, on June 24th, I decided to cut out the lining.  I figured that if I didn't get the lining cut out, I could procrastinate on this thing 'til spring, and by finishing the cutting out it would boost the odds that this coat got done.

Fortunately, I found that the lining pieces could be cut in a double layer lay-out, contrary to the instructions.  I also found that I had bought seven yards of lining fabric, which is the twice the amount I needed.  That was puzzling - did I click "add to cart" twice when I bought it from Gorgeous Fabrics?  I don't know, but having that much fabric allowed me to stop worrying about conserving fabric, and I just laid down the pattern pieces and got everything cut out that Monday evening.  Yay.

And there the lining pieces sat for the next four months.  It felt good to pick them up this morning and put together the bodice lining, and the skirt lining, and then join the two together.  Here is the finished lining:

I finished my skirt seam allowances by pressing them together, rather than open, and trimming them to 3/8 inch.  I then used my overlock stitch on my Bernina to keep them from unraveling.  I had no troubles with the lining construction except for joining the lining to the outer collar at the pivot points:

For the life of me, I couldn't get everything to match up, and my lining kept bunching up on me.  I tried sewing with the collar on top AND with the lining on top.  Finally, after repeated attempts, I just called it done and moved on.  It a lining anyway.  No one is going to see it but me.  But it is perplexing because I had no trouble with this step on the outer shell of the coat.  Beginner's luck, maybe?

But other than the pivot points, the slippery lining wasn't that bad to work with, and I think it is going to be perfect for this coat.  I'm getting excited about getting it done (again), and I hope to have it done in time for the opening of the Hollywood Costume exhibit at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.  I would love to wear it to see this exhibit which was organized by the V&A Museum in London.

The next step is to join the outer shell and the coat lining together, but first, I want to hem the lining before attaching it to the coat (it will be easier to hem with less coat to deal with), and I need to cut my bias strips from the interfacing and fuse them to the outer shell hemline (which is step 17 of the instructions).  

So onward and upward.  I have to remember not to let the perfect become the enemy of the good; or, done is better than perfect!

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