Wednesday, October 29, 2014

As promised...

It's Wednesday, and I was able to spend some time with my sewing machine.

Everything's done on the outer coat, now to make the linings/facings and ... on!

I think I might fiddle with the shoulders a bit first, extend the shoulder pad a twink, but... that's totally not relevant, right?  ;)

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Going Quickly

I sat and sewed all weekend...

All my padstitching is done, I just put the collar on the ham to be shaped (you steam it and leave it to dry).  The body of the coat has been completed, has likewise been steamed and shaped in the appropriate places.  
I had some fights with my princess seams, we've come to a draw.

I'm really surprised by how much time I had to sew and how far along I got - for reference, this is most of the work, unless the sleeves make me cry.  

But tomorrow I'll be cleaning house and Tuesday I have an appt to clean out BFF's long-stored clothing with her, so you'll have to be patient!  :)

See you in the funny papers!

Friday, October 24, 2014

Why an overcoat?

Why are you making an overcoat?

I'm making an overcoat because...

1) I don't have one.  I don't have a coat, unless you were talking about the trench I scored a few years back that is two sizes too big for me?  No?  Then I don't have a coat.

2) Wait.  You don't have a coat?  But I guess... you live in SoCal, you don't  need a coat.  Sure, I don't need a coat... mostly.  I mean.  I might need one a few days, maybe a few weeks out of the year - if that. Unless I want to leave the area between October and April, of course.   In which case, probably my hoodie won't hook me up.  (There is nothing that drives me more bonkers than seeing kids dropped off to school in driving rain wearing cotton hoodies without so much as an umbrella... )

3) You could make a whimsical coat.  Or a cheap coat.  Or ... well, why so classic, why are you messing with the hand tailoring, why put so much time and effort and cash in?  Because I'm planning to have this coat for at least a decade, if not more.  Even if (please!) I lose a ton of weight, I can take this coat in... and since it fits my proportions, that might not matter if I wear a really fluffy sweater or two underneath.

4)  All the other girls have one.  Yeah.  I'll 'fess up.  Part of why is the simple joy of taking on a big challenge and making something impressive.  An overcoat can be made amazing if you choose your own lining and details.  And I'd NEVER spend the kind of cash on myself that a coat like this would cost if I bought it.  (Frankly I'd probably balk at spending the amount of money I've spent just on supplies).

5)  Fit.  Something like this ... fit properly... to me... yeah, that's a big deal.

So.  I spent an hour doing hand-tailoring today.   It was soothing ... and frustrating, because I looked up and said, "I've spent that long and I only have this to show?"  But that's okay.  Hair canvas has a certain gravitas.
I just felt chatty tonight... winding down before bed.  :)

Chicken broth in the crockpot

If I buy organic chicken, I save the bones for broth.  But it's been too hot to make broth on the stove... so I put this in the crockpot and left it.  Worked well - and I got a much longer simmer than I'd get on the stove, which means more lovely minerals in the soup for us!  (More than one soup, I thin it down and flavor it).


Take your chicken carcasses, a head of garlic (take the root off), some bay leaves, a bit of pepper - and I threw in some tarragon.  All dry spices, this is gonna boil and boil and boil some more.  Throw all in a crockpot.  Add water until mostly covered.  Lid up, turn on low.

Leave it for a while.  This one went 24 hours.  Love a crockpot, yes I do.  Going to use this with beef bones, yes I am.

Strain the broth out, keep the bits.

Put the broth in the fridge, this will separate the fat easily.  You can keep it if you want, it's organic, right?

Fish the bits of meat out of the strained bits, refrigerate.

Then make your soup.  :)  I'm going to put a bit of kale, some wild rice mix, mushrooms, celery, carrot and onion in mine.   Later.  ;)

Nothing to show on the coat for a while.  Spent three hours yday finishing the hand work on the other five buttonholes and putting the hair cloth on the back of one of the fronts.  Will put the second piece of hair canvas on the second front today.  Yes, I could use fusible interfacing, but hair canvas has more presence.   Anyway I want to play with the shaping a bit with the collar.  It's fun to shape the cloth with your stitches.  Feels a bit magical.  Stitches and steam, you'd be amazed what you can do with wool with stitches and steam.

This is fun but really, you can see a pattern piece covered with Z shaped stitches.  Not too exciting.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Bound Buttonholes

I don't work with wool often.

I don't make many tailored garments.

Jackets?  Um.  No, not really.

Thus, I've done three sets of bound buttonholes.  One for my green jacket a la Gertie, one for the red, and one for the ivory linen bolero (which I totally flubbed).

None of my experiences was anything like "fun" or "easy" - and that last set of bound buttonholes *almost* had me committing to hand-worked buttonholes for my coat.  Only DH (and my admitted lack of ability in handsewing) convinced me to give it another go.

I think it's totally unfair that something that makes or breaks your garments *entire* look - the whole, "does this look professional, or does this look homemade" is 1) do it right the first time or else 2) done on the first step.  I've not even gotten to know my coat yet, why do I have to play with fire?  -sigh-

So, I pulled out the books.  I have three good "how to sew" books.  A couture sewing book, the Vogue sewing book, and an old 60s era home-sewing book (which takes for granted an amazingly high level of skill).  Vogue proved the winner... bigtime.  Another resource was my incessant reading of blogs - I was reading over at Lilacs and Lace, and the bound buttonhole queen was discussing how she does hers and I saw ... I saw... THREAD TRACING.

Thread tracing and machine basting the heck out of *everything* has made all the difference (well, with the Vogue instructions) and I think, I *think* I might have beaten the bound buttonhole at long last.  We'll see... I have the handstitching phase to do on five more!

Fun with blogging.  Maeve was full of all kinds of good advice about buttons, so of course I needed to take a picture of the buttons I'd safetypinned to my jacket to decide on placement.  And then I decided, "hm.  This won't do - I need to put the lapel and collar on or she won't get the full effect".  Whereupon I found out that my top button needed to come down and in - it was hidden under the lapel!

So I'm really pleased that I took that picture... well, this picture... (before and after).  Thanks, God!

Lots of measuring and fiddling today.  I dunno, but I think this just might go pretty quickly, now that I've started at all.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Finally. We have a stack of bits.

First I'd like to say that I am super grateful to all the time I have spent crying and moaning and learning to alter patterns.  When it came time to making my sleeve a two-piece sleeve, which I've never done before, and the instructions said, "cut here and..." it was a breeze.  I think a craftsperson is allowed to enjoy their skill, and that moment pleased me.

Second.  Well, I got it done!  Having done the pattern changes to the outer coat previously, today I started by making the changes to the lining and facing bits of the coat, truing up any odd bits, and making sure my pattern pieces were perfect and ready to go.

Jo wanted to know if I was super nervous.  Yes, at first I was.  Lots of tension, especially while I was making the changes to the lining bits.  But then... well, I've made how many muslins of this coat?  I was ready.  (Still stressful, you know how it is - you have to get everything just right before you cut... for every single layout).

I keep calling this (and occasionally other patterns) "fabric pigs".  Today I took a picture of what a "fabric pig" looks like in the wild... (I used the blank space for collars and such, it wasn't wasted, but there is a big pile of triangles on the floor of my cutting area right now - I'll have to sort it out later and see what's usable and what not).

Thought you guys would like to see the lining, because it's awesome.  Also, fabric pigs sometimes have to be cut on the flat instead of folded over and doubled.  Blergh.

I cut haircloth too, which you can see in this picture, of my big pile of done!  (The lining is the stuff with the weird stripes on the back, the haircloth is the beige-y grey stuff).

So.  That was most of my day, along with a haircut for 10yo, grocery shopping and the normal stuff.  There's a hot bath in my future!

Hope you're having fun.................

Monday, October 20, 2014

Sleeves for Maeve

Thanks for pestering me to make the sleeves better, Maeve.

I actually *used* some of the tricks I know... and I ended up with a sleeve that I knew fit as soon as I put it on (well away from any mirrors).

I was trying to put in an elbow dart, which looked odd... but ended up taking a tuck out at the elbow (instead of taking the extra length out at the wrist).  That helped enormously.  And then I made it into a two-piece sleeve  - which allows for better fitting and a button detail at the cuff.

Adjusted the shoulder to the bit I'd already done, only properly... and I have a sleeve that inserted without gathers.  This bodes well for the final run and a smooth sleeve cap (a puckered cap is a tell-tale sign of homemade goods).

I need to take out the extra inch I'd put in on the front, it's too much.  Then *one* row of three buttons down, for a slightly asymmetrical line (always flattering on me - I drape my belts at that line) and some hem/cuff detailing and we're GTG.

In other words, I think I might cut fabric tomorrow.


Ignore the slight flop at the top of the shoulder, I'm not wearing a sleeved garment underneath.  I'm pretty sure that will fill in nicely with a sweater, which we will all assume I'd be wearing underneath an overcoat.