Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Winter Begone

Spring is officially here in North America so that means it is most likely time for me to wrap up my posts for the small amount of winter sewing I did this year. Yes, it might just be that I have a procrastination contrarian dominant gene in my lineage since my blog posts don't seem to be matching the seasonal sewing schedule.
Back in last season I accepted a FB sewing group challenge to sew a winter coat.  Then several weeks later I ended up buying two gorgeous vintage wool coats at a hospital charity sale and my enthusiasm for a tailored winter coat project died but my desire to sew up some interesting fabric in my stash did not.  I had purchased a double sided faux suede polar fleece combo fabric, Fabric Mart, of course, for a few dollars a yard thinking that it could serve as a coat mock up if nothing else.  Since I no longer needed a heavy wool coat I dug out the fabric and found a pattern that would suit it perfectly...New Look 6536.  I had been doing some tedious and un-photogenic work with Sarah Veblen at the same time so I took the mock up for this coat and we both agreed that this pattern has terrific bones. 
 I was reluctant to give it a try since normally I don't like raglan sleeves.  They usually have folds of fabric along my arm and an unflattering uni-boob look.  But after Sarah made some minor tweaks...a little more room on the armhole seam which is where the bust shaping happens and a large wedge of fabric in the sleeve armscye area.  (Silly me, I didn't realize that yes, raglan sleeves have a sleeve cap and I just needed more sleeve cap height to get rid of those ugly folds.)  
Mock up with sleeve wedge added 
The fabric was relatively easy to sew.  I used a microtex needle and of course did not press the fabric with my iron, since it is polar fleece, merely steamed it, finger pressed it open and let it dry in place.  
New Look 6536
I forgot to take pictures of my topstitching....there's so much of it that I was glad it was DONE.  But I did use two threads in that same needle and was happy with the result.  

Since the fabric wouldn't press totally flat, I did stitch down the seam allowances in two area, along the top arm seam and along that mid-body seam.  I really wanted those seams to be flat and not curl.

New Look 6536
It is the perfect warm but lightweight coat that I need and will wear a great deal in Maryland.  Easy topper to throw over a tunic and jeans and those pockets mean I can run errands and walk the dog without worrying about a purse.  No, it's not the elaborately tailored coat that I imagined appearing on these pages back in the early autumn months.  But it is perfect for my climate and my life and that's what sewing lets us do.
The rest of my winter sewing was a variation on more TNT patterns.  Burda 6809 is one of several tunic patterns that I simply love.  It's got a retro sixties vibe to it and so far my versions have been summery ones.  This winter I wanted to use some bright emerald green embroidered silk dupioni that I picked up on the giveaway table from last year's sewing retreat.  I wanted to make the front collar opening and the cuff have some contrast.  Sarah Veblen helped me by looking for a darker forest green scrap that I could possibly use but that was too much green happening, even at the holiday time of year.  As she I spoke I looked again at the fabric and realized that it was just chain stitched contrast thread on that at home I unpicked about 18 inches of the fabric (sorry again, I was sure I had pictures but no luck finding them.)  There were holes in the dupioni that sewing people would notice but once I lightly interfaced those pattern pieces and pressed them, they simply looked as textured as the silk.  Now I had a perfectly matched coordinating fabric.  I used it for the front collar opening and then made a sleeve cuff pattern with a wedge to mimic that front point.  I was quite happy with the final result and planned to wear it to my book group holiday party.
Burda 6809

Testing the sleeve cuff
But my plans changed when we had a polar vortex hit us in early January.  Suddenly this silk tunic and skinny pants outfit was totally inappropriate for a winter party in the even colder hills of Pennsylvania.  TNT pattern to the rescue.  Here's Pamela's Pattern draped front cardigan in a Fabric Mart  hitachi print knit with a vintage mink scarf added for some extra warmth.  This cardigan just takes a few hours to complete and felt cozy and comfortable.
Pamela's Patterns Draped Front Cardigan
The rest of my winter sewing happened at our winter sewing retreat.  Since I already had the pattern out I decided to bring along another cardigan for which I had another vintage fur collar.

I used a Lisette Butterick 6244 pattern for this waterfall jacket.  I especially like this pattern because it has a neckline dart under the waterfall collar.  That gives some bust space and also a slight lift to the collar area which I find more flattering that the previous waterfall patterns I have used.  I changed the waterfall drape itself by copying an Eileen Fisher silk jacket that I have loved for years.  This is my first version in a very sheer poly from Fabric Mart and still needs to have the edges serged with a rolled hem. One of the nice things about the Eileen Fisher one is the doubled hem on the bottom and the sleeves which gives the silk a nice weight.  I have been saving some Anna Sui silks and think this will do them justice.

Eileen Fisher jacket
Well, Mr. Lucky and I are still enjoying our Florida winter sojourn.  We have friends from church staying in our Maryland house this month while they have a renovation in the works and they sent snow covered back deck pictures yesterday.  We have white stuff on the ground, too...
 but in another ten days we will be driving north, back to gardening, back to pick up my sewing machine from its repair visit and back to fun in my sewing room.  I still have some snoop shopping to do here before I leave so I will report what catches my eye.  Here's hoping your seasonal sewing is going well in your part of the world.


  1. I love your coat and the great tip on fixing the uniboob problem. The vintage fur trimmed jackets make my heart sing as my grandmother was a furrier thus my love for fur. Because of you I'm thinking of sewing some denim that has a sheen into a jacket trimmed with vintage fox fur. You've got me excited about possibilities! Karen

    1. Wow, denim and fur would be fabulous. casual but with that touch of luxury. My neck is always cold so these fur collars are a blessing in the winter and in our 1930's plaster walled house.

  2. Great post with lots of great info . I also love the tips for fixing the Uniboob. So many new Patterns & ideas to research .Thanks

    1. That is so sweet, Mary Ellen. I highly recommend that New Look pattern for being comfortable but not overwhelming. I tried a Louse Cutting raglan pattern years ago and while I adore her instructions the mock up just overwhelmed me. This pattern is a similar look but much "trimmer."

  3. Replies
    1. Thank you, Faye, that means a lot coming from such a skilled seamstress.

  4. Thanks for showing the raglan sleeve muslin. It never occurred to me to add sleeve cap height! Love your silk tunic. Clever way to create your coordinating fabric!

    1. You are so right, Marianne, it never occurred to me either. I could not be more fortunate than to end up living so close to Sarah Veblen that I can utilize her expertise to help me get TNT patterns. I now it can be done on our own but it is tedious.


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