New Coat New Year

I have been working on some upcycled knits for Fashion Revolution week this year, so a lot of sewing is getting put to one side for ‘after April’.

I had been meaning to make a new coat for a while and had a navy 80s ‘Jimmy Hourinan’  (high end Irish clothing brand) coat that I was looking forward to remaking. I had bought the coat 2 years ago in the charity shop. It was a generous 80’s cut and beautiful fabric (wool cashmere – so light and so warm) and sadly it also would have originally been at least 12 inches longer. Someone donated the coat cut to a shorter length and pins still in it!

Its hard to describe the cut and the photograph does not fully show (as I took these photos late evening 2 years ago). The sleeves were a low cut doman/raglan, and there was a generous collar. The front of the coat shaping is a ‘princess seam’. When I took the coat apart and there was less fabric than I had hoped. I had hoped to get a funnel neck coat or asymentric coat (and few contenders), but as the length was no longer there my options were limited.

I always think it is ultimately best to find a pattern with similar lines and work from there.

The Butterick pattern I had seemed to have this as it has a simple cut, raglan sleeve and I could potentially ‘squeeze’ in the neckline. The neckline here is a subtle funnel neck with a nice front detail. The sleeve heads were shorter because of the neckline (and the original sleeves were shorter because of the big cuffs).

I adapted this butterick pattern to include a seam down by moving the ‘french’ dart to a bust dart and then put a seam down from the dart point, and incorporating the coats original seam here.

I graded it out a bit here and there as the fit of the coat is slim. I used the front seam to keep the pockets in-seam as in the previous coat. The pockets are smaller than the original coat as one panel was moved up to accommodate the neckline.

win_20181201_14_38_17_pro

 

One the pattern was drafted and cut, it was relatively straightforward, except for

-there was a notch/cut in the previous centre back seam which I did not notice until after so I had to darn it after.

-the sleeves needed a small cuff added to make it longer.

Took these photos of it a month ago on Christmas Day

 

there were five buttonholes and five buttons when I got the coat. I took the coat apart and had everything stored well.

The cut incorporated the original 5 button holes but could only find four buttons!

so I omitted the lower one and I am waiting for it to reappear in my workroom, which I do hope is soon as anytime someone admires the coat I inevitably point out the missing button…. why do we do this!!!

 

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so many plans – so many patterns

It is also technically still winter  (Met Eireann/our weather board class December January and February as winter in Ireland) so I also see it as a time of semi-hibernation and taking it easy – January is definitely my tiredest month, probably because if also feels like the darkest one.

So rather than try and make a tonne of stuff (as if) I figured it would be a lot more productive to get all my favourite patterns that I actually own (as opposed to covet on etsy) and make a top ten to sew for the year from comfort of the sofa. So gathered em up, and then whittled down to a few that I have clothes that could be remade this year. (I do also have plans for a few self drafted ones too).

And the top picks werevogue 1

I am not too sure if I will get a make with this one. I love this era of Vogue illustration, and had been thinking of a high neck blouse as an alternative to polo necks. I also have a flimsy chiffon ‘play suit’ which may work if I try a sleeveless version of this? otherwise I am sure there a few other contenders I can try.

hollywood

The hollywood pattern I have a long time. I was full sure I was going to make it straight away when I got it, but no….it has languished. The main attraction was that the top uses little fabric, and I have some of my ‘precious’ silks that can get used here.

vogue 2The Vogue blouse I got before  Christmas. I was also given this stripe skirt by a friend, I am not too sure if I will make the sleeved version from the stripes, so I am also thinking of maybe a plain colour ……..vogue sybi

Sybil Connolly blouse, I have wanted to make a Sybil Connolly pattern sometime. I am a bit fascinated by her (especially after seeing her tweed patchwork full length 1950s skirt) so I am trying this blouse as I have an odd polka dot dress which I have not got a clue what to do with.

coats and jkt

Style Arc – Katherine Daze made this coat, and when I saw her coat I thought the ‘Jimmy Hourihan’ coat I had waiting could be used. I really have not a clue if it will work as I took the coat apart ages ago and its folded away…..

Vogue Moto Jacket – I thought some wool mens jackets could be upcycled with this one.

Simplicity Coat Pattern – I have a navy wool coat which is waiting a long time, and it has similar lines.

blaire

Style Arc Shirt – I only picked up this pattern to save on some postage when I bought the other. I have some cream silk shirts to re-cut, and thought to use them here, and a chance to use up more of the squirreled away silks

vogue 3

I hope to try this vogue pattern with a taffeta bridesmaid dress I was given

advance

I also have a charity shop wedding silk suit…….Its amazing the amount of flouncy-fancy-only worn-once-pieces that are in the charity shops, and I thought this Advance pattern could work here.

simp

The one I am working on (slowly) at the moment is this cute top- The pattern was a gifted trace that I have been meaning to make up for ages. I got this raw silk bridesmaid skirt (I assume) last month. I adored the colour and was rather impressed with the amount of bias in the fish-tail skirt, perfect for the collar.

I have a few more self drafted patterns to test out and share….but for the moment, I am in no rush!

It has been a good way of getting a plan going for the year, as I got to tidy away the pieces and patterns I won’t be working on and have the ones I will work on to the fore….

And I also got to fold my stash of charity shop buys….(a good start is half the job)

sew cupboard

 

embroidered wool coat

I don’t know if this is a general habit for others, but often if I am working on a long/boring/difficult project I start to plan a nice/interesting project in my head and this project becomes the treat that I can look forward to.  So while I was plodding away with the Irish dance costume, wondering when it would all end….. I was planning to embroider this coat on the left below.

embroidered red coat

The coat is a nice quality wool, and in its day, it would have been a mid-range coat with a basic (ie not satin) lining, although the wool by contemporary standards is excellent.  It had the 80s shoulders (big), a generous cut in all (I think everyone wore big jumpers in the 80s too).  It didn’t sell for €20 didn’t sell for €10 and I bought it at €2.  I was never too sure on the colour as it was a dull rust red so I left it for a while until I figured what pattern to use for it.

I used simpliciy pattern 6733.   The cut is similar to the one I drafted last year, but the simplicity pattern has no darts, and a bit more generous in the cut, and I managed to squeeze it in.  The cut was quick enough – centre front and buttonholes and pockets carefully lined up and cut (and useful to have them all done) – back equally easy to line up.  The sleeves were a squeeze and I find this each time I recut a coat, so as long as I got 2cm past hem line, I could do a faced hem!  The collar was part cut from collar and I cut as short as I could so I would have sufficient fabric for a hood.

I dithered over the design.  Originally I was going to go with one colour only and do a grid of this motif, but it did look and feel a bit bland – a friend of mine suggested the scale of the design was insignificant got me thinking a bit more and I went searching for a another motif so with some other tiny scraps I did another test using this new motif, and loved it as the red and pink seemed to lift the colour and I could do some borders also.  I used motifs from embroideryonline.com.   Originally I was going to try and do a tiled design but once I did the finished the large motifs and placed the half motif I figured it looked a bit busy so left it.  The coat  has 2 borders – one in red, and the other in brown, and there are 8 large motifs around.  The sleeves just have the borders, and I used standard sewing thread for the embroidery.

embroidery  samples

final motifs for embroidered coat

Out of the left over fabric, I recut some back and side facings, and reused the lining, and also cut a hood.  I did not re-cut the lining as the cut was so similar to the coat itself, I just took it in a bit at sleeve head and sides.  I did use some gross-grain ribbon on the hem to give a make a bigger hem, and I like the way the ribbon looks on the inside – I also put my label on the lining with the original! (these are school labels – and I am finding them useful especially for knits so I know the back and front!).  The hang loop was reused.

 

 

The hood was a tighter cut, and I had tried to make it more dramatic originally, but when I tried it on I did not like the bigger hood at all, and as the idea of the hood for me is practical, the bigger hood has less weight and would probably blow off occasionally so I trimmed it and had to use some embroidered scraps in the edging.  I put poppers along so its not detachable.

embroidered coat with hood and without

Verdict- so delighted with the coat and wearing it loads.  This red, despite my original misgivings,  is a perfect shade, and the embroidery seems to ‘lift’ it.   It nicely replaced last years red coat which I did not wear that much as the red was a bit overwhelming for me.

I did a stall at a local market and sold some makes and last years red coat was sold.  It a great shade but too bright for me.   The stall was a bit of an experiment as sometimes donating back makes to the charity shop potentially increases their workload, and it could be interesting to find out what people think of the remakes directly.  I priced the makes at secondhand clothes prices – as charging labour time would have been unrealistic,and I wanted to clear the excess makes.  I see these makes as sample sews and considering doing a stall occasionally in the future as I like the making but sometimes I make more than I wear and and sometimes, I make for an experiment.

 

blue coat with embroidered sleeves – and MeMadeMay makes

I really have far more than I can re-sew currently, and yet when my friend Petra mentioned she saw a coat in her local charity shop she thought I would like, and I liked the sound of it (wool), and so the next time she was at the shop, it was still there and she got it.  One reason it was probably still there, was it’s navy, which does not seem to sell, and yet I find it a better colour for me.

It still had its tags, and the maker label – Miller Raynor Danco .  I looked them up and it seems they are a brand (still going) that make ship uniforms and this one was from the 70s or 80s as they had some name changes.  I could not figure the size but think it an 16 or 18, and it felt a bit big on, and the cut was rather boxy and school-ish.  Its a light-weight wool so it really looked like a useful summer/mid-season coat.

I left it a few weeks before I cut into it.  The main changes I wanted to make were to take out the button thing at the sleeve, and take it in, and I had in mind to add embroidery.  I unpicked the seams to the neckline, and tried to work on the coat without fully taking it apart.  I used my raglan coat pattern for the front, and trimmed about 4cm off the side seams on the front panels and tapered it the sleeves.  When I lay the rest of the pattern on the coat, my pattern was slightly bigger than all the other pieces so I resewed them all up without cutting them.

I dithered a bit on the embroidery and settled on a ‘lawn’ motif, and in a single colour.  Originally I wanted to embroider the centre front or around the hem.  Doing the centre front would have been tricky,  and I would need a bigger motif and a machine that could take a bigger hoop for the around the hem, and after a fair bit of deliberation, and dragging another friend over for a consult – the sleeves seemed to be the way to go.

It was relatively straight forward, and once done, I decided that the collar had to go.  I was going to keep it, but really thought it too severe – so I just tidied up the neck-line until I decided on whether to go for a bound edge on the neck or a ribbing (as in what you would get on a ‘bomber’ jacket).  So the plan is to wear it as is, until I figure it out – I still have to change the buttons and I will go for covered buttons in the same fabric and sew up the top buttonhole and replace with decorative button and popper underneath.

I enjoy MMM (me-made-may) postings but I don’t post any,  a lot has to do with my delaying in organising photos, but as I was very happy to have ended up packing for a trip with mainly me-makes – I figured I better get some photos of them.  We went on a small trip away to York and Leeds

I packed a DKNY dress (I made this a while ago, and never blogged about it).  Its a brilliant pattern and the dress wears well with a base layer or on its own and I have worn it loads since its January make.   I tend to wear it with a hand-drawn baselayer.  Another make I have never blogged about as I didn’t think much of it as I made it 2 years ago and yet I use it constantly – so much so, that I found white sleeve tee in the charity shop last month and made another!  Basically its just drawing strips with permanent marker, and then brushing them with methylated spirits to disperses the pen and then when its dry -wash  it well (as the fumes stay in the fabric).  The reason I was disappointed originally was that the tee looks particularly cool when its meths soaked and dries rather flat later, but its since become a staple, and now I have 2.  In all I was really pleased with my packing as other times I go away, I bring too much of the wrong stuff and dont wear it all – the amount I brought this time was just right and I was able to layer on the two cooler days and wear less on the 2 warm days.

The stripe tee looks well with the yellow cardi I upcycled in January, and this works well with my denim cigarette pants, which also work fine with the McCalls summer top from last year, so between that and  a few shoe changes I was packed!

I used the boots, cigarette pants and long sleeve baselayer and navy sweater for the travel (Navy sweater only item not a MMM) on the Wednesday.  Thursday was a beautiful warm day in York – I didn’t not bring my coat at all! -and I changed shoes going to dinner later.

Friday was cooler, and I wore the DKNY dress with baselayer and coat for a trip to the Leeds Armoury (swanky photo above) and shops (including seeing the All Saints sewing machine window display – WOW*, as well as the M&S Archive), and on Saturday, wore the cigarette pants, boots, yellow cardi baselayer etc for musuem and gallery visits before heading back.   I was well glad of my choice in footwear as we walked loads – the only issue really was the trip was too short and we could only do so much – so thinking of heading over again sometime.

So after wearing the coat for the weekend, I am still undecided on collar and will take the coat in a small bit more on sides.  Very chuffed with coat – and will be repeating the embroidery on some summer linens.

*there was a Tesla car on display opposite the All Saints shop and I never even noticed it- I was only told about it later by my sister who went there on the the Saturday –  I was inspecting the machines it didn’t register!

simonetta dress 1587 – vogue coat 7514

I have had these patterns for a while, and a wedding invite last January was a bit of an excuse to make them.  It was for an April wedding, (last weekend) in the very west of Ireland (connemara).   Both patterns are very simple, and were relatively quick makes (my favourite type).

simonetta dress vogue coat

 

I am especially pleased with the dress as I think the shoulders being slightly extended make it a very flattering cut for the pear shaped, and although I graded it out for my hips, I ended up having to take it in, and for all my ‘A-line empire line shift dress patterns’ this one is the best!   I wanted to run up a ‘wearable’ muslin – and as luck would have it, I found a strange (I think 70s synthetic curtain fabric?) piece in the fabric cupboard in the community sew room – It had been there a while, and has a not-great feel to it, but has the look of thick linen, and there was just enough to get the dress out of it.  There was not enough for the collar so I used some satin, and I didn’t fully ‘get’ the steaming of the collar first time, so I just bias bound it and simplified it. simonetta black dress

Finding the fabric for both the coat and dress was a bit of a chore as the local fabric shop has only a small selection, and my favourite Dublin shop (Murphy Sheehys) now only does interior fabric, so I went online and got this from Clothspot in the UK.  I was trying to keep within a budget (40stg was the total in the end), and chose a grossgrain (not my favourite fabric but knew the weight would work fine) in a red and a cotton in ‘pebble’ for the coat.  The red dress was quick to run up and the collar much easier once kept steam ironing – I never did this type of collar before so was pleased with the finish. Basically its a straight strip of bias, folded and then steamed into a curve shape to mimic the interfacing, and then trimmed if longer than the interfacing.  I omitted the pockets flaps/mock pockets as I really could not see the point and they seemed unnecessary.

bias steamed collarsimonetta dress

I had been hoping to make a summer coat for a while as they really are useful, but finding the right weight of fabric was difficult.  This fabric was slightly light for a coat, and creased easily enough, so I ended up interlining it at the last minute.  I was unable to get a cotton voile so I just used vilene – I did not interline the sleeves as they are on the bias, and therefore should not ‘hold onto’ an elbow crease (I think this should be the case but will see how it wears in time).  I lined the main part of the coat in some left over craft fabric and used regular lining for the sleeves (and not enough craft fabric left)

vogue 7514

The collar of the coat is bias cut, and I had to do a pad stitch – which I never did before and wasn’t sure so out came Allyne Bane sewing book – creative clothing construction  (one of my go-to books) and I am really pleased with the roll and sit of the collar, it sits away from the neck.  Other than that, the only other issue was BUTTONS (I spent ages and ages and ages on them) – I could not figure one at all, but went with covered ones and they seem fine.  I did keyhole buttonholes on the machine, as I had not chosen my buttons until after the coat was fully made.    The side seams are slightly to the front on this which makes for comfortable in-seam side pockets, and the ribbon close just threads through under the arms.  I think it looks a bit fussy closed, but I do like the way the ribbons drape at the side when its worn open.  I stiched red gross-grain over wider plum gross-grain to make the ribbon-tie, and I have a blue brown one which I will use this summer to wear with denims!

coat and dress

I made the bag as well, but it was rather rushed as I did it the morning of the wedding!  I used a noodlehead pencil case pattern, and then recycled a lanyard clasp.

Overall, it all worked so well.  The day itself was incredibly sunny, but rather cool, so the coat worked out very well as most of the afternoon was spent on a windy terrace, and I got to wear my favourite silver shoes – so all good.

red coat remake

Probably one of the more exciting things that happened this week was whenever I got to change flavours in cough sweets.  I have been rather bogged down by a sore throat/lost voice all week, so sounding like Kathleen Turner (how cool) but punctuated by hacking cough (how not cool) and feeling a bit peeved by it all and with only myself to blame (as I went out with a cold, came home with no voice).   I did manage to refocus the sewing, and finish this red coat .

red coat remakeIts probably my longest sewing project as it was done over the course of 6 or 7 weeks, and yet it only really took 2 or 3 days.  The coat is a divine cherry red wool, in an 80s cut, and the buttons were of the same ilk (and just look plain old tacky).  So I took it apart, brushed it and steamed it and rested it for a few days before the cut.  The lining was in good condition so I took a chance and put it aside to reuse.  I used the same self drafted pattern I used on last years coat, and decided to cut front from front etc, and reuse both the pockets and the buttonholes (as there was not enough fabric to redo the buttonholes) and in all this seemed all like a good idea and both the coat and lining were sewn up in a day, over a month ago…… and left there.  After making it up, I decided I was not sure about the darts (I have since relented and like them but would omit/change them if I was using this cocoon-style coat pattern again), and then I dithered on how best to finish (there is no best way, the only way is to get on with it).

red coat remake

In truth, the only delay was finding better buttons, and I ended up using ones that came from the button box that are a dark metal.  They are the right size and seem to work well. So then it was trying to tweak the already attached front facing into joining the rest.  I cut the back facing from the left over scrap and also made the sleeves longer but adding a deep cuff, I thought I wanted the coat shorter, but preferred it a bit longer when I had it near done, so I added bias binding to the hem to maximise the length.  I left the wool label in place…..but don’t think I will ever ever reuse those gold buttons…..

red coat remakered coat remake

Finishing took a day, and I was rather pleased. So I steamed it and clamped it and broke the Ann Ladbury rule (of resting coats overnight on hanger or manequin after making and pressing) and wore it straight away.

a coat for a fiver

So theres a coat, reduced from 20 to 10 to 5….. its wool cashmere, no pocket shaping dart getting in the way, long, navy, and although a mans coat, there was sufficient fabric around the hips for a remake.  I got this coat last spring and put in to the ‘to do’ side.

remake a coat upcycle a coat



There a a few things I have found useful in remaking wool coats

1.  A size 10 will never make a size 12.  This is an obvious one, but sometimes my enthusiasm makes me think I can.  For me, generally, the best way to use up the fabric effectively  is to work with the same style, and also the easiest.  A raglan sleeve is best left a raglan sleeve. I also choose in this case to keep the pockets.  I had originally thought to take these out and try and conceal a dart in this line, but I also thought why not just do it the easiest way.  


2.  Steam and rest fabric.  After taking the coat apart, I brushed and steam ironed each piece.  I sometimes use a water vinegar spray to help lift the pile and flatten some pressed seams and creases.  Then if the fabric is rested overnight, so it can relax back into shape very well indeed.  This I should have done, but I was a bit impatient and only left it for a few hours, and paid for it when I put in the facings!


3.  New lining is probably best.  In general the lining is often not worth reusing and it is difficult to recut, and I can reuse it in smaller projects.   I reused this as it looked so warm and was in good condition, and had loads of inside pockets.  However, I did have a twist in the recut sleeve linings, it doesn’t show when wearing, but the seam is skewed on the inside and I only found this out after it was sewn, so I unpicked the sleeve lining hem, and let it hang naturally, repinned, resewed.  Who knows if this was my cut or the old lining, but if faced with same dilemma again, I would re-cut the sleeves from fresh lining..  The last jacket I tried a cotton sheet for lining and it was not warm . Also, the slash for the slit in the original coat was left and I just did a patch repair.  As its a ‘casual’ coat, I am not overly bothered.


4.  Press and rest as you go.  It really makes a difference.  It was an Ann Ladbury tip from ‘Clothes that Count’ where she suggested when you have finished making your coat, to give it a final steam and light press, and then to put it on a dress form overnight so it could relax into its new shape.  I tend to do this as much as I can after each sewing session also, and had to do extra for all the in-betweens for this coat to compensate for the rushed start.

I had rushed the beginning of this coat as I had hoped to wear it to a lunch with my sister and in the end, I didn’t as I had to rework one or two areas over my rushed start.  The facings were a problem as it was a mans coat so I used the buttonhole facing on the button side (ladies side) so I zig-zag closed the small bit of button hole that was visible as the popper covers it pretty much..  I decided to go with covered poppers as closures.  As the one with the silver sticky out bit was more attractive, I left this facing out, and I have poppers done both ways on various coats. 


I used the collar for the neck facing and its clunky but serviceable.  I was trying to save as much fabric as I could for the detachable hood.  


so the coat was a fiver, I reused the lining, and the poppers cost a whole SIX euro!!!.  I love the coat, its perfect.  The hood is great, but as the autumn weather has been bright and dry I have been wearing it without, and I prefer the coat without the hood, but if its raining, hoods are much handier than hats or umbrellas so its great to have the option.

and finally, my friend Cathriona took some photographs…. a gazillion thanks as I am a rather impatient subject!

 

WOMANS REALM K99 – RED LINEN COAT



WOMANS REALM K99 - RED LINEN COAT - VINTAGE COAT PATTERN


Originally it was supposed to become a version of Balenciaga One Piece coat, but the ‘toile’ was awful – really awful. I thought I could adapt a vintage pattern with a raglan sleeve to make a coat – and I did – using womans realm pattern K99 – the housecoat pattern and shortening the length. 


When I was reading up on making up from vintage patterns for contemporary fit, there seemed to be the belief that most bust darts in vintage patterns needed to be moved, as we no longer wear vintage underwear (bras)…., and I altered them but ended up putting them back in original position when the coat was made up.


WOMANS REALM K99 - RED LINEN COAT - VINTAGE COAT PATTERN

I have since found that I don’t move darts for my fit in vintage patterns – but my nape to waist measures 15.5inches so this probably could be the reason. 

The patch pockets looked tatt so I ditched them, and will probably insert pockets in the side seam later.  I could not find buttons I liked so I covered press fasteners.  The coat is in a heavy linen (great for spring, too heavy for summer) and was in the stash… and was supposed to be lined in cotton but a good match in printed cotton was hard to find, so I patched together some left over lining from scrap and went with that!  




This photo is of my sister wearing it……….. and it looks stunning on her.