Sunday, October 5, 2014

Creeping towards reality

Ah the muslining process.  We learn so much.

In this case:
  • I prefer the stand up collar.  I also tested the asymmetrical floppy one.  Nah.
  • The shoulders are a tiny bit too pointy.
  • The bust shaping is a tiny bit too high.
  • I have crappy posture.  Nevertheless, the coat is shifting slightly to the back.  This is probably not a fitting problem but because my muslin isn't sliding nicely over the bulky fleece jacket I have on under it.  
  • The sleeves are too long. I'll shorten by about 1.5cm, less than my usual.  This is to be a winter coat after all.  
  • I really do have a narrow back.  It needs taking in. I cut a size 10; maybe if I reduce the upper back pieces to size 8 or even 6, it will be about right.  
  • I could use more shape at the waist.  Why  not?
  • I like the raglan lines and shaping of this coat. 
What else did I discover about the pattern?  Well, sewing the CF to the side front was a bit of an adventure because I wasn't paying attention for two reasons.  The first is that there is a mistake on the pattern - the notches on the pieces that are just below the pocket placement circle are mis-printed. And, the length of the CF pieces is shorter than the side front pieces by 22mm (7/8"), the difference between the hem on the side front pieces and the seam allowance at the lower edge of the CF.  

If you mindlessly assemble according to the notches, the bottom cut edges will be close to matching (but not quite). If you proceed, as I did, on the theory that you probably made a cutting and/or notch alignment mistake, and the bottom edges are supposed to match, you will end up with extra fabric in the side front at the waist area. This is clearly wrong, and you may assume (as I did initially) that the excess is supposed to be at the bust and that the notches there are mis-printed.  This excess length can be eased in at the bust, but doing so will throw off the grain and the length of your coat.  

The instructions do illustrate this small length difference, and there is a small circle to match at the lower edge, but I wasn't paying enough attention. Note to self: check pattern before sewing, the next time. Because I am uncertain of the finished length I want (and because I mindlessly tend to simply match up the pieces at the lower edge in sewing), I will add the extra length to the CF pieces so they are all the same.  

I discovered that my extensive stash has all the ingredients for the coat.  I'll reserve on a final button decision until after I can try out the (black) buttons I own against the navy fabric.  

I have decided to line it with some printed polyester crepe rather than "proper" lining fabric.  I think it is substantial enough.  I'll underline with some micro-fleece, and put something windproof in the back.  The melton will be more than warm enough, especially since there will be four (4) layers of it where the double breasted fronts overlap!

As for length, the longest view on the pattern is 104cm (size 8, 10).  That's 41" for the metrically challenged.  I want to add 15cm (6").  And I may end up facing the hem.  We'll see.  

Friday, October 3, 2014

In my mind's eye

I own a bolt (approx. 5m) of dark navy blue wool melton cloth.  I need a new winter coat.  I have an image in my mind's eye of a long, sculpturally lean, dark blue coat, with a warm collar and interesting sleeves.  This should be simple, right?

A while ago, I bought my first Lekala pattern.  It's 4182, which I think is not available on the main Lekala website, only in their Etsy store.  It had a potentially warm collar (just fold it up), and interesting sleeves. They have a lower tapering cuff, with a pleat at the side.

I love the concept of Lekala patterns.  You enter your measurements, pay a paltry amount ($3.46 CAD), and in a few moments you get an e-mail with a personalized pattern in PDF. The patterns can be ordered with or without seam allowances (SAs cost more, for some reason).  You have to print and assemble the pages - something all modern sewers are getting pretty used to.

I muslined the pattern and it fits pretty well, except that it's meant to be a raincoat (thin) when I need a winter coat, which would need more ease.  Obviously, I'd lengthen this considerably, if I were to use this pattern for my coat.  The only fitting glitch is that I told Lekala to give me shorter-than-usual sleeves.  I always have to shorten sleeves by an inch (2.5cm) or more.  Well, they certainly took my instruction seriously!  I eyeballed the pattern pieces, and added 14cm (5.5") before cutting out my muslin.

So why won't I be using this pattern for my coat?  It's too straight up and down.  There are bust darts but absolutely no body shaping, and no fitting seams.  It's drawn in by means of a belt only, which isn't in my mind's eye as an element of my ideal coat.  The pattern may turn into a spring jacket sometime soonish, however.

Downcast, I turned to other patterns in my stash.

I suspended disbelief and made a muslin of Vogue 1320.

Again, I'd lengthen this coat if it were my chosen pattern - which it isn't.  Why not?  Despite its rather nice shaping (by means of side front and back seams; there is a shaped side panel), what does this in for me is the yoke and very high neck, as well as the completely horrid collar that looks constricting without being warm, since it leaves the critical front throat area open to the elements.

I would consider morphing the neckline from the Lekala pattern onto the yoke, except for the fact that the sleeves on this one are  truly strange.  They are best illustrated at the kind of angle in the weird Vogue "window" shot at right.  That is, they kind of stick out.  Too much fabric would bunch, especially at the back. This is not within my "sculpturally lean" vision for my future coat.

Back to the pattern drawer.  I have higher hopes for Simplicity 2508.  

This pattern is reviewed multiple times on PatternReview and people seemed to really like it.  It dates to about 2010, but it looks pretty classic to me.  I was drawn to the white version at upper right, but this view calls for twenty buttons if you put one on each pocket flap!!!  Yikes!!!!

The collar is similar to the Lekala pattern.  The cuffed and buttoned sleeves are the ones I'd choose.

Long?  Could be, if I lengthened it.
Sculpturally lean?  I think so.
Warm collar?  Two choices!
Interesting sleeves?  Yes!

Muslin #3, here I come.