A Coat for my Petticoat


At long last a sewing FO post! Sewing Goddess be praised. I've been living with this coat as a UFO for what seems like two months.  It was more like one month, but there's nothing is worse than a giant project taking up your sewing space that refuses to finish it's self.   Where is my army of sewing frogs? What do I do all this baking for if they don't show up?

The problem did not lay in the pattern or even the fabric. The problem was me.  In the past I've gleefully cranked out several coats/jackets for the blog. Usually I find them to be an enjoyable project that has a great pay off.  This time the manic desire to cut into some coating just didn't come brimming up through my pores.  It could be that "sewing a coat" has been on the mental list so long that it turned into an obligation.  It could be that the Christmas dress was a big ass project and I wasn't really ready for another one. Or it could be that it's freaking cold in my sewing area and I'd rather hide in my bedroom with some knitting needles.  Bring me a heating pad and a pie!
Now you might be asking, "Heather, if you didn't want to sew a coat, then why did you bully yourself into doing it?"  Good question and I've got three perfectly valid reasons.  Number 1 There is a lot of wool coating in the stash taking up tons of room.  Number 2 - I didn't feel like freezing my butt off outside while taking pictures of summer dresses.  Number 3 - I needed a coat that had a wide enough skirt to fit my petticoat under it......like you do.   OK, I realize that the last sentence is a bit absurd and even Past Heather would be going, "Petticoat What?"  Let's just say this whole "retro dressing" thing is a slippery slope and soon you find yourself buying petticoats and hair flowers and LOVING IT. My petticoat gets worn semi-regularly and thus I needed a coat where it didn't awkwardly stick out the back. Nothing ruins your look faster then a "tooth paste squeezing out of the tube" look around your knees.
With the criteria "can fit a petticoat under it" only one pattern jumped into my mind.  Gertie's kimono sleeved, full skirted coat pattern, better known as Butterick 5824. Now that baby has petticoat room to spare. Heck I could smuggle drowsy Dashshounds under there and no one would be the wiser. "No your coat is barking. No yours!. Yip, yip, yip."
Ahem, where were we? Ah yes, coat planning. I've always liked the look of B5824, but it does need a whole lot of fabric. Did my stash have a length of coating long enough? I had to put my minions to work finding out. "Ohhhh Froggie, break out the tape measure cause you've got some measuring to do. Chop, chop." Turns out most of my coating lengths are in the 3-4 yard range, way too short for the pattern. I was about to abandon B5824 when, huzzah, the cobalt blue wool turned out to be 5 yards long. That's still a half yard short of the requirements, but with a little tweaking the pattern just might fit. I did a test layout and found that 5 yards would work fine if the coat was 2" shorter.

The original plan was to get this coat done in January for both Jungle January and the Gertie pattern contest McCall's was having. I'm sure that could have happened if I'd sewed the coat instead of doing a bunch of avoidance knitting. "Laa, Laa, Laa, what coat?  There is only yarn." Oh well, knowing you'll like a finished garment doesn't always make for speedy sewing. Hopefully Miz P. will forgive me for missing the wonderful Jungle January if she gets a flash of the lining.  Put on your sunglasses because snow leopard lining springs eternal.
As usual I've put all my fitting tweaks, scandalous confessions and husband input below. So read on for more coat goodness.

Butterick 5824. I used a combo of sizes 16/18, but could have easily cut a straight size 16.

Fabrics used
Wool flannel coating from Gorgeous fabrics.
Snow leopard lining also from Gorgeous fabrics

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Made the same 1/2" sloping shoulder adjustment to the kimono sleeve as I did to my Christmas dress.

2. Shortened the bodice length by 3/8".

3. Increased the back dart intake to 2 1/2".

4. Did an "on the fly" adjustment of taking in the waist at the side seams about an 1" total.

5. Instead of using bound buttonholes as the closure, I used large snaps so that there was nothing to get in the way of a belt. Also I hate sewing bound buttonholes.

6. Added some thread belt loops to the side seams.

7. Pieced the pocket so that the self fabric would peak out of the seam and not the lining.

8. Reduced the length of the coat by 2". I did not use the lengthen/shorten line. Instead the length was taken off the bottom of the hem to also reduce the hem sweep a bit.

- I did check out the sew-a-long for this pattern on Gertie's blog. Most of the coat's construction was straight forward to me so I didn't need additional hand holding. However I did appreciate some of the extra finishing tips she'd posted. For example I'd never basted down the edges of a coat and then steamed them so that they roll in the correct direction. That technique worked well and I think it makes the coat look a little more professional.

- Because of the weight of the skirt pulling on the waist, you could almost go down a waist size on the pattern.  Even with my on the fly waist alteration, the coat is still overly roomy in that location.

- I like the look of this coat with a belt on my figure. The belt gives me some more waist definition and detracts from the fact that the front closure is bulky in this fabric.

- The instructions to fuse the entire hem were followed even though it was a total pain in the ass. It probably doesn't matter in wool this thick.....but then I'm not a coat expert.

Husband Comment
"You look like cookie monster. Just kidding, it's elegant.....for cookie exchange parties."

My Final Thoughts
While I might not have been in the mood to sew a coat, I sure do love wearing it. It's all "wintertime princess" with serious twirl factor. Pretty sure you could throw this over a bath robe and strangers on the street would still ask why you are dressed up. "Because I made this coat. See, SEE!" Then they back away slowly. That's good cause I need room to twirl.

P.S.  A big thanks to everyone who nominated/voted for my blog over on Madalynne's best sewing blog series. I almost feel sheepish about getting an "award" for inheriting my father's need to be productive at all times. Still gonna put the button up though. ;)

When Sewing Mojo is a No Go


Hello fellow lovers of fabric, I seem to be suffering from lengthy loss of my sewing mojo. It hightailed it out of here some time in November when my back was turned. Maybe it was offended at all my Black Friday clothing purchases, or just saw a chance to escape for warmer climates. We may never know.

In the meantime I've been keeping myself busy with the following things:

1. Casting on a crap load of yarn.
The cold weather seems to have sparked a desire to cover myself in yarn until I'm entangled in a yarny cocoon. I've been running amok on ravelry queuing up loads of sweater patterns and debating about how many should be cast on at once. My knitting mojo says, "How about all of them? That won't make you crazy or anything." Hey Mojo, I'm already crazy, does that make a difference? No? OK then, pass me those 40 yarn skeins.

2. Watching lots of TV
What goes together better than knitting stockinette and TV?  Nothing...unless you also add chocolate and wine to the equation.  Then you are having a proper Granny style party. "Ain't no party like a Granny style party, cause a Granny style party stops at 10 pm.....Granny needs her beauty sleep."  

I've watched "Death comes to Pemberley" which was very enjoyable and I'd recommend to anyone who enjoys period pieces.  Next I went on a large bender of crime dramas with "Broadchurch" and "The Killing." "Broadchurch was excellent and had me guessing the killer almost to the very end.  "The Killing" began strong, then started to drag and finally ended with me yelling about the writers being monkeys with type writers. After all the heavy fare I watched Lifetime's "Liz & Dick" and ironically enjoyed the horrible train wreck of a program that was. Oh Lohan, you better hope Liz Taylor's ghost doesn't rise from her grave intent on revenge. Though death by diamonds does sound kind of sexy.

3. Culling the fabric stash
After culling the fabric stash last year I thought there wouldn't be much more to remove.  Ummmm wrong. I've gotten to the point where my tastes have changed, which means some fabric has fallen out of favor. This led to some serious musing about the number of sewing plans vs time to sew. It so easy to wrack up a mental sewing list, harder to actually sew it.

I'm never going to be the one to say, "No more fabric purchases," because sometimes you need a pick me up or you run across something fantastic. However it crossed my mind that I should only purchase fabric I LOVE and not fabric that I only like. I've also reached the conclusion that what gets sewn and worn most often are cotton fabrics of both the knitted and woven variety. For years I've been buying all manner of fabrics because "I'm a real sewer and can sew all sorts of things."  That's all well and good, but if you don't wear those other fabrics what's the point? Well the point probably was to Have All The Pretties. I might have to concede there are some flaws to that way of thinking. Flaws like when the fabric stash starts invading every room of your home and other family members start giving you the stink eye. It's like they want space for their hobbies, ungrateful wretches. ;)
(I did post some of my stash for sale on Etsy if you are not aware. Store name is FrogsStash.  Thank you to those of you that have already given some of my stuff new homes. I know you'll treat those fabric babies well.)

4. Eating my weight in chocolate. 
I'm sure you're aware that February is chocolate month and you must stuff your face with it at every opportunity. I've been fully embracing this concept and have been ransacking Trader Joe's and the local independent candy store. My current favorites are anything that involves chocolate and caramel creating a sinfully delicious union in my mouth. Come to Mamma!

5. Browsing Etsy for vintage sewing patterns......for hours
The part of my brain that wants to plan projects is still going strong.  I'm using vintage pledge a thinly veiled excuse to slightly pad the small vintage portion of the pattern stash. Maybe I'm genetically programmed to hoard things, but buying summer dress patterns helps me get through the winter.  I have no regrets about these new new additions. Bonus, the Advance one was only 5 bucks because the pencil skirt pieces were missing. No problem, I've got pencil skirt patterns a plenty.
So that's what's up in my neck of the woods. I'm hoping the sewing mojo will return soon because the lack of new clothing in my closet is really bumming me out. Where are those sewing birds and mice when you need them?
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