Friday, September 25, 2009

Slow & Steady on the Silver trench

Progress hasn't been exactly speedy on my trenchcoat this week - but that's ok. I have managed to fit in small bouts of sewing and have put the lining together, stitched it to the facing, made the collar and pressed the hems up on the sleeves and coat. I am on track for finishing next week in time to wear it away to Wellington for my trip to the World of Wearable Arts. I am very pleased with it so far, fingers crossed it all goes together without a hitch. The only thing I am not sure about is what to do with the sleeve tabs. They are supposed to have a buckle on them but I can't find any locally. I may have to do a temporary job of securing them and look for a couple of buckles when I am in Wellington. I don't think I am going to put a buckle on the belt but I may do if I see one I like.
.......lining attached to the facings.

..........collar stands stitched to the main collar - thankfully these came out well as I substituted a different stand from another BWOF pattern, the original one had a full stand and I didn't really like the look. this melon shaped one was suggested by a member of Stitchers Guild and it is perfect.
.........I top stitched very close to the seam on both sides.

........this is the finished collar. I left it pinned to my tailors ham for a while to shape it - the wrinkles around the back neck don't show up so much 'in real life'!
so, next step is to attach sleeves to main coat, attach lining and collar and then sort out lining hems etc. I have left a seam open in the lining in the hope that I can bag line it. I plan to turn the sleeves inside themselves and machine the lining to the hem and then catch stitch the hem to the seam allowances. Hopefully it will work. I can't hand stitch on this fabric and I dont' really want a machine stitched hem - if it doesn't work I will machine stitch the hems. I mustn't forget to make the belt and belt carriers - and indeed attach the belt carriers before I put the lining in Lol!

I am still enjoying the process of making this trench - I hope I enjoy wearing it as much!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

On tenterhooks ?

Do you ever wonder where certain phrases originated? I do - often! So I was delighted to find out where the phrase 'being on tenterhooks' comes from. You may already know this....but if not I will explain in due course - first of all I need to tell you about something I re-discovered in my sewing library. I have owned this for years and have looked at it on and off over th3 years, but I have never really read it seriously. With all the Chanel style jackets on the scene at the moment I already knew I would make myself a tailored jacket at some stage which has made me think more about this item.

I am talking about the 'Terry Fox Speed Tailoring Workshop'. It consists of a box which contains a ring binder of information and a plastic storage box for all your samples you make, allowing you to store them for future reference. Sadly I discovered that Terry Fox isn't involved in teaching/writing about sewing any longer, although her company 'The English Couture Company' is still being run by others and her books and dvd's are still available on their website.

In addition to the folder (which has 131 pages of instruction and information!!) is a pattern for a classic jacket...........

.......and the neccessary fusible interfacings, tapes, shoulder pads, hair canvas etc to enable you to complete a jacket using her methods. She also includes a length of calico (muslin) to make a test jacket out of, although I don't think I would make a test jacket using all the interfacings etc as that would seem a waste, I would use it to make a basic fitting muslin and then use a wearable fabric for my first one.

Yesterday afternoon I wanted to research different methods of inserting a lining in a coat/jacket (for my silver trench, I am using a BWOF pattern and their instructions for lining are very basic!!) and so I started reading through the folder...........several hours later, I am about half way through and am already planning a jacket in the not too distant future :-)
So.........this very long winded explanation brings me to how I discovered the meaning of the phrase 'being on tenterhooks' - get this, it comes from fabric!! On page 10, Terry talks about 'Preparation of Fabric' and starts off with how to determine the right side of your fabric. She explains that some fabrics have tiny holes running along the selvedge edge, the smooth side of the holes denotes the right side of the fabric (this was in my memory banks somewhere but I was never sure which side of the holes was the right side!). She goes on to explain that the holes are caused by the tenterhook pulling the fabric smoothly into shape - hence the expression 'being on tenterhooks' !!! :-) Well, I never knew that!
Just thought some of you might like to know that useless piece of information as much as I did Lol!
I am 'home alone' this morning so am making the most of it in the sewing room. I am working on the lining for my silver trench and hope to make some good progress today. I will update you during the week - a whole week off, yippee!! Can't remember the last time that happened, that's what comes from being self employed I guess, but I love my work and wouldn't want to do anything else!

Friday, September 18, 2009

We interrupt our regular programme....

...of work on the Silver trench, to show you what is on and off my knitting needles! I have been desperate to start some summer knitting - the new summer yarns were delivered to the shop about 3 weeks ago and I have been itching to start something with them! I made myself wait until I had finished what was on my needles, once it was finished I started on a new project! Which is why nothing was done on my silver trench coat today!

Yes, I spent almost my entire day off knitting!!! I feel slightly guilty about it - but hey, it doesn't happen very often - and I did wash and hang out 4 loads of washing in between :-) One of the reasons I feel guilty is because I have got a sewing job to do for good friends of ours and I am putting it off - I have to make 5 curtain tie-backs! I will make it my mission to finish them next week - promise!!!

This wrap/scarf is knitted in Cleckheaton Bamboo 4 ply. It is a delicious silky yarn and has a lot of weight to it! I have to confess I started this last summer *hangs head in shame*! But, I have been very focused on getting it finished and promised myself (and my friends!) that I wouldn't start anything else (knitting that is) until I had finished it. All I have to do is sew the buttons on :-)

It isn't that easy to photograph but the long edges button up so far to become sleeves - in the photo I have shaped it slightly to show how it will be when I am wearing it.

The buttonholes are quite small and there are 7 on each side, these are the buttons I have chosen, beautiful paua shell buttons!

Now, you may be fooled into thinking that this new project is the same colour - but let me assure it isn't. Well, it may be a similar colour, but the shade is quite different! This one is much more intense and strong than the 4 ply. I Love This Yarn!! It is beautiful to knit with!! I haven't got a picture of the garment but it is a Sirdar Sublime Soya Cotton DK yarn and I am making a sleeveless garment with a twist at waist level that holds the two fronts together. I will try and scan the picture and post it later.

I keep forgetting that I am only working Thursday and Saturday morning next week! We have a young friend coming to stay for a week, the last time I saw her she was about 5 - now she is in her early twenties!!! She has decided to come and live and work in New Zealand for a while and is staying with us for her first week to find her feet. I will spend some time with her, help her open a bank account etc and generally help her acclimatise to a new country. Although the culture in NZ isn't a million miles away from the culture in UK, it will still be pretty daunting for her. Hopefully we can help her settle in and show her the ropes - and let her know that in NZ a pack of crisps becomes a pack of chips/chippies, a portion of chips becomes a scoop of hot chips,
sweets are called lollies and ice lollies are called ice blocks!! All the important things .... of course!

I hope to get some time to do a bit of sewing on my trench as I would like to finish it soon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Sunday Sewing on the Silver Trench!

** Warning, picture heavy and long post!**

Ok, so this is not going to be a weekend project !! :-) But then, you probably all knew that long before I did - right??

I don't mind, I haven't sewn as much this weekend as I thought I would, but I have had a really relaxing time, done a bit of reading, a bit of knitting and watched a bit of tv. I didn't really get stuck in to the sewing until this morning - maybe I was putting it off a bit as it has been a very long time since I had a challenging project. I had totally forgotten just how much I love the process! How can that have happened? Anyway, I took some progress shots as I went along....

Stitched inner sleeve seam, made loops and stitched them in place.

Made tabs for sleeves. Whenever I have to stitch a point like this (also at the tip of a collar) I always take one stitch across the tip of the point. when it is turned through it is far less bulky and, surprisingly, still a perfect point! It was a tip I read years ago and have used ever since - my points are never as good if I forget! You can just make it out in the photo above.

The tabs were turned through and top stitched very close to the edge. They are then stitched in the outer seam of the sleeve.

Both sleeves done!

Here you can see the tab stitched into the outer sleeve seam...

.....and this is how it will look when it is finished. I will have to get some buckles. The tab goes through the loop which is attached to the inner seam.

Darts and side front seams stitched.

Pocket welts made. I read a couple of my reference books for a bit more info on a welt pocket as it has been sooooo long since I last made one! One thing suggested was to cut the welt on the same grainline as the angle of the pocket. I am not sure of the exact angle but this is approx 45 deg across the side front seam, so I cut the welt on the bias along with the interfacing.

Front and back pocket bags, the welt is underneath the lining piece. (It's all coming back to me now!!)

Not bad............of course the second one was so much better!

The burda instructions tell you to hand stitch the welt down from the inside. I decided to top stitch the ends from the outside but I didn't want any reverse stitching to show. In the end I left very long thread tails at the start and finish of my seam, pulled both threads through to the back and then back stitched the welt right next to the machine stitching. It should be plenty strong enough now!

All in all I am happy with what I have achieved. I am a fairly impatient sewist and am quite proud of myself that I have taken my time, thought everything through and loved every minute of it! I am keen to get the trench finished but not so desperate that I want to rush it. I will continue to work on it during the week and continue to take progress photos.
I am also very glad that I made the decision to line it - I would not have been at all happy to have all the pocket 'stuff' showing, I would probably have had to leave the pockets off or do an inseam pocket to keep it neater.
More later :-)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Silver trench - slow progress!

Debbie asked for a progress report on the silver trench - the report is 'my progress is slow'!! It took me longer than I thought it would to cut out the fabric and lining - I forgot how much I hate having to add the seam allowance to BWOF patterns! I remember that I used to add them at the tracing stage so may do that next time. I am just about to cut out all the interfacing pieces. I will interface the top of the sleeve pieces as well as the top part of the front and back. The pattern interfaces the complete front but they only used a stretch satin for the trench - I am confident that my fabric will hold up to not having quite as much interfacing as that but will stabilise the chest area and upper back, I want it to keep it's fluidity and not be too 'stiff'.

I still have enough lining to line a skirt - I know it is a long way off but I am going to base next winters wardrobe around grey as my neutral. I already have quite a few pieces of fabric that will make great basics for next winter and I am discovering that I really love grey! It is as versatile as black, possibly more so as it looks great with brown, tan, navy and everything black looks good with. I can wear black but grey in all it's shades is so much more interesting :-)

Off to the sewing room, fingers crossed I will get some actual sewing done later on this afternoon!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Every trench has a silver lining!

My pattern is traced off......

...the collar has been modified to eliminate the collar stand....

.......and I have decided to line it after all! I have to confess that while I like yellow, it isn't a colour I ever wear. I loved the print on this fabric and decided that as it isn't going to be near my face I can get away with it. It is actually more lemon than yellow. It is in the washing machine as I type, along with.........................

...................this red poly/wool tartan! As I was waiting at the counter for my lining to be cut, I spied this roll of tartan reduced to only $9 a metre! It looks and feels almost like a linen type fabric, slightly rough - not in an itchy way though, quite matte in appearance and with slubs through it. I was amazed when I read the composition label and it said 80% Polyester/20% Wool!!

I have had my eyes peeled for a while for a tartan suitable for this jacket. I did see one similar to the pattern in BWOF but decided I didn't want grey and I didnt' really like the feel of it - too much like 'cheap suiting'. That was months ago and I had put it on the back burner, the fabric is going to be washed and put away for next winter :-) I just love the bias bands round the edges of the jacket, I have some great fabric buttons too but will have to wait and see if they go!

So, tonight I will start my cutting out and see how far I get. I am out Thursday evening but have Friday off with no plans (apart from the bare minimum of housework, Lol) and I have cooked extra dinner tonight which will feed me on Friday, takeaway on Saturday night and I will be a happy sewist! I have been eagerly following Carolyn on her sewing vacation, she has 10 whole days to do not much more than sew and feed herself, how great would that be???!!! Still, I am looking forward to my weekend and hope to get a lot done on my silver trench.
Watch this space :-)

Sunday, September 6, 2009

My plans for next weekend & a birthday card

Don't ask me why but I have this urge to make a silver trenchcoat! Crazy? Impractical? Wrong season? Probably! But.............I have the pattern waiting to be traced out, I have the perfect fabric, and I have a DH free weekend coming up (not that he would stop me sewing all weekend, you understand - but, you know...............) lol!

So, BWOF 11/08 #135 is my pattern choice. The only thing that I am not sure about is that I didn't really want a collar stand. I am going to try to figure out if I can get away without it - or see if I can include it in the collar pattern piece when I trace it off. For some reason it just isn't in my 'vision'!
This is my fabric. I Love It! It is like liquid silver, not too shiny but more than a sheen. My initial thought is that I won't line it and I have bought some bias tape in a tiny black and white gingham to bind the seams with. I am still pondering this, the wrong side of the fabric isn't slippery and I wonder if that will be irritating when I put it on over clothes - will it stick to whatever I wear underneath? I may see if I can find a nice lining but I would want something special - I like a little surprise inside :-)
I spent an enjoyable half hour in my sewing room this morning creating a birthday card for my Dad. I will post this tomorrow with his pressie - not sure if it will reach him in time as his birthday is next Monday but fingers crossed. I usually send him Amazon gift vouchers and am used to waiting til the last minute - I forgot that this year I had bought him something to post! Making cards suitable for males isn't easy as most stamps are geared towards women - but my Dad loves his coffee so this Stampin Up set 'Like it a Latte' is perfect for him. I used puff paint on the coffee foam - something I did with Sharlene when I first used this set at Stamp Club. It adds a bit more texture and dimension and is a bit of fun :-)
So, watch this space! I hope I don't end up looking like I should be taking my first step for mankind in my silver trenchcoat, roflol! I am going to make it anyway - sometimes we just have to give in to our sewing urges, don't we??!!