Sea monsters and an old map

I love this print by Zenith & Quasar Fabric.  Seriously…LOVE.

The main print is a print of an old map, and the lighter color print has snippets of the sea monsters in the map.  Very cool.

Unfortunately, the map print is out of stock right now, and I was lucky enough to snag some for the brief time it was in stock.

The owner of Zenith & Quasar fabric invited me to join in her group for sewing samples, so when I saw she was printing the sea monsters I happily volunteered to sew that one up.  I knew they would work so great together.

Pre-order Sea Monsters

And they do!

The skirt on this dress needed to be shorter, just to be able to get the skirt parts out of this directional print.  I had to fussy cut a bit, which makes me sad due to wasting fabric.  I am hoping I can still get a tank top out of the other bits left of the fabric.

This dress is made from the Wardrobe by Me Sneha tunic (shocker, I know).

Modifications:

  • Cut the bodice piece 1″ longer
  • Cut two skirt pieces
  • Cut the bottom skirt 3″ longer than the tunic length
  • The inside skirt I cut 1″ narrower on the fold from the waist down
  • I used the deep scoop for the neckline (not a modification on that one)
  • Added a channel and ties to the side of the top skirt

The ties on the side are a piece of the green knit sewn on the backside of the skirt, with a channel for the tie.  I cut the tie 1.5″ wide and sewed it into a tube with the serger.  I used this to turn it, and that worked really well.  First time using it, and it was a great Christmas gift!

This dress is so very, very comfy with the brushed poly and jersey knit.  I think it will be getting a lot of wear this summer.  For right now, though…layers!

 

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Feeling elvish

Nothing like a long-awaited fabric delivery to de-rail your sewing plans! I’m a big fan of The Lord of the Rings (even read that massive tome…and The Hobbit, too), so when a pre-order came up for different LOTR fabrics I pounced on it.

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After waiting the required several months for the order to close and then get delivered it finally arrived last weekend.  It had been a long few days away from the family, in setting up and putting on the charity benefit for Deb, so it was a fun sight to be greeted by that box when I got back home.  Into the washer the fabric went!

Of course, I didn’t have the right color coordinates, so I had to make a stop at the fabric store.  I hadn’t been there since before Christmas, so OF COURSE I bought way more than I intended.  I am all ready for sewing up some LOTR, and some summer stuff now.

I started easy with the fabric, and made a Bram Raglan from Wardrobe by Me for my son.  Seriously, this was the main reason I pulled the trigger on this fabric.  Fits him perfectly.

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I just wish these fabric designers would make extra fabric that matches the panel.  I hate having to find matching fabric.  I used a solid chocolate colored cotton-lycra for the back, and a jersey/lycra for the arms.

Onward to what I wanted to make for me!

This was the initial drawing for it:

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I’m using my Sneha hack for this, with the front overlay.  Yes, again.

The front fat-half panel ended up at about 33″, so it shrunk 3″ in the wash. 🙁  This meant I wasn’t able to cut it out at the length I wanted, so I ended up doing a high-low hemline.  I kept the hem to a minimum, too.

The back was an overlay that I matched to the front overlay on the side seams.  I wanted it to have some extra volume in it, almost like a short cape, so I pulled it out from the fold line about 6″ and went down to mid-back for the curve.  I decided I wanted a downward curve after the initial draft I drew.

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The hood is a shortened version of the hood pattern I shared here.  I just took about 6″ off the bottom, and added a band to the edge that was a little bit narrower than the opening. I also lined the hood with the rib knit, since it was white on the backside of the green fabric.

Ribbing tends to stretch a bit more than most, so I wish I would have decreased the length on ALL the bands I used.  .

The hood is a little tight on the neck, so if I make another one, I will increase the width of the hood and scoop out the neckband a bit more.  So if you make your own version, take note.

I was indecisive about the arms.  Initially, I was thinking of adding the faux lacing on the arms like I did for my daughter’s dress.  I was having issues putting eyelets into the knit, since my eyelet setter was broke and the kittens ran off with the parts. >:(

I decided to add pieces that looked like the Elvish leaves vambraces.

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Just in knit.  I didn’t want them to overlap the whole way, since it would add a lot of bulk.  I just overlapped the seams and called it good.  I hand-stitched them on, so it had a more authentic look.

Here are the pattern pieces if you want to use them.  There is about a 1″ overlap.

I used the Ninja leggings pattern from 5 out of 4 Patterns for the leggings.  I cut up the pattern, and added seam allowances when I cut the pieces.  I serged and top stitched one piece wrong, so they are a little wonky.  Oh well.  I fixed it well enough, and they are a bit patchwork so it is hard to tell.

Retail will be up on Wednesday this week, I believe.  Site: Moonbeam Textiles


I couldn’t resist, and had to a Shire composite (New Zealand).

Background came from Trey Ratcliff.  He had this on his Flickr account under Creative Commons usage (non-commercial).  He does some impressive photography.

Summer wardrobe capsule plan…sittin’ at the ball fields

Summertime around these parts consists of many hours watching ball games – both softball and baseball.

This means I sit in the hot sun sweating and getting odd tan lines for hours at a time. I wanted to make a mix and match wardrobe capsule that would keep me cool, look awesome and be easy to change up the pieces.

This also matches some other pieces already in my wardrobe, so it should work well.

Here are two sodoku capsules that I made up. This is all subject to change on my frivolous whims.

summer soduko 1

summer soduko 2

I am going to make a pattern for a skort (’cause wind…) with a straight-front, flounce back with pockets on the legs underneath. Something like this:

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We’ll see if it actually turns out that way. Whims…I tell ya.

The tops are going to be tank tops to try to minimize the farmers tan. Not that there is anything wrong with a farmer’s tan…had them aplenty growing up.

These are my tank top inspirations. I like the thought of putting stretch lace in there, so I think I will use that idea to try to keep cool.

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Lots of fun things going on with those tops. The only issue, is the bra issue. I have yet to find a comfortable strapless bra, so I am thinking of making some fun straps with some existing bras.

Fabrics are next. I bought a few different types of athletic mesh in black and gray, some gray Nike sport fabric, and then I have some different cotton/lycra and poly/lycra knits. I also have some lace and should be getting a sample stretch mesh fabric soon that will fit in nicely.

The sodoku would not be complete without some accessories, amiright?? I have a lot of silver jewelry that I can pull out for these outfits, since I am a jewelry hoarder.

This is just the silver stuff…

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I need new black sandals, since I threw away my pair that I have worn the last 5 years or so. The soles were breaking down. I bought these two new pairs of sandals. I might need one more black pair, more of a walking sandal, but I will see how these fit when I get them from Zulily. I also got a new pair of shades.

What glorious purse do I carry?

I thought you would never ask! It is this Zip-top Utility Tote by 31 Bags. Could I make this? Yes. Do I want to when this is only $35? No, no I do not. If you want one I can hook you up with my friend that is a consultant.

zip top organizing utility

This has 7 side pockets, yo. It fits all my crap that I bring with me, which includes this non-exhaustive list:

  • water bottle
  • purse stuff (phone, wallet, etc.)
  • kleenex (allergy season)
  • first aid kit (yes, I am that Mom)
  • Sunglasses for large and small people
  • Sunscreen
  • Visor
  • Bug spray
  • Camera and several lenses
  • Snacks
  • Art supplies and/or sewing to keep me busy
  • Hand warmers, and I can throw my blanket on top for early in the season

It is heavy, but holds all my crap.


I am going to be joining in on a contest on the Wardrobe Capsule Facebook group, but I really will be sewing it whenever I get the time. That gets more rare as the summer gets closer, so I need to work on it as soon as I can. Tryouts are next month!


Oh, just in case you are a fellow sports parent sewist person…RP Custom Fabric will be having a sport prints pre-order round on cotton-lycra in March. She will have all FOUR of my kids’ sports. I’m gonna be so poor.

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Just call me Morticia

No, I am not feeling depressed.  Yes, I like to wear black.  I try not to wear all black, since that might beg the question of “whose funeral”.  To which, the obvious reply would be, “I haven’t decided yet.” 😉

This top is my Sneha tunic hack. I described how I drafted and changed the pattern here.

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I made it long enough to cover my bum.  The fabric is a drapey black mystery knit.  It feels like it has a lot of poly in this one, and I think it is likely a ponte.  The patterned black is definitely a ponte.  Love how these two looked together.  The arms are a little tighter than I like, especially since ponte doesn’t have as much give as a regular knit.  That will be something to tweak for next time.

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If I were a bit more risque, I could wear this tunic as a dress, too.   I think I am a bit long in the tooth to be wearing such a short dress, though!

I have colored my hair a bit darker here, too.  I am totally a box dye kit girl.  This is Natural Insticts Egyptian Plum.  I do the wash out color, so we will see how long this lasts.  I need 3 boxes of color, and could probably use one more for better coverage.  It would cost me a small fortune to dye my hair at a salon, and I have never had a bad experience in doing it myself.  My natural color is close to my son’s hair.  I started out life as a blond, which was helped by being outside a lot in my youth.  Once I got older and wasn’t outdoors as much, my hair turned more of a light brown.  Blah!  I, of course, didn’t start out subtle the first time I dyed my hair.  I chose red, and have kept it pretty consistently some version of red for awhile.  This is the darkest I have gone, though.

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Outfit details (in case you care):

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Denim Blues

I had hoped to make this outfit over the holidays, but I never quite got to it.  I did a lot of reading, and very little else.

So now I’m paying for that lack of industry.  I have two purses to get done in the next two weeks, so of course, I made myself something new to wear.

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Logic.

I did make a start on one of the purses, and cut out interfacing for both of them, so I can say that it is in process.


Comfort seems to be the key in my sewing lately.  I have been using, and altering, some patterns I drafted this summer to create some different looks for them.  Ponte is my fabric of choice.  It is a thicker knit, and feels nice.

There are many different types of ponte fabric, with different weights and lycra contents.  This one is a medium weight, and it feels like a heavier knit with a bit of drape in it.  My skirt in this post was a heavier weight, with not much drape.

The draped top is a long sleeved version of this top.  I made one in black first, for the funeral last weekend, and the shoulder was too far over.  I had to take an inch off the shoulder and size down the sleeve.  I like how this one turned out, though.

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Next is my 4-gore skirt.  It has 4 pieces to get this hem shape.  One for the front, one for the back, and one for the sides.  I think the back could come up a bit, but I like it overall.  Maybe a bit more fullness on the bottom, though.  Always something to tweak!

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The fabric is a ponte, so it doesn’t have as much stretch as a knit.  It has a nice drape, though.

Now that I have a nice comfy outfit to work…I guess I should work on those handbags!

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Oh yeah.  I started a Facebook page for my blog in case you are a Facebooker and want to learn about stuff from there.

 

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Elegant, and yet, still very, very comfy…

Ah, the holidays.  The food, the fun, the endless get togethers with family  and friends.  I don’t know about the rest of you, but being comfortable is pretty high on my list.  It is also nice to wear layers, since if you are doing the cooking, or are in a crowded house…you can get pretty hot.

This was my answer.

I made a sleeveless yoke top, palazzo pants and a cardigan to go together.  I love how each piece turned out, but…they make me look a bit bigger than I would like.  Just because you love the pieces and they look good on you…they won’t necessarily look good together. On me.  I think I lost 6 inches in height.

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So…I will not choose to wear them together again!  I think with palazzo pants I need to have a fitted top to balance it out.

First are the Palazzo pants out of a chocolate brown 4-way stretch velvet.  This is my pattern draft and what the pieces look like:

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The drape is amaze-balls and it feels so fantastic.  I bought it locally, and need to go back for more colors.  When sewing with velvet, make sure to cut it in the right direction for the nap.

Next is my sleeveless yoked top (my pattern).  My normal way of making this has a gather in the middle front.  I didn’t have enough fabric left to do that, having sacrificed this fabric at the alter of my daughter’s wardrobe. 😉

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Next time I make this, an adjustment at the middle front is needed.  It was a little too pointy, so doesn’t lay quite right.  It needs more of a curve. It still works, and it hits at just right the spot on my hip.

Then, we come to the cardigan.

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This is a sweatshirt fleece by The Worth Collection.  Love having a store nearby that gets leftovers from clothing lines.  This is the softest sweatshirt fleece ever, with a decent amount of lycra in it.  If they had in more neutral colors I would have bought more.  I think they had some in some brighter colors that I would never wear, but I did think about it.

The pattern?  Mine, yes.

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The back skirt curves around to the front, and attaches along the side.  The drape front turns into the back neckband.  I was going to try to do that part on the fold, but there would have been some grain issues, and it was too wide, as well.

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This turned out fairly close to what I wanted for fit.  The dart was a bit too low, so I will fix that next time.  Part of the reason it is low, also has to do with the weight of the fabric.  It is a bit heavy with the skirt part, so it is pulling the top down.  I also did thumb-hole cuffs on it.

Overall, pretty happy with these pieces! 🙂

 

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Unmentionables

No modeling of these!

Generally, there are things I tend to buy.  Jeans, outerwear and underwear being in that group.  It seems a waste of time to make underwear, since they are so cheap.  Of course, if you like a certain overpriced brand in a version they no longer carry…then you might be inclined to make them.

I took a pair that was worn out, and traced the pattern.  First pair was fairly good, though I stretched the elastic on the legs and should not have done so.  They are tight in the legs now.  The second pair, I raised the waist a little and didn’t stretch the leg elastic.

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Good stuff.  They fit and didn’t take much fabric or time.  Give this a shot if you are inclined to make something that fits well.

I made a few more in some neutral colors.  Changing a few things.  I lowered the front waistline a little.  I think I need to lower it more.  The fabrics I used are cotton lycra knit and jersey knit with lycra.

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I got the elastic at the fabric store here, but there is a lot on Amazon.  The top elastic is about 3″ wide.  Leg elastic is 1″ wide.  I actually bought 6″ wide elastic and cut it down the middle.  It seems to be holding up well in the wash.  I just zig-zagged it over the top of the fabric.  These are really easy to make.  Here are what my pattern pieces look like:

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Like I said…don’t stretch the lace elastic, at least the thinner one.  The 6″ elastic had a lot more stretch that the 1″ elastic.  Test yours to see how much it stretches.  The thinner laces didn’t have a lot of give, but it just could have been the type I purchased.

Last pair, and now I am working on holiday sewing, like probably every other sewist.  I have a to do list that is a mile long, but only so many things are going to get made.

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Plaid cape top and gored skirt

Here is a Pinterest pattern hack coming for you.  This pin is pretty popular.  It is a short-sleeved top with a “cape” over it.  If you are on Pinterest, I am sure you have seen it.  I know it comes up in my feed all the time.

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I wanted to make this as part of my winter capsule in black and long-sleeved.  Since it is for winter, I am not doing the key-hole in the back.  That would be cold.

The base pattern I used for this is the Wardrobe by Me – Wardrobe Builder Tee.  I made two versions – one in black and the one shown here.  I made it a size larger for the black, as I wanted a looser fit, so I made a size 14.  I did it in cotton lycra and it didn’t have the right amount of drape.  I will be re-doing it.

This was the first time I made this WBM pattern, and I do generally like the fit.  Christina drafts for more of a pear shape, which I am a rectangle.  If you have more of a difference in your hips/waist than I do, some of the modifications I made will not apply to you.  Got to work with what you got!

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I will make up an add-on pattern for this, but I want to do a few modifications of this top first.

I used a jersey knit here.  As I said above, I needed to do some modifications.  I made this to my measurements (size 12), and it slid down on my hips a bit too far.   I am a rectangle, so this wouldn’t slide down on a pear shape.   First, I tried sewing clear elastic in the bottom 6″ of the side hems on either side.  The elastic was 4″ long, so it had a subtle ruching of about 2″.  Didn’t look right.  Next, I took out the elastic (fun times) and cut off 3″ off the bottom, including the hem.  I hemmed it at a good spot on my hip.  I think knowing the most flattering length of top on YOUR body is pretty important.  Lengths that look good on others won’t necessarily look good on you.

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A pretty simple add on for a pattern, but a fun stylish one!  You can add whatever length sleeves you want with the wardrobe builder shirt, or do sleeveless underneath by adding a band to, or hemming, the armscye.

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So, the skirt.

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This is a first draft of a gored skirt.   I wanted it to have a bit more flare, so I will have to redraft it for that.

More to come…hopefully. 😉

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Pattern hack – Cowl/hood top

I like to look at CAbi for inspiration on new pieces to make.  I like the details, in general, and they tend to have nice finishes.  I have a friend that invites me to her parties, and I usually end up buying a few pieces that fit into my wardrobe.

This casual top caught my eye this time:

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It is a deep cowl (about 12″) that transitions into a hood.  It is a nice piece, but I knew I could make it much cheaper than the price they were charging.  It was a pretty simple hack, too.

The top pattern I used here for the base is the Wardrobe by Me Builder T-shirt, which I sized up by one size to make it a looser fit.

The first top I did, I learned a good lesson with it.  Don’t use a poly knit that has a definite right side and wrong side.  You need a knit that is hard to differentiate the front from the back, or where you don’t mind the wrong side color.

After making this first one, I realized my pattern was too shallow for the hood part.  I also didn’t do the thumb-holes or tie waist.  I just wanted to get a muslin completed.  It was wearable, at least.

I do like how this second one turned out.

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Here is the add on I made to the basic pattern.  The neckline I used was the medium scoop boatneck.  Here are my hand-drawn pattern pieces for the hood and cuffs.  I wrote on the main hood piece the hood binding measurements, so don’t miss that piece.

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Fabric is from Joann’s. I uploaded my Silhouette Studio file for the shirt design to my Google Drive folder.

  1.  Sew your shirt up (shoulder seams, attach sleeves, sew up the side seams), leaving the neckline edge raw.
  2.  Sew the front and back cowl/hood pieces together.

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3.  Top-stitch the seams.  I just used a long straight stitch and pull it while I stitch it, so it has some stretch to it.

20161022_15754.  Sew the ends of the binding together and attach to the hood, with the seam in the middle top of the hood.

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5. Press the stitching down towards the inside of the hood and topstitch.

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6.  Turn the binding inward in half and then over the seam.  Pin and topstitch.

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7.  Mark the midde front and middle back of the shirt neckline and cowl.  Clip together at these spots and pin the rest together.  They should match fairly close.  Sew together.

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8.  Pin the bottom hem 1.5″, sew up the hem, leaving an opening to add elastic.  Put in the elastic, and close up the hole.  I measured the elastic on my high hip to determine a comfortable length.

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9.  The thumbhole cuffs are hard to explain, so see this tutorial if the pictures don’t make sense.  First you sew up the side seams on the cuffs.

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10.  Have one cuff edge inside out and one right side out and fit the corners together.  You can use a needle and thread to sew in the corners and pull them together.  Baste them down, so they won’t move.  Sew just inside the seam to catch the edge, and stitch a few lines 0.5″ down.

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11.  Place the side seams together, matching them carefully, and pin.  Sew down from the hem, along the seamline for 1.5″ (I did 2″ here and it was a little tight). Make sure to back-tack and secure the seams.

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12.   Turn right side out.  One side will generally look better, so choose that one for the outside. Pin the cuffs to the ends of the sleeves and attach.

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All done!

Cooler days are here…time for a new coat

Another challenging garment!  Wardrobe by Me needed testers for their new coat, and I volunteered for it, although I knew I would be pressed for time.  My chronic back pain also ratcheted it up a notch this past month…or so.  As it was, I was late on this.  I used fabric for the outer that I had in my stash, which was a lightweight coating fabric.  The welt pockets and collar are in leather.  The inside is a heavy satin.

Wardrobe by Me – Classic Coat Pattern

Available for a short time for introductory price of $11

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I swear, I tried to get the stripes lined up, but it was shifty.

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It is hard to see all the details, but it has back darts, bust darts, a two-piece sleeve and pleats in the lining.  This was well-done.

The exterior sleeve will need to be eased into the armscye.  Set in sleeves are not that scary.  The best way to do this is to do two rows of gathering stitches in between the notches and ease it into the armsyce.  This generally requires you to pull the armsyce fabric and press down on the gathers while sewing to get it to all eventually lie flat.  Go slow.  Next use your tailor’s ham (get one if you don’t have one, they are not expensive) to iron out any puckers.  The lining did have gathers, though, so that was a part of the pattern.

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I bought some fusible fleece, along with the satin, hoping to add some additional warmth for the coat.  The pattern does not have this in it, so this is extra.  I fused it to the lining, and I cut it out around the pleats and seam allowances to make sure it didn’t add excess bulk.

I had to be careful fusing it to the satin, since I got a new iron and that puppy runs hot!  I melted it in a few places, but it didn’t go through to the front of the fabric, thank goodness.

I was able to get away with a little less on the fabric requirements (used a little over 2 yards on the outer).  This was partly due to the inside facing having less length, as I changed part of to leather.  I cut the leather piece at a page break in the pattern piece.

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It looked like the perfect spot to stop the leather, and it was.

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The collar area was a bit more difficult to follow her directions due to the leather.  I had to change how I constructed it a bit, so it doesn’t look as neat as I would like.

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The undercollar is satin, so a pop of color underneath.

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The welt pockets went together pretty well with the leather.  A tip I saw was to cut out the welt pocket on the pattern so the markings are easier to transfer.

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I basted all the lines with red thread before sewing it up.  I also did this with the darts.  It makes it easier to see on both sides.

The shoulder pads I attached before attaching the lining, so I sewed them into the sleeve head and along the shoulder seam.  They won’t move that way.  It is just a few layers of cotton batting cut in the form of a shoulder pad and straight-stitched along the edge.  No need to go buy one.

One thing that I messed up is the button holes.  Last step, of course.  I put them too far inward.  What can I say…it was 12:30 am and I was tired.

I am very pleased overall with how this turned out.  The outer fabric frayed horribly, but after running it through the serger to close the edges up, it went together really well.

One thing, I think I should have sized up for a roomier coat.  I was between size 10 and 12, so I chose 10.  This may induce me brush the dust off the elliptical. 😉

I even found some bulky yarn that matches the interior.  Time to make a cowl or scarf to match!

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