Monday, October 29, 2012

Work With Me, Baby

I finally have the scoop on my latest sewing project.

Leaf Peeper Cardigan-Coat


I was inspired by this version from the blog of a well-known fabric shop in Australia, Tessuti:


(Hope they don’t mind that I borrowed their photo.)


Fabric:  Black boiled wool jersey from Mill End store, Portland, OR. I began with 4.5 yds which when re-washed and machine dried became 3.75 yds, 42” wide.

Pattern:  McCalls 6084, view with long sleeves, size S (yes, really!)

Mods:  Slight sloped and rounded shoulder adjustments. Shaved a bit off the sleeve cap sides, a little more on the front edge. Drafted a pleated pocket similar to the one in the Tessuti photo.

Comments:  This coat took awhile to make because I was intimidated by the fabric! Not that it was hard to work with at all, but because it was the most expensive piece I’ve sewn with in quite awhile and I wanted it to be just right. Also I haven’t been able to find wool jersey locally. It’s very popular and for good reasons. Warm, light, no-fray, easy to cut and sew.

BlackCoat3 Since I’ve already used this pattern once there was very little extra work to do on it. I only needed to deal with the sleeve and my pocket pattern. I used most of the fabric in cutting it out so there’s not enough left for a second garment unless I figure out how to piece it with something else. It’s unbelievable to me that a size small fits me nearly perfectly in the shoulders and back! And because there’s so much extra fabric in the drape front, it fits me fine there too. The sleeves were 2” too long of course, but I wanted a fold back cuff so that wasn’t a problem.

I decided to make use of the non-fray ability in the well-fulled jersey so I opted for lapped seams everywhere except the sleeve caps. I even lapped the front darts and they turned out very well. The wool steams nice and flat but I needed a press cloth to avoid shine. For the neck and shoulder seam, I trimmed off the seam allowances on the back and overlapped it with the fronts (after they were joined at the back neck. It was easy to stitch right across, pivoting at the corners, and it turned out much better and smoother than the first version where I had followed the pattern instructions. The neck was a little stretched out though (should have stabilized it beforehand) so I stitched a piece of black lace (non-stretchy) over the neck seam inside to bring it back into shape. Fits great and looks nice both inside and out.

Of course I couldn’t leave this plain black coat unembellished! I decided on a leaf theme (the inspiration is everywhere at the moment, obviously) and cut-outs for kind of a lacy edge treatment. My sampling showed that I couldn’t get too much detail or the fabric became unstable so that influenced my leaf designs. I also had to cut them with sharp scissors because a craft knife wouldn’t do the job. First I sketched the freehand design onto the finished coat with my blue Chaco liner:


I only covered a short distance at a time because a) the chalk wore off pretty quickly and b) I wanted to arrange the next leaves based on how the previous ones turned out:


Snipping with the sharpest small scissors I own (Fiskars) was a little nerve-wracking. But it came out pretty well:


So I’ve been trying to improve my photo-documentation of garments. My in-house photographer does his best but both model and photographer are not particularly good at their jobs. We are practicing.


Accessories:  Embers Cowl (qiviut, yum!), Selbu Damselfly beret, self-tie-dyed t-shirt, Baggy Pocket Pants, and (the only thing I didn’t make/re-make) red Blundstone boots.

Afterwards I immediately took off my hat and cowl. And later after our walk I wished I had taken off the coat too. Too warm! This is a good thing.


Sharon in Surrey said...

I like that!! A winter coat like a cardigan - yup, my kind of coat!! Fabricana carries boiled wool & beautiful wool jersey or used to. There's two locations, one in Coquitlam in the middle of the Port Mann construction & one in Richmond. I stay out of the store because there's so many lovely fabrics!!! And I want them all!

Louisa said...

I haven't been to Fabricana for millennia so I have no idea what they carry these days. Thanks for the hint, I think! LOL!! Need to sew up some of the stash first though. Too much fabric, too little time...

pao said...

What a lovely coat wrap, Louisa. And with the cut out leaf pattern - you were really brave! It looks great on you.

Good to see you at Project Minima again too.

Trapunto said...

Another one I meant to comment on and didn't! I adore the cutouts. Your chutzpah paid off.