Thursday, February 25, 2010


Corel PSPP X3. I haz it  - at least a 30-day trial. Looking forward to being able to edit photos well again - which means I really should finish this coat, so I can make the pictures look spiffy for free. (I moved PSP9 to the netbook, but once you go CPSPPX3, you really can't go back.)

While I ponder whether or not it's worth buying a full version (the new text tool is frustrating: I miss the old boxes), here's more coat progress.

Yes, those are shiny pocket flaps that I managed to weasel out of hand-stitching. The pockets aren't perfect, and next time, once I think I've read the pattern enough to start working, I'll read it twice more. Everyone posts "read the pattern" advice at least once, so I thought "well, I will read my pattern, and I won't make any silly mistakes."
Well, my pockets aren't as polished as they could be, so I'll repeat the old adage with an alteration or two: read the pattern twenty times, cut once.
Still, it doesn't look that bad. I'll probably use what I've learned from this coat to make another frock coat in a year or two. In the meantime, this one's definitely worth continuing. Tonight, I'll sew the torso lining to the outer material, and maybe attach a sleeve or two. More updates soon.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

You, Miss, are a Sartorial Genius!

So, more about that frock coat.

The sleeves weren't such a major problem after all. Got those working right quick, got the whole thing sewed, but it still didn't fit.
Added a bust dart.
Added a dart down the side, under the arm.
Not a sausage.
Ripped out dart, ripped half of the sleeve off, restitched dart on a slightly different angle, re-sewed sleeve, ripped sleeve again (slightly higher up), took in a shoulder seam, restitched sleeve, tried the thing on.
It fits! ...If only half of it. Luckily for me I don't have to worry about the lack of symmetry: the two sides of the coat are mirror images of each other, so I only need one that fits.

Marked seam lines with black sharpie in case I changed the seam allowances anywhere (meaning sleeves), tried it on one more time to make sure it fits, ripped all the seams on the right (fitted) side, sorted out all other pattern pieces (pocket flaps, cuffs, collar), made sure they were all cut and fit the new sizing, and prepared to dive into my wonderful polyester faux-shantung.

Random tangent: Silk shantung. Once I've got quite a bit of cash to spare, and a reliable coat pattern, I'd love to make something brilliant and wonderful with heaps and heaps of shantung. The texture is just gorgeous, it's usually iridescent with little knubs of thread along it. It looks kind of homespun but very elegant, with a decidedly eastern, Indian-esque flair.
(That's what my fabric wants to be when it grows up.)

That's enough gleeing over shantung.
I've cut the lining, interlining, and outer material, and sewn most of the coat together. I've put off doing the next step for the last week though, because I really don't want to hand-stitch the pocket flaps on. I instead finished the cuffs and collar, and found a very pretty embroidery-like border stitch on my ancient New Home sewing machine. Cuffs, collar, and pocket flaps now feature an elegant greenish-blue scalloped border.

Cuffs, collar, and pocket flaps. Note the fact that I actually ironed them all, and then used fancy topstitching to keep the seams flat.

The lining isn't really that purple, the flash on my camera just makes the iridescence of the fabric amazingly apparent. It's slightly more pinkish in reality, what some would call "spiceberry," and the green shows up in a much sneakier way.

All in all, the coat is coming together quite well, if slowly. This is my first major sewn endeavor (I don't count the hat since that didn't involve much stitching), and I'm quite proud of the way it's turning out. I'll be honest here and say that talking about this coat is a boost to my fragile, artistic self-esteem. If the project continues this well, I may yet deserve the title of Sartorial Genius (to use the latter term rather loosely).