The Toronto Ginger Skirt

Last August, Adam and I spent an afternoon shopping in Toronto as our honeymoon drew to a close. Obviously I chose the local fabric stores over the mainstream chains in the hope of bringing home a couple of souvenir pieces. We visited Affordable Textiles on Queen St W. It didn't disappoint with fabric stacked from floor to ceiling. While I went hunting for viscose, Adam paused at the front of the shop and called me back to look at an interesting pattern full of deep, slightly muted colours which would make a cool statement skirt. Without deliberating, I purchased two metres and popped it into my suitcase. I then spent six months dreaming of the finished skirt frequently worrying it wouldn't live up to the image in my head.  While it hasn't quite come out as planned, it hasn't disappointed and I bloody love it. 

Colette Ginger Skirt made from medium weight cotton with no centre front seam.jpeg

A print like this is demanding. It needs to be disturbed as little as possible with careful thought on pattern placement. To make the most of the print's size, I chose the classic A-line skirt and went back to an old trusted pattern, Colette's Ginger Skirt. This pattern fits me like a glove due to it's distinguishing feature of providing shaping through a gently curved centre front seam rather than darts. However, I couldn't bring myself to slice up the centre of the print and made my only pattern modification by cutting the front on the fold. This change seems to have made very little difference to overall fit as it still manages to hug my lower stomach smoothly and comfortably. 

Medium weight cotton Colette Ginger Skirt.jpeg

I knew pattern matching would be required and chose to focus on ensuring the front and back matched, leaving the side seams to fend for themselves while hoping the busy print would camouflage the seams. Despite taking a long time considering pattern placement and slicing the waistband into more pieces than required to keep a continuous pattern, I was only partially successful in getting everything to line up. The pattern flows best at the front where the waistband meets the skirt and I don't think the centre front seam is noticeable. Basting the centre back revealed two options: a very obvious failed attempt at matching or mirroring the print by reducing the seam allowance a little. I chose the latter on the basis that it didn't irritate me as much. While I didn't think about the side seams, the pattern is only a few centimetres off and looks much better than it could have. 

Colette Ginger A line Skirt.jpeg

When choosing the fabric in Toronto, I couldn't fully identify it. Its weight suggested a medium weight cotton but it was very stiff and had a sheen to it with an unusual texture suggesting  it had a coating of some kind. I was advised that it was a home furnishing cotton which had been treated to make it flame resistant. It was possible to wash it but that would dramatically reduce the effectiveness of the treatment. I had no idea how the print would look after washing but it seemed a risk worth taking. The cotton softened a lot but kept some of the sheen and the texture. I suspect that it will continue to soften with wear but the print seems very stable and unlikely to be affected by further washing. 

I have no idea if it is related to the treatment or if its just the weave, but the back of the cotton is rougher than normal and doesn't feel good against the skin. To wear this skirt frequently, a lining was definitely needed. I paired the cotton with a gorgeous deep jade bemberg from my stash which is impossible to photograph correctly. The lining is attached only at the waistband. To get a professional finish on the inside, I inserted the invisible zip using my tried and trusted technique that removes any hand stitching. I enjoyed the moment when the zip went in perfectly on the cotton at the first attempt with seams and print lining up beautifully - something that rarely happens. I heavily clipped the inside to allow the waistband corners to look as sharp as possible, helped substantially by the under stitching along the waistband. To create a flawless hem, I diverted from my original plan and hand stitched it into place. I had wanted to machine stitch it but didn't have a thread would blend into the print well enough - the black under stitching on the inside waistband is quite noticeable. The hem is overlocked, turned up by a centimetre and secured into place with catch stitch. 

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I adore this skirt. While muted, the colours and print are brightening up the dull grey days we are still experiencing. The style fits perfectly with my preferred winter silhouette of a skirt and top with tights and boots. It's very well made when I compare it to my other earlier Ginger skirts and should stand the test of time. I get a little confidence boost everything I look at the skirt and wear it. I don't think you can ask for more in a make. 

Completed: Lace Laurel

What do you do with a pattern that you really like but your first attempt failed dramatically? I kept it at the back of my mind for nearly a year and waited until an idea came to me. It finally arrived a couple of weekends ago when I went to Goldhawk Road with KellyJen and Daniela. I spotted a gorgeous piece of lace that screamed "buy me!" and wouldn't stop yelling until I had parted with my cash. I knew it was time to dig Laurel out again. 

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My first attempt with Laurel didn't go well, nor did my second which is why it hasn't made it to the blog. But this time would be different, I was sure of it. I have wanted a lace top for a long time but I'm super picky when choosing which piece to buy. It is either the wrong colour or I don't like the flowers. Thank goodness there was 1.5m of this cotton crochet lace left on the bolt. I might have cried if there was less. I chose a teal fabric to go underneath the bodice. I knew it had to be a bright colour and was constantly being drawn to the different shades of teal. I'm not fully certain what fabric it is. I suspect it is a poly mix but it has a good drape and is lovely to touch. 

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Key to making this top work was getting the fit right. The poor fit of my other Laurels is the primary reason why I don't wear them much, if at all. I needed to lose a lot of the ease so I used the finished measurements that best matched mine and then went up a size. The pattern in the lace isn't dart friendly so I chose to remove all of them. The teal doesn't feature them either as I underlined the bodice to keep the seam allowances out of sight. This was my first time eliminating all darts from a pattern. For the back ones, I measured the width of the dart and then removed it from the side seam, drawing a line from the armscye to the hem. For the front, I slashed the bust dart through the middle to the apex. I then cut a straight line from just below the apex to the hem before pivoting the left side of the pattern so the bottom line of the original dart matched the centre of it. I also removed the back seam and lowered the armscye a little. This is one of the biggest issues I have this pattern - the sleeves are just too high, feel restrictive and don't allow for a lot of movement. Lowering them slightly has made such a difference. I no longer feel like there is too much fabric fighting for space under my armpit. To account for the change, I added a little extra to the sleeve cap to ensure the sleeves still fitted perfectly.

Colette Laurel lace top 2.jpg

The teal frayed badly, so much so I'm still finding threads throughout our flat despite a thorough clean up. To prevent any of the frays escaping, I bound all of the seams and the hem using the same fabric. The binding is cut on grain rather than the bias (not enough left over fabric) but it seems to be flexible enough to cope with the curves of the neckline and the arms. This took a while as I slip stitched one side of each seam to give me extra control in making sure nothing could escape. 

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I've worn this top a couple of times. I'm very pleased with the overall fit, it doesn't feel too loose or too snug. I can pull it on and off without any problems. I love having the extra movement in the sleeves and that the scallops hit perfectly at my elbows. It is lightweight and perfect for the spring days that seem to be arriving with more frequency here. 

It seems Laurel has finally made up with me.

Completed: The Cadbury Ceylon

Do you ever get a thrill of excitement when you put on something you made? I did when I put on my completed Ceylon this morning. Not even a chilly January day, taking photos in front of curious tourists by the Sheldonian Theatre, could dampen that feeling! I finished this dress very late in 2013 and it was the item that completed my 20:20 challenge, although it is not the last to be shared with you. 

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I have wanted to make this dress for a long time. Adam bought me the pattern as a Christmas present in 2012 and it sat patiently while I looked for the right fabric and decided on whether to add trims and other design features. I looked for inspiration from other bloggers and the ones that called out to me most were those made in solid colours. I do have a soft spot for solid colour dresses. However, I wanted to add a little bit of detail and chose a lilac thread for the edge stitching and button holes. I used the purple fabric I bought in Croatia. I'm not fully certain what it is but it feels like a medium weight cotton with a bit of stretch. It was very easy to work with. It cut easily and glided through the machine. The only problem I noticed was it can mark if you press it with too high a heat, I had to use a lower setting than normal with cotton. I've also discovered it creases easily so please excuse the slightly crumpled look in the photos. 

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Like most Colette patterns, it was straightforward to make. The instructions were clear and I didn't get lost once. It doesn't follow the conventional way of piecing a garment together by matching the right sides. To stitch the pieces together you press under the seam allowance, overlap the pieces and then edge stitch together. It is an easy way to create a dress but take your time on matching the pieces together. Luckily I have managed to get an even distance on all of the pieces. My seams are finished with an overlock stitch in the same lilac thread as the edge stitching. 

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I did deviate from the recommended number of buttons for the dress. The pattern calls for 16 buttons. I wanted to make fabric covered buttons and the ones I had were one inch instead of 3/4 inch. I decided to drop the number to 10. This is the first time I have tried to make fabric covered buttons and ouch! My thumb nails were sore for a week after completing them. I definitely think there is an art to creating them and you certainly need a lot of patience. However, these were a breeze compared to the button holes. Yet again, my machine gave mixed results. It did a few perfectly, some were half completed and some less than that. I must have ripped out about six of them before deciding to finish off the incomplete ones by hand. It took a while but it was more satisfying than continually ripping out the thread. It also took the stress off the fabric. I don't know why I'm having these problems. I make perfect practice button holes in exactly the same fabric and interfacing combination but as soon as it touches the dress, it all goes wrong. Does any one have any suggestions or have similar problems? 

Colette Patterns Ceylon 4.jpg

I managed to get the fit just about right. I graded out a size between the bust and the waist. I probably should have done a FBA but it seemed a little too complicated with the different pattern pieces and I had started sewing this at a stressful time at work. The midriff pieces at the front don't quite match up at the bottom and I didn't realise this until I tried it on. I don't think it is too noticeable and is probably because I didn't pay enough attention in matching the pieces at that point. Something to work on if I make this dress again.

Colette Patterns Ceylon.jpg

I really like the small amounts of gathering, they are a lovely finishing touch, and I love the interesting neckline. Normally I hem skirts and dresses to hit at my knee but this dress is about 10cm longer. Usually I feel very self-conscious with longer hemlines but it feels right with this one.

Overall I LOVE this dress. I feel great in it and I can see me wearing it a lot right through until spring! 

Completed: Cooper bag

I hope you all had a good Christmas Day with some sewing related surprises. My last week as been a blur of seeing friends, getting ready for Christmas and some frantic sewing to ensure I actually made handmade presents this year. I really wanted to make something for my immediate family and wondered what on earth I could make my brother? I dwelled on this question for a long time and then Colette released the Cooper pattern. Hooray! 

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I loved this pattern as soon as I saw it. In addition to the three styles that are included, there seems to be endless opportunities to tweak the pattern and you are limited only by your imagination on the fabric choices and colours. For this bag, I decided to follow the advice of Colette and chose cotton canvas for the outer fabric. I bought dark olive and khaki from Croft Mill. This fabric is absolutely delightful, so much so I actually considered keeping it for me but realised that might be a bit mean! It is very soft (one side feels a little like brushed cotton) but strong and survives ripping out seams well (more on that later) as well as pressing on a high heat. 

Given the weather we've been experiencing, I wanted the bag to be waterproof.  I struggled to find a waterproof fabric that would match and ended up getting a light green and white check oilcloth. I'll admit it looks a little like a tablecloth but at least it matches! I had trouble stitching the lining as it stuck to my machine but sewing between tracing paper soon got me back on track. I wasn't sure about pressing oilcloth (I didn't research how to work with this stuff) so pressed it lightly under a clean tea towel, which doubles as a pressing cloth. It certainly softened under a little heat and made it easier to work with. 

Colette Patterns Cooper Bag 4.JPG

The construction is quite easy, as long as you take notice of the markings on each piece and read which sides need to go together. I must have ripped out the bottom gusset and side seams three or four times as I kept making the same silly mistake. The canvas stood up to this unpicking very well. It was my first time working with magnetic snaps (they go in quite easily) and using jiffy rivets. I was excited about using a hammer in sewing but it turns out our tent mallet is a little too big for the job. I had to use the side of my shears instead. 

Colette Patterns Cooper Bag 5.JPG

There is a lot of edge stitching and top stitching involved and I've finally gotten over my fear of both, although my edge stitching still isn't as close to the edge as it should be... The strap was made from the leftover khaki canvas. It is very easy to assemble and stitch in place but I did use the tutorial to double check that I was working with the correct side. The slide and square loop were recycled from another bag. 

Colette Patterns Cooper Bag.JPG

I am really pleased with how this turned out and even better, my brother loved it!

I'll have a triple Sorbetto please

I'm extremely late to the party but I have finally made a Sorbetto! My holiday is approaching (whoop, whoop!) and I realised I needed some more clothes to take with me which has led to a flurry of sewing activity. The ironing board is now living permanently in the kitchen! They have also come in useful for the warm evenings we have been having in the UK. 

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This pattern is very easy, it is made of two pieces of fabric plus bias tape on the neckline and arms. It can be put together in an evening, this is the kind of quick project that I like. I didn't need to make any changes to the pattern which makes it even better! This is sensible sewing for me, cake if you will. I need tops that will match the shorts and skirts I have or will have by the end of the month. 

Colette Patterns Sorbetto 3.jpg

Hunting through my stash I found some left over white cotton with scribbled black flowers and knew it would be perfect. I didn't have enough for both pieces so made the front in white and used the left over black cotton used for my winter coat lining. I used French seams as the white cotton adds very little bulk.

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I then noticed the brown cotton with pink spots and thought it would make a great second. I picked up this fabric in the swap at Birmingham last month. Shamefully, I can't remember who brought it along but thank you! I love this top and it has been worn quite a few times already. I even had enough for bias tape. The edges are finished nicely with French seams. 

Colette Patterns Sorbetto 2.jpg

It seems I just can't get enough of this pattern as I made a third one! This time I hacked the pattern a little. I drew a smooth, gently curve from the just above the darts to the centre seam and chopped it off. I decided to keep the pleat as I really like it. I chose a white cotton for the main part and back and pale pink for the top yoke. The seams aren't so good on this one sadly. I had hoped to use French seams again (anyone tell this is my favourite way to finish seams?) but I pinned the pieces with right sides together and only realised when I had stitched them all. I could have ripped them out but it was very late and I couldn't be bothered. They are finished with a zigzag over locking stitch instead. I finished it off with the buttons I got free from Sewbox

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Three tops in three evenings and they were free! Don't you just love it when you have everything to complete a project and can make it out of stash pieces not quite big enough for a full garment? 

Completed: Anise Jacket

Earlier this month I signed up for the Indie pattern sewalong hosted by Modern Vintage Cupcakes and the Curious Kiwi. I had originally intended to make two, yes two, Colette Peonies. I can normally make Colette patterns out of the packet with some grading out between the bust and the waist, and grading in from the waist to the hips. I made my usual changes and cut out the fabric. Guess what. The bodice doesn't fit. That will teach me not to make a toile of the bodice at the very least. 

Indie pattern month

Instead of wrestling with it I decided to put it away for another day and promptly decided to turn to another pattern from my 20:20 challenge *I will keep on track*. As I was putting away my purchases from the Birmingham meet up the navy suiting spoke to me. "I would make a great, lightweight Anise" it whispered. I was sure that I couldn't finish in time and looked for something else but all I could think about was a navy blue Anise, so I caved in and traced the pattern. 

Colette Patterns Anise Jacket 6.jpg

Learning from my previous mistake, I made a toile. I'm pleased I did. My standard changes were too big as I've managed to lose half an inch around my waist meaning I have dropped a size. I really enjoyed making this jacket. I decided to take my time and to put a lot of work into the preparation. I get tempted to take shortcuts now and then when I want something to come together quickly but I consciously stopped myself cutting corners. I think it is the influence of my pattern drafting course coming through. The whole thing took just over a week as I steadily made progress each day. 

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As with all the Colette patterns I have tried, it came together very easily even though it has a lot of pieces! I did feel that I was taken back to creating my Lady Grey as the jacket has three layers - fashion fabric, underlining and lining as well as interfacing. I had some horsehair canvas left over and used that as my interfacing and a cotton sheet became the underlining. I did have some problems though. The back bunches up a little, probably because I have a slight sway back but not enough to normally make changes. The collar refused to lay properly where it should and I had to sew it twice and press the hell out of where it joins the jacket before it looked vaguely wearable. My welt pockets aren't perfect but a very good attempt for a first time. I also had trouble setting the lining on one sleeve, it kept twisting as I stitched until I couldn't get my arm in! This meant additional hand sewing. There is a lot of hand sewing to make this jacket. I do love the finish of hand stitching but it a time stealer.

Colette Patterns Anise Jacket.jpeg

Speaking of sleeves, I changed the lining for them. My lining is made from a cotton with blue flowers that have a vintage feel that has been in my stash for ages. I needed something more slippery though to get my arms in and out easily. Out of my scraps I managed to find some pink polyester lining. I generally hate the feel of this lining, added to the fact it isn't breathable, and it doesn't make for a great relationship but this was the only thing I had to hand. I didn't want the pink to show at the cuffs so I chopped the pattern and made the lower part of the sleeve lining from the cotton. It works perfectly and if I ever fold my cuffs over (which is so likely to happen), you can see the pretty blue flowers!

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I couldn't be bothered didn't have time to make bound buttonholes but normal ones work well. I got these amazing buttons from Darn It and Stitch. Thanks Jo and Laura for talking me into getting them! 

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Earlier today I took my new jacket for a day out. We went to the British Grand Prix and this is the reason I look sunburnt in the photos - I am. I'll be truthful, Formula 1 isn't really my thing (it entered my life three and half years ago when I met Adam) but going to see a live race is great! It was my second and we were closer to the action this time meaning the noise levels were almost deafening. For those of you who have not been to a race, the noise of 22 F1 cars is like standing very close to about 20 pneumatic drills that are working very quickly with a range of pitch while standing in a wind tunnel. It is a great sound though! Here's a picture taken at the end of the day. It was way too hot to wear the jacket (hello summer!) but I popped it on for a couple of photos.

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I have no idea who the random people are in the background and I promised I am not superimposed!  

Me Made May '13 final round up

Can someone tell me where May went please? It seemed like the longest month yet it flew by! This was my first time participating in Me Made May, brainchild of the brilliant Zoe. I watched it take place last year and knew that I wanted to be involved this year. Here is a reminder of my pledge:

 'I, Claire at iwanttobeaturtle, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear one home made item for five days each week for the duration of May 2013. In addition I pledge to make two new items and repair at least one.’ 

I won't show all of the items I wore but you can see my other round ups here and here. I pledged to repair at least one item. I did one and half. I replaced the zip in my grey Ginger skirt, below, and the bias trim has been removed from my green silk taffy blouse. I just need to stitch the new one on now. 

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And making two new items? Check! This is partly because it keeps me on track with my 20:20 challenge. Here they are:

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Simplicity 2451. This is made from one of my favourite fabrics but I can't quite wear it yet! I made a few alterations to the pattern and it fitted with my toile but not in the fashion fabric. Hopefully in a few weeks I will be able to fit into it. I do love this pattern and have recently bought more fabric for another version but this one will fit!

Me Made May 2013 week 4.jpg

Colette Jasmine. The photo above was taken before its final press, as you can see the fabric creases a bit! I've been waiting to make this pattern for a while. It was the perfect pattern for a "cake" top that matches several of skirts and trousers. It is a lightweight cotton with grey spots. The collar is made from one of Adam's old work shirts. I've never really worn collars before but I love this one - there may be more! 

So what did I learn from the month in general? 

Taking photos every day is REALLY hard and I ran out of steam mid way through. I have hardly any photos from the last two weeks. But taking photos allows you to see your outfits in a different way, maybe as others see them. This can be great as it means you're on the right track or not so great when a favourite outfit doesn't work as well as you thought. 

I love bright colours and I wear a lot of them although they are often paired with blue or black. I just can't bring myself to wear dark colours from head to toe! 

Wearing my me mades is much easier than I thought it would be. Most of the days I reached for them without thinking. I take this as a really good sign that I am making things I will wear. 

I need more me mades to carry out five days a week without feeling like I am wearing the same items every week. I identified gaps in my wardrobe and will be taking steps to fill them. This generally means I need some more tops that will go with a variety of coloured skirts and trousers. 

I rediscovered some of my previous me mades and realised that I should wear them more. However, I did have to say goodbye to one of my very first makes - the turquoise tie-dye dress below. As with most first mades, the quality isn't the best and it is falling apart without hope of saving it. 

The Flickr group is amazingly inspirational but also a massive time stealer! There are about 6000 photos there and I must have looked at at least three quarters of them. 

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All that being said, I'm very likely to sign up next year as by that time I'll have more me made items. And I'll be armed with experience to be a bit more organised! 

Completed: Laurel dress

When Colette Patterns released their latest pattern, the Laurel, I was seriously underwhelmed. I had been hoping for a shift dress as many had rumoured as I wanted one, or perhaps two, to add to my summer wardrobe. I worried that the pattern would be far too loose and big on me and that it would be very unflattering. But then Sarai began to show how the pattern could be changed and I began thinking. Perhaps there was potential in this for me, so I bought the pattern. Being slightly in doubt about it still I decided to make a muslin. You might think that is a little strange for a loose fitting garment but I am so glad I did. I honestly looked like I was wearing a sack! Adam actually laughed at how big it was around my hips! However I could see that this is something I could wear if I cut out a smaller size. I liked the shape of it but just not how big it was. So that is what I did. 

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I wanted a dress to add to my summer collection. It had to be simple but delicate. The fabric is cotton poplin and this is my first time using it. It is more delicate than I imagined with pin marks lasting a long time after they had been removed. It also crumples quickly as you can see from the photos. It began life in white as I couldn’t find the right colour. I decided to dye it using Dylon’s ‘Burlesque Red’ which is actually more along the purple line than red. I hand dyed it to give me a little more control over the colour. The finished article couldn’t be plain, I needed to have some form of embellishment and settled on a crochet cotton trim. 

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The construction is very simple as there are only three pieces or six in mine as I opted for version one which is fully underlined. The underlining is made from the same fabric in the same colour to be as true to it as possible. I hadn’t underlined before but it turns out it is very simple. The zip went in reasonably well. It isn’t perfect but I can live with it. Putting a zip in properly is definitely something I need to work on. 

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The trickiest thing for me was actually the placement of the front darts. I put it on to check the fit after inserting the zip when Adam pointed out that one my darts was off by about 5mm. Cue some unpicking! I’m still not sure they are fully level but I can cope with them now. I won’t spend every minute I wear this dress wondering if others can see my mistakes. One thing I loved about this pattern is that there are no facings! I generally don’t get on well with facings. Instead you use bias binding. I chose a narrow binding around the arms and neckline to fit in with the simple but delicate theme. 

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Do I love this dress? Sort of. It is different to what I usually wear and there were times when we taking the photos that it looked rather unflattering across key areas which makes me worry about what it looks like normally! But I love the colour. I’ll definitely make the pattern as a top as the fit there is much better. If I made the dress again I would need to play with the fit a bit more. However, I’m sure this will make it into my suitcase for a summer holiday…

I can finally wear this!

Progress on my next lot of projects has slowed a little while I wait for fabric to arrive but the postman has promised a delivery on Tuesday. So while I eagerly await the coming of Tuesday, the first signs of Spring have arrived with sunshine for three days! I had been waiting for this moment so I could leave my winter coat at home and begin to wear the an item that is my best sewing project to date and the one I am most proud of - my Lady Grey coat. 

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Last year I decided I wanted to push my sewing skills a little further and a coat seemed the perfect item. I wanted something that was a bit like a statement coat and I fell in love with the Lady Grey at first sight. I began this in September and had real trouble finding any wool in our local fabric shops (there aren’t that many around Oxford) so I ordered some swatches from Truro Fabrics. A beautiful teal arrived and I knew that was the colour I wanted but disaster struck when I hit the checkout button and it just disappeared. Turns out the shop was updating it website and that particular fabric had sold out. I was so disappointed but luckily I had decided on a backup. Yes, it is pink and herringbone. Although it is my second choice, I do love it. 

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I followed the wonderful tutorials from Gertie to construct this. I used the tailoring techniques she details. Unfortunately I don’t have many photos as thoughts about blogging were not in my mind at that point. However, I did find this one which shows part of the process of tailoring the front. The hair canvas is in place and stitched to the wool with a permanent uneven basting stitch. The rows are two inches apart. I didn’t have any stay tape so I went with some left over bias binding for the roll line. If you squint, you can just about make out the even stitches. I’m disappointed I don’t have pictures of the pad stitching I did for the lapels and the collar. Pad stitching keeps shape in the fabric and it is all done by hand. A series of lines are drawn over the section to be pad stitched and the stitches go diagonally in one direction for the first line and then the other way for the next, creating a chevron look. You also need to keep whichever line you are stitching rolled over your fingers to keep the shape - this is really important otherwise everything turns out flat. This is a simpler said than done! Once you have completed that you need to steam the roll lines A LOT and leave it rolled over a folded towel until it is dry and set in shape. I hope this makes sense but if not, pop across to here where Gertie explains it brilliantly! 

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I also made bound button holes for the first time. They are reasonably tricky but they are something I want to perfect as I love them a lot. 

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Start to finish took about 8 weeks as the tailoring sections took me a while. However, the hardest part was the lining. Before I go into the difficulties, take a look at what I chose. This coat absolutely screams for an interesting lining and who was I to disobey? The pockets are made from the same material. 

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I had major trouble getting this to fit in the sleeves and also hang neatly towards the hem. It was just too short. When I stitched it in the sleeves the result was a scrunched look because there was too much tension with the lining. I had to let it out and move it down an inch. It still isn’t perfect and you can see a slight scrunch when I wear it but it isn’t anywhere near as bad as it was. By the hem, it became very apparent when I stitched in the ditch along the seams that the lining was just too short. I wanted to keep the lining close to the coat so it wouldn’t get in my way when putting it on but I was left with a six inch(!) gap in places. By this point I had put too much time and effort in to be defeated so I bought a wide pale pink ribbon and stitched it about an inch from the bottom to cover up any of the hair canvas and seams that could be seen. You can see it in the photo above. 

If I was to make this again I would lengthen the sleeves. I love three quarter length sleeves but not for outdoor items. A coat needs to have full length sleeves I’ve discovered. However, I did get the gorgeous grey cashmere gloves for Christmas that work perfectly and they are so warm! 

I’m really proud of this item and now the weather has warmed up a little I will be wearing it more often. I wore it yesterday on a Easter Egg Hunt at Basildon Park and loved it. Don’t you think it works well with lambs ears?! 

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Happy Easter everyone, I’m off for a walk to show off my coat again.