I think this is more ‘me’

First up, thanks everyone who commented on my winter coat muslin. You’re all so funny and lovely and clever. I laughed, I cried, I nodded vigorously throughout.

The overwhelming consensus was that this coat is not working for me at all.  The collar is too big, the raglan sleeves too low, the swingy voluminous shape too voluminous for my small frame and the length waaaay too long. Plus, there was some very sage advice involving swelling bosoms, breast feeding and avoiding complex sewing while heavily pregnant.

So taking all that on board I’m going to put my winter coat plans on ice until next year. Any tips on storing three metres of beautiful expensive wool without getting perma folds in it?

And in the meantime, I’ve purchased… this!

Simplicity 7805I decided that something more fitted would suit me and my frame (even if I do end up a bit chubbier) and I love anything with an empire line. When I saw this I just thought of Moonrise Kingdom and fell in love instantly. I’ve actually bought it in a Bust 36 to accommodate any potential extra boobage I might be lucky enough to get.

Isn’t View 1 totally adorable with that double collar?! God I so want this coat to be made up now. But patience is a virtue and what a fantastic goal to get me back in shape post partum.

Help! Your expert advice is required

Yikes. I fear I may have hit an impasse with the winter coat, and I’m only at the muslin stage! Oh dear. Let’s take a look.

Ok. Dodgy collar aside it’s quite clear that this coat is too long (even if we factor in a 2 inch hem) and the sleeves are too short. This can be fixed, yes? But check this out…

What the feck? Why is this non-maternity coat able to wrap itself around an eight-month bump without so much as a pardon me??? Does this mean it’s going to make me look totes preggers even when I’m not? And does that collar now start to look a little big for my head in that picture?

So here’s the back view. Not so bad eh? But again that collar is freaking me out a bit.

Front view – hmm, not so nice. But I can’t put my finger on what’s wrong. This is why I still sometimes consider myself something of a beginner stitcher my friends. Cos these kinds of fitting issues are beyond me.

But this length is much better isn’t it?

OK so I’m just not sure about this pattern anymore. I loved the artwork on the envelope and thought it was super chic, but I’m so worried it’s actually going to be really frumpy and I’ll have wasted three metres of the most divine (and expensive) wool, not to mention loads of time. Because of the raglan sleeves and the voluminous shape I have no idea where to start with making it fit better. And should I even be trying to fit a coat to a body that’s eight months pregnant? Is that madness? Help!

And one final question – does the coat remind you of anyone?

Well at least it’s Hallowe’en appropriate I suppose…



The evolution of the cardigan

I’ve just finished my third crocheted baby cardigan, using a pattern from (Cute and Easy) Crocheted Baby Clothes, and I just have to share this pic of all three as it tickles me so much to see the difference!

The evolution of the cardigan

Apart from the size (which IS deliberate by the way) you can clearly see some sort of development in confidence and skill. I’m not saying the most recent is perfect by any means – but look at the difference! Makes me almost sorry for the baby when it’s tiny as it has to wait a couple of months before it can wear the good stuff!

Here’s a closer look at the latest addition to the family. The pattern is called the Baby Shell Cardigan  on account of the shell-style detail in the skirt. Apparently it’s been adapted from an old vintage pattern.  It’s quite feminine in style as a result of the shells but hopefully the colour and the traditional buttons make it more gender neutral.

Cardy close up

A few of you expressed amazement in my last post that I was so far along in pregnancy so I thought I’d share a pic of the bump from last week so you can see how big I’ve got! Bonkers eh? Gracie is wondering if it’s a new place for keeping kitty treats. Gracie, you’ve got no idea what’s coming sweetheart. These are the salad days. Cherish them my little fluff-duster.

Le bump et le chat

Finally – I’ve managed to make a start on the winter coat. I’ve traced out all the pattern pieces onto Swedish tracing paper, ready to cut out my muslin pieces.

Winter coat pattern piecesI’m trying out a new tracing paper this time. I used to use Kwik Trace (92cm by 4.6m) for £10.21 but I’ve recently found Gloriarty’s Swedish Sewable Tracing Paper in a roll (74cms by 9.14m) for £9.99 which is much better value.It’s thicker which means you can really make out the pencil notes on each piece which is great in this failing autumnal light.

Next up – cutting out the muslin and putting it together! Slow and steady Joanne, slow and steady…

The Winter Coat: What fabric to choose?

Thank you all for your fabulous feedback on the Winter Coat patterns I highlighted a couple of posts ago. With your sensible and stylish advice I have settled on (and purchased)…

Simplicity 5148

Yep – Simplicity 5148. I loved this pattern from the off – the collar, the pockets, the chance to make the buttons really stand out. I loved Simplicity 6977 too but I felt that it was a touch too formal for me. It would be perfect as a coat for a bit of a do like a wedding, but for everyday comfort and style it was 5148 all the way. Plus, as Karen pointed out in her infinite wisdom, “I can hear my Mum’s voice as I say this, but… Are four buttons more practical than one? ” YES you’re damn right they are Karen my love! But they’re also more FUN!

By the time I finish this and the weather turns proper cold I will have had the baby as well so hopefully won’t have need of the extra space at the front that the one-button closure would have afforded, but a good point to make nonetheless for those of you that did!

So that’s the pattern sorted. Now for the really exciting bit – the fabric! I have ordered a bunch of swatches from one of my favourite fabric suppliers Truro Fabrics. I just love the quality of their coatings and corduroys. When I’m doing a special project and one that I want to last (like here and here) I tend to go upmarket and swallow the extra cost. I think it’s worth it in the long run.

So without further ado, here are the contenders:

Pure wool coating - Coral Herringbone (£15.50 per metre)

Pure wool coating – Coral Herringbone (£15.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating - Muted Turquoise (£18.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating – Muted Turquoise (£18.50 per metre)

Pure wool - Clover (£16.00 per metre)

Pure wool – Clover (£16.00 per metre)

Pure wool coating - Magenta (£15.50 per metre)

Pure wool coating – Magenta (£15.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating - Teal (£17.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating – Teal (£17.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating - Grass green (£12.50 per metre)

Wool blend coating – Grass green (£12.50 per metre)

Which is your favourite? I’m wavering between two (again!) – the grass green coating and the teal wool blend. I love all of the colours and textures but I think the magenta is just a tad too bright for everyday wear and the coral, turquoise and clover run the risk of coming up a bit grannyish in the finished garment. The teal for me is bright enough to make a statement, it’s rich and deep enough in colour to make any bright button or lining really pop and it’s my favourite. colour. ever.

Ooh I think I’ve gone and made up my mind… But I’m still excited to hear what you think! What’s your fave and why?

The Winter Coat: What pattern to choose?

My goodness I know it’s still summer, and actually right now in London it’s hitting 30 degrees Celsius on a glorious August afternoon! But my thoughts are turning to Autumn and Winter – and more specifically – coats for Autumn and Winter.

Spurred on by the relative success of my March Minoru and encouraged by the likes of Karen in creating the most sumptuous coat ever, and Jane with her Abbey coat loveliness, I’d like to try my hand at making a classic winter coat for myself. It’ll be something to take time over as the dark nights draw in. I’m also thinking as I get too big to make any new dresses or tops for myself it’s the perfect long-term project to keep me sharp. I’d like to use a classic vintage pattern, use good quality lining and outer fabric and choose a colour that I love. So many choices!

First up – let’s look at the pattern.

Right now I’m drawn to two patterns:

Simplicity 6977

I love the sheer simplicity and minimalism of Simplicity 6977. It will be perfect for going over shift dresses, polo neck/skinny trew combos and you can really make a statement with that single button at the neck. But then there’s Simplicity 5148…

Simplicity 5148

Look at that adorable peter pan collar, raglan sleeves and welt pockets. Isn’t it just the kind of coat you can snuggle down into? I can see it over skinny jeans and knee high boots as well as smarter outfits. And four buttons to go mad over!

I have to say I found it hard finding vintage coat patterns on the internet that I liked. These are the only two that caught my eye. How about you? Know of a cute vintage or vintage-style swing/pea coat pattern with a peter pan collar that might suit the brief?

Next up – I’ll be sharing some fabulous swatches with you.

Are your thoughts turning to Autumn/Winter sewing now too?