I am now nearly half way through my duffle coat course and I have still not cut my beautiful Harris Tweed. It has been a rocky road so far. Who would have thought that sewing a duffle coat could reduce me to a sobbing snotty mess?
Let me summarise my progress:
When we first started, we had to take measurements of our bodies. We did this in pairs for accuracy. From my measurements, it was clear that none of the size options would be particularly good for me. That was a bit of a blow. I have been careful in the past to choose patterns that fit my measurements.
I watched my teacher Cassandra make mysterious adjustments to my pattern, one of them a full bust adjustment (FBA), explaining it all along, and I felt utterly overwhelmed by it all. I decided to give up before I started properly but didn't. My first toile ended up being almost right around the shoulders, too wide around my trunk and bottom and a little bit too tight around my bust. I don't even want to imagine the fit of an unaltered pattern... I managed to sew in the zipper bands so they didn't overlap but converged in the middle. That was a bit embarrassing. It didn't really matter for the fitting.
I had to make a second bust adjustment, this time on my own. It took my several hours over two days to admit defeat. I worked my way through a pivot FBA tutorial, and a more simple cut and slide FBA (it is not online). I managed the pivot method ok but ended up with a poncho sized pattern piece that just didn't look right. I know a FBA will add to width but not as much as I ended up with. The other method is simple but I didn't quite get the fact that the photos were a mirror image to my own pattern.... I had another wobbler, deciding to make cushion covers from my tweed and burn the duffle coat pattern in a big fire. I asked Cassandra if I could come in early instead to see where I went wrong. I could. It wasn't actually as bad as I thought and I had nearly got it right. I am fairly confident that I will be ok with future FBAs, of the dart-less variety at least.
My second toile fitted well around the bust but needed generous taking in around the sides because the FBA added width. The result can be seen on the photo. The hood fits well, too. I have no photo of that. Now I have to ease in the sleeves. I am mildly concerned because some of the other ladies in the class had to make considerable arm adjustments, some of which looked a lot more complicated than the FBA. Our duffle coat has two part sleeves, which may make adjustments more tricky.
My homework is to ease in the sleeves for fitting, wash my fabrics for cutting and gather all the bits and pieces needed for the real thing.
During an evening in class, we have several tutorials and then get to spend time on our own coats. So far, we learned about different pattern adjustments, different pockets, sewing with leather, different kinds of interfacings, couture and tailoring, pattern matching and more. I have learned so much already, I am really pleased with the course. Cassandra, if you stumble across this blog by accident, I am eternally grateful for your handholding and gentle guidance. I wish I was a bit more like that with my children.
If you live in Glasgow and would like to learn how to make garments or quilts, or would like to challenge yourself and make a pair of jeans, you should definitely consider The Stitchery for a course. If you just want company whilst sewing, there are sewing afternoons once a month, too.
You can find many more winter crafty projects on Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party. Jennifer's own winter project, the Hensfoot blanket, is beautiful!
Thanks for stopping by and saying hello. I love to hear from you. Have a lovely day. Cxx