These past three weeks have been most exiting. The duffle coat has come a long way since I last shared my progress here. There have been a few more hiccups and tantrums but on the whole, it is looking like a coat now and I am optimistic that I will finish before Christmas.
The duffle coat has been an all consuming project and I have done very little else, my books remain unread, I did barely make any progress on my crochet blanket and the house is a tip. I am not sure if the children realise I am still living in the same house as them. I spent every opportunity that cropped up sewing. Last week I didn't manage to fit in a single evening of sewing due to an abundance of other commitments. My memory is blurred and I can't even remember what kept me so busy (self protecting my own sanity?). I was suffering from withdrawal symptoms, I really was. Fortunately, yesterday was the monthly come-along-and-sew afternoon at the Stitchery and even better, I was free to go. It is nice to sew in company of other like-minded women and we sewed and chatted happily for a full 4 hours. I spent almost the entire time fitting my sleeves.
Last time I shared my duffle coat journey I had not cut into my beautiful Harris Tweed. It took a little courage, after all it is £40 a metre. But this seems like a long time ago now. I have nearly finished the outer part of the duffle coat. Just last night I sewed the hood on and finished the seams.
I hope the chalk markings will rub of soon... The sewing wasn't all plain sailing. You would have thought that making two toiles would mean the final sewing of the actual garment would be a breeze and the fit would be perfect. Well, it wasn't. I had to take in the sides and I had to make adjustments to the armholes. I was procrastinating over the sleeves, I thought it would be really difficult to set them in. Once I run out of excuses, I got started and it was not all bad. I had to tweak the fit several times. Luckily our talented teacher, Cassandra, is very handy with pins, she pinned my sleeves into the perfect position. I don't think I could have done it on my own, in front of the mirror. I don't have one of those handy clothes dummies. These don't come in my shape and I have not had time to make one yet. I probably never will. I think it was worth the effort, the fit is good. I am surprised at the amount of fitting that went into this garment, considering that duffle coats are quite boxy and unfitted. The thought of making a fitted coat makes me break out in cold sweat. I will make one though, one day... Back to the sleeves. I have also sewn in the sleeve heads, giving a bit more shape altogether. The photos are taken before inserting those, the shape and fit are much much better now.
Below you can see the toggles. These have been a cause of much swearing. I ordered some leather off-cuts on Ebay. I didn't think much about it and it didn't occur to me that saddle leather might be quite thick. It was a struggle to sew the toggles on. I hand stitched the cord in before sewing the leather semi circles on. These I had to be held in place with sticky tape as it is not really possible to baste leather on. I considered glue but I wasn't sure how this would affect the fabric. The leather still shifted during sewing, which of course meant I had to unpick the the stitches and start from scratch, with a new semi circle because the holes of the wonky stitching would be visible in the re-used leather. Only two of the six semi circles went on without problems, the others were stitched at least twice. I ended up sewing through the sticky tape rather than peeling it off as I went around. The stitching is not perfect but has to be good enough. There is still some residual tape stuck around some but I'll peel it off before I finish.
My last job to finish the lining. I have sewed the main parts together but still have to set in the sleeves and make adjustments to the shape. Hopefully these will be easier. I guess it is less crucial to have a perfect fit but it still has to fit into the outer coat of course. My current nightmare is that for some reason the main coat and lining won't fit together.... Deep breath.
I have added this post to Jennifer's winter linkup party. You can find her own project and many others here. Thank you Jennifer for organising this sharing platform.
If I can wait long enough, I will share the finished duffle coat with you in the January linkup. I probably can't.
Thank you for stopping by and reading my blog. It is nice to see so many comments. It is not always easy to find time to leave a short message, which makes each and every one even more precious. xx