|Cascade Duffle Coat, Grainline Studio|
Whilst working away on the toiles and patterns, I agonised over my choice of fabric, then the style of the toggles. I must have ordered at least 20 fabric samples, mostly Harris Tweed but also some boiled wool. I bought this beautiful dark blue Harris Tweed and a grey herringbone flannel for the lining. I decided not to interline the coat.
|It was not easy to see which side was the right side of the fabric. Only the white stitching gave an indication. I guess it didn't matter then but I tried to always keep the same side as the right side.|
It was quite a memorable moment when I finally cut the actual fabric! I had to make further minor adjustments to the outer coat. You may notice the chalk marks here and there, these are now gone. There were still some baggy areas under my arms for example, and the side needed further shaping. We also added a small shoulder pad to give the shoulder a bit more shape. It was sloping a little without and adding it made a great difference.
|You may notice the chalk marks here and there, these are now gone. I am quite pleased with how well the zip facing line up. It was a bit fiddly, so many layers.|
|I just love the hood, it is super cosy. It is a good fit and doesn't blow off my head in the wind|
I also had to make corresponding adjustments to the lining, but we did a lot of the adjustments on the body rather than on the pattern. Inserting the lining was quite time consuming. The pattern suggests a 'bagged' method which involved sewing the lining in completely and then turn it out. This meant to pull the whole coat through the small gap left in the sleeve lining. We used a more traditional method of inserting the lining instead. We sewed in the body of the lining along the sides and the top and turned it out. We then put the coat onto a clothes dummy to align the lining and the outer coat in the arm and shoulder area. You can see that the shoulder needed narrowing on the photo below. The lining sleeves were sewed in by machine at the cuffs but the setting in was done by hand, after making adjustments and basting them in in the correct place. It seemed to take forever!
|Here you can see the small shoulder pad. You can also see how the lining was basted onto the outer layer. The excess fabric was then trimmed off to match the outer fabric.|
The last step was to hand stitch the lining to the hemline. Did you now that the lining needs to be a little bigger to avoid it feeling tight? I didn't and nearly cut some off the lining length... I really enjoyed the hand stitching, it was therapeutic.
|This is not actually where exactly the lining was stitched to the outer coat, the stitching is about one centimetre under the the lining edge shown. It falls to roughly were it is pinned.|
It was a challenging project and has brought me to the edge of sanity a few times. I am not sure I would have been able to sew the coat without guidance and lots of 'handholding'. Cassandra, our teacher is an amazing woman, she is super talented and her patience is as vast as an ocean. We didn't just sew the coat but we also learned different techniques, and learned about different possibilities, for example different pocket types, and different ways of doing things. I am more confident setting in sleeves and have learned a variety of nearly invisible hand stitches. My understanding of the sewing process from pattern to garment has vastly improved, as has my understanding and accepting of my body.
The Cascade pattern instructions were good but not great. There is a sew along on the Grainline Studio website which shows more detail and which helped a lot but it was really Cassandra who helped the most.
Sewing with many layers of thick wool is challenging. I used a walking foot to make it easier. Sometimes it was almost impossible to shoogle the layers under the presser foot. My sewing machine is full of blue lint and probably needs a service... or at the very least a good hoover.
And now, I expect you want to see some photos of the completed coat
|This photo was taken in the studio with proper lighting. The blue is not quite true.|
|This photo was taken on my upper landing, with the camera perched on the bannister. The lighting is a bit random.|
|The hood is a good fit. It stays on in blustery weather. I can spot a dog hear on the left side.|
|I chose this photo to show you that my hair is less messy now. Do you like the painting in the background? A friend of mine painted it, it is a Moroccan harbour scene.|
|For good measure, here a photo with my Dr Evil grin. My acne rosacea works well with this grin.|
What next? I think I might pick up the knitting needles for a change. I will of course continue to sew and I am planning to take a master fitting class in April. In the meantime, I will start to explore my new overlocker and maybe make a t-shirt or two. I also fancy this dress. It is designed for curvy women with big boobs.
If you live in Glasgow, or nearby, check out the other courses at the Stitchery.
Thank you so much for your encouraging comments along this sewing journey!
I am linking up with Jennifer's Winter Project Link Party. Do pop over and have a look at all the creativity that is ever-present in blog land. Jennifer's own hens foot blanket is fabulous, you must go and see it.
Have a wonderful week wherever you are! xx