First project for 2012!!

Project: Winter Coat
Pattern: Simplicity 2311, View A
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Double-faced wool from Gail K’s last year

One week later than anticipated, but it’s done at last! I’ve no real excuse other than I’ve generally been feeling yucky and the weather has offered no encouragement to finish a heavy coat. Of course there’s no way I’m wearing it in the balmy 72 degree weather we’re having today

not even to model.


The long range forecast is showing some cold weather around Valentine’s day, so I might get to wear it before next winter. The first time I wear it there will be photos.

I promise.

Here it is on Brunhilde. You might notice some pins–the collar is in training to lay flatter.

Finished Front

As I expected, the pattern (mis-)matching doesn’t offend me in the least. The way the patterns arranged themselves on the finished coat might have been a problem in another fabric, but not in these shades of gray.

Finished back

Here’s that polyester satin lining. It’s sort of hammered looking–JoAnn’s had a name for it, but I can’t recall it just now. I really like the unobtrusive way it turned out. Matching the lining to the fabric was the way to go with a project like this.


I did have one lining snafu. There being no separate lining pieces for the pattern, I simply shortened the lining by the length of the coat’s hem. Due to my slovenly marking habits, I forgot to mark the large dot at the bottom of the side front lining before I removed it from the cutting table. When it came time to sew it to the facing, I positioned the pattern wrong and marked the dot too high.

I thought there was an awful lot of facing to ease in…

When the coat was nearly done and the facing would not hang level along the hem, I realized my mistake. I ripped that seam loose and sewed the lining to the facing by hand.

I’ll mark it properly next time (sure I will…)

All’s well that ends well, of course, and it only cost me some time.

For the backs of the bound buttonholes, I made windowpanes on the facing and stitched them together. I’m sure you’ve seen the method. It works very well as long as you mark carefully.

Buttonhole, back side

I’m very happy with the coat and even happier to be done with the coat! I knew it would be a long project, but I’m never really prepared for the weeks that it takes me to finish a multi-step garment like this.

Now that I’m done, it was worth all the time it took. I’ve needed this coat for a long time and I expect to wear it for many years!

Collar and Sleeves

Project: Winter Coat
Pattern: Simplicity 2311, View A
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Double-faced wool from Gail K’s last year

My goal for today was to install the under collar and finish the sleeves. The sleeves still need a little bit of work, but I’m calling my goal met!

Sleeves in

The under collar was a piece of cake.  Luckily sewing through the bed sheet version prepped me for doing it “live and in color” so to speak.

The bed sheet version of the sleeves, OTOH, did nothing to help me with these!  Virtually no easing was required on the muslin.  This thick wool was totally different.  Necktie interfacing saved me–that’s another trick in the Palmer-Pletsch Jackets for Real People book, which I’ve also seen Peggy Sager do.

(I just realized that I haven’t tried the coat on with the shoulder pads, and the sleeve length is perfect as-is.  Hmm.)

At any rate, the sleeves are in.  Mostly.

I did find buttons at Hancock’s, thank goodness.  They had quite a nice selection–much better than JoAnn’s.  These cost more than I wanted to spend, but considering what I’ve already got in this coat–and how much more I like it than I thought I would–they weren’t too much.


Though I wanted a sew-through button in shell or plastic, I think these metal shank ones look nice with the coating.  Here they are on the sleeve:

Sleeve vent

My goal for tomorrow is to sew and install the lining, then finish the coat.  I’m pretty sure that it will be too warm to wear the coat on Sunday, but I really want to get it ready for any cold weather that may come along later.

Plus there are plenty of simple projects wanting to be made!  I think I need an apron.


It’s starting to look like a coat

Project: Winter Coat
Pattern: Simplicity 2311, View A
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Double-faced wool from Gail K’s last year

Funny how a project feels as if you are taking one step forward and two (or three) steps back for so long, and  then suddenly you’ve got something.  That’s what has happened today with my new coat.

I sewed the front to the back at the shoulders, and wowza!  It’s a coat!!




There’s still a long way to go, but with sufficient sewing time I could be wearing my coat to church this Sunday.

Tomorrow I’ll head over to Hancock’s to see if they have any suitable buttons.  If they don’t it will sure throw a monkey wrench into my plans.  I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I find the perfect ones!

Bound To

Project: Winter Coat
Pattern: Simplicity 2311, View A
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Double-faced wool from Gail K’s last year

As I expected, the machine buttonholes were just wrong for the coat. Working them was not really a problem. My Bernina has a buttonhole with a wide stitch, and I hoped that it would cover enough of the coating to keep the buttonhole from pulling out. It seemed to, but the problem was cutting them open. Once cut, they weren’t pretty. Plus, I couldn’t be certain that I wouldn’t cut some of the buttonhole stitches–even though I was using a chisel.

So I settled on the bound variety.

At first I planned to use the strip method that I used last year.  That worked really well in the boucle, but was kinda fiddly.  When I was doing some blog reading today, I was reminded by Sharon Sews of the patch method of making bound buttonholes.  I like that method because you have good control of the corners with the little windowpane.

I did make the lips differently, however.  Palmer-Pletsch, in Jackets for Real People, details a way of using two rectangles of fabric basted together and pressed open to make the lips.  Once the buttonhole window is constructed, the basted lips are aligned at the center of the window and and stitched in place.

That eliminates handling the tiny individual lips, plus they are already basted together.

It seems less fiddly to me and it looks pretty good, though I can see some of the lining fabric that I used to make my window peaking out on this sample.  If I don’t get the actual buttonholes any better, I won’t worry about it.

Bound Buttonhole Sample

I only have to make three.  Let’s get at it!

Sewing despite the new puppy

Project: Winter Coat
Pattern: Simplicity 2311, View A
Size: 12, altered
Fabric: Double-faced wool from Gail K’s last year

Lest you think I have fallen into the abyss never to emerge, I offer photographic evidence that I am indeed finding a bit of time to sew.

This first image is of my coat’s undercollar resting on the tailor’s ham whilst the fold line steam-sets.  The front of the coat is resting on the guest room bed with the lapel turned back similarly, though there are no pins involved.


And my back belts, which I sewed differently from the instructions.  My super-thick coating did not need to be bunched in a seam along the edge of the belt, so I first sewed the long edge then centered the long seam before sewing the end.

They turned out nicely that way.  After testing several different grays, I chose a lighter thread for the topstitching.  It is 1/2″ from the edge and the stitch is lengthened considerably, though the stitches look short in these photos.

I said earlier that I didn’t think the print of the coating would mind not being matched.  I think you can tell from the lower belt piece in the photo above that it’s gonna be just fine without the additional terror of matching the print across all the seams in this coat.

Bound buttonholes will probably be required, but I hope to do some tests tomorrow to see if I can get by with a machined buttonhole.  My gut says no.

Pearl TWD is working her way into my daily schedule so that I beginning to get more done than simply playing with and training a dog all day.  Honestly, I don’t know how anyone who is employed has time to deal with a dog.  She takes almost as much time as a baby and can make a much bigger mess…

and I love her.   :-D