03 November, 2015

Musings on a new coat project

Aaaaahhhhh!  Late fall.... my garden is rapidly going underground, the outdoor temps maxing out at barely-there double digits, time for winter tires and Christmas prep rapidly abeckonin', and first flurries of the season already behind us.  I can just about smell the first world-blanketing snowstorm in the air.

So it shouldn't be surprising to have one's fancy turn to thoughts of coats.  Winter coats, yea!  Who amongst you is also thinking of making one?

A short while ago Ann of SewbabyNews had a de-stashing sale. How could I possibly NOT try to help a fellow blogger, especially one with whom I already had some charming exchanges in the past?  I bought two of her wools (thank you, Ann!):  a beautiful cream-grey-blue pendleton check in coating weight and a totally fab genuine Black Watch tartan in what in my climate goes as dress weight.

I've made a few coats. Way, way back when. Like, if you can believe it, three of them in 2008, as part of the Great Coat Sewalong. Seriously?! Have I been blogging for 7, count' em, s-e-v-e-n, years?!  I don't believe it myself.

Not counting my more recent fall/spring trench of a couple of years ago, my me-made coats are:
1. McCall's 5247 (Scott ancient black and white tartan) indoor topper
2. Burda 7856 red/black herringbone blanket cocoon short coat
3.Vogue 1266 wool-cashmere black-grey pinstripe Siege of Stalingrad heavy long winter coat
4. Burda 09-2009-115  coral-coloured cashmere "is that a bathrobe?" modern cut light winter coat

So it's high time I made another coat, right?  Of course right.

Considering that I'm on a fabric fast (cough, cough, the less said about that the better - falling off the wagon feels sooo good, right?) and thus morally obligated to not increase the size of my stash, it behoves me to make something out of those two recently arrived luscious wools before they begin to languish.

I have exactly 2.5 m of the pendleton, in standard (150 cm) width.

Isn't this a real winter beauty?

And I'm considering one of these three patterns: Butterick 5145, Vogue 8548, and Vogue 7978.

They just happen to be some of the coat patterns in my collection.  All have a slightly A-line shape.  All have a stand-up collar version, too, to which I've been attracted of late.  Two of the three have a raised waistline with variations on the armscye princess bodice shaping. The Butterick has that in the back, with darts in the front bodice - and darts might well work better with the check than those curving princess seams. I'm very conscious that whatever pattern I choose should look good with checks.  Checks are always something of a challenge, what with needing to be matched in both horizontal and vertical directions!

I've always adored version A of V8548 (the yellow one), but for a Canadian winter, seriously?!  I have to laugh at the very idea.  Those princess sleeves would give my skinny birdbone wrists frostbite every time every time I stepped outdoors, and the huge funnel would collect a shovelful of snow down my back just in the time it takes for me to walk from the bus stop home.  Still, that pattern would make one rockin' office frock.

 I'm less inclined towards the shoulder princess V7978, yet at the same time do like the off-centre, Asian vibe closure on version B.  Only perhaps not with this fabric, hmm? Kinda too many cultural references in one garment.

Just to verify that my fabric length will yield a coat of my desired length:  something a little above the knee - I placed the Butterick pattern pieces on the fabric.  So far so good - but that was without attempting to matching the check. But at least I know that a coat is a very doable idea for the fabric.

So, OK, let's discuss the fabric.  The pendleton is a soft, spongy, fairly loose, easy to breathe through wool.  Beautiful, but it's not a melton:  not terribly resistant to being pulled out of shape, and certainly insufficient by itself to keep me warm or protected from the wind.  So a discussion of interfacing, underlining, interlining, and various shape retention methods is in order....

All in good time. I'm going to go slow on this project.  Right now I'm not in a position to do any sewing whatsoever, having just submitted to hand surgery on my dominant hand for the second time in two months.  Can't hold scissors!  Come to think of it, can't hold anything. But I can peck-type with my other hand! The enforced idleness is an encouragement to review the construction choices I made for my other coats, and plan appropriately for this one.