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Lady Grey progress

I've been hard at work on my Lady Grey coat since my last entry in late August. I'm really glad I chose to participate in this sew-along; I am learning SO MUCH, both from Gertie's posts and from the flickr commenters. Also, it's introduced me to at least 5 new sewing blogs that I follow. Pretty neat community! Under the cut, photos of my progress and assorted sewing-related jibba jabba.

Lady Grey Fabric

These are the fabrics I ended up choosing. Since I am not terribly skilled, I didn't want to splurge on expensive wool; the shell is charcoal gray flannel suiting material with pink polka dotted rayon lining. I got it all at the local Jo-Ann Fabrics; I hope to uncover a nicer fabric store in the area before my next project. This will do for now, though; the flannel is really soft and snuggly.

For my first muslin, I cut out the size 18 pattern and then made up a muslin of old bedsheets directly from that without any alterations. The results were... well, it was in the neighborhood, but there was definitely some work to be done. Pardon my disheveled hair in that shot - it was still surprisingly hot and sweaty at the end of September!

Lady Grey Muslin #1

The flickr group members were really helpful in pointing out areas of fitting concern in this muslin. There's a lot of pulling in the bust and the center front was pulled diagonally. From the back, there was a lot of pulling and bunching of fabric, most of which was caused by the pulling in the front. Most commercial patterns are based around a B-cup. I believe Colette Patterns are based around a C-cup, which is closer... but clearly I was going to have to do a full bust adjustment to get this muslin fitting right. Basically, this involves slashing the front pattern piece, spreading it out wider and adding some length - all without changing the shape of the seam areas. I used The Snug Bug's wonderful FBA post as a guide and got a pretty good outcome!

Lady Grey Muslin #1.5

It's technically muslin #2, but since I reused the back portion of #1, I'm calling it muslin #1.5. ^_^ It's hanging much better than #1 - the center's actually at the center and in other shots, you can see that the side seams are properly vertical and the crazy bunching at the back has relaxed out. Hurrah! I wonder looking at the pics now whether I should have moved the waist up a tad. Oh well. I guess we'll see in the finished product.

Lady Grey Progress

After I cut everything out, I got down to the tedious but satisfying task of shaping the front of the coat. Once I am confident in my coat-making skills, I will probably spring for hair canvas interfacing. For now, though, I used medium-weight sew-in interfacing. I basted it in place on the side front piece with 2-inch spacing, then sewed the front piece to it along the seam line. I pressed the seam open, then catch-stitched the seam to the interfacing. Next, I trimmed off part of the front the seam allowance, slid it into place and catch-stitched. After that, I catch-stitched a length of black twill tape 1/8" below the roll line of the lapel, then basted down all the interfacing that was beneath that. If you look closely by the seam there, you can see that I had a weird portion of extra interfacing around the bust there. I don't know what caused it - possibly a poor tracing or cutting job. Oops! Either way, it was pretty easy to address; I just pinched out the excess until the interfacing fit nicely against the shell, then folded it over and basted it in white thread. Easy enough!

Bound buttonholes

Another new technique I tried on this project was bound buttonholes. My Singer machine doesn't do a particularly good job with buttonholes and I feel they always end up looking really floppy and unprofessional. This technique is adorably vintage AND looks way nicer. Apparently bound buttonholes have a pretty bad reputation; when I mentioned to my mother over the phone that I was doing them, she said "OH NO, THOSE ARE SO AWFUL." Thanks to Gertie's wonderful tutorial, though, it was a breeze. I didn't have any appropriate silk organza. Instead, after some experimenting, I just used a square of the fashion fabric, then steamed it and applied my clapper vigorously to make it nice and flat.

Lady Grey Progress

The step I'm currently on is pad-stitching. Basically, you baste the interfacing to the lapel while curving it over your finger (or in my case, over a drumstick). The end result is a lapel that flops out neatly and naturally with a permanent soft roll. It seems to be working out so far. It could be that the drumstick is too wide and doesn't make a drastic enough roll. We'll see!

In sum, I'm getting a ton of catch-stitching and basting practice! It's amazing how many new techniques I'm learning and using in this project. For one, it's my first successful FBA - and I'd better get used to doing them, since ain't nobody drafting patterns around my body shape. All this fine tailoring work is pretty cool - hopefully, it'll result in me having a wonderful fall/spring transitional coat to wear. ^_^



( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Oct. 13th, 2010 03:41 pm (UTC)
Oh wow - that looks like so much fun
Oct. 19th, 2010 03:13 am (UTC)
Isn't learning new skills so great?!

I am impressed that you have SO many new things going on at once and are making good progress (as opposed to stuffing things into the wastebasket in frustration.) But maybe I shouldn't be impressed, since I believe you are going into this project with a pretty good foundation and a clever head.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )

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