The Coat

Ok, this really is one huge achievement for me! I made a coat. A coat. THE coat 😀

I don´t know how it is for others but for me this has been a huge goal and a dream for many years. A dream that took so long to come true because I never had an opportunity to go and actually learn how to make a coat.

I have two failed attempts of coats still in my wardrobe – both unfinished because I got stuck on the way but I find it extremely difficult, actually impossible, to just dump a project. However, these two might be headed to the dumpster because I know now that saving them would be a huge load of work and maybe even not possible.

So before I continue, I have to say big thanks to my teacher Margit whose class I attended once a week from October to November, seven meetings altogether. She basically held my hand when it came to pockets and this curved hem. I am also thankful to the small group of ladies who also participated and whose company I enjoyed very much.

Each class was 3 hours long, but since I live 100 km away from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, for me and my family it was a whole journey each time. My husband left work two hours earlier each Wednesday and we packed little Liisa-Mai with all of her equipment into the car and drove to Tallinn. Each Wednesday they spent the 3 hours together either strolling in the shops or visiting friends so that I could make that coat. The participation in this course was actually a birthday present from my husband, but as you can see, it was much more than just paying for the course!

Anyway, even with the seven meetings the coat was not yet finished. I had to attach the lining of the left sleeve and as it very often happens – these little things in the end take most of the time and effort. So I actually finished sewing the coat in January and then had to take it to a tailor´s shop to have the buttonholes made. At least this is what the teacher suggested – trying to sew them with a regular home sewing machine would not give a satisfactory result.

The ladies at the first tailor´s shop immediately told me that they did not offer such service anymore and that bound buttonholes would actually show real craftmanship. Yes, agreed, but I just made my first coat! I can keep something for the next one, I believe?? 🙂 Anyway, I finally found a place that accepted the work and… the coat was finished!

The pattern is from a Patrones magazine a few years ago. I actually got the magazine exactly because of this pattern, I was drawn by the unique curved hem and the general tailcoat style. The wool fabric is also from a few years back and also bought exatly for this pattern. I remember a lady buying it and I told her that I thought it was really beautiful and asked her what she would make out of it. She was snappy when she responded so I waited for some time until she left the shop and then asked for the same fabric 😀

But what was it about those two earlier attempts that I wasn´t able to finish them, or more precisely, lost interest in finishing them because I could see that the result would not be satsifactory? For me, it is the lack of instructions in the sewing magazines. I have not seen one coat or even jacket pattern that would advise using as much fusible interfacing as you ACTUALLY need for making a proper jacket or a coat. Or what about sleeve heads? Extra layer of windstopper material? I really tried following the patterns word by word and always ended up with a mess. It makes me sad, because I believe I am not the only one and some people could really get discouraged by this.

So my coat has windstopper inside the back piece (I could really feel the difference today while taking the photos, since I did not add any to the sleeves, for example), self-drafted sleeve heads (so simple, who would have thought!) and lots of fusible interfacing (I had figured that out with a help from a local seamstress already earlier). I used the Spanish size 42 without any adjustments even after measuring the pattern and myself (this is a new thing I learned at the course!) apart from setting the sleeves a little deeper.

It also has this curved hem that actually made things quite difficult – adding the lining and making it fall smoothly was a lot of work and I know that it is not perfect, but I am happy with it anyway, since it is my very first!

As you can see, I skipped most of the buttons on the front. The truth is only one of them was meant to have a buttonhole anyway so after I sewed on the first one it seemed quite enough for me. However, there is a smaller button on the inside to secure the fronts nicely as they overlap.

The fabric is a beautiful striped greyish-pink with a very soft pile. Some of the photos show the fabric more grey than it is. I used pink piping on the lining attatchment seam.

In conclusion, I am beyond happy – happy about the coat and happy about the skills and encouragement I got from the course!

Out Of The Closet: Plaid Whirl Skirt

The weather here in Estonia has been from one extreme to the other in a very short time – the photos in the previous post were taken two weeks ago… and check out the ones I took today!

P1030513

P1030517

I actually prefer the snowy extreme to rain anytime, the past two weeks have been magical, snowing nearly every day and turning the world into a fairy tale scene. It is also much lighter like this, even the little daylight we get  is reflected back by the snow.

The first month has been very busy at work and I get quite tired by the end of the day, so I haven´t been sewing as much as I would like to. There is a party dress coming together (I am hoping to make a post about it soon) and the poor coat is still on halt. I asked a friend in Athens to go and see if she can get an extra meter of the fabric, because I feel that the beautiful material and effort I am putting into this project is worth it. I can´t accept spoiling it, so I am keeping my fingers crossed that she can still find the fabric and since I will have a holiday in the end of the month, I would maybe even be able to finish it by the end of the year.

Today I am showing you a skirt I made a year ago, so still pre-blog. There is no pattern for this, just instructions to make one. It is from Burda Easy Fashion autumn-winter 2010 issue.

Burda Easy Fashion AW 2010

Burda Easy Fashion AW 2010 skirt

P1030512

The first time I wore it was for the Christmas gathering of the Estonian Embassy in Athens last year. I will miss the one this year, but hopefully the Christmas party with work colleagues will make it up! We will have live music, food and drinks and I think it sounds promising. Also, it will be much fancier, I wouldn´t wear this skirt there. Actually I am hoping to wear the new party dress I mentioned.

So, the skirt. It is pretty straightforward, it is a full circle skirt made up of two identical pieces and has a side zipper. The waistband called for a buttonhole, but I decided to make a loop instead. I also made it longer than the Burda version.

P1030524

P1030525

I am not really sure I cut the fabric correctly, because when the skirt falls freely, the plaids run differently from one side to the other. Then again, when I lift it up, it looks precise… I have no idea, maybe it is impossible to cut plaid fabric in full circle and get it symmetrical?

I really like the colour combination though, and I think it was very appropriate for the event at the embassy, because blue-black-white are the colours of the Estonian national flag!

Because of the full circle, hemming the skirt felt endless. I used double needle for a more professional look. But at  the same time, the full circle whirls so nicely!

P1030515

P1030521

P1030518

The boots are Greek brand Hunter again. I still regret I didn´t get them in silvery grey as well, because they are comfortable and I often get compliments when I wear them.

P1030527