I work full time and despite frequently taking Fridays off, there just isn’t much time to quilt during the week. That makes it hard to find blog topics when I’m trying to post 5 a week.
So, I squeeze everything I can into the weekends because weekdays don’t really offer enough free time to be all that creative before breakfast and after the supper dishes are done.
I was anxious this last weekend. I’d had a really hard work week last week and at the last minute, I took Friday off after I wrapped up a huge project. And, I couldn’t stop thinking about that interview. You know I filled the time.
On day three of the weekend, I got up and finished my pants that I showed a couple days ago. But, after that, I still had the longing to sew garments. My next garment project is a coat.
Let’s start that by telling a little story. All my garment making for as long as I’ve been trying to make clothes has been influenced by my Mom telling me about a winter she decided to make herself a coat to save some money. And, by the time she’d bought all the stuff to make it, she’d spent as much as she would have if she’d gone to one of the big departments stores to buy one.
She told me that a long time ago, so I’ve always let the cost of fabric, compared to the cost of a ready made garment, determine what I would try to make. And, consequently, I’ve learned to collect toward projects when I find stuff on sale or at garage sale prices. The tan jeans for example. I could have bought a pair of tan jeans at Goodwill for $6.99. I couldn’t buy the denim for that price. But, I had the tan denim and I had the zipper and I had bought the metal rivet button a long time ago, so I had nothing to lose except some time. I even used thread I already had. So, those pants cost me nothing to make. That’s a bargain.
The coat is the same. I already have the fabric. When I decided to make the coat, I bought the toggles for it. All I need now is a small piece of lining and some thread.
How, you ask, did I have the fabric? Well, my quilt mentor was making denim quilts at one time in her years of quilt making and she doesn’t mess around when it comes to supplies. I probably was gifted a square mile of denim and similarly weighted upholstery fabric. The plan is to eventually make quilts for the homeless, but I haven’t started that project yet. Anyway, I’ve been plucking out of that stash for years to make things. That’s where the pillows in the living room came from, and the denim quilt, and I’ve used a ton of soft flannel-like fabric that was backed with something heavy as quilt backs for Linus quilts, making them heavy enough that they don’t need batting.
Peter Lappin of Male Pattern Boldness made himself a toggle coat a couple of years ago, and that’s when I decided I wanted to make myself one too. This isn’t my first coat, but it is the first one I’m making from a pattern. The other one I winged and while it isn’t appropriate for every where, I still get to wear it a few times a year as a very unique and warm garment. Peter documented his process here.
Anyway, I found the same pattern he did and on Sunday, I sat in the floor and read the instructions and traced the pattern to tissue paper.
Not everyone traces their patterns, but I like to so I can make fit adjustments to the pattern without ruining the original. If a make a mistake, I just go back to the original and trace another copy. But, to do a whole pattern, it takes hours, during which every family member and every animal came into the kitchen and dribbled water onto my tissue paper. That sounds like it would be more frustrating than it was. The real frustration was them trying to keep from doing it, which always makes things worse and not being able to laugh at the futility of their efforts. I was literally spread over every inch of kitchen floor space there was and they couldn’t possibly even use the kitchen for hours and avoid stepping on or dripping on the patterns. All i did was try to keep them off the original.
When Peter was making his coat, I was thinking about what I had that I could use without having to spend a small fortune on fabric. And, I had a beautiful piece of medium weight wool in a dark olive green. I’ve worried about what to use as a lining and then realized it’s not really a lining, it’s an underlining and I had a piece of olive green medium weight denim that I think will be great. My deviation from the pattern is that I want to use a piece of acetate lining in the sleeves that I’ll add just before I hem them and that will keep me from having to bind all those exposed seams. It will also make the coat easier to put on and off.
The white is the piece of denim I’m going to use for the muslin. After all, when you have so much, why not use it. And, the toggles are ones I found on half off sale and picked up during the planning stage.
So, what really made this project come together for me this weekend? Realizing that this would be so easy to make, using my Bernina 930. I talked the other day about struggling to make clothes with my vintage machines and how the Bernina didn’t even blink an eye at eight layers of heavy denim, so with that problem solved, I was ready to start.
Except I’m still a bit nervous about starting a project this big and that’s why I haven’t actually put scissors to fabric yet. But, my courage is growing the more I study the pattern and the blog posts of other people that have made stylish coats and re-read Peter’s blog and I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I cut the muslin this weekend and do all i can to get it put together.
Life is all about new adventures and changes. In the words of the famous Jean Luc Picard “All engines full ahead, Number One”, so here we go.
I’ll try to be as good as Peter about posting my progress, even though I am a bit worried about getting half way through and becoming overwhelmed and putting it aside and feeling embarrassed.
Everybody have a great Friday and a great weekend. Lane