Sunday, May 6, 2012

Simplicity 2172 - Coat (Part 1)

Hello again! As promised, here's the first look of the coat.  The pattern is from Simplicity, who is jumping onto the Steampunk bandwagon and producing simple genre-inspired patterns like this one.  I'm only making the coat from this pattern.  I'm not particularly thrilled with the skirt or the corset, but I might find a use for them later on.  The coat is not really complicated, but it certainly looks difficult.  I cut these pieces out a while ago and just never found time to sew them up.  Now I find the fit is a little tight and I sewed a smaller 3/8" seam in the back to accommodate my size, though most of it fits without too much trouble.  It's cut out in size 18, if I was smart (and more honest about my figure) I should have done a size 20.  Why is it so easy to put on weight, but so darn hard to take it off!
The coat is going together surprisingly fast, so I feel pretty good about this one!

Fabric: all of it comes from Jo-Ann's

  • Medium-weight Cotton (or a high-content cotton blend) with a small textured check in a chocolate brown (sorry I can't give you too much info on this fabric, I thought I wrote it down somewhere but I can't find it)
  • Posh Lining in Wine (100% Polyester)
  • Symphony Broadcloth in Red Hot (65% Polyester, 35% Cotton) Decided not to use this as it didn't go with the color of the lining.
  • Pellon Fusible Interfacing, Featherweight
Thread: lost-label from stash, most likely an all-purpose polyester
Changes: Aside from stitching a smaller seam allowance on a the back seam, there have been no changes yet.  There will be some though, just haven't decided on which ones.  :-)

This is only the top portion of the coat.  I'm up to sewing together the lining.  I also encountered two problems.  Both were my fault but they turned out well in the end.

First, when sewing the flaps for the pockets, I forgot to cut one of the corners to make it easier to turn and ended up ripping the fabric. It was easy enough to fix and I eventually sewed everything together, but it just goes to show that sometimes you need to slow down and make sure you got everything trim, clipped, or snipped.  The good news is that the rip doesn't effect the coat at all and even if it was visible, it will give the coat a more worn-out look, which would make the costume even better. (Look at JJ in the back, he's upset that he can't play in the craft room!)

Second, turning the strings for the loops in the back.  I believe that turning loops is the bane of my existence with these costumes!  Because the fabric is a textured cotton, it was very difficult to draw the loops through themselves.  I fought for a good hour and a half trying to get those stupid things turned.  And sadly, there will be more loop-turning in my future.  I need to find a better method because I love clothes that tie in the back.

There's no real collar to the coat since it relies on the ruffle to finish that portion.  I'm doing the ruffle in a bright red to contrast nicely with the chocolate brown.  Here's another view of the back and side.  The fabric looks really good in this pattern and gives it that sort of rough/military feel I was going for.  I need to get some good close-ups of this material, because I really like it!  I found it with the military-esque fabric that Jo-Ann's sometimes carries.

This is the front.  Can't wait to get the lining in to really see the structure of the coat come together.  I'm not sure what kind of button closure I'm doing.  That's one of the things I'm playing with.  That's all I have for the coat!  Until next time!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Simplicity Pattern 1910 - Bodice

The adventures in sewing starts with the re-imagined Belle dress.  The pattern I'm using is Simplicity Pattern 1910, size 20.  I don't have it written down anywhere, but I believe we decided to make this on the big side so we can take it in where needed.

I just wanted to state at the beginning that this pattern has a mistake in it!  Pattern piece 3 is incorrect!  Please contact Simplicity at info(at)simplicity(dot)com to get the corrected piece.  Personally I was quite surprised at this as there is no mention of errata on their website.  However, I found the Simplicity personnel helpful and received the corrected pattern piece, and a coupon, in a quick and timely manner.  Also if you are making this pattern and have already cut out the incorrect piece 3, you can cut the corrected piece from what you have already cut out.  This is helpful if you have already cut and sewed up the bodice like I had and then found out the piece was wrong when you got ready to sew the bodice front to the bodice back.  Once I had the correct piece 3, it was smooth sailing for the bodice, well smoother at least.

Some stats before I launch into the making of the bodice:
Fabric: all the fabric came from Joann's.  
  • Crepe-back Satin in Gold (100% Polyester)
  • Anti-Static Lining in Champagne (100% Polyester)
  • Pellon Fusible Interfacing, Featherweight
  • Tulle Netting in Gold (100% Nylon)
Thread: Gutermann, 100% Polyester, color 797 (this color matches the fabric color almost exactly)
Changes: the bodice is pretty much as is in the pattern directions minus the trim around the top

Onto the sewing!

This first picture shows the pattern piece 3 that needed to be corrected.  What I'm sewing is the already re-cut pattern piece. The difference is about an inch is taken from the top of piece 3 so it can be sewn to the back at piece 7.  This was the first time I did princess seams.  A little tricky at first but I got the hang of it.  There's a really good article out there on princess seams at Gertie's Blog for Better Sewing.  Threads Magazine also has a good article on princess seams but it is no longer available to the general public, I was lucky enough to find it before they hid it behind a paywall.

Turning the loops was a pain!  If you plan on turning lots of loops in your sewing career, then I suggest getting one of those loop-turner gadgets.  It probably would have made all the difference when I was trying to turn the loops for the back of the bodice (and for my coat too, but that's another post).

Also the first time I worked with lining.  It turned out well, but the lining is slippery and I had to rip a few times before I got everything right.  Also I learned it pays to read the instructions closely, since I first sewed the back to the front on the wrong side.

The boning was also easy since the pattern calls for you to sew down the seam allowance and use that as the casing for the boning.  The only downside with the boning is trying to straighten it a bit since it came in a little pack all tightly rolled up.  Keep a sturdy nail-file with you when trimming the boning to sand off any really rough spots.  You don't want that stuff catching and damaging your hard work.  The boning used was a plastic "featherlite" boning by Dritz.

Sewing the lining to the bodice was a little tricky but it looks great!  The top part of the bodice where the lining and satin are sewn together still wants to roll a bit.  I think it needs to be pressed a bit more and that should help.  If not I'll search for another solution.  Understitching was not hard at all and I like that it helps keep the lining in place.

That's it for the bodice!  I'm getting ready to sew the skirt.  However, my next post will be about my coat.  Thanks for visiting!  :-)