Saturday, April 19, 2014

Photo tests...

Downloaded Picasa and I'm slowly figuring it out.

I have to move the photos to an 'export' folder in order to resize them...the resized versions go in the export folder, while the originals remain untouched in their spot.  Makes sense, I suppose, it's just a paradigm shift.

So, I pulled a few photos to check the process:
 Drafting the pattern for the fleece batting sleeve header...

It's a really thin batting, used for baby quilts, I think.  It came in a pre-cut package and went into the sleeve very nicely.




 The back and front shields.  Incidentally, I've got that put in and I love the nice smooth look it gives the shoulder area.  Plus I can sew the shoulder pads straight to it.

I will take some more photos of the interior of the coat before I put the lining in.
Buttonholes by the Kenmore.

I read somewhere that a buttonhole should start exactly one button's width from the finished edge.  I think that might be a bit too far away for the tabs, but not enough to redo them. Just filed away for 'next time'.

Actually, I was supposed to use a smaller size button for the tabs, but I didn't catch that until after the WAWAK order w/all 7/8" buttons had arrived.  I'm not stressing over that.

Friday, April 18, 2014

Moving on...

Before I jump into the progress report, I have a question.

Does anyone know if there is such a thing as a downloadable photo editor? Or, maybe I should rephrase that...does anyone have experience with a cheap photo editor?   I just need something that will crop and resize pictures, nothing fancy schmancy.  Microsoft apparently removed the photo editor from  their home package; I always used the one that was included in our Microsoft 03 package on the old HP, but, well, that has gone the way of all electronics. I really want to post some photos...

So.  Back to the sleeve dilemma.  Debbie had a very good point...something that Cynthia Guffey has stressed in her classes...you can't judge fit of a garment unless you've got both sleeves on.  I knew that...but I didn't really want to put that other sleeve on just to take it off again.

Then I had a facepalm moment...I'd already FINISHED the lining...it had both sleeves set in, cut at exactly the finished sleeve length at the moment.

So I pulled the lining out and put it on.  Hm.  Looked promising, so I took a breath and put the other sleeve on.

Yeah, it's still pretty long.

But when I cross my arms, the sleeves hit precisely where I want them to.

I need that extra length after all.

So...woot woot, I pressed the sleeve seams, pulled out all the gathering/basting stiches and serged the seam allowances.

I'm looking at a fair amount of handwork now; I've got a floating back shield that I attached at the shoulders to floating chest shields and I'm going to hand tack that assembly to the shoulder seams and the armsceye seams, and have a look and see if that gives me just that pinch of extra support or if it really makes the top boardy.

And I also have some fleece sleeve headers to put in as well to support the shoulder cap.

None of that is in the pattern guide, btw.  I'm making it up as I go.

Then I will add the shoulder pads; at some point in there I'll hem the sleeves, too.

Then I'll put the lining in.

I think I see the light at the end of the tunnel.  There's only one more major hurdle now...the buttonholes.  The Kenmore makes nice ones, but with the cam set up it's always a bit of a guess as to just exactly where it's going to start sewing in the button hole pattern.

I'm still trying to think how to get rid of that guessing...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Tripped up again....

Got one of the sleeves on last night and could not resist putting it on to get a glimpse of what the finished coat would look like and had a bit of a shock.  If you go back and look at the photos of the muslin, you'll see that the finished sleeve length hits right about the bottom of my thumb joint...which would be about right for an overcoat.

I was really surprised, since I almost ALWAYS have to shorten sleeves.

But that looked good.  So I made no alterations.

And last night, when I put on the one-armed coat, I found that the finished sleeve length hit about the tip of my thumbnail.

Whhaaattt???

I did put the muslin on over a sweatshirt, since I wanted to make sure it had ample ease for wearing over a bulky underlayer.  The only explanation I can come up with is that the muslin fabric just didn't slide over the sweatshirt fleece totally and I didn't catch it.

But I went to work today, thinking in my head about how simple it will be to shorten the sleeves, especially since I caught it before I had them both on.

I came home, put the unattached sleeve on the ironing board and suddenly was confronted with a detail I had forgotten.

I'd put a lovely bit of fusible interfacing on the hem.  To fix it properly..., well, I'm not sure I can fix it properly, since I will not have to remove enough length to cut away all the interfacing.  But I definitely want interfacing on that hemline.

So...the only other alternative would be to shorten the sleeve from the top.  Which is probably do-able, I just haven't done it before.

Or, do I just leave the extra length, knowing that it will allow me plenty of ease for bulk in chilly weather?

Oy...

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Off and On

My inner perfectionist took over for a bit last night and the collar and band came off the coat.  I trimmed as much off the ends as I could w/o messing with the actual collar, and cut a bias strip of hymo and painstakingly whipped it down to the already graded  collar/band seam allowance, then I put the collar assembly back on the coat.

It went in MUCH smoother, and the collar band stands up nicely.

So all I have to do now is catchstitch the inner band/facing seam to the outer band/coat seam and I'll be back to where I was when I got home from work last night.

Maybe I'll get the sleeves in tonight...

Monday, April 14, 2014

Two steps backwards

Moan about the collar band, part two...

Finished all the handstitching on it and got the sideseams sewn up so I could actually try on the coat.

I wasn't happy with the collar band...it had some bagginess/rippling going on due to being kinda squeezed into the available space...but I thought I could live with it.

However, once I put it on I realized that it really wasn't beefy enough to support the collar...it kinda flops around.

My fabric is a tropical weight wool gab...not at all heavy...but the fusible tricot just wasn't stiff enough to hold it up.

What to do, what to do.

I could ignore it; it's not really something that noticeable.

But I wasn't happy.

I've just about convinced myself I need to pull the whole thing off, take the collar off the band, sew the collar band at exactly the end of the collar (right now, there's about a 1/4" notch that sticks out beyond the collar) and maybe tack in a strip of  hymo to hold it up.

Or maybe just putting the hymo in there would support it enough to get rid of most of the ripples.

Hm. All I'd have to undo then would be the hand stitching.

Might be worth a try.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Still No Pictures :-(

I thought I 'd be able to share some photos of the trench coat progress...I really am making some!!...but, while the new computer is up and running, the Microsoft photo editor that I was using on the old machine apparently has not been part of the upgrade and I can't edit my photos to get them into what I consider 'post worthy' shape.

So I'll give a little report.  As of this morning, I'd gotten everything done I could possibly do before making buttonholes and I pulled out the Kenmore and made some keyhole buttonholes in the pocket flaps, the sleeve tabs and the shoulder tabs.

The pockets were then staring me in the face...I'll admit, I was really intimidated by those pockets, and the directions were, at best, sketchy.  I altered the recommended process a bit; I did NOT slash the dart open until after I was satisfied with the placement of the flap and pocket bags.  All in all, it was probably easier than doing a regular welt pocket with a flap, but, well, I'd be nervous doing that, too.  Cutting into the coat front is just scary, period.

Next up on the nervous-o-meter was the collar.  I already had the collar constructed and on the band, ready to be attached, so I gulped and kept going.  It gave me some aggravation; the band was a bit bigger than the neckline.  I'm not sure why, other than after all the wrasslin' I wondered if I put 5/8" seams on the ends of the band pattern (although I don't know why, unless I thought I had to match the front or something) and then sewed it w/ 3/8" seams, which would've made it about 1/2" too big...and that's about what it seemed to be.  I need to check the pattern tracing.

But, by clipping and stretching the coat neckline and the facing neckline and workin' it, I managed to get it on and, surprisingly, it's not too awful, once it's pressed out.

But, should I decide to make another coat from this pattern, I WILL be checking that.

Current status: pressing out the lapel points and the long facing seams and catchstitching the facing/inner band  coat/outerband seams.

My Sweet Babboo has been sewing a coat, too...something called a 'Hunter's Frock', made from unbleached canvas,  for his frontiersman group.  He's using a pattern from Missouri River Patterns -- and he's handsewing it.  With a needle and linen thread.  He's been toting it around with him for the last 6 weeks or so, working on it every chance he gets, and he's farther along on it than I am on my trench.

How embarrassing.  :-)  Fortunately, I'm in the rapid progress stage; even the lining is completed and ready to go in.  If I can manage to get into the sewing nook at all in the next few days, I should have something that looks like a coat.

'Course, the finish work is all hand sewing...hemming and lotsa buttons.  So he could still beat me.

Yikes.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Moving to 7...

Which means all my photo files are in limbo land at the moment.  So I'm not going to be able to post any photos until we get the old XP tower switched out for the Windows 7 machine that has been sitting in the middle of the room waiting on 1) all the files to be backed up to the external drive and 2) My Sweet Babboo to have a few hours to block out to switch wires and install the software.  I'm hoping he can get to it in what remains of the weekend, but, well, you  know how these things go.

So, now that I think (I HOPE) I've got all my stuff on the external drive, I'm free to do other things...like laundry and sewing on the trench coat.  I've been doing it in an extremely unorthodox sewing order, but I'm trying to get as much done as I can before I pull out the old Kenmore so that I can use its button hole cams to make keyhole buttonholes.  I've got to do them in the pocket flaps, the sleeve tabs and the shoulder tabs.  Then I've got to put the coat together before I can add the rest of the button holes.  I don't want to haul the machine out, put it up, then haul it out again, so once I set it up it's going to stay up until I get all the buttonholes made.

So, as of right now, all the little bits are done to the button holes.  The front and back shields are made; not 100% sure I'll use them but they're done.  The back has the darts in, the pleat sewn up, basted up and hand basted flat.  The rain fly has been lined and attached to the shoulders.  I've thread traced the stitching lines on the darts on the front where the pockets will go.  The front and back facings are sewn together.

I'm starting on the lining.

I probably should take some photos of it while it's in progress, just for documentation purposes.  But I'm not going to be able to post any photos (including the Choir Wardrobe...:-( )  until we're on the other side of the switcheroo.

Whee.  Here we go...