Thursday, December 2, 2010


Starting to look like a lady!

Laurwyn has inspired me not to give up and to have a coat sewing "marathon" of my own. I made it through the initial stages of Gertie's Lady Grey sew along on time, but when I started the actual tailoring process.... well, let's just say I was a tad bit overwhelmed. I abandoned the project for a long time with only one of the lapels partially padstitched. In the past, I have avoided any sort of hand stitching at all costs. I'm slowly learning that hand stitching and hand finishing is truly what makes a handmade garment not look so homemade.

I picked her back up over the Thanksgiving holiday and have been working slow and steady ever since. I decided to baste hair canvas to all the back pieces like the front. My wool is very thin and has a loose weave. The hair canvas on the front really changed the way the wool draped and I didn't want the back to look completely different. I'm wondering if that was the right choice because now the peplum is very stiff and exaggerated. I kind of like it, though--- sort of a cartoon version. I'm hoping the hem will weigh it down just a bit.

I did use Kenneth King's method for setting in the sleeve like Gertie demonstrated. It worked like a charm. The way the pushing and pulling made a perfectly formed sleeve head was fascinating! I used a strip of fleece- that was what was available at the time. I actually thought it was easier than sewing the usual two rows of basting stitches and easing in, but I always have trouble with sleeves. I do have some fit issues around the back of the armhole but they are not too noticeable so I'm just going to live with it. That is where I made the biggest change from the original pattern-- which probably explains it.

My only major issue is that my Lady Grey (at this point) is way bigger than my muslin version. I cannot explain it. It's not a huge deal because my muslin was pretty snug. I was worried that I would only be able to wear a slim top underneath. Now I feel like I could wear my bulkiest sweater underneath without any trouble. It is really roomy and I think that is what is causing the fit issues at the back of the arm. I'll definitely need the belt to tie it in around the waist. Could the wool have stretched out this much while I was working with it? Or possibly there were some mistakes made along the way... I'm using a wool flannel twill. I used a cotton twill with some stretch for the muslin. The stretch may be at fault for the discrepancy. But like I said, not a huge deal. It's only made it a little more practical. Next up is the collar, lining and hem-- the end is in sight!

Inside out.
I frankensteined my fusible on one of the lower sleeves.
Hope that doesn't come back to haunt me later.


  1. The colour is fantastic - can't wait to see it finished!

  2. I am so impressed at your progress! And jealous, because yours is laying beautifully.

    We've got the same fabric, so I was looking forward to having an update from you. Mine also isn't behaving as my muslin did and I'm afraid the wool is too lightweight to keep me warm or to hang correctly. I had a sewing marathon too (since I'm super duper behind) and I'm not even doing the tailoring. I'm hoping once I attach the sleeves and the collar I'll get a better sense of how it's hanging. In short, the peplum seems a little droopy and not as dramatic which is the beauty of the coat, I think.

    Anyway, I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for your version!! Great work :)

  3. Some seriously good work going on here. I have no advice to offer as this is way beyond me, all I can say is it looks good so far!

  4. I am so happy that you kept on going! And honestly, it would have been a shame to stop because your coat looks so so so great! Th drape with the interfacing is really nice too.

  5. That's so weird about the fit! (Usually, I've had the problem where the finished coat ends up tighter)... well, if you need to "fill in" you could always add an interlining to the bodice and get an extra-warm coat :)

    I love your yummy colour :)

  6. Ali, I'm afraid we are not using ideal fabric for this coat. Even though the weave doesn't look too loose, if you pull or stretch it warps really easily. I think that is why my coat is behaving so different than my muslin. But, I'm sure both of our coats will be beautiful in the end! I'm actually hoping my peplum will droop a little more. It is very stiff at the moment.

    Valerie, great information as always. I have always had trouble with sleeves fitting properly and I'm wondering if I need some sort of adjustment. I'm not going to mess with the sleeve on my lady grey but the next thing I make with sleeves I'm going to try rotating. Thanks!

  7. I've been stalled with my lady grey coat as well. I've come close to throwing it in the trash. I'm seriously trying to finish it up now.