Going green! πŸ’š

  • Once upon a time, a long time ago I stumbled across the coat of my dreams…. unfortunately it was being worn by Sarah Jessica Parker and many hours of googling found nothing similar to buy- and certainly not at a price I liked! 18 months ago when I started sewing again I would never have dreamt I would have the sewing skills to recreate it, but as time went on and my confidence grew I began to feel brave…! 

The next problem was finding a pattern. I searched and searched but none of the line drawings I found were anywhere near the same shape. Eventually I found Burda 8292. Hideously dated cover pictures but pretty good line drawings that in my bravery I thought I could tweak. The priority being getting rid of that massive collar,  and DEFINITELY no bow or shoulder pads in sight!!! πŸ˜„The hunt for velvet was also pretty time consuming, but eventually I decided on going green. Gorgeous forest green velvet- as being a redhead I should wear more green, right? And can you have too much green? No, no, why not add a green shot silk for the lining? Both purchased from Fancy Silk Store, Birmingham. 

I read up alot about sewing with velvet- and put it off for a long time!! But actually much to my surprise it was relatively pain free! Big number 1 tip? A walking foot. That’s it-it really is that simple! I started off basteing everything within an inch if its life, but actually as I got braver, I found it wasn’t really necessary, certainly on an ordinary straight seam at least. So basically- don’t fear velvet! Just have  your hoover at the ready, it makes one hell of a mess! 

For the main body of the coat I just followed the pattern. Very straightforward I must say. Even with the usual basic and limited Burda instructions. I shortened the sleeves by 4″ at the ‘lengthen/shorten here’ mark to make it bracelet length sleeves and cut the overall length to halfway between the jacket and coat versions to try to emulate the SJP version as much as possible. 

The pockets are different on the original inspiration coat so I left the front and back side panel seams open below the waist and just sewed up the side seams to the bottom. I didn’t want either inseam or patch pockets like the Burda pattern. I wanted slanted pockets joined inseam into the front and back panels. So I got creating and came up with this! I attached the lining to the velvet right sides together along the top diagonal seam then pressed and turned right sides out, pulling the velvet over to the back by 1.5″. Then just roughly stitched down the sides and bottom to hold together temporarily. They were then inserted into the side seams and all sewn up together. Yeay!!! πŸ‘πŸ» Who doesn’t love a nice big super deep pocket? So pleased with how they turned out! (Photographing this fabric is ridiculously hard- it looks a different colour every time!) 

Next main change was the collar. The upright collar in the Burda pattern was about 5″ deep! As we’re not still in the late 80’s I obviously hacked it! I rounded off the front edges and made it 1.5″ deep instead. I definitely basted this bit. Don’t judge me on this messy photo!! It shows how much the velvet frays though! This was where my excitement at making the adjustments got the better of me and in my eagerness I cocked up 😣 I didn’t realise until I went to button it up and by that time it was WAY to late to change.  I made a lovely mandarin collar, yes… but I didn’t leave a gap from the front seam- so when it’s buttoned up it overlaps. So annoyed with myself that I didn’t think of it at the time. Believe me, velvet seams are blimmin’ hard to unpick and re-sew once trimmed due to the horrendous fraying. But. To be honest, I don’t much like wearing coats done up and in the original picture SJP was wearing it open… that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it! πŸ˜„ 

The rest went smoothly- the buttonholes that I held my breath over sewed like a dream much to my surprise! Thank goodness! I used self covered buttons too. 

Lining went in easily as well.  Other than where it joined the velvet at the front bottom corners. 3 attempts to get it to lie flat and I’m still not completely happy with it, it doesn’t hang nicely there. But after 3 unpicks and re-sews I don’t have enough leeway in the seam to try again so it will have to stay like it. Unless one day I decide to shorten the whole coat by an inch! 

All in all I love it! πŸ’š I’m not worried about the bracelet sleeves not keeping my wrists warm, as I have huge pockets to do that!! It will be great dressed up for a night out and also get loads of wear on a normal day with my jeans. I’m definitely not saving it for ‘best’ because it’ll never get worn then!! My husband thinks he’s very funny as he says he thinks I’m auditioning for a part in Robin Hood…..

We tried to get some quick photos during a 5 minute rain break! I’ll be sure to add more to Instagram as I wear it with different outfits but here it is with my Bettine.  Hope you like it!! I know the 18 year old me would have loved swanning around in the 6th form common room in this! πŸ’š 

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From stripey beginnings….!Β 

  1. Welcome to my first ever blog post!! 3 weeks ago on Instagram I saw a rtw blouse posted as an inspiration from  Colette patterns blog page. Well I fell head over heels in love and then some! ❀ I just knew I had to pull out all of my sewing skills and try my hardest to recreate this beauty! I found it online and it had more photos. It was just a pull on blouse, no fancy fastenings, completely plain front and back. Perfect!! Those sleeves do all the talking after all! It had a cowl neck which I wasn’t keen on so decided that was really the own change I wanted to make. I was straight online to hunt for fabric. I found a blue/white seersucker at Minerva crafts. Nearly pressed ‘buy’ until I saw it came in grey/white too. Now i’m a bit of a grey girl so decided that was much more ‘me’ Β£130 for the rtw blouse, less than Β£30 for fabric. Now to find patterns to help me in my quest. I don’t mind a bit of pattern mashing and adapting. But i’m definitely not up to completely designing from scratch.
  2. After much musing which I’ll not bore you with, I decided the Sew Over It Susie blouse fits me well and has the benefit of already being a long sleeve pull on style blouse. Surely the neckline couldn’t be too hard to adapt to round/slash neck? πŸ€” Ha! That’s what I thought! 
  3. I made a toile but couldn’t get it over my head!! Slight problem! That was when I remembered the boxy Betty blouse. A free pattern I made last year when I first got back into sewing. That pulls over my head perfectly! Ah, I thought. If I use that as a starting point and draft a neck facing too rather than bias binding then we could just be back on track! The toile worked so i was straight onto making that first cut into the seersucker. I was impatient and figured I’d work out the cuff bit later! Patience is definitely not my strong point…
  4. In the original picture the stripes on the  body of the top are diagonal and the sleeves vertical with diagonal cuffs. This meant cutting on the bias on the fold for the body piece. With facings to match First thing to do is to stay stitch the neck edges carefully. Then  sew the bust darts – into the tip and tie the loose ends then press. 
  5. For the facings I read a little tip for a neat finish to facings- I can’t remember who posted it, but it’s brilliant! 
  6. Stitch the interfacing to the facing reverse sides together along the long outer edge (with glued edge facing out) Press carefully into the seam, between the 2 layers. Snip the curve and trim close to the edge as neccessary. Then fold inside out! Or should that be outside in?   Iron to fix the interfacing and “vΓ³ila!” You have a nice neat outside edge. I LOVE this tip!! How neat is that?!  I then joined facings at the side seams, pressed open, then attached it to the neckline rs together. Press then understitch to stop it flicking back too much. (I later added a couple of tiny stitches to also help hold it down) 
  7. Now for the sleeves! Obviously I did a toile or 3 before I moved onto the actual fabric – and boy did I need them!! 
  8. I cut 4″ off the original length of the Susie sleeve to allow for the extended cuff but it then took a bit of working out how to do the placket. I’ll not bore y’all with the disasters- there were 3 in all,plus a few more minor ones.  
  9. I tried using the sleeve placket area from a mans shirt I’ve made for the husband person. (Vogue 8759) That seemed to go ok when I used it.  I traced the Susie sleeve minus that 4″ then traced the 2 sides of the placket and stuck them in place on top. Not sure how well you can see from the photo but it extends on both sides, one more than the other. There is a foldline marked on both pieces. It looks more complicated than it is honestly! Basically you sew down the seam to the large dot. Press along the fold lines to the inside. Then press again to seal the raw edges in. And sew both sides twice- once along the open edge and once just in from the fold. DON’T do what i did on my toile here and sew too high …The red stitching line on the left should stop at the small dot. To fold it and make it so that (in this case) the left overlaps the right you stitch a horizontal line from small to large dot, then diagonally up. Magic!! A placket! Ignore all my pen markings! (I struggle with precision sometimes!!) I also decided to sew a square/cross too. Hell knows why because it just looks wonky. But hey ho. Wait for the bows!! 
  10. The cuff pieces  were taken from the Archer shirt and lengthened to allow for 3 buttons on it. Imterfacing in one half, press non interfaced top edge under by 1/2″ Then sew up both sides to that point and trim corners. Turn to right side and press. Now for the fun bit! Oh yesss! The bows! 
  11. I cut 4 lengths 23″x4″ then sewed them inside out to measure 22″ by 1.5″ tapering at the end. I double stitched these particularly at the point as because the fabric is quite an open weave it was popping open on turning through. PressThis is where it took a bit of thought. Firstly i had to work out how long they needed to be to make a nice bow without it being too long and dangling in my dinner!! I decided 15.5″ was about right. 
  12. So. I attached the cuff rs together making pleats to make it fit perfectly. I tacked this just to make sure of positioning. Then i sandwiched the ties in between the cuff and the sleeve positioning them so that the side with the underneath flap being 1/2 from the edge of  the placket and the top side of the flap being in line with the edge. Stitch, press then hand stitch the inside edge. When the cuffs are done up the ties butt up against each other Buttons were a drama. I was all set to put 3 rectangular grey buttons on each cuff hence sewed grey buttonholes. But at the last minute decided the plain off white pearly ones meant the bows and cuffs did the talking rather than fight for attention with the buttons! 
  13. Last decision was the length. To tuck in or leave out? Hmmm. Well. I’m not really a tucked in formal kind of girl so after much deliberation i chopped off 2″‘ and sewed a turned up hem- by hand I’ll have you know!! 
  14. And that, as they say, is it!  I’m completely in love with it! Time, patience and lots of toiles have definitely paid off. I hope you like it too. (Maybe not as much as me- I think i’m a little over excited as my family don’t seem to share my enthusiasm in quite such abundance!) Typically the temperatures have soared in Scotland since I finished it, so I’m hoping I get to wear it soon, once it’s not such tropical weather!