Yes, it's done!
I left off last month (last year!) with the sleeves dangling on pins and basting stitches, not quite sure how I was going to attach them....and the poor thing's been hanging on Queenie ever since. Once I'd had a delicious little snack (the LaFred pants) I was ready to go again, and decided to attach the sleeves per the pattern instructions - flat felled. Ugh. What I should have done (which required foresight) was to not stitch the construction seams all the way to the edge, especially the installation of the bias binding. This way I could have neatly trimmed off the excess fabric while trying to get a nice, even stitch on the flat felling. And, of course, I should have left 1" seam allowances for all of the ff'd seams. I did trim the fabric as best I could, but given the different thicknesses of fabric, the risk of losing fabric I wanted through fraying (or [gasp] snipping through it....yes, I did that in one spot ::cry::)...well, can we just say that the next time I flat fell a seam it WILL be on even, not-too-thick fabric, and hopefully I will be much more successful, after all this practice!
|Top of sleeve on outside - not too bad looking|
|Top of sleeve on inside - and the ugly truth....|
A bunch of random pictures:
|Collar rolled down|
Construction Notes from this last phase:
1. Attaching Sleeves: See above regarding clipping out as much excess fabric as possible. And I would HIGHLY recommend 1" SA's for all flat felled seams. This I will remember in the future. (Pounding this into brain as I type)
|The edge I'm holding is left raw if you follow the Vogue instructions|
|I trimmed the inside fabric...|
|Folded the welt fabric over & topstitched|
(this was welt #1 - #2 looked a bit better, but not much.
It was, once again, 8 layers of fabric in some areas....)
Some consolidated general tips (most of this is posted in more detail in my other 3 posts):
1. Fabric Choice: The ideal fabrics would all be similar weight and hand, with your bias trim being as lightweight as possible. I think this coat would be fabulous in some drapey fabrics - a light-weight version that hangs in softer folds than a wool version.
2. Pattern Instructions: In general, the instructions are pretty thorough. However, they do NOT follow the construction methods that Mr. Van den Akker used. Janis at Grainlines and Biases attended a workshop teaching Koos' methods. If I were to make this jacket again, I would utilize the methods she used! In a nutshell, the fabric pieces of the outside are glued onto the inside fabric (the seams are NOT sewn together), and the bias strip is laid in place and then sewn through all the layers. She also mentions a nifty way of attaching the sleeves, by using something like Hong Kong finishes on the SAs, so that the seams would stick up (on the inside of the coat). I seriously considered doing this, but ended up flat felling.
The labeling & numbering on the pattern pieces is just plain weird. It makes no sense at all - I recommend cutting out your pattern pieces and laying them out, then RE-labeling them in a way that makes sense to you before you buy your fabric - that is, if you're the sort of person who wants to buy what you need, as opposed to one who always buys lots of extra.
This is definitely an Advanced pattern, but if I could make my way through it, most of you out there in the sewing world can too!
3. Pattern Sizing and Fit: This is a seriously oversized jacket. I muslined a Medium, & ended up making a Small, and it's still a fairly long jacket length on me. The collar is TALL; unless you have a very long neck, it will end up making odd little folds on its own, or you'll need to fold it over for comfortable wearing. (I trimmed mine down by about 1")
And don't forget to add extra SA width to the seams that will be flat felled!
4. The Collar: Even though I trimmed it down so that my ears & chin aren't pushing on it, I'm discovering that the collar still has a tendency to want to fold down a bit. If you want it to stand up, you may want to add some stiff interfacing to your fabric (depending on your fabric choice, of course)
I may add a button to my jacket, but it will, of course, require the perfect button, which I didn't find in my stash (clearly I need more buttons! hah.)
In the end, I have to highly recommend this pattern! If you like a swing coat (I do!) this is a wonderful, modern take on it. You can make a super easy version in a double sided fabric, without all of the piecing (see my first post for my fleece version - still unfinished because I do have some fun embellishments planned). This is one of those patterns that really has a lot of room for creative fun!
ETA: I've just discovered that there is another finished version of the coat in blogland - Noile has made a wonderful jacket using what she cleverly calls "Koos Lite". She has a very detailed & informative post about her construction methods, including some helpful notes about the oddly labeled pattern pieces.
I think I'm starting to find a rhythm in what works for me regarding sewing projects. I really thrive on the challenges - both in learning new techniques and in creativity, and I also love the instant gratification that a quick snack offers. Alternating the two, and even sticking a snack in the middle of a long haul project, is what keeps me happily motivated.
How about you? Do you like challenge after challenge? Or would you rather have instant gratification most of the time? Or do you need both?