I’ve been blogging for nearly two months and looking back over the posts I’ve made in that time has made me re-evaluate my style. Are the clothes I make boring? (well maybe). But there’s nothing in my wardrobe that says extraordinary, avant-garde, designer – WOW – set the world alight! I think what I make is SAFE: conventional clothes.
Leading up to the Christmas period I set to sewing stuff I would never have contemplated before. I rattled up a few things that I would probably never buy as RTW and pushed the comfort zone perhaps into mutton territory. Anyway, it’s only you and me and a few close friends who have seen me in this stuff, so no member of the general public was traumatised or harmed in any way……..and now for something completely different…….
The Clovers turned out just fine – though more adjustments were needed with a different fabric but not many. I omitted the pockets this time, really to save time but also to go for a smoother finish at the front.
The really good thing about the Clovers is that you can wear boots over them without the ugly and uncomfortable bunching up of fabric around the knees and they look just as good with a pair of shoes.
I avoided the invisible zip on this pair and went for a partially exposed jeans zip – chunky metal teeth. A bit wiggly at the end because you only get to sew (p)leather once, so mistakes just have to be lived with.
The problem with (p)leather is when you sew you puncture the fabric and every drop of the needle leaves a hole and no amount of steam pressing is going to take them out. Talking of pressing – use a pressing cloth – the last thing you want is melted (p)leather all over your ironing plate. When sewing you can take in but never let out without a row of holes showing, so it’s crucial that you’re happy with the seams before you sew at all. Of course, you can’t pin or tack (baste) either except in the seam allowance so trying on is somewhat difficult – bit of guess work really and just hope for the best. Sew large, try on inside out and mark up the take-in with tailor’s chalk. One other thing – use a fairly large stitch length, minimum 2.5mm, as this row of puncture holes will act as a perforated edge and your trousers (pants) will just rip apart the first time you sit down!
The other problem is that the (p)leather sticks to the foot and the plate in the machine. You can buy a Teflon foot specifically for the purpose but time and £££ were an issue for me here. The Heath Robinson solution is to sandwich the fabric between two bits of greaseproof paper. Once sewn, gently pull the paper away.
Try to sew as much as possible with the (p)leather to the inside to avoid this but hemming is the one place it can’t be dodged.
I used a jeans needle in the machine too.
The T-shirt is McCalls M6078. Two pieces, front and back, both cut on the fold – wee buns!
The coat pattern is Burda magazine 11/2011 Fur Coat. I downloaded the pattern and printed it out; matched up all the A4 sheets and cut out a 42. With faux fur you want to keep the pattern as simple as possible – this coat has a back, two fronts and one piece sleeves. Each piece has to be cut out on single fabric as the fur was so thick the scissors wouldn’t cut through. Also with fur, just cut the backing fabric not the fibres.
I made some alterations to the original – lowered the neckline and added a rolled collar with the intention of attaching fur hooks to the collar as a closure. I also lengthened the coat by 30cm (12″) for a more luxurious feel.
The black satin lining is cut from the same pieces.
As most faux furs have a knit fabric as the base there is a little stretch inherent in the fabric. I used this to insert the sleeves before the sides were sewn. No easing of sleeve caps is needed as you sew the sleeve on the flat like a shirt sleeve. Sew the shoulder seams, mark your natural shoulder length on the fabric and match up the centre sleeve with the shoulder seam and pin the armhole edges together. Gently stretch the fronts and backs to fit the arm scythe as you sew. No easing, no wrinkles, no gathers.
When DH saw me in this, and I quote, “You’re not going all glamourous are you?” So obviously he prefers the safe-look, or in his words, classic. However, he does like the (p)leather Clovers – as do I – so I think a second pair in tan or light brown might be just around the corner.
The coat is a no-no. It tickles my face and neck and is just too much Yeti for my liking. Added to which, I make a full-length fur coat and the temperatures here are sitting at a balmy 14 degrees Celsius, about 57 F. Teenage son’s friend wants some furry cushions for his bedroom/pad so this is probably where the coat will end up.
The T-shirt is grand – I’ll keep it and make many more for summer time.
All in all, two out of three ain’t bad.
Thanks for reading. Ruth