Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



I really didn’t intend to make a coat.

My mother has a friend, who has a friend who used to make soft furnishings for hotels until he retired earlier this year. Since then he has been clearing out the warehouse and workshops and every so often a piece of fabric ends up in our house. Most of the curtains we own are the same as those hanging in local 5* hotels.

The latest donation was a single curtain – more like a panel – 60″ wide and approx 2m long. No obvious right or wrong side and a fairly heavy and substantial weave. Not too many natural fibres are contained therein but heck, it’s free!

After my speedy sewing of the straightforward and simple Pattern Magic pieces, I was in the mood for instant gratification – well I’m like that most of the time really.

Out comes Vogue 1137 – this is fast becoming a favourite. I made a dressier version here.

Ignore all the reversible stuff and just go for a single layer coat with finished inside seams. The pattern is for an evening/opera coat. Doesn’t sound too simple does it?

Believe me, this is the easiest and quickest yet most dramatic patterns I’ve ever sewn. Kimono sleeves so you know what that means – no easing! And I even eliminated the centre back seam this time too by cutting on the fold. I kept the selvedge edge of the fabric at the front opening, so not even a bit of interfacing or facing. Cutting on the fold and using the selvedge edges also meant, no straight of grain measuring either.

One collar, two shoulder seams, two sides seams, two pockets, two added cuffs (with selvedges), three hours sewing and done!

No buttons or zips.

A tiny bit of hand slipstitching the collar in place.

Hardly any scrap leftover.

1, 2, 3 –  Too simple!

It’s like a big blanket. Cosy and surprisingly warm. You could put a week’s groceries in those pockets.

I think that the Pattern Magic challenge has changed my perception – simple shapes, minimal sewing yet producing shaped and pleasurable clothes. You didn’t think of that, Marianna, when you came up with the idea!

Don’t get me wrong, you know I love a bit of tailoring and hand padstitching but I’m fast becoming enamoured with the idea of simple pattern shapes and what can be made from them without darts, seams and interfacing. Not necessarily ‘easy’ patterns, more like ‘interesting’.

Do you have ‘interesting’ patterns?
What is it about them that you like?

18 thoughts on “Curtains

  1. I think the ever-so-loved Voguue 1247 is on this list for me- so easy to sew and so rewarding. I love these coats on you- so Rosalyn Russell!

  2. This is a great coat. I need more patterns like this!

  3. Your secret is safe with us….we'll never tell!! The coat looks wonderful.

  4. great looking coat (looks a different colour in the photo of you wearing it). 3 hours to make wow quick. Just don't turn up to the same 5* hotel that is still using this fabric for their curtains they may think you cut into them lol.

  5. One of my alltime favourite "simple" patterns is the Loes Hinse swing skirt in the longer version. It takes 2 rectangles of fabric, a flounced bottom section and elastic for the waist – and you end up with a skirt whose impact belies the ridiculously short time it takes to make ! I haven't made one for a few years because I haven't been wearing that length of skirt for a while, but I must revisit it. It works well in a drapey fabric – a very stylish skirt that can be dressed up or down .By the way that is a great coat.Janice.

  6. Wow, you're a sensation! Now you need (deserve) that evening at the opera to show off a little.I like the idea of an "instant gratification" pattern. Like prttnpink, I have a V1247 in my stash, unused, though I reckon if I got my hands on a three-hour pattern, I'd still manage to string it out to 6. I'm a chronic faffer.

  7. I'm very impressed with your coat. The fabric is a great colour and why wouldn't you want to just whip this little number up after overcoming a bit of Pattern Magic manipulation.The coat is smashing and a great look on you. 3 hours is impressive too. How lovely.

  8. Love 1247 too. Ms Russell has always slightly scared me.

  9. Or take the ones you already have and look for ways to simplify them

  10. Rhonda and Pauline – There is always that 'fear' that someone will tell you they've got curtains that look just like that! However, we not often in the 5* hotels much these days.

  11. That's what I'm talking about Janice – a few pieces of fabric and hey presto – a fabulous skirt! going off the look at Loes Hinse now. Thanks

  12. Marianna, once you make the skirt of 1247 you'll have at least 3! Just zigzag or serge the inside seams – no need for bias binding the entire lot. And the blouse – maybe 4 or 5?

  13. I'm all for impressive in all its many forms. Thanks

  14. Wonderful coat! and the fabric is so cool. No one will ever have your coat 🙂 Sometimes when I'm sewing, I think about whether anyone ever made the exact same thing, what are the odds…One of my fav patterns is Serendipity's Diane Kimono dress, like making salad, so many ways to put print fabric together. Enjoy that pretty coat!

  15. But I did mean the Russell comment in a good way- I think she carried her clothing so well-

  16. No offence taken – I quite like being scary myself – gets me more respect from students.

  17. Lovely coat! And reading backwards in time as I am doing now is funny, I now see how you started in the direction of the CPD blouse and your Balenciaga interest. Wonderful to see your thinking and where you take your sewing.

  18. Pingback: Vote For Me | corecouture

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