Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane



So the whole Christmas/New Year shebang is over and the first item of 2016 is sewn and complete, and it’s the first garment for SWAP ’16!


MASON-JACKETI picked an easy one to start with, StyleArc’s Mason coat – no lining, raw edges, no fastenings, one piece sleeves and not a strip of interfacing in sight. I chose a bright pink fleece which was cheap as chips and it brightens up the most dismal of dull, wintry days. Funnily ecolour,motion,colors,swirl,wallpaper,color-b56ebd20797d4bf238e5f5fe3530d371_hnough this colour goes with so many others. You wouldn’t think so would you? But it does lift any colour – white (as in the following photos), jeans, grey, black, navy and hopefully the mossy green of the other items in this SWAP pack A.

Slide1Pack A is based around the colours of heather on moorlands – pink and mossy green. The other items will be a moss green top and a checked pink and moss green skirt.


As you can see, I have already changed my plans and only one garment in! I ditched the short jacket for the longer length and more relaxed coat. I do sometimes wonder why I even call my Sewing With a Plan, a plan at all….

















I did make a bit of an effort by adding fold-over flaps on the patch pockets and simulated cuffs on the sleeves. To fasten, I cut narrow strips, made a loop and a couple of ties. The same strips were sewn all along the edges, so while un-hemmed they are ‘finished’.


Fleece is a wonderfully easy fabric to sew with and I would strongly recommend it if you are new to sewing: it stretches slightly so it’s a breeze to ease into place if your cutting out isn’t perfect; it doesn’t fray so you don’t need to finish seams, you don’t even need to hem anything or turn raw edges under; it’s very forgiving on a lot of fronts – doesn’t wrinkle, is incredibly cuddly and keeps you warm.  The slight downsides are that there is a nap, much fainter than velvet for sure but for cutting out you do need to fold the fabric selvedge to selvedge (long and narrow) and place all pattern pieces in the same direction (ie. all tops facing the same way). It is made from polyester and all the disadvantages that entails: non-renewable raw material (oil), can create static electricity, it does not wick sweat but ironically, this hydrophobic quality can also be an advantage in the rain; additionally, cheaper fabrics are prone to pilling.

Most of my other SWAP garments are planned in natural fabrics like silk and wool, so this one item is the renegade rebel of the bunch.


As the coat is un-lined, it is kinda nice to have the inside a little refined just in case you meet a fellow sewer in the street and they want to inspect your clothes. For this coat I sewed faux-felled seams. I don’t know if that’s a real seam finishing technique or not but this is what I did….

Sew a normal seam, trim one side away close to stitching (always the seam allowance closest to the back – all seams should fold around the body towards the back, just a little bit of couture info there.

Flatten the untrimmed allowance over the trimmed edge and stitch down with a longer stitch – 3mm or so. On the outside the seams look like they are proper felled and it creates a little bit of interest but because of the wonderful non-fraying and stable quality of the fleece on the inside the seams are relatively tidy too.

Of course there were leftovers that were just begging to be used up instead of taking up space – Rhonda provided the inspiration and I sewed up a scarf/hood thingy.

A scarf when it’s cold and a hood when it’s colder.



….there is something akin to a dressing gown about this coat when made in fleece and hanging on a hanger. I sort of like that I can wear this outdoors (and I have) and yet still keep it on indoors like a cardi. Honestly, what do you think? Only over jammies or also over a tweed skirt?


Do I need to revise my SWAP again!? ? Even before I’ve hardly even got started.

The coat does cover the butt which is always a good thing but is that a huge iron impression on the back? Another disadvantage of fleece that I forgot to mention before…

Welcome to 2016 – may you sew to your hearts’ content and within your own time-management limits; I sincerely wish you no ripping out, no iron marks or burns on your precious fabrics and wishing you a perfect fit every time.

18 thoughts on “SWAP A 1

  1. I love your SWAP color scheme. I always tell myself I need to do a SWAP so I don’t end up with a bunch of mismatched items. I will have to consider that this year. Anyway- I love your coat. Totally brightens up winter and I think you can definitely wear it out and about! Happy New Year!

  2. Totally love the colour on you but my first thoughts were “looks like a bathrobe.” Am I being too hard? I think made out of a same colour boiled wool would be stunning…

  3. I think the pattern and colour are fabulous, but if you are already questioning its outdoor suitability will you use it outside? I would be happy to, and you can bet someone will ask where you bought it.

  4. I love the colour and the pattern but I don’t think you will wear this outside

  5. Happy New Year! Excellent color on you. You already wear elegant neutrals which ground a bright like this piece. The monochrome shirt/jeans combo behind the front gap creates such a long line. Other neutrals would work equally well.

    I’m intrigued by the idea of an elevated fleece cardi-coat. Luxurious yet practical for how we really live. (Vs the ball gowns of our dreams.) Once again you put oomph into my sewing thoughts.

    Having made us look closely, I suppose I can see what you mean about house coat-ishness. Hmmm.

    Could it be that the large collar creates an “A-line” that is bringing the visual weight downward? The solid color fabric makes the center-weighted design more apparent.

    Luckily the solutions are right there in the photos with the hood-scarf. I’d probably just wear them together and leave it that. But you could also add some sort of vertical pleat into the collar to make it less flat and broad. Or you could attach the scarf and coat collar in a clever way to each other. Either way it would raise the visual focus back up around the face where it belongs.

    Wonderful coatigan. It would help anybody get through the winter blahs. The back view is 100% perfect. Looks expensive; fits just right. Well done.

  6. The pink is glorious! I’d probably wear it indoors, because it looks so comfy and cozy, but wouldn’t it brighten up a gray day! You’ve already made one garment and started your count down. I’m still organizing my patterns and have yet to shop for fabric or even name my swap. But soon I’ll be there. Oh, I like the little scarf/hood with the coat.

  7. Love your jacket – such a fabulous colour and style! Love the finish you did to the edges as well! A great start to your SWAP. Or should it be your NSWAP (as in in ‘not’ sewing with a plan!)

  8. Lovely jacket in such a cheery colour that suits you so well. Love your finishing techniques and this makes the garment look so much better than just raw edges. Looking forward to seeing your SWAP come together.

  9. The colour and style are amazing on you. However I too would love to see you make a boiled wool version of this jacket. Meanwhile you have a gorgeous ( and beautifully made) indoor jacket – in fact if you ever gave up the day job you could find a market for these !

  10. Lovely, great colour. I would never have thought of fleece but it works. As Janice says boiled wool would be another great fabric. I like the big collar. Happy new year and looking forward to lots of sewing inspiration. Xxx

  11. Love the colour , it really suits you it looks very comfortable and it’s a great shape. It might be a bit brave to wear outside though .
    But think of the practicalities – straight out of bed and you would be ready for work!!

  12. I love this colour on you, and it does look really nice with the white. I wouldn’t rule it out for outdoor use, but I guess it depends what with.

  13. I thought the iron mark was a fancy back yoke as it looks so symmetrical! No one else would catch it, I am sure. Looks fabulous on you!

  14. I love the coat/duster and the color. I would definitely wear this out into the world. I made a Great Copy Cuddle Coat in the late 80’s in white polar fleece that I wore to death. P.S. Have you seen what some people call clothing these days? This coat is beautiful. In the early 1960’s I had a heavy linen fabric in this color in a Cocoon style coat. As my hair was red, I am sure it was an interesting color for me to wear. Here is a hint regarding polar fleece. Do not used fabric softener in the rinse when laundered. The fibers are coated and compress. Use white vinegar instead.

  15. It’s a nice shape and well done for making a success of a Stylearc pattern (while the rest of us were eating and drinking into the new year). Fleece can vary very much in quality: some squeaks with nylon when you squeeze it, whereas the fabric of my Berghaus fleece still looks good after 10 years, though the zip is gone and I keep promising myself I will chuck it. I’d personally re-make this out of boiled or raw wool as it’s flattering but yes, the combination of pink and fleece looks indoors to me.

  16. Just lovely! I made a sweatshirt out of fleece once. It was very comfortable fabric and the whole thing was very utilitarian. Your’s is lovely, soft and stylish! Hard to believe it is fleece!

  17. Beautifully made and a great colour. The only problem is that I cannot imagine it working with the tweed and the olive green wool crepe because the fleece is so informal as a fabric. I do think a duster coat in the pink would be a terrific finisher for the garments you plan for those fabrics – maybe in boiled wool, with the lovely cowl hood built in as a permanent feature and with slightly more formal pockets … Antonia

  18. Pingback: SWAP A1 (again) & B2 | corecouture

Let's talk.....

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s