Essential sewing keeping me clothed and sane

The Woman on the Tube Train


Not quite The Girl on a Train, but will show that you can get inspiration for sewing from anywhere – trains, the Underground, books, TV, movies, each other……

Not blogging doesn’t mean not sewing: I’ve been doing the latter but not the former so in an attempt to rectify that here’s a few recent makes.

First up is the Anderson blouse from Sew Over It. Inspiration for the pattern came from Gillian Anderson’s character in The Fall. Her wardrobe consisted of silk blouses, dark pencil skirts and Louboutins,  ’cause you know how easy they are to wear all day, every day!

Previously I made this blouse in a very fine pale peach wool but the colour was all wrong for me and although it was a thin wool there was no drape and the whole thing was a waste of fabric and time. Needless to say the pattern went to the back of the pile.

I read lots of reviews about the Anderson blouse and every one of them stated that a fluid, drapey fabric is a must: there’s also a consistent wardrobe malfunction with the front wrap over – with varying methods for dealing with this – from wearing a camisole to wrapping the fronts high up to the throat. Here’s a super version by Heather but I don’t think one sewer didn’t make some alteration or adjustment to the pattern. The conclusion from all this research is that is a blouse that MUST be worn tucked in…. and tucked in tightly! If you don’t like tucked-in stuff, then this is not for you.

I came across this digital print poly satin on Croftmill in greens and pinks and decided that I’d give the Anderson a second chance. My notions box is quite depleted at the moment, so any pattern that doesn’t require buttons, zips, hooks and eyes is an attractive option.


Leaving off the drawstring hem and cuffs, this was quickly sewn up on the serger and as long as I stand erect with shoulders back and the fronts well tucked in, the front doesn’t gape at all.


Always there are leftovers so I decided to line a coat with them…….


One day while I was visiting London earlier this year, a woman got on the Tube and sat opposite me. She had on an apple green jumbo corduroy coat, 1970s style, a black shift dress and apple green opaque tights. The coat looked so lived in and comfortable that I quickly determined that it must have been a favourite item in her wardrobe. She wore it so well – casually stylish; effortless.

Once home the hunt was initiated for jumbo cord in green – found at long last on Croftmill. Not in apple green but sea green instead.

The pattern is Vogue 1266: semi-fitted, lined, slightly flared coat, above ankle length, princess seams, two-piece sleeves and back centre split. Lots of variations with collars, pockets and cuffs.

I went for view B – double breasted but with the front welt pockets with flaps from view A and the cuffs from view C. You need a whopping 4m of fabric for this coat.


I just love the way the corduroy nap creates different shades of green.


I cut my usual 14 but ended up doing alterations by nipping in tight at the waist and raising the shoulders/sleeve heads by about 2″. I wanted a more close fitting coat.

dscn6802It’s not perfect – I messed about too much with the front princess seams and they’re wrinkling and stretched but then I also wanted a coat that looked like I’d had it for years and had that well worn look, just like the woman’s on the tube.

dscn6813This is intended as an everyday coat not special occasion and I’m hoping that with more and more wear it will soften and mould and last for years.


There’s a puckering/wrinkle in two places on the hem that I just can’t figure out. It looks like the lining is caught but it’s not and there are no stray stitches either. Another good pressing may be in order.


c57d989594c64506123ee3b90765053fIt billows out as I stride along and reminds me somewhat of a WW1 great coat.

This coat was worn by officers and was usually made from heavy wool and tailored specifically for them by their Savile Row tailors.

Obviously much better made than my humble version but there’s a historical link here. Check out the development of the trench coat, for example.

I had contemplated adding epaulets and a belt but was too impatient to get the coat finished and worn that I never did.


Now, you all knew that the coat came first, didn’t you? dscn6811

I haven’t done a Best /Worst 2016 post but this coat, despite all its flaws, is definitely one of my favourites; the Anderson blouse  – not so favourite…….


And to finish the 2016 sewing blog posts : Cat endorses WW1 great coat/1970s corduroy inspired by woman on a tube train coat.


Thank you very much for all your support,encouragement and feedback in 2016.

Thank you also to all of you who read my previous post and donated to MS. Truly, you are generous and big hearted.

Here’s wishing everyone a very Happy New Year and may all your sewing dreams come to fruition in 2017.

38 thoughts on “The Woman on the Tube Train

  1. WONDERFUL! I want it. Now. Of course, it wouldn’t do up on me, but that’s not the point! How much tailoring did you put into it? As I’m about to embark on Dawn’s coat of wonder, I’m debating how much interfacing etc to apply…

    • Not too much proper tailoring at all. I made the shoulder pads and added sleeves heads but the rest is just sew-in hair canvas on the front facings and collar. For Dawn’s coat you should go all the way though, the wool will love you for it. Thanks >

      • I don’t plan to interface th whole thing, I think it would spoil the flow of the wool in those lovely full skirted folds- the collar will have plenty of construction though, and I’ve got canvas to do chest and back stays or whatever they’re called. It’s not got standard type lapels, so no taping of roll lines, I’m more inclined to very lightly pad the collar for cosiness. Bound buttonholes for sure though. What have I missed?

  2. Truly a coat to live in. And anytime me you feel a little low, that vibrant and pretty lining will make you smile. You’ve inspired me to finish up a corduroy coat that I started a while back. HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

  3. It’s really fabulous Ruth. Only made more fabulous by the lining and matching blouse. Happiest New Year wishes to you and yours from the chilly west coast of BC Canada

  4. Love your coat and it fits you well. Beautiful color, and good change from the dart wintery colors.

  5. Gorgeous coat and you look great in it. And it does bring up much nicer associations than the great coat does. Happy New Year to you and prolific sewing with lots of satisfaction. Do keep us informed even if we only manage one penicl skrit (underlined…) per year.

  6. Love, love the coat, a definite success. Particularly love the cuffs and the fitted waist. It reminds me of a red midi coat I had when I was 18 so 1973. I wish I still had that coat! Happy new year Ruth and hope we get a chance to meet somewhere next year! Xx

  7. I love your corduroy coat. Love it. My favorite coat during my teens was jumbo wale cord, also green. I can tell you like it 🙂 happy new year!

  8. That coat rocks! Great idea. Corduroy has to be one of the most underrated, worthy, lovable materials. The great big coat you made makes me think of the 1970s as well as Victorian times, in a good way. I have had some success with a walking-foot attachment on velveteen. I wouldn’t have even noticed your tiny issues if you hadn’t singled them out. Not even on the radar.

    The best part is that you can throw it in the washer, and it will just keep getting more wonderful. Poly lining makes it even lower maintenance.

    Ahhh. Hope your new year is like that: Slightly imperfect in unimportant details, and otherwise inspirational & comfortable!

  9. Awesome coat! I have that pattern stashed…someday… 😉

  10. I, too,LOVE your coat! I never make coats because our mild winters give us so few days to wear them. It would hang in the closet most all the time! This year, we hit a record of 82 degrees on Christmas Day. I do think it is the first time ever we have run the A/C on Christmas. It just didn’t seem right! I always enjoy our creations! Thanks for sharing!

    • Thanks Linda. I can never get used to the fact that not everyone lives in the four seasons as I do…..sometimes all in one day!
      Keep sewing and Happy New Year

  11. Great Great Coat. Love the cuffs. I also find coats that length great to wear as the coat flaps out behind when you’re walking. I always feel like clint eastwood in some spaghetti western :).

    • You’ve hit the nail on the head Felicia – that was the other image I was thinking about – Clint. It is definitely a coat for striding out in.
      Thank you

  12. Happy New Year Ruth. I have had similar problems with coat hems . I fixed it by turn ing the coatbinside out , putting it onmy dress form and undoing the hem lining seam . In evitably the lining was too short and I came to the conclusion that it had something to do with turn of the cloth .iwould then carefully redo the hem lining interface by hand .
    I love this coat it is quite wonderful.

    • Thanks Mem. I’ve sewn the hem three times already thinking the same as you but I will look at it again because those puckers really bug me.
      Happy New Year

  13. What a fabulous new coat with a wonderful back story. Happy New Year.

  14. Happy New Year Ruth, and it has been so nice to meet you this year!

    You have been busy. I have that pattern too and I love the style – kind of military and striding. I had one in the 1970s very similar in red wool with fake fur (leopard skin) for the collar and huge cuffs. I really loved it. Then one in the 1980s in a similar shade of green with maroon suedette collar and cuffs and important silver buttons. And a more recent one in light grey tweed. Truly a classic coat shape. Also I have bought some brownish corduroy for my son’s trousers – it has so many nice connotations, doesn’t it? I enjoyed watching what GA wore in the Fall but to be honest I couldn’t dress like that in a million years – impossible to do your job I would have thought hobbled and heeled.

  15. You had me going for a while, that the top came first. Lovely couple of projects.

  16. A lovely coat. I love corduroy.
    I was initially very attracted to the Anderson blouse but reviews put me off.

  17. Fabulous coat Ruth, and it will only get better with wear. Wear it with pride – and a great big stride 🙂

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  19. Your blouse is lovely, but sweet child of mine, that coat is FABULOUS!!! What’s not to love about double-breasted, maxi length corduroy. This is definately going in the inspiration pile.

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