Sunday, July 12, 2015

It's a Coat! It's an Accessory!


Silhouette Patterns Swing Coat, #1855

Sartorial info:
Dress: wool doubleknit blogged here
Necklace: felt, blogged here
Bracelet: pewter, purchased last spring on my visit to Hakone Gardens gift shop
Earrings: resin and silver, purchased last March at the Tacoma Museum of Glass in Tacoma Washington (on my trip to Puyallup)
Leggings: purchased from Uniqlo
Boots: over-the-knee style, purchased two years ago at Urban Outfitters

I've made my first Silhouette pattern by Peggy Sagers!

Yes, this IS a coat, but Peggy thinks of it as an accessory, and I think she's right! You can hear this in her own words in her "Spring 2015 Looks" podcast, where she is wearing this coat. She starts talking about the coat at 28:30.

This coat is my version of Silhouette Patterns #1855, made in metallic-coated stretch denim.

This pattern is designed as an unlined, lightweight, swing coat with a back inverted box pleat, French darts, single welt pockets, 3/4 length sleeves with a folded back split cuff, and a wide dramatic collar.

What attracted me to this pattern was the dramatic collar. I really wish that pattern companies would realize how flattering a good collar can be, particularly for a mature woman who might want to draw attention upwards, towards the face. I would love to see more patterns that feature a wider variety of interesting collars!

What didn't work for me on this pattern was the swing shaping with the back pleat, so I removed that. My only other alteration was to narrow the shoulder by 1". Silhouette Patterns use their own sizing system (sizes 1-4 and 5x-8x) and come in cups A, B, C and D. They include finished measurements on the pattern envelope, not body measurements. Peggy's theory is that everyone likes a different amount of ease, so you should choose a size knowing how you like your clothing to fit.

Currently, my high bust is 40" and my full bust is 45". I chose the size 4, which lists a finished measurement of 45-1/2". I cut out a D cup though, in reality I am far larger than a D. I did not do an additional FBA. The sizing, except for the too-wide shoulder (typical for me), was fine. As mentioned, the only other alteration I did was to remove fullness at the hip and the pleat at CB, as I look better in a straighter silhouette.

The metallic coated stretch denim was quite easy to work with, though I did use a silk organza press cloth as a barrier between the iron and the metallic coating. Without the organza, the metallic finish transferred to the iron. But the fabric was otherwise a delight to sew and press. (I just threw the fabric in the washer/dryer before cutting, and it came out fine.)

I had a few minor issues.

Peggy doesn't recommend interfacing, which is rarely used in RTW - her primary influence is RTW. The metallic coated denim I used had a lot of body, so I didn't use interfacing, but be aware that you might want to interface the collar, cuffs and front areas. I would probably interface if I made this again, particularly if the fabric lacked crispness.

Also be aware that the pattern doesn't include a pattern piece for a back neck facing. I should have just drafted one myself, but I didn't, so the raw edge (which I serged) shows at the back neck. I do not care for that sort of finish, so I would definitely draft a back neck facing next time.

The pattern was well drafted, but there is a small problem with the production. The first review of this pattern on Pattern Review warned that it was hard to locate the proper markings for the pleats on the collar. Forewarned is forearmed, so I took special pains to locate the pleat markings when I was cutting out the pattern tissue in a size 4, D cup. Oy. It was almost impossible to read these markings. This is not a drafting problem, but a production problem. I spent quite a bit of time on this and, in the end, I pretty much had to guess. I had the same problem with the pleats on the bottom of the sleeve. Luckily, the precise location and size of the pleats seems to be fairly forgiving, but be aware that it's tricky.

I enjoy watching Peggy Sagers' free podcasts. You can access her back episodes on her website.

Fall Vogue Patterns

Have you seen the new Vogue patterns for Fall? There are some great designs in the mix! I don't have time to do an actual review of the offerings, but I am really looking forward to the next BMV sale to get my hands on some of them, particularly Marcy's coat and pants pattern, and Sandra Betzina's tunic. Sandra's tunic is practically designed to flatter my figure.

Marcy's jacket and pants, Vogue 9140

Sandra's tunic, Vogue 1456

There is lots to like in the Fall 2015 pattern collection!

JillyBe Update

Those of you who know and love JillyBe's blog can't help but notice that she's been quiet in the last year or so. Jillian has been dealing with some serious health issues. She is overcoming them, but she has a ways to go.

When she told me of her diagnoses a year ago (of liver cancer and that she would likely need a new liver), she told me that she didn't want people to feel sorry for her, she wanted them to tell her a joke! Jillian's attitude, which I sometimes characterize as "fiercely positive", has helped her weather the last year in good spirits.

If you'd like to learn more, please read Angels for Jillian’s Liver Transplant.

Birthday Outing

Last week was my birthday. That, in itself, is not newsworthy, but I had a great, photo-less afternoon and evening visiting with two sewing friends: Ronda Chaney, and Patti Ferguson (along with her husband and son). On Saturday, I spent the day with my daughters.

Yes, this is indulgent, but I like keeping track of these outings, or I'd forget the details! :)

Hiking in Henry Cowell State Park

Lunching at Gayle's Bakery in Capitola. Great food! These are my daughter's shared desserts.

Shopping in Capitola's downtown

Hanging at the beach. I was grateful for the mild 75° weather!

Ending up at Harts Fabric in Santa Cruz! (Where I did not buy a thing!)

Have a great week!