Happy Sunday guys!
Firstly, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who commented on last week’s post about the subscription boxes – it seems that despite their apparent popularity, people generally think they are a waste of money and would rather choose materials themselves. That’s what I thought too, but wondered if I was in the minority because they just seem to be so damn popular ??♀️ I’m happy with the sock box that I bought, but I’m not bothered at all about trying any of the quilting or dressmaking boxes. I’ve scratched that itch and will forget about it now.
And talking of things being popular… unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will know that the Great British Sewing Bee is back on our screens. Some of you may remember that I applied for this year’s show, but pulled out of the audition process. I told people it was because of workplace-related constraints, but in truth – I just didn’t want to go on the show. My heart wasn’t in it.
The show just feels a little… meh, to me. I mean, obvs I love sewing, but it’s just so – British. (Okay. I know that it’s the BRITISH sewing bee, but still). I find the whole idea a bit uninspiring. Sure, it’s great that people can go on there and develop their dressmaking skills – and the show can even end up altering their lives in ways they never imagined – but I find all the fawning over what’s-his-name to be just a tad embarrassing, and that Esme woman looks bloody miserable in every single shot I’ve seen of her.
Something about the whole idea of being tasked with making a garment, and then being judged on it by some ‘experts’ has the rebel in me all wound up. I wouldn’t really care whether they thought my creations were ‘good enough’ or not – I’m not out to be a crowd-pleaser. I’m here to be me. And if I’m having a good time with what I’m creating, that’s all that matters.
Which is why I won’t be applying for the show again.
There. I said it.
And y’know what?
Feels good man✌?
I feel 100% better now I’ve got that off my chest, because everyone else in the sewing community seems to think the show is the best thing since sliced bread. And I don’t.
And I just couldn’t hold it in any longer.
If you know me IRL, you’ll know that I generally give two fingers to the ‘trends‘ anyway, and often have opinions that are against the masses – so it won’t really come as a surprise. The world would be a v. boring place if we were all the same, amirite?
I know about 99% of the sewing community will love the GBSB, so you can hate me if you want, it’s cool ??
But… if you want to stick around, you can read all about my awesome new coat ??
Spoiler! It’s another Deer and Doe Opium. Remember this one, which I photographed jet-lagged in New York’s Central Park?
Last year, Deer and Doe asked me if I would like to be one of the first people to make their new release coat pattern – the Opium. Obviously, I replied with a BIG FAT YES, because we all know how much I love Deer and Doe patterns ? It was a new style to me – a loose-fitting swing coat. Usually I prefer more fitted coats, but I fell in love with the shape of it – it was so easy to wear. (And it didn’t matter if I demolished an oversized meal – simply loosen the belt ??)
I loved that first one so much that I made another ??
(Modelled here with my all-time greatest charity shop find: £3 never-worn hot-pink leopard print heels IN MY SIZE ??)??
Even though both coats are made from exactly the same pattern – with no adjustments – the fabrics chosen have made them quite different.
For the first one, I used a jacquard wool that I scored off eBay, which wasn’t *too* heavy and had a little bit of drape to it. For this second one, I used some Lady McElroy wool coating that was considerably thicker and heavier, and much warmer. Kind of like a really thick felt.
Those little triangle-shaped welts were much easier with the heavier wool for sure. The jacquard wool frayed a little bit with the fiddly corners and all the turning out of the points, but the leopard print fabric stayed put and didn’t fray at all. Trying to topstitch through four layers of that thicker wool was quite interesting though – a heavy needle is definitely required.
The stable weave of the fabric meant I didn’t need to finish the seam allowances, which saved me a fair bit of time ?? I don’t know what it is about sewing-geek pictures of the innards of garments, but they make my inner nerd happy, so here you go ??
(lolz just noticed the bucket of dog toys in the bottom corner… honestly I spend so much time putting toys back into that bucket I swear they are worse than children ?)
You’re instructed to use interfacing tape around the armhole and along the shoulder seam, to stop droopage. On a heavier fabric such as this, it’s definitely needed so don’t skip it. I ran out of tape after doing the armholes, so for the shoulder seam I instead sewed some stable ribbon into the seams. Worked just as well, and used up the random ribbon that I’ve had for years and didn’t know what to do with.
I added piping into the lining of this second version – one of my most favourite things to do ? I used the one remaining leftover piece of piping I made for the husbeast’s Western Shirt (on the blog NEXT WEEK guys – it’s worth the wait I promise!!), and it was the perfect length. Woop!
I don’t usually wear the colour brown, and although my favourite print – animal print – tends to comes in brown more than any other colour, I usually try to look for it in different colours (pink, purple and orange being the main ones). But this wool coating seemed a nice, warm tone… so I decided to give it a chance. I’m glad I did.
I considered my options for lining fabrics, and the only coordinating colours I came up with were varying shades of brown. No matter how they were named, ‘cappuccino‘, ‘golden hour‘, ‘mocha‘ were all essentially brown. If I had brown outer fabric, and brown piping, there was no way I was having a brown lining too. I just couldn’t do that to myself.
When all else fails in life, something hot pink is usually the answer – and this coat was no exception ?
This lining fabric, which despite having the scandalous price of £6.99 per metre, is amazeballs. It feels beautifully soft and drapes gorgeously – you could totally make garments from this. It would make a lovely blouse, or Ogden Cami. Sure, it’s plain, not patterned (I do love a good patterned lining), but it’s perfect to use with patterned outer fabrics. I’ve already bought some more of it to line a magenta skirt that I’m making to wear to an Indian wedding (the silk brocade I bought to make the skirt with turned out to be slightly see-through ?)
Using hot pink for the lining makes me a little bit more comfortable with the outside of the coat being brown – it definitely makes it feel more ‘me’.
The fact that the wool is nice and thick and stable means that the coat is great for wearing when it’s cold – it keeps out most of the elements including wind and rain (verified using the wonderful four-seasons-in-one-day British weather ?️). The thickness does also mean, however, that it makes me look a bit chunky when I’m wearing it ? All that heavy wool wrapped around me can undo my weeks of gym classes just like THAT. But – I’m warm, so I guess there’s a trade-off somewhere ??
I forgot to put the belt loops on my first Opium (I’d sewn up the lining before I’d realised I still hadn’t attached them ??♀️), so I was determined to put them on this version – despite the thick fabric. I got all DIY on its ass and used a hammer to smack the layers of the rebel loops into submission before attempting to stitch them to the coat – the best I could do through all the layers was a sloppy line of zig-zag stitch at the top and bottom. It ain’t pretty – but it also ain’t goin’ nowhere. After doing one of the loops, I realised that I’d caught the pocket bag in not one, but BOTH of the stitching lines – and had to spend what felt like eternity unpicking my I-will-zig-zag-you-within-an-inch-of-your-life seam.
The fabric, if I’m honest, is a little too thick for the belt. It doesn’t stay fastened if you just knot it once, which means you have to knot it twice and have it look all weird and sticky-outy on your stomach. There’s no way I’m ditching the belt though, after the effort that went in to the installation of the belt loops. A buckle fastening would be miles better.
Through desperation, I figured out that the best way to turn the belt inside out after stitching the sides, was with a ruler. You just had to give it enough elbow grease (and over the halfway join, you need a fair bit of push), and slowly but surely you’d end up with it the right way out with minimal faff. Result.
If you’re looking for a way to dip your toe into coat-making, the Opium would totally be a good choice – no fiddly buttonholes, raglan sleeves (which are easier than set-in sleeves) and a lining as well to have a bash at if you’ve not tackled a lined garment before. Plus, super clear instructions from Deer and Doe as well ??
This coat gets worn on the regular, and has encouraged me to step outside my usual comfort zone when it comes to coat designs. Not that I need to make more coats mind you – I reckon I’ve got about enough to fill a wardrobe as it is ?
I’m loving the wall that we photographed this coat in front of – so much colour, so much going on with it! That’s what I love about Brick Lane – every time we go, the walls are different, and it’s exciting to walk the streets and see what we find. Across the road from where we took these pictures was another beautiful piece of artwork, but sadly it was above ground level so I wasn’t able to take photos in front of it ☹️ So I stood and admired it instead.
We’ve now had a few of our four-day working weeks, and I can confirm that we’re getting done nowhere near as much as we thought we would ? By the time you get up a few hours later than what you would have done on a work day (say, 9am vs 6am), had a leisurely breakfast together (which takes you to 10am), got yourself washed and dressed (it’s now 10:30am), and actually started doing something productive, most of the day has gone. Friday has always been our date night too (and by ‘date night’, I actually mean ‘cinema night’), and the earliest film we could make on a workday would be 9pm. Now that we’re not at work, we can get an earlier film – say, 6pm – and actually be home before midnight. This does, however, shorten even further our available time on a Friday for getting shiz done ?? So yeah… not as productive as we thought ??
Ah well. We have so far used our Fridays to cut fabric for a couple of things to add to the shop (so I need to get cracking on sewing those), and we’ve been to the dentist (turns out I need a filling as part of my tooth has broke off ?), and in a couple of weeks we will be trekking across London for the Knitting and Stitching show at Olympia.
So not all bad, I guess.
I’m quite excited about next week’s post – the Handsome Husbeast’s western shirt (it has suede!) – but I’ll leave you for now with some more pics of my new favourite coat ?
Next week on the blog is the lonnnng awaited western shirt I made for the husbeast – you won’t want to miss it, it’s a good’un! ?
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