Red Monday!

The weirdest thing happened to me this weekend.  I had traced off the Burda blouse #114 from January 2016 and was ready to toile.  In the stash, lurked a length of red and white viscose crepe, kindly swapped by Del almost 2 years ago.  I never could think of what to use it for, but I thought this time, try for a wearable toile.  I had already checked width measurements etc, so was sure the pattern would be 75% fine, I just needed to know what changes to make to make the pattern 100%.

I cut the straight 44, version A length.  The pattern makes up easily enough, there’s nothing complicated in the instructions.  I opted not to have the buttonhole in the yoke to allow the drawstrings out, instead I pinned the cord in place until I was ready to bind the neckline.  By then I knew how much pulling up I wanted.  I’m not sure I really want dangly bits on the final blouse either, to be honest.  There’s an awful lot of gathering on the lower sleeve, it’s a good idea to mark the half and quarter and then line that up with the half and quarter on the bias “cuff”.  That way you’ll get equal distribution of the fullness.

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The finishing touch of adding a loop and buttonhole to the neck binding has been left off, I wanted to see what it would look like without that, and how much the front hangs open!  I think I’m more likely to wear it this way than buttoned up anyway, so I’ll raise the point for the slit by about 3-4cm.  I like my bras, but I don’t really want to be showing them off to all and sundry when I lean forward!

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So, now that the toile is done I know the width is perfect, I do need length in the front though.  The front bust depth needs about 3cm added, so I’ll do that on the pattern pieces, adding a dart in the side to control the extra length.  I also think it’s a little short for all purposes.  While I’m wearing the blouse with my jeans (high waisted Birkin Flares) it’s fine, but with a pair of Morgans or any trouser that sits lower than the natural waist, I’ll be showing off bits no-one needs to see!  So the overall length needs to increase by about 5cm to make me happy and comfortable.  Apart from that, it’s all good!!

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And the weird thing that happened?  I’m wearing a red blouse, and I love it!!!  Now to make some more versions of this pattern, I’m thinking navy viscose for sure, and I might even finally cut my spotty silk.  That’s been hiding in the stash for at least 10 years, only comes out to be patted now and then!

When a Door Closes, Open a Window!

While I haven’t made something from this year’s January Burda, I have finally made something I’d marked from the 2012 January!  Yippee!  It always wanted the right fabric, and I never really had it.  Technically, the “right fabric” this time was intended for another pair of trousers, but as it happened to be out and available and spotted just in time, it’s now a top!

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Technical drawing for top 121 01/2012

After listing all my options a few days ago, I thought I might as well start with toiling this pattern, as it was already traced out.  I ran it up in a piece of viscose I’d got from a charity shop for toiling purposes.  The fabric told me it was too soft and drapey for this particular top, the toile told me it was way too long!!  I didn’t want a tunic/short dress, I wanted a top!

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Top 121 January 2012

So I shortened the pattern by 11 cm, added length in the front for bust and a small dart to sort the side seam.  I had traced the 44, and it has just the right amount of volume for me, so that length and little dart were all I needed for a FBA, no width needed.  The original pattern has an exposed zip in the back seam and the front is plain, this wouldn’t work for me.  I didn’t want a zip, exposed or otherwise, and needed more detail on the front.  I also prefer not to have too high a neckline, so fiddled around a little, dropping the front neckline a bit and adding a front opening.  It’s just a little detail that makes it more wearable for me.

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You can just see the sleeve dart here, it’s not a narrow sleeve!
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More sleeve dart – The back and sleeve pattern piece is rather large.

The fabric I used in the end is a navy and grey windowpane worsted wool suiting I bought in November from Fabworks.  It’s quite lightweight, and as a pair of trousers it would have had to have been lined.  Luckily, as a top, it’s just fine!  The top doesn’t have hems, you cut facings for the sleeves, front and back.  I interfaced these with a polyester fine sheer fusible for a bit more stability.

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I really like how the top has turned out, the back and sleeves are cut in one, so make sure your fabric is wide enough to cope!  The odd shaped pieces meant pattern matching was going to be tricky, so I opted for matching the side seams and left the rest to fall where they may.  The large dart in the sleeve narrows the width nicely at the wrist.  I like the curved hemline, and the new length is pretty perfect.

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Now I have plans to make another item from the list.  I said in the review of last year’s sewing that I need a few more tops to go with all the new trousers I’d made, so it will be another top – and I want to use up some of the viscose pieces I have in the stash.  So, I will be tracing Blouse 114 from January 2016, I need my sleeve kick!!

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That’s round one of the #Burdachallenge2018 done, what’s on your list to make??

The Burda Challenge 2018

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Seven January issues, care to guess how many I’ve actually made something from?

A great little idea from Hila of Saturday Night Stitch and a bandwagon I’m only too happy to jump on.  I’ve been buying Burda magazines since March 1994 – and I can guarantee you that I have only made patterns from a tiny proportion of them.  I always intend to make stuff from each magazine.  When they arrive I sit down with a large cuppa and go through all the photos, then through the line drawings and I fold down the corners of the pages with items I think I like, either for me or the girls.  Sometimes I make them up, but more than often this stage is where the project stops.

This January there are a miriad of patterns I like, my favourite by far is the blouse 116.  I fell for the sleeve straight away!  Chris made a fabulous version, sealing my fate.  But alas, for me it was not to be.  The pattern needed to be graded up a size (only goes to 42) and a FBA added.  But when I’d finished the toile and put it on it was horrid.  The neckline is way to high (strangled look not good) fit across the upper chest too tight and the volume of the sleeve with that armhole just too much.

On a slim person, or even someone who’s not, but has “normal” bust size, this blouse would probably look just fine.  But on me – just no.  So disappointing!!!  But, not to worry, there are other patterns in this month to make, yes?  Yes.  But I lack suitable fabric for them…  I’m not buying fabric this month, so what I make has to come from a now seriously depleted stash.

This prompted me to dig out the January Burda issues from the boxes I can easily get my hands on, 2017 to 2010.  And I have a few options.

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Blouse 114 from 2016

This from 2016 caught my eye originally and is one of those with a folded page – why didn’t I trace and make at the time?  It’s got an interesting sleeve, is nice and drapey and would do will in either of my viscose fabrics from the stash.   loove the pants too, but have already learned that peated pants do not suit people with a tummy.  Flat fronts only!

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Top 108 from 2014

Not the top of my list, but one that had caught my eye.  It looks quick to make, but a bit of a fabric hog, and I’m wary of all that fabric in the top and sleeve with my shape…  So maybe not.

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Top 119 from 2015

Again, quick and simple in shape, just those pesky sequins to deal with!  I might have some special fabric suitable for this, that isn’t sequined.  But it’s a bit plain looking without a fabulous fabric!

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Top 119 from 2017

I actually really like this top from 2017, I don’t have silk jersey but some navy viscose jersey should do the job just fine!  I wonder if anyone else has made it with the matching “modesty bustier”?

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Top 121 and pants 122 from 2012

Simple enough trousers to make, the top has seaming details that I found interesting enough to actually trace the pattern, but that’s where I stopped.  I really don’t like wasting fabric, so I guess I thought this might not work.  I really should have attempted a self-draft, but hey-ho.  Now time is against me and I might as well toile this and see where it leads!  I wouldn’t use anything with body, I think this shape only works on me with a soft, fluid fabric, so viscose it is!

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Top 129 from 2011

Another I liked straight away, but got no further than bending the corner of the page.  I think it wants fabric with more body that my viscose jersey though, so that means shopping…  Oh dear.

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Wrap top 116 from 2012

This is daughter No2’s contribution, she loves the wrap top and I have a feeling I might have something suitable in the stash.

So, in between the coughing and the sneezing, I’ll try to narrow down my options and make progress with this.  So here’s my sign-up to the Burda Challenge 2018:

I will make a pattern from a Burda magazine each month, even if I have to go back to 2010 to find something that ticks all the right boxes!  I will use this opportunity to revisit those older magazines and maybe make something I’d marked before but not got round to making up, and will stick to the right months as the year progresses.

Wish me luck! 🙂

And We’re Off!

Hitting the ground running, there’s nothing like a quick project to get the sewing started.  This was actually a project I’d intended to do last year, and possibly have ready for Xmas, but it didn’t work out and it wasn’t time critical.  As it was already cut out, getting it sewn up was easy.

The main fabric is teal ponte from Croft Mill Fabrics, really lovely and soft with a gorgeous, jewel-like colour.  I was wavering between another Toaster Sweater or making a new Fraser Sweatshirt.  Once the fabrics were washed and were on the clothes horse drying, I noticed that this teal and another, patterned fabric looked pretty good together.  This gave me the idea to go ahead with the Fraser Sweatshirt, using View A.

 

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I cut with the size 8 across the shoulders and upper chest, changing to the 6 from the underarm down the sides to the 4 at the hip.  In hindsight I could have lengthened the body by about 3cm, but luckily it’s just long enough.  Looking at the photos, I need to make a note to lower the armhole for the next time.  The fabrics work really well together, they have just about the same amount of stretch and body.  I did not go straight into overlocking the contrast sections of the pattern together!  All was first done on the sewing machine whith a long, narrow zigzag.  Once I was happy with the points, I threaded up the overlocker and went for it.

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The joining seam on the contrast sections is pressed down and topstitched with a 2.5mm twin needle.  It was a little tricky trying to find a suitable coloured thread for this, they’re either too green or too blue!  Once I was ready to insert the sleeves, I again machine basted the contrast seam section.  My overlocker is just too happy to reach that bulky area and move things 1-2cm…  Speaking of which, the Janome really doesn’t like the bulk of this ponte when it gets to intersecting seams.  I might have to break out the Bernina instead.  And I need a new cutting blade.  Should have put one on my Christmas list! 🙂

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Basting really helped and the contrast yokes line up really well.  I love the look from the back when you see the half contrast of the sleevehead, and the neckband.  Daughter No2 is very happy with my decision to go ahead with the contrast (despite initial misgivings) and loves her new sweatshirt.

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Speaking of new sweatshirts, I didn’t get to take a picture of Daughter No1’s Christmas red Toaster on, but here’s a peek at the special lable inside.  I hope it will remind her of the moose decals on the van she and her partner hired for their little USA adventure a couple of years ago.

Finishing touches! #toastersweater #moose

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Having the Fraser pattern out has given me a couple of ideas to use up some of the smaller pieces of ponte and quilted jersey left over after other projects.  I might see if I can get a couple of 3/4 or even short sleeved versions done.  Leave no scrap unused!

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I am in the market for some lovely French Terry, I want to make the zip-up hoodie #119 from the January issue of Burda 2018, joining Hila of Saturday Night Stitch in an all new sparkling Burda Challenge!  Who’s in??

Looking back at 2017

I kept much better records of my sewing adventures this year, so I thought I’d take a good look through them to see what truths lay beneath!  There are a few projects that were never blogged for many reasons, some that got scrapped and never even got to the WIP stage, and some I’ve sort of counted twice..  Those are the self drafted ones, the pattern and toile counted as one project, the actual garment (if it got made) was seperate.

I also thought it would be interesting to see just how much stash I got through, it certainly felt like I’d used quite a bit, until I look in the cupboard.  I also made a fair few fabric purchases, but after going through everything, I only have 6 pieces left that I bought and haven’t yet turned into fully functioning garments.  And that’s purely due to time!  So I’m calling success on the the “not growing the stash” goal this year!

So how did I really do?  Well, there were a total of 82 projects.  Two were scrapped, one because the fabric and pattern turned out to be incompatible & the other because the recipient told me too late that she didn’t like what I was making, fabric or pattern.  Hmpf.  Oh well, onwards and upwards!  A large majority of the projects were for yours truly, the other lucky recipients are my girls and my mum, with 10 projects going to “others”!

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Half of my sewing was for me!

Pattern usage has been heavily biased to the Burdastyle magazine patterns, not really a huge surprise!  The next most used brand is Named, purely because of the Talvikki Sweater.  The Toaster Sweater from Sew House 7 was also much used and I can see that continuing.

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Patterns Brands used, & how many I made!

Obviously the Burda patterns featured heavily, so they are amongst my most used, the cropped trousers from May are one, as are the culottes from the February issue.  Those Talvikki and Toaster Sweaters were very popular with the girls.

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Most used patterns

As you know, I love my trousers, don’t wear dresses and this year for the first time in ages, made myself a skirt!  So to see just how many of what I was making, I made a new graph!

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Tops, trousers and tees are my most commonly sewn items!

The dresses that show up didn’t even stay in-house, all four projects were for friends!  The PJ coloumn took off after I’d made all those pjs for Christmas, and Christmas had a hand in growing that sweater coloumn too.  All in all, I think it’s been a rather successful and productive year for me, sewing wise.  And look at what I did with my stash…

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Stashbusting!!!

Even though I bought a decent amount of fabric this year, nearly all of it has been sewn up!  I only have 6 pieces of fabric bought this year that I’ve not had time to use up, coating for Mr W’s winter coat, 3m of grey cashmere for a coat for myself, ponte for a sweater for daughter no2 and one for me, 3m of oilskin to make a Tosti for myself and 2m of wool for another pair of trousers – also for me!  I’m really chuffed that none of it has ended up in the stash proper.  It hasn’t gone anywhere near the cupboard!

So, plans for next year.  THIS YEAR!!  Well, I really want to get Mr W’s coat done, and one for me too.  I have a piece of camel cashmere in the stash that I thought would make a good Bamboo coat.  Shouldn’t take too long and will give me time to decide on what pattern to use for my grey cashmere.  Those projects I’d like to get on with pretty quickly, and also get those trousers and sweater made so there’s almost nothing left from last year’s purchases to put in the stash.

Here’s to another year of creating and sharing, and may my the stash be smaller at the end of it all!  Happy New Year, may 2018 be good to you!

Believer

You just can’t keep a good pattern down.  I’ve long been a fan of wide legged trousers, swooshy ones with good sized pockets.  For years, my go-to for that particular style has been style 116 from the March 2004 issue of Burda magazine.  I have made so many versions of that pattern I couldn’t even begin to count them.  But I think I have a new favourite…

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Burda trousers 102 and 103 from May 2017

The stealer of the show is style number 102 & 3 from the May 2017 issue.  I made two cropped (102) versions in linen in the summer and wore them constantly.  I’d barely ironed them before they were back on sometimes ironing them in order to wear them that day!  They are so comfy to wear, the pockets the perfect depth, and I love the back pocket too, that’s where my phone tends to live.

I was digging around in the stash for something or other in November and came across a left over piece of pinstripe wool.  I’d originally bought 3m from Rosenberg & Son – probably around 10 years ago (!) and made a pair of trousers for a friend.  The bit left over would have made a perfectly decent pair of trousers for one of my girls, but somehow they weren’t accepting it.  After coming across it again, a possibility arose.  I figured it would be perfect made as a pair of cropped wide legged trousers for the winter!  There wasn’t enough to cut every piece, the waistband facings and the inner pocket bags were cut from the remains of the shell print cotton lawn from Mum’s top.

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Cropped pinstripe wool trousers

I love these trousers!  And again, just like their linen cousins, I’m finding I reach for them as soon as they’re back in the cupboard.  The wool is soft and not at all itchy – I didn’t line this pair.  I shove them in the washing machine on a woolens cycle with some Ecover delicates liquid and they are none the worse for it.  In fact, all my wool trousers get washed in the machine, I save dry-cleaning for coats.

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Then I had a little splash of fabric buying from Fabworks and got my hands on 2m of their Classic Grey Italian Flannel, amongst other things.  This wool is perfection, soft, flowy and the perfect colour!

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Trousers 103 05/2017 in grey wool flannel

I thought I’d make the full length trouser (103) in this fabric.  I hadn’t shortened the cropped versions for my stunted leg length, but had to do so for the full length trousers!  6cm disappeared from the hem.  I used a piece of black satin lining for the inner pocket bag to reduce bulk.  The two metres was enough fabric, with an annoying little bit left over that I have no idea what to do with. My boxes are starting to fill up with these little pieces.  As I’d lost 6cm from the length of this pair, I thought I might adjust the pattern properly so that the cropped pair would be more proportioned.  I had wondered about this in the linen trousers I made in the summer, but left it at the time.

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A week later I found another left over piece of wool!  This navy worsted suiting had been given to me after the rest of it had been used for a 3-piece man’s suit.  It was an odd bit, but would have made something for the girls I expect.  But what it did make was another pair of cropped trousers!  I lined this pair as the wool was rather thin.  I’d got 3m of grey lining with my 3m of charcoal coating free from Fabworks in their birthday sale, so decided to use some of that.  In the end, all I needed to buy was an invisible zip!  I love free clothes!

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The lining pieces were laid on the wool and overlocked together and treated as one piece, except for the panel sewn on the bottom.  There the lining hangs seperately from the wool.  Because they are lined, and the fabric behaves differently to the flannel and pinstripe, this pair are a little more fitted at the waist/hip.  Which I rather like.  As this pair was made after I’d shortened the pattern by 6cm they are shorter than the pinstripe version.  I’m not sure which is length is better!  I think I might prefer the original length, especially when worn with my fabby new suede boots!

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I had been looking for a “perfect” pair of Chelsea boots for the winter, but these are so much better!  I think it’s safe to say I have found a new favourite trouser pattern, and I’ll be making more!  It runs up really quickly, you can easily make a pair in a day (which I did because I wanted to wear them the next day to Sunday Sewing Group!).

 

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Now what I really need are some new tops!!  Chris has made a fabulous version of the dramatic sleeve blouse from January 2018, and I’ve been drooling all over her pics!  I have a plain navy viscose in the stash that would look fabulous, or even a navy with white feather print….  It will have to be a January project though, given that there’s only one day left of 2017!

Coats for Christmas

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Longline jacket Burdastyle 101 May 2017

Sometimes you have to have early Christmas presents.  Those are the sort whose usefulness will be reduced if you have to wait for Christmas Day to receive them.  Definitely the case with coats!

Daughter No 1 spotted the long line blazer in the May 2017 issue of Burdastyle and immediately put it on her list of things for me to sew.  We just needed the right fabric – same old story.  So the project languished with all the others I desperately want to get on with, but am held back on.  The arrival of Autumn heralded a change round of fabric boxes, summer stuff into the back reaches of the cupboard, winter weights rediscovered.  And in that box was a 2.5m length of grey wool with a darker windowpane woven through it.  I’d bought it from Croft Mill Fabrics 2-3 years ago and never got round to turning it into the “perfect jacket”.

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But it could be the “perfect coat”.  The blazer in the May Burda was made with crepe, soft and draping.  But this was no heavyweight coating fabric – I thought we could gamble.  As luck would have it, Daughter No 1 rather likes grey and gave her seal of approval to it’s use for her coat immediately.  I also had a lovely dark blue satin lining in the stash (bought for the grey wool) that proved enough for the coat.

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A few adjustments were necessary, she didn’t like the slits in the side seams of the original coat pattern, so these were omitted, and she wanted less volume in the back.  I took the centre back seam in a total of 3cm at the waist, and 1cm on each side of the back panel where it joined the side panel.  This gives more shape to the coat, and eliminates the need for a belt, or half-belt as in the original design. I made small adjustments to the seams where the inseam pockets were to be inserted to that they’d be more invisible and have less bulk at the seam.

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I pinned the checks of the windowpane together in a 20cm grid to ensure nothing moved around and to make sure the pattern would be easier to line up afterwards.  I drew lines on the pattern pieces to make sure I was laying everything out exactly and that the patterns would match.  It took some time, but was definitely worth it in the end.  I chose the speed tailoring route rather than traditional, time was of the essense here, and while I know you get a fabulous look with traditional tailoring,  I think you can get just as good a finish if you use speed tailoring correctly.

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All in all, it took 5 days from starting to cut until the coat was finshed.  I took my time, no rushing, and I’m dead chuffed with the result.  My second coat was to be a very different one, but there was a little change of plan after the first one was seen…

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Originally Daughter No 2 was looking at a more slouchy fit coat, dropped shoulders, slight cocoon shape.  I’d already got the wool, 3m of the most beautifuly soft lambswool from Fabworks Online. And the colour?  Most appropriately named “Autumn Maple”.  It’s gorgeous!!  On a flying visit home from Uni, she spotted the grey coat hanging in a wardrobe, tried it on and fell in love.  Thank heavens it didn’t quite fit her properly or I’d have been looking to make another for Daughter No1!!

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So I needed to trace the bigger size of the first coat, lengthen the sleeve by 4cm and make the same alterations in the back, and to the pockets, as I’d made first time around.  This fabric is a coating fabric, so I made the upper collar a little bigger that the first one to accommodate the turn of cloth, as well as the revers and remaining centre front.  (Tip, when making coats and jackets, always make the upper pieces bigger, never trim the under pieces smaller).

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Again, taking 5 days and working carefully with my interfacings, organza cloth and clapper, I think I managed to turn out a lovely looking coat!  I love the lining fabric which she chose from Fancy Silk Store.  The gold spots pick up on the orange of the coat and just shine.  I chose a dark bronze snap for the closure and attached it with nice neat buttonhole stitch.  I was tempted to use a brown or dark thread for this, but the orange makes it look like a star, and that I like.

I love a good hidden in-seam pocket. #burdastyle #coat #inseampocket

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Both girls love their new coats, and the different fabrics and colours are enough that they don’t look like they’re wearing the same thing when they’re together.  At least, I hope not!!  They look amazing, and warm and cosy, which is the most important job of a coat.

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Now there’s still the matter of a certain coat for Mr W…  It might have to wait for next year.  There are plans afoot for trousers, more sweaters and some self drafted goodies for Daughter No1’s boyfriend.  If they get going before I have a “suitable” lining for the famous coat, they will be done first! 🙂