The Assembly Line V-Neck Dress

Ok, I know you’re waiting to see my coat, but I have something more fun! I made another dress!! I know what the other half is going to say when he sees it. He’s going to make a “nun outfit” reference, Sound of Music costume…. But I really don’t care, as an addition to my wardrobe with the Tea House Dress, it’s going to be well worn this season!

The Assembly Line’s V-Neck Dress

I made D:106, The V-Neck Dress from The Assembly Line. The fabric is a navy fine wool suiting that I bought specifically for this project from Fabworks Online. It’s soft and drapey and has the most wonderful sheen on it, as well as a fine pattern of lines in the weave that make it interesting close up.

This is the kind of wool I really like, because I shove it in the washing machine on a woolens wash and then hang it up to dry. Unless I completely forget that it’s in the wash and put it in a normal load, it’ll be washed on that woolen cycle for the rest of its life, and it won’t shrink! It also saves me a load of dry cleaning bills!

I detailed the toile in my previous post, but if you haven’t read that yet (whaaat??) here’s a round up. I traced the Large and made it up, looking for areas to fix. The only thing that stood out was the length, my legs aren’t supermodel length, so I took 4cm out of the skirt length, decided to go without a FBA and went for it!

The pattern pieces are rather long, but as the skirt isn’t massively flared you can actually get them staggered next to each other for cutting out, if your fabric is a suitably wide 140cm or above. I bought 3m just in case, and ended up using about 2.2m. That means enough for a skirt or cropped pair of trousers with the rest, free clothes!! 🙂 The instructions are very clear, good illustrations to follow if you’re a beginner or not too confident. The inseam pocket instructions are great and are the way I do mine normally. The result is a neat, hidden pocket. I used Gill Arnold’s fine sheer fusible for interfacing the collar facing, the belt and to stabilise the pocket seam areas.

The dress goes together easily if you follow those instructions, the only thing I felt was necessary that they don’t mention is to stabilise that v-neck while you’re working with the pieces to stop it stretching out. I ran a line of staystitching from the top down within the 1cm seam allowance, just to be safe. Another thing that beginners will like is that the instructions include where, and when to finish the seam allowances. They say to overlock, but you could just zigzag. I wouldn’t use French Seams unless you were using a really fine fabric because the resulting stiffness will affect the shape of the skirt.

I was initially worried that the V would be too low, I’m not necessarily comfy with showing off cleavage. But, I think at some point I need to stop being so prudish! A friend who saw the dress said it was fine, she didn’t see any underwear (one thing I don’t like showing) and that the depth worked. So there you go, it works and I’ll get on with it! It’s great for showing off a pretty pendant!

I’m really happy with the dress, I love the sleeves and the length, and that I can adjust the belt to be comfy. I definitely won’t be wearing the dress without the belt!! But I’m thinking of adding thread belt loops to hold it in place, as it tends to move up and down a bit. I also probably should have made the belt a little longer…. Nevermind, it’s ok for this time! Now I hope to influence the girls to each have a version, I think it will look fantastic on Daughter No 2 with her height, and nice and dramatic on Daughter No 1, especially if worn with one for her many new jackets!

Work in Progress Wednesday

So much has been going on this week! I finished my coat on Sunday, I have some photos to edit and the post to finish before you can see it all, but it’s so nice and warm!  It’s just what I needed.

One of the projects I really want to finish this month is Hubby’s coat.  The main pattern pieces were drafted last November, adjustments made and pattern altered.  But we were no nearer finding the right sort of lining, so the whole thing stalled.  I think I have finally persuaded the other half to accept a plain lining, with a patterned piping strip and other internal details for this version.  I can make another coat, or even a jacket (one day) when we find and buy that elusive “perfect lining”.

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The pieces of pattern that still needed to be sorted were the linings, front and back facings and pocket pieces for both the internal pocket and the welt pocket at the waist.  Somehow I’d only drawn up the pieces for the chest welt pocket.  So now everything is ready, no excuses!  Except that we still have no lining…

For now.  I have ordered samples of The Lining Company’s shot twill lining that have already arrived (one day service, I love it!).  The linings are plain as in they have no pattern, but at least with the two tone colours there’s interest.  I found some leftover silk in the silk box that would work perfectly for the contrast piping and other bits on the inside of the coat, and will work with 4 of the 5 samples I’ve ordered.   I also ordered a stripe lining sample from Fabric Godmother that’s still to arrive.  It should also work with 4 of the linings, if not all, should Hubby decide he doesn’t like the silk I’ve looked out.

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Charcoal wool, circle print silk for piping and a selection of shot linings.

I’m reluctant to cut the wool until I know I have everything I need, so while I wait for that last sample and we agree on colours and patterns, I have time to make something else!  Not one to sit on my laurels, I decided I’d run up a toile of The Assembly Line’s new pattern, the V-Neck Dress.  I liked the look of the dress the minute I saw it on IG at the launch.

I thought it would be perfect for Indie Pattern Month over on The Monthly Stitch.  It hadn’t arrived in time for me to make for Week 1, dresses, but I figured I’d be able to squeeze it in by the time Week 3 came around.  This week is  “Around the World”,which means you have to make a pattern form a designer from a different country to that in which you live.  The Assembly Line are Swedish, so that’s perfect!

The pattern is multi-sized and I decided to go with the Large, based on measurements and finished garment measurements.  Technically I should have done an FBA, on that size, but the measurements gave me enough width/ease to be comfortable.  I didn’t want it too big.  The toile went perfectly, I only did the main pieces.  I realised the skirt was a little too long, so I took 4cm out of the length.  The depth of the V bothered me a bit, I don’t usually go for something this low, but I told myself I was being a fuddy duddy – get on with it!!  And the bust seemed fine, there were no drag lines and there was definitely enough ease.  Done!!

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Dress toile

The dress is actually made now, but I’m not going to give it away just yet, I am going to enter that competition now!  See you on the other side!

Linton Tweed Biker Jacket

 

I’ve been holding on to this jacket for about a month now, waiting for the new owner to come and collect!  And the fabric’s been hanging around even longer!  If you’ve been following for a while, you’d have seen I started a Work in Progress Wednesday post, and the inner workings of this jacket were the very first of those!  Now you get to see the finished article, worn by Daughter No 1.  The pattern used is Moto Jacket 105 from September 2017.

 

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Linton biker jacket

I am so glad that I used a different fabric on the inside of the cuffs, waistband, ollar and for the facings.  Daughter No 1 likes to wear the jacket with the cuffs rolled up once, so you get to see the black fabric.  It has a line of sparkle through it so it’s a little something different.  I also love the silver zippers and snaps, they work brilliantly with the colours of the fabric.  The lining is blue herringbone viscose, left over from a coat I made for myself around 10 years ago, I was really chuffed that there was enough to be able to use.

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Contrast black welts to the zippered pockets

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Large silver snaps

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Daughter No 1 loves this jacket, it can be smart or casual, dressing an outfit up or down.  I love using fabrics and patterns in this way.  Here it’s worn with a boat neck Lark Tee and a pair of jeans, and it looks great!  She wore this jacket with a white tee, black jeans and trainers to the Stitching Show last week, and the outfit was perfect.  It will also look fabulous with the black crepe Pulmu Skirt I made her last year.

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The Knitting and Stitching Show 2018

Oh boy, what a show!  This was my first vist to a London show, I don’t usually travel this far, the NEC in Birmingham being my usual haunt.  So what puts me off going to London?  Train travel and costs for the most part, then there’s going round a very large city on my own that I don’t know – at all.  And that makes me nervous and just a little scared!  I was offered tickets to this show by Gerda from Three Eight Cake who was unable to go due to health reasons.

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On the way to Ally Pally

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I managed to overcome the train ticket cost by buying well in advance and only paid £14 for a return trip to London – that’s a miracle in my book!  My second problem was also easily solved – I asked Daughter No 1 if she’d like to come with me.  As she’s working in London, and is much braver than me, she was the perfect person to ask!

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King’s Cross Station, basking in the Autumn sunshine.

We had a fabulous time!  Travelling from Marylebone to Alexandra Palace was actually fairly simple, and I loved the free shuttle bus from the station right up to the front door of the show, no need to climb that long hill!  The entrance foyer was full of a display of Edward’s Menagerie little crocheted animals from Toft.  Man they were cute!!

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I’m so tempted to get the books and make all these, but – TIME!

As the place was so huge and there was so much to see, we prioritised by doing the fabric shopping first.  There were a few stands I really wanted to see, those who I’ve never seen at the NEC.  Starting at the end of the hall, we decided to move methodically up and down the aisles until we’d covered everything.  Of course, there are still stalls we didn’t see/find!  But typically, I only realised I’d missed them after we’d left.  I was going to look at everything make a note of what I liked, and then go back to buy, just what I do at the NEC.  It didn’t work!

It was very busy, very crowded and pretty hot and stuffy!  So I decided I’d just get what I liked there and then, which turned out to be the best plan.  First purchase of the day was from Rosenberg and Sons, as it always is!  They had two stands, one with their winter wools and coating fabrics and the other with everything else.  They have some amazing Italian wools and silks this year, they are just stunning, and for the price, really good value.  I was good though, and just bought two pieces of navy jersey to make a couple of long sleeved tees.  I’d noticed there is a lot of grey in my winter wardrobe, so more blue is a good thing.  Also, look a that texture on the plain blue piece, isn’t that fab?

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Navy jerseys from Rosenberg and Sons

Next I found the perfect rust coloured corduroy at Bombay Stores, for just £4/m!  So I got three metres.  Daughter No 1 loved another piece of cord, a delicious grey with a hint of green for a pair of trousers, so 2m of that went into the bag!  It’s a lovely fabric, soft and pliable with the most amazing depth of colour.

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Cord from Bombay Stores

One of the shops I wanted to see was Stoff & Stil.  They’re based in Scandinavia and sell what looks like fabulous activewear fabric, so I was keen to see what they had, not wanting to trust that I’m buying the right thing online.  But they didn’t have anything like that.  It was a very good looking stand, full of pre-cut and packed lengths of jersey, French Terry and bag notions and patterns.  And although it loooked good, it was a pain in the whatsit to negotiate!  In the end I just got some fab coloured cotton yarn to make more cloths with, they were £1 each and I got 6.  Slightly disappointed that they didn’t have what I needed, but they were certainly busy and the stand was packed!

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Cotton yarn from Stoff & Stil

Higgs and Higgs were the next place we bought from.  They have such lovely offerings and their jerseys are to die for if you’re making for young kids.  I was really tempted to buy some of the cable jersey knit ponte, but seriously couldn’t pick a colour.  Right next to the ponte was a selection of coloured twill (denim).  Daughter No1 pulled out a bolt of pale grey/oyster that is quite soft and drapey for a twill and decided she’d love a pair of culottes or high waisted, pleated and wide legged trousers.  She then convinced me that I needed green jeans/trousers in my life.  So we bought a couple of metres of the coloured twill.

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Coloured twill from Higgs & Higgs

Then it was Montreux Fabric’s turn.  I was hoping they’d have more of the blue and ecru striped jersey I’d bought from them earlier in the year.  I made a Uvita Top with it and I love it!  I was in luck and snapped up more of that, and bought 2m of pale grey ribbed jersey to make something for Daughter No1 as well.

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Jersey from Montreux Fabrics

A couple of Christmas presents were also purchased, but I won’t go into that right now. And we were recognised!  We were browsing the Draper’s Daughter’s stand when one of the ladies said, “I know you! And you!”  For a second my mind went into a slight panic – I had no idea who this lady was, I’m notoriously bad with names and I couldn’t for the life of me think of where I’d met her and how I’d know her!  Then she added, “from IG, and your blog”.  OMG, thank goodness I wasn’t about to put my foot in it and say I didn’t know who she was!  Unfortunately she didn’t say who she was and it was only afterwards in discussion over tea and cake that I realised!  Jane, from Jane Makes!

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My only non-making purchase of the day!

We came across a stand in the craft hall while looking for Beyond Measure and Trend Patterns (who I didn’t find in the end, unfortunately).  A large beaded dog caught our attention and we were immediately sidetracked from the fabric buying mission by looking at beaded flamingoes, sheep, goats, etc, etc.  The stand was Best of African and the lady, Tracey was selling handmade animals and other items that had been made in Johannesburg by individual artists.  We have a few beaded wire items at home, everytime we go back to SA I buy more!  This time I bought (after a long chat) two gorgeous bowls in gold, white and black. I love the simplicity of the design and the colours that echo traditional African colours and those of the Zulu basketry.  I’m going to put them on the windowcill in my sewing room with cactuses in them.

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We had a fabulous day and would probably have stayed longer and gone through more halls and seen more stands if it hadn’t been so stuffy and warm. The only thing that I really didn’t like about the day was the number of stands happily offering to pack our fabric purchases into plastic carrier bags.  Only two stalls, Montreux Fabrics & Best of African offered us a paper bag for our purchases.  Come on guys, this isn’t good enough!  Luckily I’d taken a nice sturdy felt bag with good handles to put my fabrics into.  In the end we decided we’d done very well and it was time for a proper cup of tea and a bite to eat before heading out of London on our respective trains.

I am very thankful to Gerda for making the trip possible and I hope she’s getting better!  Most of the fabric has been through the washing machine and is trying to dry on this wet and windy Friday.  I’ll wait to tomorrow to get the corduroy in the wash, there’s no rush!  Now I need to find patterns to match with my new fabric and get it made before the next sewing show – no stashbuilding here!

 

 

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

 

Coat update!  Last time you saw it, it was all in pieces.  I’d done the interfacing and needed to tailortack and then get cracking!  So that was Thursday morning’s position.  By the end of the day I had assembled the hood, the back, the sleeves and the two fronts with the welt buttonholes.  I’d left the pockets to the last, because I knew it would be fiddly because of the bulk of the fabric.  Actually, they were fine, and the rest went together really well.

 

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Hood, collar pieces and facings sewn, no side seams!
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Welt pockets. On the left you can see the bits of interfacing on the fronts, and the cut down dart to reduce bulk.

On the weekend I attached the zipper to the centre front and made up the collar, attached the hood and facings.  I attached the zipper before I sewed the shoulder and side seams, figuring that it would be far easier to do with less fabric and fewer pattern pieces flapping about.  I also attached the collar and hood pieces before sewing the side seams.  If fact, I didn’t sew the side seams until I’d finished all the faffy, bulky work on the front.  It was tricky enough to do flat, I can only imagine how frustrating it would have been had the sides been attached.

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The front

Things got really tricky with the front tab and collar, there were so many layers of wool that it was tricky to get it all in under the foot of the machine.  This is one of the times when I am very happy to have a sewing machine that weighs so much!  I really don’t think I’d have been able to manage with a modern, lightweight machine.  Then adding the front fastening band made more bulk and made things worse.

I am unhappy with the position of that piece, I couldn’t get it higher as the machine pushed it down every time I forced it under the foot, even when I basted it in place.  It also seems to be too far from the centre front, and I think that’s because of the width of the zipper.  I really should have attached the band closer to the front.  Monday wasn’t a great sewing day, I had a re-occurence of my nasty headaches and attempted to work through it.  It wasn’t one of my best ideas, and I had no relief the next day either.  So now I have a pretty much finished coat, but I’m unhappy with that band and know it will be a mission to move it.  So I’m inclined to leave it.  But I know it’s not right.  Grrr

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Left, sleeve head tipped over; top right, pinning the sleeve in the seamline; bottom right, sewing the sleeve into the armhole, sleeve side up.

In contrast, the sleeves went in so easily!  If you’re making a jacket or coat, run a line of long gathering stitches 2cm from the edge of the fabric, just one line, and pull that up slightly, to give you the shape of the sleeve head.  Then pin it into the armhole with the armhole folded back, and the sleeve over it.  Next, pin on the stitching line, parallel to the stitching line, easing the fullness into the sleeve head.  It’s fiddly and the pins bite, but it gives a great finish.  Then you sew the seam from the inside, the sleeve side up, picking out the pins as you get to them and using both hands and almost all your fingers to smooth out the fulness and avoid puckering.  Once you’re happy with it and the hang is good, sew in the sleeve padding.  This can be purpose made wadding or you could cut bias strips of your fabric and fold in half longways.  Stitch just before the original sleeve seam and fold it over and into the sleeve head.  Some jackets need this step, some don’t, it all depends on the look you’re after.

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Looking up at the shoulder pad on the left, into the armhole with the interfacing and padding showing.

The lining is in, and the hem handstitched in place.   The lining is from The Lining Company.  It’s an acetate/viscose twill, and it’s shot, so you get a lovely shade of colour, depending on the direction in which you view it, and which side you use!  I chose  the Light Blue Fawn colour, which looks fabulous with the colour of the wool.  I’m using the blue-er side but have decided to use the other side which has more of a gold tone to cover the snaps for the front.  I was hoping to find a brass/bronze colour snap in the time I had, but I couldn’t.  So simple silver snaps are now covered with the lining.

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Lining details

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I had originally intended to finish the coat to wear to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London tomorrow, but the weather is not showing me I’ll be needing it, and I haven’t got the fastening band buttonholes done yet either.  I guess that although my headaches have finally passed, I’m not in quite the right place to finish today.  I’ll get it done over the weekend, and hopefully some proper photos will follow soon!  In the meantime, I’m looking forward to my first visit to a big London sewing show!

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From the back

I’ll show you what I buy over the weekend, all the fabric I bought at the NEC earlier this year has now been made up, so I’m kinda justified in getting a bit more! 😉  And I would love to find the perfect fabric to make up another dress, The Assembly Line’s V-Neck Dress.

 

Three Points

This is a project I’ve been quite keep to make since spotting the pattern in the magazine.  I liked the section seams of the sweatshirt (111 from February 2017), the opportunities for colour blocking and, most importantly of all, the chance to use it to use up some of the left over bits of ponte, quilted jersey and fleece fabric taking up a fair bit of room in my jersey fabrics box.  I really do need the space for full lengths of useable fabrics!

I decided to trace the smallest size, the 36.  The pieces are massive!  On the sheet the front and back main pieces are just half, so I flipped the paper over and made them whole.  This means that if I’m using leftovers, I know immediately how much space I need!  There are enough of a couple of fabrics for this pattern to work, but I couldn’t make up my mind where to start.  So I drew out a couple of tops and coloured them with the colours of fabric I have to try to get somewhere.

Then I asked Daughter No2 which she prefered.  Typically she couldn’t decide either and said she needed to see the fabrics first – in person!  But I really wanted to make the sweatshirt.  So I laid the pieces out on some of the left over black and white ponte that I’d made my last Uvita Top in, and placed the sleeves and triangular side panels on left overs of plain black ponte from Daughter No2’s long cardigan.  I liked the idea of the sides being solid in colour.  I figured that if she didn’t like it, I’d offer it to Daughter No1.  Once I started actually sewing, I figured I could always keep it for myself – it was that wide!

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The sweatshirt, with all its width!

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The essentials of the top are simple enough, especially if you’re not making the version with pockets.  But the pocket instructions got me all befuddled.  I obviously wasn’t having a brain fully engaged day, because I made a fluff and had to make do in the end.  And in the end I realised what I should have done!  So here’s a tip, if you’re planning on making this top.  The pockets are KANGAROO pockets!  If I’d realised that in the beginning I’d have understood the instructions immediately and done them correctly!

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Anyhow, I am now pre-warned for the next time!!  But will there be a next time?  Maybe.  It’s definitely going to be fabric dependent.  Daughter No 2 was home on Friday for a quick visit to collect her winter coats and take them back to Birmingham.  She was initially unsure of the top when she saw it, but decided she rather liked it once it was on!  The verdict was positive, but only in a fabric that is fairly soft and has drape.  She wouldn’t want it if the fabric had too much body (it would be very boxy) and with that width it’s not what she’d wear.  But this one she likes!

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Sweatshirt 111 February 2017

 

 

Work in Progress Wednesday

I’m making a coat!  Oh yes, I made a decision and I’m running with it, running pretty quickly, because I want it finished to wear to London next Thursday!  I traced the hoodie coat from the October 2018 Burda magazine yesterday and made a toile to check for fit.  I knew I’d need an FBA, I just needed to know how big – & I suspected I’d need a bicep adjustment too.

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The toile of coat 110, Burda 10/18

I needed to move the bust dart down 2cm as well as doing a 3cm FBA, and I widened the upper arm area, the bicep adjustment, by 4cm.  Other adjustments I’ve made to the pattern pieces are to add width and depth to the outer standing collar, the facing edge of the hood, the outer sleeve tabs and back belt piece, as well as the pocket flap.

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Weft insertion fusible interfacing on the sleeve heads

The starting point of the coat is always the interfacing.  I’m using Gill Arnold‘s weft insertion on the yokes, front and back, under the arm on the side body piece and in the sleeve head.  I’ve also cut 5cm wide bias strips to interface the hem area of both the sleeves and the jacket body.  I’ll also interface the centre front, about 7-8cm wide, and the outer standing collar piece with the same.  I’ll use the fine sheer interfacing on the inner collar, the front and back facings, the front fastening band and the hood facing piece.

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A nice big pile of cut out pattern pieces.

My fabric is a gorgeous camel-beige coloured wool and cashmere melton that I bought at the NEC about 4-5 years ago from the Rosenberg and Sons stand.  It was a fabulous price, only £10/m!  So I was fully justified in nabbing 2m, even though I had no idea of what I’d make back then, and it’s languished in the stash until the right thing arrived.  I used to have the right lining too – but I used that in the grey houndstooth jacket I made Daughter No1 back in August!  I’ve managed to cut the front facing, hood pieces and back yoke from the left over pieces of that lining and have ordered another metre of the same colour from the Lining Company.  It will hopefully arrive by the end of the week!

The opening zipper for the front and the front band buttons have come out of the stash.  It’s not normal for me to have such a long open ended zipper in the zip box, but I’d bought it years ago to mend the zipper on something else and then changed my mind and got someone else to do it for me! (lazy…)  The buttons are vintage minitary buttons in the most beautiful weathered brass.  Unfortunately I did not have enough to use ont he back belt as well, but I did find a pair of leather buttons in teh button box that will do the job just beautifully.

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Left back, interfaced pieces needing no tailor tacks, Middle, un-interfaced pieces needing tailor tacks, right, the lining pieces, and bottom left, the interfaced pieces, needing tailor tacks.

Now that all the pieces are interfaced, I’m left with the job of tailor tacking everything and getting started with the fun part – putting it all together!