Sunday, 4 August 2013

Flasher alert!

Pattern: McCall's 5525
Size: 14
Fabric: Stripe poly suiting from Birmingham meat market (no joke) 

Oh my. I hardly know where to begin! I feel like I've been working on this trench coat for years. However, as I only bought the fabric on our trip to Birmingham at the end of May, sense dictates it can only have been with me for two months. Still, that's a long time for a girl who usually likes to whip up a dress in not much more than a weekend. I confess I haven't been working on it constantly - there was a big gap in the middle where I realised it's a super-warm garment and therefore some summer dresses would be more useful in the recent heatwave.

I totally failed in my original plan to make a smart, mid-season jacket. Just something to throw on at the end of a night, or on those days when the sun doesn't shine so brightly. I really struggled to find fabric, wanting something patterned instead of plain old twill. I eventually found this poly suiting in the meat market and liked the pattern, so grabbed it. It's very, very warm so this will, in fact, be a winter coat now. I'm very glad I got patterned fabric as it hides a multitude of sins, of which there are many.

My hair hasn't just gone mental - it was windy
This was a complex garment and there are probably LOADS of areas where my stitching is a mess, but thankfully nobody can see! Ha ha! The fabric was tricky, though - it doesn't respond in any way to pressing so parts of it aren't as sharp as I would like and don't sit flat as they should. I also came up against problems with the belt loops as the fabric was just too thick to make them so I subbed in some twill ribbon and used it for the cuff bands too for consistency.

There was nothing difficult about this pattern. It was well-written and easy to follow, but the number of bits n bobs involved made it take a long time. There are pockets and back yokes, epaulettes and sleeve bands, not to mention a ton of buttons - 13 in total!

Epaulette and back yoke buttons
Speaking of the buttons, I was going to get something black to look classy with my fabric but personality kicked in and I couldn't bear that idea, hence the bright blue. Good choice, I think :-) After all, part of the joy of making your own things is having something funky and original. And I got a variety for added fun - some are plain, some have hearts on, others have ridges like records. Unfortunately my machine chewed up my top buttonhole so it's a mess but I did the best repair job I could by hand and the big button covers it up so I won't lose sleep over it.

The lining is probably the part I found most taxing. To start with, I cut the pieces the wrong way round so they didn't fit with the main jacket. I didn't discover that until I'd sewn it all in, though. Waaaaah! So out it came, and luckily I had enough spare to re-cut the back pieces. I then sewed it by hand to the bottom edge but obviously did it too tightly as it was pulling up on the main fabric. So I unpicked and tried again. It was getting a bit soul-destroying by this point, but I think it's just about ok now!
All that aside, I loooove this lining. It's just a polyester, but it's patterned! I don't know if anyone else out there has a good stockist of patterned linings but they seem to be like gold dust for me. I didn't care that it had no relation to my outer fabric, I think it's a real treat when you open up the mac. So, in true mac fashion, I'll be flashing people left, right and centre. The lining, that is.


I must have repositioned the belt loops and the front buttons about three times apiece as well. So this was not a quick-fix project. But it was a good test of my patience and I'm pleased I managed to be relaxed about it and persevere. I think it's cute! I can find faults, sure, but ultimately I reckon I'll feel good, and quite grown up, wearing it once the weather has gone colder!

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