October 31, 2010


It's been ten days since my last post - but I've gotten this far with my Lady Grey Coat project.

It's been a very loooong haul. And to top it off, I worked an additional 3 - 5 hour night shifts last week that left me really drained. I'll pull another 3 nights this week, and then 2 the following week and then I'll be through. This leaves very little energy or motivation for sewing throughout the week, but I did spend some time at the machine Friday, Saturday and today. I might not get a chance to touch this again until next weekend, but I am feeling a lot better about the project (at least for right now). The sew-along schedule cited October 31 as the finish date - well, we all know that I didn't make that deadline. But, I am still determined to complete what I started.

So whats left to do?: the collar, sleeves, underling/lining, hemming, and finishing the buttonholes. Should take - say - another 3 months. No, just kidding. I am so ready for another project, but I stick to my unwritten rule of finishing one project before starting another one. My rule is a rather stringent one, but it keeps me from having UFO's.

October 21, 2010


When I was growing up a phrase that I often heard was - "I feel like I've been run through the mill". Don't know if you've every heard that one, but what it means is "I've had a hard time or have been through something very trying". My Lady Gray coat has "run me through the mill"; most of it being totally mental.

My last post ended with me basting sew-in interfacing to my jacket front, trying to get to the part where I pad stitched the lapel area of the coat. Before I finished stitching one section of the coat front I decided that this was not going to work for me because try as I might, my stitching showed through the right side of the fabric. After removing those stitches I decided to go ahead and use fusible interfacing instead. Mind you, by this time I've pre-shrunk two different types of interfacing at two separate times. After carefully fusing one of the front sections I noticed that even though I had used a shoe on the iron and a pressing cloth I ended up with iron prints on the right side of the fabric. Thank goodness the pattern called for an excessive amount yardage; I had enough of it left over to cut another single front section.

After much contemplation I decided to fuse the interfacing to a batise (sheer mist) underlining and then attach that to each pattern section. This did add some body to my light weight wool flannel shell fabric, which is a good thing. Of course, decided to try my hand at bound buttonholes. Figured I might as well seeing that I'd already been "run through the mill" with this thing. So last night and tonight I practiced making Spanish Snap (Roberta Carr's Couture Sewing DVD), and window pane bound buttonholes, (Marta Alto's Jackets for Real People - Tailoring Made Easy DVD). Had to remind myself NOT TO FRET, because these were only for practice, and if it didn't work out - I could always use a regular old buttonhole.

The practice sessions went pretty good. I really liked both types but decided to go with the bound buttonhole. Here are pictures of both.

First the Spanish Snap:
and the the Window Pane Bound:

and finally the one I installed on the coat front:

The coat will have two buttonholes, but one is concealed and a regular buttonhole will do just fine there. Wow! I really never thought I would even attempt bound buttonholes. I guess I should never say never, because this really wasn't that hard at all. I'm already far behind the sew along schedule so giving up two nights for practice didn't slow the pace any more. I really thought I'd get to tape the lapel roll line and start pad stitching the lapel tonight, but that didn't happen ( I'll start pad stitching tomorrow night). I'll be using the Roberta Carr DVD to help me with the pad stitching. I'm so very glad that I had these resources in my library in addition to my books (which I've about worn the pages out of). Now that I've completed the buttonholes I can really understand why they are put in so early in the construction process.

MORAL: I'm glad I stretched and learned something new.....

October 12, 2010


...about the Lady Grey coat process that is. Last night I garnered up my best fitting efforts, and cut into the shell fabric.

  • I know, I know - IT'S ABOUT TIME isn't it? To my recollection this is what I've done so far: Made three muslins, that's right three. I've never made three for one single project before. Two maybe, but not three. I decided that I still liked the very first one best, so that is what I went with;
  • Altered the length of the lapel and the coat front to eliminate gaping;
  • Did a small sway back adjustment. Never knew I had a sway back, why didn't someone tell me about it? I should have suspected as much because of my high rear protrusion (not complaining however, I'm glad that I have one instead of being flat in that area);
  • Re-sized the pockets because I could barely get my hands in. Also repositioned the pocket placement because it was much too low and would have extended into the hem area;
  • Over thought and over worked the project until it almost made me sick to my stomach;
and that's that. It is what it is!, or should I say "it will be what it's gonna to be". I had already decided that more than enough money has been invested in this project, so I opted against the hair canvas. None was to be found in my area anyway, maybe next time - because I've got to move on.

I also started working on a little tailoring of the front of the coat. I'm following along with the sew along suggestions as closely as possible. I know my coat probably will not be as firm because of the type interfacing I am using, but that's o.k., since I really want a soft structured garment. Since I've read so much on tailoring recently, and Gertie has taken her time to provided the how-to video tutorials, I think it's time that I tried my hand at the stitching. I know I'll be using this information on many future projects since I so dearly love jackets.

Here's a picture of what I've done so far. I'll pad stitch the side front sections and the lapel next. Couldn't find any silk thread in my area either, so I'm using a "fine" thread in a matching color.
Can you see my stitches?

I still have not committed to do bound buttonholes yet. I sort of think I will, sort of think I won't at the moment. (I know, I'm still being a little wishy washy.) I have until it's time to attach the front facing to make up my mind. I want to see if I can find some time to practice with them before I mentally commit...

October 10, 2010


Last weekend was spent cleaning out my attic - if you can fathom that. It wasn't a job for the faint at heart as I had been putting off for YEARS! Three things prompted this big attic cleaning project:

  1. I needed to back away a little from the Lady Grey Project which has consumed me;
  2. A friend need some of my excess for a rummage sale to raise monies for her son's much needed math tutoring lessons and a school trip to Washington, D.C.. So this was a win, win situation, it helped her out, and helped me out because she carted away excess that I needed to go through and purge;
  3. Now that the attic had been purged, I had room up there to put boxes and other things from the closet in my sewing room that I'm not quite ready to part with as of yet. This created more storage room in that closet for sewing related stuff.
WOW, what a job that was. Up and down the stairs, but so worth it in the end. I am slowly revamping my sewing space to make it more convenient, less cluttered, and a prettier place to work.

My BFF from New York visited for a couple of days this weekend. We made a stop at Charming Charlie's to peruse the latest in affordable costume jewelery. I was very good and came away with only one necklace. She loves the Flea Market so we put in several hours at the one in Macon yesterday. I was trying to be so careful not to buy too much junk to cart home (because I'm supposed to be purging after all). But, I always keep my eyes peeled for things I can use in the sewing room so I did pick up a couple of things:

This little rack that I've already put up to hang my shears. It was only $2.00.
Prior to this I had hammered big old nails in the wall to hang them on. I think this looks much, much better.

This over the door hanger was also only $2.o0. I hung on the sewing room door
where I'm always hanging my sewing projects.

and this little jar for 50 cents. I put some of my button collection into it, and
I want several more to go along with it. I think it provides nice see through storage.

Afterward we made our way to the Georgia National Fair to check on my exhibit entries. I had 6 entries, but only 3 of them placed to my surprise.

This jacket which was supposed to be a two piece entry received first prize.
This wasn't even my best work! I ran short of the fabric and had to piece meal the
ruffle on the sleeve. The pants to the jacket ended up as a separate entry and didn't place at all.

My faux Chanel Suit took a second prize. Wow, a quilted jacket, an invisible zipper
and a months worth of work. I was really amazed that that it didn't earn a
first prize ribbon.

My sweater knit cardigan with the cowl neck top that I really love
did earn a third place ribbon. I wonder how they knew these two pieces went together (a bit of sarcasm there).

All in all I know I should be happy that I placed at all. This was my second year and I can't help think that you need to belong to the "good ol boy club" to earn one of those fabulous "Awards of Excellence". My only problem is, I don't know how to get into the good ol boy club. Will I enter again,... probably so. Not that I really need it, but I am determined to win one of those state of the art sewing machines.

There were TOO many people at the fair, and we must have walked 10 or 12 miles. We were exhausted, and I never am able to eat all that I plan on eating - wouldn't be able to afford it if I could...

October 5, 2010


Here stands the Lady Gray coat muslin that I posted about almost two weeks ago.

I am actually really ashamed to say that since that time I have come down with a sad case of "Sewing Paralysis". Oh, I've had this dreaded sickness a couple of times in the past, but thank God they were only minor cases that never lasted very long. This malady, caused by a lady (the Lady Gray Coat), I wouldn't wish upon my worst enemy!

In the interim I did make another muslin but didn't like it at all - went back to my first one instead. But time ticks on and so does the sew along. I feel as though everyone else is speeding right past me. I did start a post since my last one but didn't publish it. I should have, and named it "I should be sewing, but I'm not" or something similar. What started out looking like such a simple project has turned into FITTING UNIVERSITY. I guess this coat will be my diploma or sheepskin if I may. I've read and re-read all of my fitting books. I've had numerous FITS of protest if you can imagine. For a person who sews as much as I do, I am just totally shocked at my reaction to this project. I love to learn! I was once even profiled "ever learning Faye". Maybe it was my initial quest to create "the perfect little cute purple coat" that got to me.

At any rate, those you who know the word of prayer, PLEASE PRAY FOR ME. I'm off now to enlarge my pattern just a little bit to be able to incorporate an underlining, because temperatures have drastically dropped in Middle Georgia and this light weight wool flannel ain't gonna cut it for very long without one. You will be hearing from me very soon...

P.S. meant to say inner-lining...

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