February 25, 2014


...I set a goal to complete my Fearless February project in two weeks. but alas so much life happened.   Never the less, I stuck with it and now Vera is finished.  I did learn something  about me and tailoring - once I start it, I just don't know how to turn it off.  There's always one more thing to add to it, then another, and another so it takes up soooo much time.  I keep promising myself that I WILL yet make a coat or a jacket with NO TAILORING at all, but that never happens.

No picture wearing it yet because daily temperatures are currently reaching the mid 70's.  However, our weatherman is promising a return of the polar vortex in just a few days.  What my Grandmother said is still true; "Spring doesn't officially happen in Georgia until Easter".

I took the challenge and conquered this fabric; now I saw today that Victoria has extended Fearless February through March.

I'll have to decide if I want to start another fearless project.  Right now I really need a little palette cleanser; something nice and easy and simple and knit probably from a TNT pattern.... 

February 15, 2014


...it never ceases to amaze me how the Bible plays such an important role in my life.  What in the world, you might ask, does the Bible have to do with my "Vera" coat?  Well depending on what I'm involved in or doing at any given time, (be it a situation, a conversation or even a sewing project) a Bible verse that seriously applies pops into my mind.  For instance, this morning while - you know - slaving working on the "Vera" coat this is what popped up...

And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how.

Yes, for two weeks that's what I've done with every spare minute; Sleep, and rise night and day to work on this coat.  This verse found in Mark 4:27 does promise a positive end to all this sleeping and rising night and day.

The lining construction did  begin last night, but not after hours of sitting, thinking, and contemplating what would be the best way to bring this project to a end.  At first it felt like wasted time, but I now I think I made the best choice.  First, the pattern calls for the bodice being lined with fashion fabric which I think would make it too bulky.  Instructions also call for using lining only for the skirt of the coat without the benefit of a facing.  I thought this would put too much stress on my fashion fabric if that makes sense.  The issue:  what fabric to  combine with my actual lining to finish this coat off.

Of course I've read all the review on this pattern, and thought the best solution for me and this fabric was one used by Tany at Couture et Tricot.  She found a solution for this same pattern and also the Blue Orchid jacket that she had made.  You can read about it here interesting.  A great solution, however; I am not familiar with the serge fabric she used.  Hours later I made a final decision - so I'm using a light weight woven suede.  The woven suede was used for the center back and front sections of the bodice and also used to make  a front facing for the skirt part of the coat.

Bodice Back

Bodice Front

Lining Front

All is well except I ran short of my crape back lining fabric and had to pull the best I had in my stash for the sleeves.  This is the first time, please tell me I'm not the only one to every do this.

Probably won't meet my goal today, but a day or two over won't be that bad.  Sorry for the italicized post don't know what happened...

February 13, 2014

12 DAYS IN...

...I purposely have not posted to avoid boring readers with a blow by blow account of my Fearless February project - aka the Vera Coat.  But in thinking about it today, I had to remind myself that the main purpose of my blog is to journal my sewing experience/adventure.  It's a record that I often look back on to see how far I've come.  So chronicling the process is really important to me.  To that end, here's an update on the project.

I'm 12 days in construction wise, so there's no turning back.   I tend to always set preliminary deadlines for myself - two weeks for this project - so there's 2 days left.  No, I don't always meet the deadlines, but sometimes I do.  With a rare snow day yesterday and today I was able to progress from this stage

To this stage,
Vogue 8548 Front


Vera and I have spent several really, really late nights together this week.  Sometimes when you spend so much time with a person/thing you find yourself not liking it as much.  I have to admit that I've had my moments with Vera.  But she's still in the house/on the dress form.  I will say that I will NEVER buy this type fabric again!
  •  I so wanted to use a two piece sleeve, but with this fabric I felt the less seams to deal with the better.  Went with the pattern sleeve, but tapered it to reduce the bell shape a bit.  Sleeve went in without a hitch, I inserted it flat.
  • ALL seams (except sleeve)  have been serged and double topstitched to stop intense fraying.
  • Tapered skirt at side seams 2 1/2" to reduce exaggerated aline shape.
  • Added side seam pockets complete with pocket facings.

Now I need to make a new "Finish Line List":
  • Construct lining
  • Complete bound button holes in lining
  • Insert sleeve heads and shoulder pads
  • Interface hems
  • Hem skirt and sleeves
  • Sew on buttons
 Hopefully I'll make my deadline.  Keep cheering for me please...

February 8, 2014


...I've always liked that word for reasons unknown.  Joe Biden's (you've got to love him, what comes up comes out and he does not know how to camouflage the truth) use of this word this week sparked lots of controversy but made me think about current coat construction that's underway in my sewing area.  First,

Infrastructure:  generally defined as the set of interconnected structural elements that provide framework supporting an entire structure of development.

Of course it's most commonly used to describe modes of transportation (roads, highways, water systems, and most recently talk of airports).  In comparison, the word infrastructure makes me think about the different aspects of tailoring I choose to put into a jacket or coat.  Tailoring provides the framework that supports the development of my coat.  I finally realize that I actually LIKE the painstaking hand stitching, layering of interfacing, underlining, and all the time it takes to execute.  Like it yes, but still moan about it a little bit along the way.

Not the most attractive thing but still definitely infrastrucure.  The bodice of my Vogue 8548 coat was first block fused which kept the fabric from raveling during the pattern cutting phase, however; as you can see, not so much during the construction phase.  First I zigzaged all raw edges but then had to switch to serging all the seams.  Didn't want all that fluff in my serger but had no other choice if I wanted have enough fabric left to end up with a coat.  


  • the front and back of the funnel collar was double interfaced to make sure it stands up
  • added a back stay
  • underlined the entire bodice
  • taped front edges and collar
  • pressed princess seams and shoulder open and topstitched both sides of each seam
I'm highly vested in the project now, and with each step it's becoming less fearful.

The biggest fear being the raveling issue.  I'll just need to super clean my serger after the process - or maybe I need to clean it after each seam is serged.  Still haven't decided if I want to use buttonhole or loop closures - guess I'll need to decide that today because it's now time to add the bodice facing and lining. Maybe I need to opt for buttonholes because I really can't see making self fabric loops out of this ravelly fabric.  I don't think bound button holes are an option this time, I just don't think they'll work???  But I might do a practice one just to see because they would be a nice addition...

February 2, 2014


...If you  recall, I've decided to heed my Mother's (aka SewBossy) request and make myself a full length winter coat.  Here's a recap of what went on in my sewing room this weekend as a result:

.  Joined the Fearless February Sewalong  .Pattern chosen Vogue 8548 (rated Very Easy - We'll see about that)  .Vera Wang 2008 Lavender Collection boucle fabric that's been in my stash 4 years   .Coat Vera made from the fabric

I also heed advice given from other sewist who commented on my last post about interfacing methods.  So last night I got busy block fusing the yardage.  This was a first for me so it was a bit scary and very tedious.  I only STEAMED myself twice in the process.

Needed a surface wider than my standard ironing board for this job, but I had to make do with what I had.
The fabric has been cut, and yes block fusing REALLY cut down on the fraying.  All pattern pieces have since been thread marked.
I'll have to back track and cut the lining later, but I'd say that I've gotten a pretty good start on the project.  Hopefully I can get this done in less than a month considering my work schedule, because I have lots more on my sewing list.  My Mom says "you choose these long, time consuming projects and then you cry about it.  But that's o.k., you can cry to me".  What a great Mother!  So let the crying begin...

February 1, 2014


...well with January gone, it is now time to embark on my second annual Fearless February garment. 

I thought that this year the challenge would only involve dealing with the fabric that's had me paralized for 4 years.  But actually it's turned out to be not only the fabric, but the pattern choice too.  I've flip flopped back and forth several times on pattern choice.   I've also made 2 1/2 muslins in the process of  the flip flopping.  Yep, I am the self proclaimed THE MUSLIN QUEEN.  Time consuming?, YES.  Worth it?, I think so, and I'm so glad I went through the process.  I realize that the fabric only cost about 10 bucks, but I do love it (hope that feeling lasts), and I can't readily replace it so I don't want to mess it up.

Here's my pattern choice, the latest muslin rendition, and my first "FINISH LINE LIST" (so named by Oonaballona) of what I need to do to fix it so I can get to the point of actually cutting into the fabric.
Oop Vogue 8548, I'm making View C, the middle version
Muslin #2 1/2
First Finish Line list:
  • increase center back bodice seam 1/4"
  • lengthen shirt length 4"
  • make a 3/4" sway back adjustment in back skirt
  • add faced side seam pockets
  • taper side seams from proposed pocket area to hem 2 1/2" (it's a little to A-lineish for me)
  • ??? Raise shoulder 1/2" (not decided yet)
  • ??? Shorten sleeve and add cuff (not decided yet)
COATS, COATS, AND MORE COATS!!!  I must add here that I am completely OBSESSED with coats and outer jackets this season.  Completely!  I've been so inspired by Tany et lamode's coat wardrobe, the coats made by EricaB, and for everybody elses coats for that matter, that I just want more coats for ME.  Let's just call it newly found COAT GREED, shall we!  

On top of all this, my MOTHER has been strongly insisting (in her subtle Motherly way) that I make a full length coat for at least 5 years.   I HAVE STRONGLY RESISTED!, saying that "I DON'T WANT A FULL LENGTH COAT"!  In a recent conversation when the subject surfaced yet again,  I even offered to make one for her instead so we could change the subject.  Well that didn't work either because she wants it for me???  Well, deep down I always want to please my Mother, so I've finally given in.  Late last month she asked me what my next project was going to be.  I told her it was a secret.  She said, "but you never keep secrets from me". ????  So I had to tell her.

So here's to you Mother!, you'd better be keeping your fingers crossed for me and praying (which I know you always do) that all goes well with this...

Paying Homage to Black Pattern Designers...

...for years February has been set aside as a special time to learn about and recognize accomplishments of African Americans and other peopl...