Thursday, November 7, 2013

stitching outside the comfort zone, and a few essay links

For years our plucky heroine has shied away from sewing outerwear... even when I was younger and thinner, fitting my upper body well is a challenge, and the one time (in 2005) I decided I wanted a denim jean jacket, it took more than five "muslins" before it fit me... In 2010, I wrote that what I was looking for in a raincoat was a "mid-calf coat with a flared skirt, a zip front with a snap wind-flap, a tall cowl-ish collar lined with polartec, pockets (maybe with single welts), and a Goretex shouldercape for additional rainproofing"; Vogue 1212 meets most (but not all) of that description, and while at some point I added that pattern to my collection, I never took the next step of actually moving on this desire.

Well, it is now three years later, and I am still in need of a good looking raincoat. I am now gathering Useful Information to help me gradually move forward on this project. I have already bookmarked Ann Rowleys "Narrow Shoulders Alteration" information, which should help.

I am a bit concerned, on reading the pattern back and instructions... The suggested fabrics are all ones that have a bit of flexibility/shapeability "mens suiting, wool crepe, and lightweight denim" The pattern sleeve cap is eased and shaped into the armscye, which will not work well if at all in raincoat fabric. I am wondering if I might end up needing to frankenpattern the armscye and use a different sleeve? (The sleeve and armscye/shoulder area from my longago denim jean jacket do not require any easing of fabric)The pattern, though, actually does have a narrow front zipper outer wind flap, including instructions for what order to sew it, and the zipper, all to the front of the coat, so that will not be a problem, and I can make it enough wider to allow for snaps, if I decide to add them

One of my online sewing inspirations, Elizabeth of Karlstad, suggested that I first make up V1212 in a different fabric to work out the fitting and stitchery challenges. While the first run through muslins will probably be made from old bedsheets, once there is a halfway chance it will actually fit, my hope is to make a casual coat/jacket, to wear as an alternative (or in addition to) my woolen sweaters. Looking through my stash, I found two remnants of the same black denim that I used for my overall-style pinafore, that might be enough, if combined, to make a cardigan length sample of this pattern; I had pulled them aside for the "bag making virtual event" and then not used them, along with an assortment of potential trim materials like black corduroy and some scrap black garment leather... such a jacket would look great with my black pinafore.

My current thought is about maybe using the black denim for the body of the sample coat, and the heavy black corduroy for the sleeves, as the contrast in texture might look good and also give the sleeves a bit more flexibility - that denim is stout! Might experiment with adding a motorcycle jacket style "accordian gusset" to the back armscye. I've decided that the final raincoat will not have an additional detachable warm lining, but rather a thin slippery lining like my current coat, as that is one of the things I do like about it, and there are plenty of wool cardigans to wear for warmth under the raincoat. The next step will be to cut out/trace the pattern pieces for an appropriate size and begin the fitting process. I have measured my current coat, which has sleeves that are much larger in bicep circumference than the size that matches the bodice size suggested for my measurements... this is going to be an interesting ride boys and girls - as our plucky heroine continues to explore the land outside the comfort zone....

Here are some interesting essays that I have read in the last week:

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