Friday, December 20, 2019

Winter coat 2019 and a new dress!

Living in Chicago  means I am never without a reason to make a new coat! This years coat is navy speckled wool underlined in silk organza and lined with kasha winter lining. This makes it a good winter coat but not one for a deep freeze. This quote was originally intended to come to Paris with me to wear on the colder days but I did not finish it in time and I did not want to rush the finishings. I finished it over Thanksgiving weekend.
Front and Back views of me in the coat

This is my own self drafted coat pattern and is a variation of the coat that I made last year. I slimmed the silhouette slightly and redrafted the collar and narrowed the lower sleeves. Overall the sleeves are big enough to accommodate layers of a sweater or even a French style jacket or a blazer.  
The inside pockets are a scrumptious splurge! They are made from a remnant of vicuña that I received a couple years ago. I had a small piece about 9 inches wide and just enough to cut for the inside pockets. They are positioned between the lining and facing and big enough to easily hold my cell phone and CTA card. I positioned them so that I could get my hand into the pocket while the coat is buttoned closed. In order to keep the breast pockets  from bunching up I attached a length of grosgrain ribbon from the bottom outside edge of the pocket to the side seam to hold them in place.
Oh dear.. a reverse Napoleon pose! LOL! Inner pockets on both sides and grosgrain ribbon to hold pocket bag in place.

The hem’s are interfaced with a strip of light weight bias faced canvas to hold its shape. There are 4 buttons and they are all that I had! So even thought I could have used 5, I had to make do with 4. The buttonholes were a different matter. Three of them are bound buttonholes made with faux leather lips and the 4th buttonhole, the second from the top, is an inseam buttonhole.  The corresponding buttonholes on the facing pieces were done as ‘Spanish snap’ buttonholes with 2x3 bias pieces of silk organza. These are then stitched on the top of the facing in the shape of a long flattened football or like a loaf of French bread. The hole is then cut open and the organza pushed through and snapped into place. The organza then forms the lips and this is then hand stitched to the back of the buttonholes with small invisible fell stitches. 
Bias horse hair canvas in hem. It sits in the hem and then I catch stitch the hem to it. Holds everything in place and gives the hem a nice shape on this winter coat.

Top are the Spanish snap button holes on the facing and the bottom shows the bound buttonhole plus the buttoned look with both inseam buttonhole and bound buttonhole.

I had a lot of fun creating this collar! It was a shape that I have been wanting to play with. A little bit retro. I knew that I really wanted the collar to hold the shape so instead of messing with a bunch of different interfacings I used a piece of men’s under collar that was already stitched to hair canvas and ready to be used. Thank you NYC tailoring shops! I figured the worst that could happen would be that I hated it and then would have to re-do it. I actually love it! The collar holds it’s shape quite smartly and when the coat is unbuttoned it still looks very good to me. Perfect for this quite simple rolled collar with a fantastic shape to it.
Collar views with the undercollar being cut out for men's pad stitched under collar navy felt.
I put my label on the lower facing across a seamed area that I had to piece together. I also added a strip of the faux leather that I used for the bound buttonholes as a hanging loop.

The outer pockets almost didn't happen! That was until I put the coat on and after looking in the mirror decided a winter coat with no external pockets whatsoever was just wrong. LOL! The problem was that I wanted a bigger pocket and a fun flap and I just did not have the fabric left to make that happen. So going to the extremely small pile of scraps left over I was able to eek out these 2 patch pockets. Basically I found the largest dimensions that I could with the fabric on grain and that was my pocket. I lined them with scraps of the fabric left over from the dress. So while I would have preferred slightly bigger patch pockets, these will have to do! Of course in hindsight I could have made a wonderful set of single welt pockets...
No pockets versus pockets! Pockets win every time!!

This was the incredibly small pile of scraps that I had to cut the pockets out of!

All in all I am quite happy with this new coat. It is warm enough for cold Chicago and for going from car or Uber into a building or for walking around as long as it is not too cold. Once it gets down into the 20’s and below walking around changes over to the down parka!!
Baby, it's cold outside!!

The dress that I am wearing in these pictures is from one of my own TNT patterns that I developed with the help of Sarah Veblen. I have made this pattern several times now over the past 4 years and I love the shape and design of it. This time I made it with 2  rayon/polyester woven plisse fabrics that are the same design in 2 different scales. I ordered these a while back from EmmaOneSock. It took me a while to decide exactly how to use them and I am very happy with the outcome! I must say that this was almost a giant fail!!! I have 2 copies of the pattern... One for wovens  and one for stretch wovens. I clearly did not label them very clearly and I made this with the one for stretch. Imagine my surprise when I went to try it on and could barely get the back zip up, let alone breath!!! Luckily enough I use 5/8 inch seam allowances and had not trimmed them down. So I was able to let the seam allowances out along the upper back portion of the zipper. Once I did this it fit perfect! Whew!! That was a close call! And a good reminder for me to always clearly label all of my patterns.
New 'corner' dress! I love this silhouette!!

It even has a nice twirl factor!

I took this dress to Paris and wore it several times. It is really quite comfortable, looks nice and I always get lovely compliments when wearing it. It always make me feel good when I get an unsolicited compliment when wearing a garment that I made and even more so when it is by a complete stranger. 

Christmas is almost upon us and some of my family is coming in to spend Christmas week. I spent all day rearranging my apartment and moving much of my sewing room aside to make way for visitors! I am very excited for this! My mom and dad are coming and they are staying with me. They have not yet seen my home since I moved downtown Chicago in spring of 2017. And my sister is coming too!! Very excited. She is coming first so I will have a couple days with her and then my parents. I am very much looking forward to having them here to celebrate Christmas! 
Princess V and I had a sleepover and decorated gingerbread houses to get ready for the Holidays!!
I really love spending time with her- makes my heart so happy!!

Happy Sewing and Happy Christmas time and Happy Holidays to all!


  1. Hi Stephanie, I am so loving this dress. When you say "one of my own TNT patterns", do you mean you drafted a pattern for this dress? Would you mind telling me what TNT is? Thank you again for showing so much beauty and skill to the greater world!!

    1. Hi Megan, so sorry for the delay!! my comments were all a it lost. TNT stands for Tried aNd True. A pattern that I have made before and I know fits well and it can be any pattern. This dress pattern however is basically my own draft. Thank you for your questions and your lovely comments!


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