Ladies raincoat – fixed!

You remember that a few weeks ago I mentioned in passing that I (mostly) fixed the weird pulling in my Ladie’s Raincoat?

Well, I wore it out the other day, with my brand new designer jeans mock up, and a handmade hat, and the look was so hilarious it’s kinda cool. Which means, of course, you totally deserve to see it 😀

Ou est la baguette??

This probably says more about my youth than anything else I’ve ever posted, but I felt very french when I looked at this picture. The 60s coat (which is actually 70s, but to me looks 60s), the skinny trousers, the beret … that screamed film noir to me.

Because I’m ramming my fist down the pockets like I was digging for gold, you can’t really see that the issue is indeed mostly fixed. So here’s another headless photo as proof of that:

Fixed Ladie’s Raincoat

And next week, we’ll make a journey into the wonderful world of bum wrinkles. Stay tuned!

Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: finished

This post was in the making for a while, mainly because my camera has been super uncooperative, and won’t give me any good photos at all 😦 In the interest of science (so to speak), though, I’ll give you what I have. Please do accept my apologies for the appalling quality of the shots – these are the best out of several dozens I took. I kid you not.

After all of the fiddling with the muslin, the final finish of the jacket went pretty smooth.

The arms fit a lot better:

P45 arm detail

The back turned out pretty good:

P45 back


P45 front tension wrinkles

It’s alright as long as I keep my mitts out of the pockets, but as you can see, there’s something fundamentally wrong with the tension on the right front panel (left in the photo). I suspect that the lining is a tad too short (which would make sense, as this side of the jacket is also a teensy bit longer than the other side) and that causes those weird wrinkles.

Clearly the way forward is to take it apart and sew the lining back in, shortening the outer roughly an inch, and hope that will solve the issue.

Which is a bit painful, as this was my first hand-picked bias finished seam:

Hand picked bias hem finish

On the other hand, it also means that unpicking it will be a lot less painful 😀

Overall, a good pattern with a few quirks – I still can’t get over the fact that it turned into a short-ish coat despite the fact that I cut the jacket length (according to the pattern). And the armscye/sleeve cap mismatch … but I learned a few things, and I totally came away with a wearable fall/spring jacket. A quick test run seems to indicate I still need a proper winter jacket, but that’s for another post 😀

Silver Needles P45 – construction details

To tell you the truth, the initial issue with the sleeve cap had left me a tad apprehensive. If they got something like that so horribly wrong, how could I expect the finished jacket to be one I’d actually like to wear?

This made me take greater care in the following steps than I often do. I properly marked the pockets:

Look! I marked the pocket placement! With thread!

I basted the zip in before actually sewing it down:

Please also not my dynamic pose.

You might notice that contrary to the pocket markings and the pattern cover mine does not have breast pockets. That’s correct. I omitted them … I felt the look would be cleaner without, and I’m quite happy I did, as I really like the looks.

The back of the lining did have some weird ripples along the center seamline, which I am fairly certain were caused by my inability to cut it perfectly on grain. Thankfully, that didn’t happen with the outer. Contrary to what it might look like, the center back seam is not straight, but slightly curved, which really helps with a better fit.

No weird ripples along the center seam, phew!

This all looked good, I thought. It would have been good had I noticed at this point that the front didn’t align perfectly. Join me on Friday to hear how this gripping tale ends!

Silver Needles P45 – Lady’s Jacket: the beginning

This was supposed to be the muslin of the “real” jacket I want to make. By now, though, I’ve come to the conclusion that this needs to turn out wearable, and if it does, the way I imagine, it should be The Jacket.

Because I kinda fell in love with the gabardine, which sat pretty unloved in my stash for about a year. If memory serves, I bought it to make something I could wear for work interviews, and worst case scenario, later on to work (in my line of work, the dress code is usually casual, sometimes business casual).

When I finally got started today, I smartly decided to sew up the lining first, in the hopes that I could discover and ideally fix any major fitting issues right away.

And what a good choice that was! It turned out the the sleeve caps were far too high, and didn’t fit the armscyes at all. I sewed in one with some on-the-fly easing, and gathered the other – both looked abysmal. Also, the shoulders drooped a tad too low, and of course, I needed a square shoulder adjustment.

Now, on the lining, I’m not going to be picky. But the armscyes were a tad too tight, and that doesn’t bode well for a jacket you might want to layer over a cardigan.

So I rather unorthodoxly cut one of the sleeves out, hence widening the armscye by a tad less than an inch, and hacked off about 3 inches from the sleeve cap. The sleeve now fit like a dream.

A tad fuzzy, but you can see that one shoulder fits much better than the other, non?

Hence I repeated the procedure on the second sleeve, and now it’s mostly great, except for the gaping on the shoulder seams closest to the neck. I left that, as I assume I can fudge it when I put the lining in and nobody is going to see it.

If you look closely, you can see the gaposis on my shoulders.

I then proceeded to transfer my changes onto the paper pattern (I had held off on cutting the outer fabric to see the fit of my lining first).

My camera was playing tricks on me 😀 Also, no make up – oh, the horror!

What I did:

  • lower the top of the sleeve cap
  • take in the shoulder seam  ~ 1 inch
  • add ~ 1inch on top of the armscye (square shoulders)
So, I was to lazy to draw a new pattern. I used sello tape. Go ahead, judge me … 😛

Then I proceeded to cut my out fabric. Tomorrow I’ll start putting it together, and we’ll see if my changes were successful.

Lowered the sleeve cap

I do feel a tad nervous, as my slap-dash approach made it a bit hard to know exactly how much change was needed, and I’m not entirely sure the sleeves still fit the armscye (I did measure them about 5 times, and those numbers say they should).

Wish me luck!

PS. Sorry that some of you saw an unfinished draft of this! Clearly, I sometimes have trouble clicking the right buttons … 😦

Preparing to get started

After some fairly excessive lamenting in my last post, a lovely commenter put her finger on the spot: stop whinging and get on with it (not that she used those words!).

So today, I pulled the fabrics I had in mind for the muslin out of my stash. Surprise no.1: what I remembered being some light woolen fabric turned out to be (I think) gabardine.

Grey Gabardine
Grey Gabardine

Now, that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s very possible this is the perfect fabric for the fall/spring (and most times in winter when it’s neither pissing down nor storming) jacket I’ve been missing forever (okay, since I gave the last one to charity).

The irony of me raving about the last Burberry collection and now discovering that the fabric I’m going to use apparently was invented by Mr. Thomas Burberry is not lost on me.

Also in my possession: a rather huge length of black flannelette.

Black Flannelette
Black Flannelette

Together, those two should make a fairly cozy jacket that can put up with some wind and rain and the roughly 13C that seem to be the yearly middle over here. (And by that, I mean the temperature deviates roughly 5C up or down … )

The flannel was prewashed, but the gabardine was not. It’s now drying 🙂

So I used the time to prepare my pattern. To my delight, all of the pattern pieces are present, if slightly discoloured.

Pattern pieces
Pattern pieces

As you can see, the pattern is uncut – yay!

The instructions are a bit on the short side, but I think I can make it work, since there are no great challenges and the pattern appears fairly straightforward.

Instructions in their entirety
Instructions in their entirety

One thing I’m not sure about are the mock pocket flaps, which are created by folding part of the pocket over, and topstitching it in such a way that the opening for the pocket is behind them, not underneath. Does that make sense at all??

Anyway, I’m wondering if I want to change them to proper flaps. I’m reasonably sure I want to add an inside pocket, maybe with a zipper. I like to have a pocket I can zip up for keys, and cards, and other things you don’t want to lose .

While reading through the information in the leaflet, I noticed the following:

Technique Cards?
Technique Cards?

I have had a hard time finding anything useful on the internet about it – does any of you vintage educated folks have more information? The pattern states it’s from “Silver needles” – I’m beginning to wonder if that was a magazine, like today’s “build your own Frigate in 30 steps”, only for sewing? I’m dying to find out more!

Do we call the Seventies vintage?

After going on about the impracticability of vintage dresses in my last post, today I’d like to present to you – vintage patterns!

Or I think they are, anyways?

70ies patterns

Do the Seventies already qualify as vintage? I guess so – but then, I’ve heard anything from 20 to a minimum of 50 years of age as the dividing line. Either way, these patterns are copyrighted from 1972, which means my mom could have worn them when I was a wee little one.

I scored them on ebay, for 99p each, so I snapped them all up. As far as I can see they’re unused and complete if a bit tattered around the edges.

Mostly I was looking for something in particular, and I got (I think), but since they were so … urm, reasonably … priced, I couldn’t resist to buy all of them.

One by one, we have:

Raglan Sleeve Top

I can see myself making this – raglan sleeves work well with my square shoulders, and this top has a little button in the neck to fasten it, so it works with wovens, and I’ve been looking to add a few woven tops to my wardrobe.

Ladies Wrapover Jacket

Maybe, maybe not … I’m not too keen on jackets without proper closure, as I’m always cold. I do like the cut with the huge collar somehow, tho …


The very day I find myself in need of a maxi night gown, I’m on it. Until then? Probably not.

Lady’s Raincoat/Jacket

This is the one that I had my eyes on. A coat with a zipper! I’m leaning towards the jacket right now, but can see the coat as a light summer coat maybe? Either way, I love the zipper. I might have to fudge with the pockets a bit, but then, my all time favorite winter jacket had very similar pockets, and I just loved them.

Construction details are a bit sparse:

Construction details

I think I should make a muslin.

Has anybody ever heard of a pattern company called Silver Needles, or even worked with one of their patterns and can give me tips? I searched the pattern review website, but there’s not a lot to find there about this company …

Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing

Today, a copy of “Gerties New Book for Better Sewing” by Gretchen Hirsch was waiting for me on my doorstep when I came home. Okay, so actually I live in a lovely old house, with gilded mirrors and little sidetables in the hallway, so that’s where it was, on one of the tables.


Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing: A Modern Guide to Couture-style Sewing Using Basic Vintage Techniques*

To be perfectly honest, I had forgotten that I had preordered it until I got an email a few days ago, informing me it would soon be on it’s way, and btw, the price has dropped. Oh, I thought, nice!

It’s a lovely volume, and since I didn’t remember much, I was pleasantly surprised to find it includes a range of patterns.

I have only leafed through it quickly, so this is by no means a review of any kind, just a jumble of first impressions and thoughts.

While I turned the pages, which are split between a part about techniques, and a part that details sewing projects (all of them including several variations), I realized that I had gotten myself a book I don’t really want to make a single garment from. The coat, maybe …

Don’t get me wrong, the patterns look fabulous and I feel highly tempted to make a few of these patterns just for the learning and fun of it! It’s just that while I adore this kind of retro fashion on other people, I don’t really wear dresses. I don’t have an hourglass figure, and high waists are no-go with my shape.

That being said, I’m so far very much in love with the book, and I’m sure I will at least try out some, if not all, of the techniques and that I will learn a lot.

Maybe I’ll even make myself a dress. One never knows!

*Disclaimer: Amazon Associates Program link