Oslo Coat

I’ve got my laptop back! It only took six weeks… Happily it seems to be fixed, my tracking pad isn’t freaking out and opening random windows or menus or zooming instead of moving the cursor, so that’s a definite improvement! I have quite the backlog of projects to blog, including a bunch of sewing I’ve done for our upcoming trip (than you to everyone who has given me trip suggestions, either here or on Instagram, I really appreciate it!), but I’m hoping to get a lot of those projects photographed and blogged while we’re away. but first, I’m going to show you my end-of-winter coat, before it gets to unseasonable!

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This is the Oslo coat, a recent release from Tessuti. Emma and I were messaging about winter coat patterns the day this was released, and we both decided it was the one to make! it was nice to have a sewing buddy to troubleshoot with! Emma also took these photos, we visited the Parkin Drawing Exhibiton at the Academy of Fine Arts Gallery, and got some photos. The piece I’m standing in front of was my favourite, it’s by Jae Kang and is called 4000 Stains of Breath.

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I really like the silhouette of this coat, I don’t have anything like it in my wardrobe. I was a bit worried about the size of the shawl collar, I thought it made my head look disproportionately small, but it looks ok in these pictures! I used a reasonably fine wool in an interesting not-quite-black colour for the outer, and a blush pink silk/cotton blend for the lining, both from The Fabric Warehouse. The coat looks black in these pictures, but against a true black or grey it looks deepest green, or even inky navy in some lights. Whatever colour it looks, it’s a nice neutral. I really struggled to find a button I liked, until I had a good rummage through the stash and came up with this geometric wooden one. I think the matte black stain on the wood looks really nice against the wool, and it suits the modern, minimalist look of the coat. Unfortunately, being black on black, it was really hard to photograph!

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I have to admit, I was a bit confused about some of the instructions for the Oslo. I’ve made a couple of Tessuti patterns in the past, so I was prepared for photos instead of illustrations, but I did struggle a bit with the fabrics they had chosen for the sample. the right and wrong sides of the fabric were very similar, and the lining fabric was a similar colour too, and I just found that I had to concentrate a bit more than usual to get through this one without unpicking too much! It was good to be able to message Emma to see if she had any insight into the bits that tripped me up. The pattern itself is really nicely drafted, it all fits together beautifully and the shaping in those raglan sleeves is particularly nice. I was also worried that it might swamp me a bit, as it has no shaping in the back or sides, but I like the oversized, nearly cocoon shape that it has. My measurements put me in a couple of sizes, but based on the finished garment measurements I went with a straight size 10, which I think was a good choice. The main thing I would change if I was to make it again would be to raise the pockets by a couple of inches. It was really stupid of me not to check the height before sewing up most of the coat, and they’re low enough and deep enough that my arms are pretty much straight when my hands are in them!

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I made this coat as part of my #summerofbasics entry (obviously mine is a Winter edition) over on Instagram. The challenge was to make three basic pieces which could be worn together for the appropriate season, so my pieces were this coat, my Ginger jeans, and the as-yet-unblogged Melilot shirt that you can see peeking out of my jumper in these pictures. I’m really pleased with all three garments, and I think they work nicely together. I’ll certainly get plenty of wear out of the jeans and shirt, but I don’t really want to hope for lots of opportunities to wear the coat! There have been some hints of Spring around Wellington this week, I can’t wait…

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New Years Eve in Tokyo

Sadly, not Tokyo, Japan. Tokyo, the pattern from Tessuti!

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I love the kimono jackets that are fashionable at the moment, and I spent all of the southern hemisphere winter lusting after the amazing summer versions I kept seeing popping up on everyones blogs. I promised myself I would make myself one for our summer! Unfortunately, summer in Wellington is somewhat unpredictable, and a light silky jacket would get next to no wear. I really wanted a lightweight wool crepe, or a medium weight rayon crepe or something similar, but I just couldn’t find the fabric I wanted. Then, this month, I kept seeing beautiful festive dresses being made up in velvet. Suddenly, all I could think of was a silk velvet Tokyo, preferably in a rich, jewel tone like forest green or goldenrod yellow.

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Now in hindsight, this is the point when I really should have taken a step back and examined my mental state, because I had clearly lost the plot. But my head was too full of dizzying mental images of me swanning around a glamorous New Years Eve party in my yellow velvet jacket, drinking gin and generally doing my best Zelda Fitzgerald impression. The only snag was that I couldn’t find yellow velvet anywhere. I should have stopped then, but instead I bought this lovely deep purple/blue silk velvet from The Fabric Store. Still drunk on the idea of all of the 1920’s glamour that would soon be mine, I took it home and started to cut the Tokyo jacket out of it. This was the point when the first few doubts began to trickle into my mind. Turns out silk velvet is just as shifty and slippery and tricky as normal silk, but with the added difficulty of having a nap. I cut everything out in a single layer with the nap running down the jacket, and hoped that things hadn’t shifted too far off grain.

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Turns out, the cutting out was the easy part! I must have used every single one of my pins trying to put the pocket bags and bands onto the jacket fronts, and they still slid around all over the place. I wanted to cry, or hurl it out of the window. I really wanted to jam it back into the bag and stick it in the corner. The dream was well and truly over by this point! Instead I unpicked and restitched and unpicked and restitched until I reached the point where I decided it was good enough. The side seams and shoulder seams were easier to sew, though just as pin heavy, but the neckband gave me similar issues. I hand stitched the neckband to the inside, as the idea of topstitching made me feel physically ill, and did the same for the hem.

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The worst part is, after all that struggle, I don’t really like it. I was hoping to have a jacket that I could wear with all of my vintage dresses, but also with trousers or something if I was going out in the evening. It looks ok with my vintage gear, and I’m sure it’ll get worn at Art Deco Weekend in February, but I’m not sure if it’ll get worn many other times. Its also finished terribly, because I was so disheartened with the whole thing. Originally I was going to try to finish the seams with binding, but I just couldn’t be bothered once I realised that the finished garment wasn’t going to live up to my mental picture of it. I like the pattern, and I’m sure it would have worked much better in a lightweight, drapey fabric, but I just feel frumpy in it. When I showed it to Monsieur, he said it looked like a wizards outfit, but without the benefit of the giant sleeves. And I think he’s kinda right…

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I did learn some things about working with velvet though:

– If you have to iron it (which I did, because it had been crushed on the bolt), fold it in half with the fuzzy sides together, and iron in the direction of the nap. Use lots of steam, and minimal pressure. I found that I was mostly just steaming mine, and it came up fine, no crushing of the pile. For the seam allowances I used lots of steam and very light pressure, moving the iron in the direction of the nap.

– Use all of your pins, or baste things together, because velvet is shifty and not to be trusted.

– Velvet dust will trigger your hayfever, beware!

So there we go, my last post for the year and the garment which concludes my 52 week creative challenge. I wish it was a winner, but never mind! I’m still unbelievably proud of myself for achieving the goal I set for myself this time last year. And I’m pretty damn proud of nearly everything I’ve made this year, so thats a win, over all. I’ll be back tomorrow with my last Top 5 Post, and with a some number crunching from 2014. Hope you all have a good New Years Eve, whatever you have planned!

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It does go beautifully with the lovely fan I was given for Christmas, and with the marcasite art deco cocktail ring I was given by Monsieur, I was very lucky this Christmas!

Can’t touch this…

Two posts in two days, oh my! Thats what happens when the end of the month lands in the middle of the week, I suppose…

This weekend I whipped up a pair of Tessuti Suzy Pants in an awesome mystery (I suspect polyester) crepe fabric from The Fabric Warehouse. I decided to try something different with my pattern printing, and took the file to the Stationary Warehouse. It was so much easier than printing out and taping together hundreds of A4 pages!

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Look at how much easier that makes things! My only issue arose when the shop assistant asked me what size page I was printing, and I had no idea. She looked at me like I was a total moron, but we figured out it was an A0 sized sheet. Does anyone know how I can figure that out to avoid looking stupid in future? I can’t tell when its a PDF!

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I REALLY like these pants! I’ve been looking at similar slouchy pyjama style trousers on northern hemisphere blogs all winter, and so I took my first chance to make some up. They’re just as comfortable as I hoped, and they’ll be awesome for when it heats up. I like the fabric as well, even though I suspect its polyester. The crepe is gorgeously drapey, and I love the abstract navy print. I’m trying to be a bit more bold with my fabric choices, both with colour and print. Really I’m just worried that I’ll end up with a whole wardrobe of polka dots and stripes in navy and grey…

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I did make some fairly major alterations to the waistband, mostly as I sewed and tried on and sewed some more. The pattern has a strip of 1/2″ wide elastic right around the top of the ~4″ wide waistband. I hate tight elastic around my waist, so I decided before I started that I would cut doubles of the waistband pieces and use one pair as facings, and just put elastic in the back half. Once I sewed the waistband on (before I added the facing) I realised that it was miles too wide, it reached up to the bottom of my ribcage! So I ditched the facing, and just folded the waistband in half and put 1″ wide elastic in the back. It all worked out fine, and they’re very comfortable, but I do wish that I had sat down and thought through what I was doing a bit more. I should have interfaced the front waistband piece, to stop it sagging over time. I also should have cut the front waistband a bit shorter, as you can see in the photo above that the pockets and side seams are pulled around towards the back of the pants. But neither of these things are major issues, I’m still going to wear the hell out of these this summer!

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(Please excuse the wrinkles!)

I feel very on trend in these trousers, which is funny. I’m not usually overly fussed by whats fashionable! It is nice when what I want to wear lines up with what is in the shops. My bubble was slightly burst when I paraded into the living room wearing them after finishing the hems, and Monsieur just raised an eyebrow and said “…are those hammer pants?” He insists on calling them my outside pyjama pants. I guess I can’t really object too much, they are like PJs which are acceptable to wear in public. My ideal clothes!
Also, yay for outdoors photos! I couldn’t resist getting some photos in the park over the road, I even managed to take these without any other people catching me. It does seem a bit narcisistic, taking photos of yourself in public…


…I’ll just leave this here.