My handmade wardrobe – The coat – January 2016

This is the January post, however it is a bit past the end of January now!

I have been super busy writing magazine projects and planning, organising, scheduling and generally working things out, I have sore finger tips from typing and therefore I am a bit late writing my monthly blog posts.

I am very pleased to say I have at last finished the winter coat which I started roughly this time last year!

coat bobbins and buttons

It is the coat that Tamara made in the second series of The Great British Sewing Bee. I loved it on the show. I bought the book especially for Tamara to sign because she was the special guest at the launch night of the sewing themed social event – Sew Sociable that I started in May 2014.

The book is full of great projects which I have now made several of. I loved the idea of a bright coloured coat to cheer up dull winter days. I found this beautiful pea green wool fabric at My fabrics online. They had a great selection of pure wool and wool blend coating fabrics in different vibrant colours. I’m pleased I choose good quality high wool content fabric. It stitched together really easily with pleasing finished results.

buttons bobbins and buttons

The main reason it stayed unfinished for so long was because I was slightly dreading making the bound buttonholes. Although I have made bound buttonholes in the past its not something I do regularly and being such a point of vision I didn’t want to mess it up.

I had problems finding buttons, I could buy cover-able buttons in size 38mm or 29mm and nothing in between, which was what I wanted! In the end I covered some 32mm standard buttons by cutting a circle of fabric and gathering around the button. I covered the back with a small piece of felt and stitched my own shank.

internal coat bobbins and buttons

I measured and measured and checked and checked the buttonholes before sewing or cutting and in the end they weren’t to difficult. However the instructions in the book advised to cut the fabric away at the back of the buttonhole leaving a raw edge. I didn’t like the idea of raw edges showing so I decided to turn the patches in and slip stitch to the coat facing.

I am happy with the end result and love wearing it.

jacket and scarf bobbins and buttons

Somewhere along the way I ended up with well over a metre of fabric left over from making the coat. Just enough to whiz together a little cropped jacket. I decided to make it straight away before it hung around for another year!!

fitted tee bobbins and buttons

I have also started working on my plan to make a series of basic shapes that I can offer at classes. I want to create simple well fitting styles that we all have as stables in our wardrobe. Styles that you can stamp your own personality on by the choice of fabric you use. The first shape I have been working on is this semi fitted t-shirt. This version is viscose jersey from My Fabrics and I think maybe the final version.

stripey tee bobbins and buttons

This cotton elastane version came before the viscose one, it is wearable but I tweaked the neckband and body dimensions. I still want to try it as a short sleeve version and once happy with the style I will grade the sizes from an 8 right up to a size 28. I am also developing the same style for children. So pretty much everyone will be catered for.

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In this weather I am definitely in hibernation mode. Permanently cold, I am always in need of as many layers and warm things as possible. Last year at Sew Sociable Sarah from Crafty Sew & So ran a mini workshop to show how to make a simple infinity scarf using an overlocker. I liked the idea of using viscose jersey to make scarves so decided to make a double sided chunky version.

I used two tonal fabrics to make this scarf. Its very simple to make. Cut four rectangles of fabric measuring 125cm x 50cm wide. Join two short ends to make two pieces, then sew together to form a tube. With right sides together join the ends singly, you will only be able to join about 3/4 of the way round. Close the gap by top-stitching close to the edge with tonal thread.

pink scarf bobbins and buttons

I bought my viscose from Vend who have an amazing array of colours at good prices…so why not indulge in a couple of scarves!

fishermans trousers 4

Lastly this month was my debut project for Sewing Directory . This is the first in a series of dressmaking projects that either don’t require a pattern or you can make a very simple pattern from the instructions. These fun linen fisherman style trousers are relaxed and comfy to wear. Perfect for holidays or lounging.

I always love to see pictures or hear from you if you make any of my projects so please let me know if you do. Big thanks to my lovely customer Lynn who is such a great model.

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Julia Claridge

I was about 6 or 7 years old when I had my first go on a sewing machine, it was an old hand crank machine that my mum used with her patients, she was an occupational therapist. I still vividly remember watching with amazement as the tiny perfectly formed stitches were created as I turned the handle. I Grew up in the 70’s and 80’s when buying clothes was less affordable and dressmaking was an answer to updating your wardrobe more regularly. My own mother was a talented dressmaker who made most of my clothes and my sisters clothes as well as a many for herself. I soon got involved with making my clothes, I loved the whole experience of picking out fabrics, trims and a pattern to create a new outfit, then going home to make a new garment or outfit. When it came to leaving school I visited a careers advisor who asked what I wanted to do next. My answer was ..Sew! Read more...

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