The Coat of Dreams is on pause: partly because I was unwell over New Year and lost momentum, and partly because it hasn’t been cold! So far, a warm winter coat hasn’t been needed overall – an extra layer has been the charm. It’s much too soon for me to forget about the April snowfall last year, but temperatures consistently around 10 degrees C have diverted my attention to layering pieces. Let’s hope these aren’t famous last words…
I’ve started with blouses, and so far I’ve made a couple of loose-fitting designs. This blue one, the pattern for which I cannot recommend because the construction techniques are too poor (the pieces fit together, but that’s it), nonetheless is extremely comfortable and easy to wear in a double gauze. I have to be a little careful at this time of year because the back neck is a bit exposed, but raising the back neck is an easy alteration, and the low scoop will be welcome in the heat as it is. I’m taking the opportunity to accessorise with cowls and scarves. Drape was the key here; anything with the merest hint of structure would’ve looked stiff and tent-like in this silhouette.
As an alternative, the Nocturne pyjama top by Sew Liberated is close in style bar the full sleeves and cuffs [EDIT: the link is to Sew Liberated’s sewing course, but I’ve just seen that Nocturne will be released as a single pattern today, 23rd February – I will update the link asap, I’m 5-6 hours ahead], but since finishing this blue blouse I’ve found the Sagebrush top by the Friday Pattern Company – and if I hadn’t seen a particularly beautiful version in a super lightweight, sheer fabric, I’d never have bothered.
Most interpretations of Sagebrush have been in cotton lawn or linen, but I feel that this design looks much better in fabrics with excellent drape, particularly if the fabric is plain or doesn’t have a busy print. There is a helpful sewalong, and this allowed me to see that I’d change the construction of this (why don’t these people like traditional enclosed yokes?! They’re easier and tidier to finish), but apart from that Sagebrush looks like a good alternative. The obvious style differences are the back fastening and short sleeves, and the yoke frill can be ignored. If the blue blouse pattern hadn’t been a freebie and in my mum’s stash, I probably would’ve chosen Sagebrush. I still could…
I compiled my bullet journal list in order of difficulty/speed of construction (photo below), but despite that I skipped over the remaining #1 projects and went to the Sew Liberated Aida. This is one of their early patterns, and I have no idea if they intend to revisit it to expand the size range (currently 2-20 for the Aida, but other designs go up to size 30 or 34), but I like the silhouette and the only detail that needs a bit of time and attention is the placket – especially if you construct it my way!
The instructions have you baste both placket layers together, stitch them to the opening edge and overlock all three raw edges together on the inside, but I went for a more traditional bound finish. This worked out beautifully, but I must admit to some laziness: the interior back neck is a bit shoddy because I didn’t prepare the curve properly. I thought I could get away with pinning and basting, but the curve was much more pronounced than expected. I should’ve added an easestitch to the interior/non-interfaced piece at the very beginning of the project, as I did for the curved hem. This would’ve created a consistent overhang; you can see that the excess wavers between a 1mm and 3mm edgestitch instead of being consistent all the way around the inside neck. I still did it in one pass, though, so it’s a partial win. Right?! 😉
Apart from that self-inflicted wound, the Aida is a breeze. The sleeves are inserted flat, and the negligible cap ease makes the armhole ripe for French seaming or a flat-felled finish. I chose the former and applied the same technique to the side seams. Like the blue blouse, I also cut a pair of back yokes and two pairs of front yokes to bag out the body and create a clean finish (the instructions tell you to overlock all seam allowances). The hem was fine to do: it was much the same as the placket, but the sensibly deployed easestitch meant I did myself a favour. I’ll include proper finished and modelled shots as soon as I can.
Next on the list are the Cashmerette Montrose and By Hand London Loren, but who knows whether I’ll stick to the order! I might since they look like they’ll come together quickly, and I’ve already got my eye on other projects; dresses and trousers are calling me.
I’ll have a list of tips for dealing with curved seams in next fortnight’s post, partly at the request of someone on Instagram who always ends up cutting them off. I mentioned some advice in passing through this mini review, but next time I’ll go into more detail. More to come in two weeks!