No, I haven’t been playing truant. Work’s been rather stressful, so progress is slow with the cape. I’m almost there. Just need to attach the lining, finish the hem, the button holes and buttons. In the meanwhile, here are some WIP pictures. Non-sewers be warned – plenty of boring sewing details to follow!
All those massage therapists weren’t lying, I do have shoulders of concrete.
My neck sticks forward like a chicken, which is why all those RTW shirts gape at the back of the neck and choke me in the front.
And finally, all those fitting experts weren’t lying either, if it doesn’t fit at the shoulders it won’t fit right elsewhere.
Here’s the muslim on Big Bertha…Back shoulder seam has been let out at the neck base to accommodate my concrete back shoulder muscle. Similar amount has been removed from the front shoulder at the neck base…
All of a sudden the whole things hangs much better. Even the weird lumps at the upper arms seem less noticeable and the arm holes less restrictive.
But I decided to smooth out the lumps anyway and move the arm holes as planned so I can gain some useful pockets.
I also let out a bit at center front for my chicken neck to roam freely.
Here’s the final patterns…
On the left are side-front & front, on the right are back & side-back. The new lines drawn on the old Burda patterns for comparison…
So the shoulder points have been moved inward & upward. I also increased the hem width of the sides by pivoting from the shoulder points to make the cape feel less constrictive.
The double-welt arm-hole and the pockets are my additions too. The arm-holes now align with my arms naturally at my sides. The top of the arm holes are about 2″ above my elbows to accommodate bent arms without bunching up above, and they extend just far enough so I can comfortably stick my hands in my spanking new in-seam pockets! See…
And of course I can’t possibly commit to just one way of wearing it. So belt holes have been added in the front side seams just above the pockets.
Here they are, tried on with my Topshop trench belt for size & positioning.
So, with the patterns happily settled, the sewing commenced.
All cut out and…Oops!
Here are the fabrics all cut out, and reinforcement interface ironed on. Now for the oops…What is a sewing project without an Oops right?
In the dim light after work I stupidly forgot to check the direction of the nap. This fabric has texture a bit like pony skin with furry nap running downward. I cut the fabric upside down, so the nap runs upward. Great for catching crumbs! At least all of the pieces are in the same direction. Anyway, too late to cry over spilt milk & all that. So soldiering on…
Double-welted arm-hole slits
The arm hole slits being on the bias I thought I better interface it to cut down stretching.
Bulk was a bit of a worry. I allowed a bit extra width for the welt than I would on thinner fabrics. So 2 welts added up to 5/8″ width. I cut separate fabrics for each welt and staggered the seam allowances so that when finished, they’ll be graded for a gentler slope rather than one hefty 3 layer 1/4″ cliff.
Machine basting some guidelines followed by hand-basting kept the seam-rippers at bay. And voilà, here’s the finished welted slits.
And now for some Pocket Magic!
The original in-seam slits have been converted into in-seam pockets. They sit just below the waistline and I made sure they’re big enough for my hand. And my Oyster card. And my smart phone. What after my expensive disaster with Lilliputian Topshop trench pockets I was taking no chances.
They actually sit just inside the seam. I had cut 3/4″ seam allowance to accommodate the thick fabric. The pockets are sewn to the bodice with 1/4″ seam allowance, leaving about 1/2″ of coat fabric acting as facing. This prevents the lining fabric pockets from poking out, but without the bulk factor of a separate facing.
The pockets are actually backed by fitting muslims. I was paranoid that keys & co. will poke holes in my pockets no sooner than I finish the cape. So preventative reinforcement was patched on. OTT I know. Here are some lovely views of the innards….
What do you think? Should I just wear it out like that – yes, inside out? 😉
The state of the affair…
Look rather dashing don’t you agree? 😉
Just wait till you see what I have planned for the leftover! Yes, I’ve managed to squeeze enough for a handbag from the scarp. But plan for how to put that together is fuzzy as fuzzy can be.
One thing at a time. First get off this blog and get that old Viking Sapphire cranking!
I’m deflated. I thought for once I’ll be able to whip out a bought pattern design quickly then move on to fight my war with the moths. No such luck.
I traced the cape pattern 112 from Burda Style 2011-08. I then decided to make a muslin fitting first just in case. I reckon I can reuse the muslin as underlining for the cape itself, wool being generally too scratchy for my sensitive skin and an extra layer between the fabric and lining helps greatly.
So yesterday, I got the muslin basted together, tried it on. Shock horror, I look like a…
…fully padded out American footballer.
And here’s me & my cape…
See what I mean?
Worst yet, with all that extra room in the shoulder area, I still couldn’t move my arms freely if the cape is buttoned up. The holes for the arms are too close to center front for comfort. I want to rest my arms by my sides. I don’t want to walk around with my elbows glued to my waist and hands folded!
I don’t know if it’s meant to be that way – I’ve never wore a cape before. Anyway, it’s not comfortable. And I know I won’t wear it if it’s not comfortable.
I’m so glad I haven’t cut into the fabric yet. But what to do now?
I was feeling so flat last night I thought I’d ditch the cape idea and find another pattern for this fabric.
But then I found these cute capes on Asos this afternoon, and they gave me some ideas…
I’ll convert the original arm slits into in-seam pockets and make a slash on both side front panels for new arm slits where it’ll be closer to my sides and more comfortable. I might even raise the slit top a bit like the bottom two pictures, or maybe add welt to the slits like the top picture. That should fix the comfort problem and give me two useful pockets to boot! (It’ll definitely be lined, unlike the Burda original.)
That footballer shoulders will still need to be fixed somehow.
And I’m hoping I’ll have enough fabric left to make a handbag.
(I don’t know why it’s so difficult to find patterns for classic structured handbags. All the patterns I’ve seen tend to be oversized, or too casual. Crafty quilty country totes just aren’t my cup of tea.) Orange wool with the hand of cowhide + brown faux leather trims. What do you think?
Anyway, here’s to hoping that I’ll be back on track this weekend!
So of course as soon as I finished tracing out the pattern for Le Trench London weather turns too cold to wear trench. God has a very wicked sense of humor. I’m now considering putting Le Trench on the back burner and go for a full-on cozy cape or coat.
I got four less precious coat-weight fabrics and also two astronomically expensive cashmere. With my current state of slightly dodgy sewing skill and even worse fitting skill I think the cashmere will be safely tucked away for another year or two. So here are the candidates:
I quite like this 50ish cape from Burda Style 2011-08. I got a rusty colored coating fabric I my Mom gave me which I think would work well. I can just picture this with one of my classic golden brooches. Mmmm…
Unfortunately there’s only 1-7/8 yards of this fabric, so even this short cape would be pushing my luck a bit. But as this fabric is stiff as cardboard, I’m hoping I can skip the facings in self-fabric and instead go for a thick lining fabric instead.
I also quite like the rather structural shape of Vogue 8548 coat. I like view A’s retro feel, but am not sure about 3/4 sleeves for a coat. I get too cold in the winter to wear shorter sleeves, and long sleeves poking out is going to ruin the look. You need a pair of elegant, slim-fitting gloves to complete that look. So maybe view B would be better, if more boring.
Fabric-wise, well, there’s brown or brown or brown!
See what I mean about buying more of the same? 😉
OK, they’re slightly different weights. The left one is definitely coat weight. But I have just over 3 yards of this and it seems a waste to use it on this pattern that only needs 2-1/8 yards. The one in the middle I also have just over 3 yards. The one on the right is closest at 2-5/8 yard, but it’s a thinner fabric probably more suitable for a thick jacket. Urgh, decisions decisions decisions?