UFO Revisit 3: Faux Shearling Stole

OK, last UFO Revisit for the year. What with Xmas coming up I don’t think there’s any chance of finishing anything else. So here you go.

Not my favorite styling, but at least it illustrate the wearing options courtesy of multiple hooks in different places!

The inspiration…

…Was this fabulously faux Comme des Garçons Garcons design from Autumn/Winter 1989-90…And I’m fabulously late of course!

Actually, I had been planning on making one since the beginning. But finding the right faux fur wasn’t easy. Obviously what I ended up using isn’t the same type of  faux fur, but it’s fabulously luxurious darling!

And in the intervening years, I’ve also picked up this lovely Michael Kors take on the fur stole. (In 2D form of course, I have no filthy rich but widely hated nowaday sugar daddy to fund my wardrobe.)

I love Love LOVE the juxtaposition with manly tweed. I’m still plotting to make that coat in the right one day.

And as usual I didn’t document which year this clipping is from. Can you ID the collection?

Of course lately there have been other retro faux fur stole in fashion. Like this clipping for UK Glamour, again date unknown, but I know it’s definitely recent.

So, when I finally found the Luxe Plus faux shearling at B&J in NYC last Feb, I thought the time is nigh for a faux fur stole.

Looking for the perfect pattern

First the search for the right pattern. I have no idea what shape it would be. It seems like just a straight cut of fabric. But then would it mold well to the shoulder? And if curved, how curved and where curved?

I initially cut the fabric to this Japanese pattern clipping I have. It’s from a feature on faux fur garments in So-En from ages ago. (Sadly So-En is no longer a pattern magazine, but just a fashion forward fashion magazine. And I’ve been a bit sacrilegious, having clipped out only those patterns I liked at the time. And you know how some  tastes changes over time… 🙁

I like the oversized edgy look – I didn’t want to go too dainty. But when I tried it on and it looked unruly. I think my double cloth shearling is a bit too stiff for this much fabric. I had to move on to Plan B.

I briefly toyed with idea of Burda Style 2011-12-117. But I ruled it out because the shaping seam running length-wise in the middle of the stole won’t work on my double-faced faux shearling. There’s no lining to cover up the seam and I think it’d look weird having the seam exposed in a stole.

So the final Plan B is an adaptation of another design from the same So-En article…

This is  a little bit more dainty than what I wanted. So I ditched the CF gathering; enlarged it to make full use of the fabric piece I already cut out; and curved the edges. In retrospect maybe I should have curved it more for a better fit around the shoulder. But it’s good enough to wear.

The furry sewing experiment

It got a bit furry when it came to the sewing. My RTW faux shearling coat has straight stiching along the cut edges with no seam allowances. But when I tried the same on a scrap, it didn’t look right nor feel right.

The edge felt a bit rough, which is a problem for a garment close to the skin. The top edge was also shedding fur and showing the cut edge.

I tried blanket stitching the edges. Still no good. So in the end I went for one of the techniques recommended for double-faced fabrics…

  • I peeled the edges of the double-cloth,
  • straight and zig-zag stitched the edges to reinforce them,
  • freed some trapped furs, but then promptly sheared off the one in the seam allowance to minimize bulk,
  • turned the seam allowance of the fur side in and hand-stitched in place,
  • finally turned the seam allowance of the suede side in and slip stitch the two layers at the edges.

Closure choices

I checked out other stoles and decided against the decidedly dainty ribbon closure. It wouldn’t work on my slightly oversized stole anyway. Fur hooks on the fur side doesn’t quite work either as my fur pile isn’t long enough to hide them. And with the double-faced cloth, there no way to sew the hooks to the wrong side with only the hook and loop bits poking through to the right side. So I ended up sewing 2 sets to the edges of the suede side, then throw in a bar tack loop for good measure.

Now you see it now you don’t!

A few strands of thread loops coved with blanket stitches blends into the furry background quite easily. In fact, sometimes I had trouble finding it when I want to. I also tried thread loops made with chain stitches, but it didn’t blend so well and seems a bit too fragile.

Getting crafty with it

And you thought that’s the end of it? Oh no, not so fast! There are still these inspirations to tackle…

On second thought, maybe that’s enough image porn  for one post. Stayed tuned for crafty part 2.

Draft Along Update: 2 steps back & 1 forward

I’ve had to go to Plan B for the Draft Along as well.

There must be something in the stars. A lot of us seem to be a bit behind schedule. I still haven’t finished Sloper Plan B. So little chance of finishing the patterns drafting for my modestly ambitious design by the weekend. Sewing was originally supposed to start this weekend I think.

What’s also not helping is that I’m finding my stash yardages generally to be on the mean side. (I curse my honorary Scottish ancestors.) I thought 5-1/2 yards would be over generous for a dress and a summer coat. It’s now looking like a very tight squeeze. So I need to plan more carefully. Which means having patterns for both dress and coat ready so I can figure out a more efficient layout and hopefully have enough fabric for both. Fat chance of that happening by Saturday.

So Plan A to the back burner. Step forward Plan B.

The inspiration is this Michael Kors dress from his Spring Summer 2011 collection, featured in American Vogue:

I love the moss-green and tan colour combination. The original is a lace dress. My fabric is raw silk. But it does have both colors and texture that from a distance sort of give the same impression. I’m also toying with the idea of scalloping the hem to mimic the original’s lace hem. (I wish I have an embroidery machine for fancier edging.)

The dress is rather simple. I’m feeling the itch to throw in some complicated details. It just doesn’t seem worthwhile making something that you can easily buy off the rack.

But it’s a bad habit. The pieces that I wear the most are in fact mostly plain pieces that play nice with other pieces. I must remind myself that getting the right fit and combination of color – fabric – texture – silhouette is more than enough to justify making my own clothing.

Speaking of naughty habits, I am thinking of cheating and doing this as a 2-piece dress. Just so that I can get more moss green-caramel outfits out of it. Maybe throw in a dash of orange or red occasionally.

So here’s the compromise:

Plain front and a bit of added interest in the back.

Front skirt will be A-line (instead of pencil skirt in Plan A design). Back is still a variation of my Plan A design with extra pleats in CB. But the skirt will be waist down rather than with high-waisted.

The top – assuming I have enough fabric – will have underbust seam details. I can’t decide on the back neckline though. Option 1 is to have a mock cowl neck – basically a bit of extra fabric draped and attached to the back neckline. Option 2 is an asymmetric collar a bit like Vogue 8408.

Stay tuned to find out which I end up making!