Sunday, March 9, 2014

An accidental cropping and a lesson in learning to love mistakes

Oh, Albion.  You and I have had our ups and downs for sure.  It was love at first sight for me.  You were more complex than I first gave you credit for.  You were stubborn at times, I didn't always understand you and I made mistakes, many, MANY mistakes but, in the end, it was all worth it.  So, without further ado, here is my Colette patterns Albion. 

It's a coat full of firsts.  First outerwear, first time working with wool (which I love), first time working with plaid, first time making adjustments to a pattern, sewing welt pockets and the list goes on and on. I actually intended to make something solid initially, maybe with some color-blocking (I even have the navy and camel wool so I may still sew another) but fell in love with this fabric at Mill End and had to have it. Everything started out pretty peachy. I did make a muslin shell of V.1 and chose to do some of the adjustments in the companion guide (narrowed the shoulders by an inch and brought in the waist about 2 inches for some definition) but otherwise stuck to the XS.  My muslin was feeling a teeny bit iffy in the hip area but seemed ok.  Once I started sewing the actual fabric I was ultra careful with checking the fit EVERY step of the way.  So, you can imagine my surprise when I finished sewing the lining to the facings, put the coat on and cried when it suddenly would. not. fit. around. my. hips.
So, I cropped it.  I didn't really like the long version anyway.  Something about the plaid lines, my lack of height and hippy hips just didn't work together.  And I am happy to say, I like the short version so much better.

I added welt pockets last minute because the patch pockets looked too bulky and it was too late for inseam pockets.  They were surprisingly easy but I made mistake number 1,438 with them and they ended up too close together, but there is no going back from that!  I omitted the hood tab because of itchiness.  The toggle tabs (is that what they're called?) were crafted with two pieces of the wool sewn together and then hand-stitched on.  I hemmed the coat with a hand-stitched catch stitch. I added sleeve heads (what a difference those make!) and set them using the technique outlined in Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.  

  The flannel lining combined with the wool makes for a very warm coat so, sadly, I may not be able to wear it until next fall as we have been having 60 degree days here in Portland!  The flannel looks white in the photos but the actual color (more of a greyish lavender) matches the lightest color in the coat pretty well.  Speaking of matching, check out my plaid skills!

Overall, it's been quite the adventure.  I love what the coat ended up being and can't wait to wear it! As usual, Colette patterns did a beautiful job and the Sewalongs website has been so helpful as well as the Facebook group.  I love the online sewing community and am looking forward to getting more involved. This project was the perfect partner to the Wardrobe Architect posts I have been reading.  I am trying to hone in on my personal style and how to sew with that in mind.  As a beginner, I can count the number of things I've made on both hands.  The items that I have sewn that I wear in my daily wardrobe?  Zero. I try to take the positive route and realize that with each new thing I made I am increasing my skills and experience...but I also want to make pretty things I will wear and be proud of. This coat may be the first but it won't be the last.  I will do another blog post going more in depth about all this next week as well as my first foray into knits!  But enough talk, here are some more photos.