Friday, October 12, 2012

Coat SAL

OK...where to start.
I meant to do little posts all along this process but i was so caught up in the process i never got around to it.

I'll try to break this up into readable parts instead of a big blablabla.  but it might be too much blablabla anyhow ;P

So here we go.

reminder of what i'm talking about
This is the sewalong for Gertie's new Butterick B5824 coat pattern.  There is a flickr group and support by Gertie on her blog for better sewing.
I'm using some dark anthracite gray wool/polyester blend suit fabric for the shell with pink oriental motif polyester for the lining.
You can find pics of and more blablabla about my materials in my post from september 25

the muslin
I started along with the people in the flickr group, though  a little late, by making a muslin.  I bought plain cream colored thin cotton for this so i could make changes on it as needed.  Thing is it's difficult to make changes to a muslin when you're by yourself especially when you're a newbie and have no idea as to how to go about that. 
Anyhow, before i made up my muslin, i decided on my size.  Here's my logic : that i now see was very faulty.  According to my upper bust measurements  (that's right under you arm pits). My measurement = 36.5 inches.  The size 14 = 34 inches but considering i was going to modify the bust anyhow and that the shoulders of this coat arent tight fitting at all and that i am trying and MUST lose weight, i went for the 14  though i was alittle worried it would be too small.
Now speaking of bust, in case you didnt know by now, i have big boobs. I mean really big, as in first thing you see when i round a corner, get in my way, keep me from wearing cute clothes big. So for me, the FBA was a given and i didnt even think about NOT doing it, just went in for the kill right away while tracing up my pattern and did a 2 inch FBA (full bust adjustment).
You see, if i made a coat that fit my bust size i would have fell right in between a size 16 and size 18.
Iof course used my waist and hip measurements to decide too.  After thinking, ok, i should do a 14, i proceeded to see if the other measurements corresponded to that size.  i saw that my waist measurements (29 inches) and hip measurements (39 inches) were right in the middle of size 14 (28/38) and size 16 (30/40).  Again since i am in the process of losing wieght, i went down instead of up. Also, the hips didnt worry me since this has a huge circle skirt - i figured that didnt matter at all.  So, seems logical, right?
I mean, if anything you'd put your hands on your head and run screaming "never assume you will lose weight!  what about ease for crying out loud?! go for the size 16!"
anyhow, this slippery slope of logic led to
Lesson learned # 1 : pick your size wisely.  Oh, and pattern sizing charts LIE! so compare the paper patterns measurements to yourself.
OK, fast forward.  I make up my front piece pattern out of tracing paper and get my muslin cut out.
modified pattern piece 1
I try on said muslin and it seemed to fit pretty well though a little baggy in the bust...shock!!!! ive never ever ever had anything be baggy in the bust unless the whole things was some oversized shapeless horrendous tent-like sweatshirt.
Sans titre
another back view
I showed the pics on flickr and everyone said it looked to fit well.  i was a little concerned that my short self didnt need to cut any length off the bodice but both the flickr friends and my rav friends said it looked fine and to me, it also seemed like it would be fine.
i mean, look at that pic above, see the small of my waist from behind? doesnt the bodice seem to fit where it should there?
however in this one where i'm pulling it down a tad to mimic the weight of the skirt, i should have gotten an inkling of an idea that something wasnt kosher
back view
Lesson learned # 2 : when doing a muslin, go all out, dont just muslin up one part of it!
Lesson learned # 3: get a friend with fit experience to actually check you out in person instead of relying on pics before proceeding.

the Flickr SAL group
There are a lot of wonderful, fun, experienced, and very helpful people on this board. 
A few have gone so far as to give very detailed advice to help me through my catastrophe (yes, im sure you've figured out by now that all of this ends badly :/ )
 I love sal with them!  i hope to continue sal with them in the future.  we're talking of sewing through gertie's book in fact.  that said flickr groups really sucks!  not at all agood forum for discussion.  only good for sharing pics.
A lady from there, Scheri, is starting her own sewalong forum.  Wow!  I hope her forum will give us a home for our future sewalongs :D
I also love seeing the different fabric choices, sizing brainstorming, etc... going on over there.
Lesson learned # 4 : sal with friends - it's motivating and great for learning and improving.

And they're off!!!
So once the people in the sal group and on rav said my muslin looked ok and the other sal'ers started finalizing their muslins, we were off like a herd of turtles!  go, go, go :D
Did we do the skirt part of the muslin before jumping in head first? no!
a few of the more reasonable souls took the time to pin a blanket to the bottom of the muslin to mimic the weight of the skirt.  i didnt even do that.
Lesson learned # 2 needs repeating here so i can remember it myself next time... when doing a muslin, go all out, dont just muslin up one part of it!

So, Gertie posted saying it took her two hours to cut her fashion fabric pieces.  I plopped down in the foyer  (that's attached to the living room and dining room - in other words, right in the middle!)Sans titre
 Sans titre

round 2 friday afternoon after work planning on taking double that time, you know, i'm a beginner and all... when bed-time rolled around, i was no where near finished.
 Sans titre (here i'm about to make my first cut - scary!!!)
I continued the next morning before anyone else got up.
we had to go help a friend move.  i then continued after we got back . and then the next morning... in all it took me 13 hours! i can only hope i will get quicker with experience cough cough cough...
By sunday evening i got it all cut out, all picked up and all marked.
piece 1 in process of marking
phew!  what a lot of work!
and monday i was able to get it assembled.
excuse thé 3 day  hair + been pulled up thing ive got going on
i though it looked decent but not as well fit as the muslin... why?  why on earth?  i mean, really...why?  it's the same pattern pieces for cryin out loud!
Sans titre
Lesson learned # 5 : dont think you can match a sewist genious' rythm.
Lesson learned # 6 : probably the most valuable : MUSLINS LIE!!!!!! much like swatches

SAL support by Gertie
Well, considering how anxious we all are to get into this adventure, it's very hard to wait on Gertie.  Her posts, when they do come out, are excellent!  wonderful help!
I really want to start the bombshell dress class i still havent watched now that i have an idea how excellent her teaching style is.
BUT we have to stay two steps behind all the time or else her posts are too late.  which means we can either forge ahead (my choice since i'm so darn excited about this sal) and stay on track or wait for her posts and not stay on the sal schedule.  I'm a little disappointed to be honest and probably very wrongly so.  it's just that i'm so spoiled i guess by most knitwear designers accessability and rapidity of response and pro-active guidance through ravelry whether it be a kal or just contacting them with general questions.
Lesson learned # 7: dont let your excitement get you in over your head.

My fabric
ohhhh... my ... goodness...
remember my materials post where i griped about how expensive this darn thing was even though i went for a lower middle range fabric? well, who am i kidding, it was an entry range fabric for wool blends so i should have known.  pay for crap, you get crap.  live and learn.
i went through that with yarn.  now i'll have to go through that steep learning curve for fabric too.
i need a yoda.  really! my own personal on-call yoda.
this is the crappiest crappety crap fabric in the world! unbelievable! :/
edges all buggered up:
Sans titre
cuts along edges:
Sans titre
pin pricks (of course right in the center of my back) even though i could see no visible selvedge when laying out my pieces:
Sans titre
bleeding onto ironing board when steaming pocket seams even though i washed and dried my lining (good thing my coat is a dark fabric!):
Sans titre
Lesson learned # 8 : cheap fabric is cheap for a reason

The excitement is too much
So the excitement of this thing coming together got the better of me and i stormed ahead! this was of course before i knew it would end in tears.  i know i'm flip-flopping back and forth a lot in this post but really there were so many things to talk about that it's hard to avoid.
So I was off work wednesday.
I forced myself to do ALL my housecleaning.  ALL OF IT! before i would let myself play hehehehe!
I was giddy with excitemnt at the thought of attaching my skirt to that bodice and twirling around!
the skirt went together soooo easily though i dont think i did a very good job of my pockets.  i'm ok with that though because i thinki it's nice having that flash of pink - a little peak of what's on the inside of my coat :D
you should have seen that over 360° wonder spread out on my bed in all its glory :D
Sans titre
and then i attached it - also very easy !
Sans titre
you cant imagine the elation i was feeling :D
then i put it on and held it closed and twirled! yes i twirled! like a princess! and my skirt swooshed out and around and up and down all twirlywhirly!!!!! gorgeous!!!!!!!!!
then i ran to the toy room/ gym/ tv room to look in the only full lengthed mirror we have in the house and ...

The big let-down
i think the pic speaks for itself
how do you say ..... frumpy?
Lesson learned # 6 bears repeating again : MUSLINS LIE!!!!!! much like swatches

Lesson learned # 7 also bears repeating again : dont let your excitement get you in over your head.

My plea for help
over in the flickr group, on ravelry and my sms to Marie Pascale was met with much empathy and advice.  My mom pmd me reassuring me that i could always make something too big work but not theother way around and advising me to get a friend help my pin up the whole thing while on me inside out.  That's where Marie Pascale comes in. Unfortunately we can't get our schedules to coincide.  Marie Pascale would be my yoda if we lived closer :(   ;)  But she confirmed what my mom said.
And on rav and on the flickr group they were great.
they said get out of those pink houseshoes and put on some real shoes, take some decent pics instead of the blurry and/ or self shot pics you've been posting so we can see what this thing really looks like.

another back view
here you can see how frumpy it looksside view from afarwaist still seems too low but not as bad as back view

they then went on to dissect the fitting aspects of it and ive now managed to get enough advice to get this thing going again if i can get up the courage to tackle it after im over the deception.  Right now i'm too much in "lick my wounds" mode to mess with the darn thing :/
that said it costs too much to get thrown in a corner like so many of my knitting/crocheting/spinning UFO's and also ive promised myself i will not let myself get a UFO pile in sewing! nu-uh! no way josé!  no can do!  if i start it, i finish it, whether that means to hanging in closet ready to wear or thrown in the trash tonever be seen again.
Anyhow, with all this handholding  i will get this dude back on track!

My battle plan
1. unsew (or as my lovely sis dianne unvented [EZ reference] "wes", à la tink for knitting backwards) the bodice and the skirt
2. buy more muslin
3. redo a muslin taking the following fit points into consideration
6. Once all seems well redo bodice in fashion fabric (thank goodness i bought too much and am so freakin' short - i cut off 4 inches of all my skirt pieces roflol).
7. Resew bodice to skirt
8. twirl twirl twirl :D


ChelleC said...

This is such an interesting post about how you make the muslin pattern and the coat from that. Good idea. I have been wanting to sew for a while. Have been having an increasing desire to take a beginner's sewing class. You are inspiring me. Your coat will be tailor made and is very attractive on you!

Rebecca said...

go for it! sewing will be awesome if i can ever get it right ;). glad to "see" you :D

sophie o. said...

Hi Rebecca!
first: congratulations on starting such a huge project! a coat is definitely not begginer's level :)
re the muslin, I would kindly disagree with you: it doesn't lie! The main problem you're facing IMO is that your muslin fabric and the fashion fabric are not the same weight, and considering the amount of fabric involved, it's bound to weigh on the top part and really change a lot the way it hangs.
As to cheap fabric being cheap for a reason, I can only agree with you, that's no secret!

Rebecca said...

Hi Sophie :D
i'm sure you're right. that is probably the reason, well that and the fact that i didnt do a full out muslin, stopping only at the bodice, that i got such different results.
otoh how do you make a muslin out of a similar type of fabric without just going ahead and using your fashion fabric which would get expensive? what do you do in that case?
thanks for stopping by and for taking the time to leave a comment :)

Jen O said...

Hi Rebecca,
Reading this and seeing your muslin makes me think and agree with Sophie: the fabric weights for muslin and wool are very different. The muslin is a nice job and does fit very well, but the wool seems stretchy or drapey. HUmmmm, OK, so be sure you have iron on fusible interfacing. This will help to make your fabric 'firm' and give it body. So will the lining. Just be sure you transfer any changes you made on the wool to the lining too, so they match. I think the worst part is over :)

sophie o. said...

If I were making a coat, I'd try to find some heavy fabric like old curtains or blankets or such - of course you don't want to cut in your expensive fabric just now!!

Tiddy and Charlie. said...

You made a COAT! You clever thing. It will be well worth the effort of getting it just the right fit for you. I dont wear coats, but I can imagine how uncomfortable I'd feel if Mr P had made my skin the wrong size >_< Tiddy x