A Practical Decision

A practical decision, made out of desperation, that is! It is a rare occurrence that I stop working on a project before it is completed, but that’s what I decided to do with my cashmere coat, skirt and blouse ensemble. Quite simply, life got in the way, without asking me first! Robbed of sewing time for one reason or another, I had to make a decision: should I quietly and gently fold my unfinished skirt and blouse away for a summer sleep, and get busy on my Spring sewing? Or should I plow through and continue work on this wool ensemble as the allure and charms of Spring sewing beckoned me on? Well, Spring’s charms won, especially as I am now facing middle-to-late May deadlines for a silk dress to wear to a wedding and another fancy event.

But I had promised photos of my coat, so before everything goes in the cedar closet until next September, I thought I should share the progress I did make. Even on a cool Spring day, this Cashmere coat felt glorious to wear, even briefly.

A Practical Decision

A Practical Decision

I am very happy with the lining!

I am very happy with the lining!

A Practical Decision

A Practical Decision

This coat is very warm and buttery soft.

This coat is very warm and buttery soft. These photos confirm for me that I need to reset the working buttons, making longer thread shanks, to accommodate the bound buttonholes.

The skirt is a six-panel slight A-line style.  Because the fabric is heavier than I would normally use for a skirt, I wanted to eliminate darts and a waistband, to help control the bulk. I decided to make a waist facing made out of wool challis (used for the coat lining and the blouse), and attach it to a skirt lining made of Bemberg rayon. The skirt is completed except for the hem.

This shows the waist facing, with the Bemberg lining attached to it.

This shows the waist facing, with the Bemberg lining attached to it.

Making a blouse out of wool challis demanded some special considerations. The fabric is finely woven and lightweight, making me hesitant to use waxed tracing paper to make any markings on it. So, I decided to thread trace all the seam lines and markings. This is, of course, the process one uses for the construction of a classic French jacket, so I am comfortable with it. It sounds time-consuming, but it goes fairly fast, and is fool-proof.

This shows my muslin pattern, cut on the seam lines, and with the darts cut out, so that I could tread trace along all sewing lines.

This shows my muslin pattern (with the changes I made to it), cut on the seam lines, and with the darts cut out, so that I could tread trace along all sewing lines.

Click on this for a close-up look at the thread tracing of seam lines and darts.

Click on this for a close-up look at the thread tracing of seam lines and darts.

I got as far as having both sleeves completed, the body of the blouse put together, and the collar pinned in place. I am feeling good about my progress, and I know I can pick this up again, knowing that I really am in the home stretch on this particular project.

The pinned collar, placed along the neckline.

The pinned collar, placed along the neckline.

One of the sleeves pinned in place.

One of the sleeves pinned in place.  The sleeves are three-quarter length.

Good-bye to Winter and Hello to Spring!  Right now it feels wonderful to be focusing on silks and linens, bright colors and feminine fancy things. I am “desperately” happy with my decision!


Filed under Blouse patterns from the 1950's, Blouses, Coats, couture construction, Dressmaker coats, Mid-Century style, Uncategorized, Vintage fabric, vintage Vogue Designer patterns, vintage Vogue patterns from the 1960s, woolens

21 responses to “A Practical Decision

  1. Margene Yeaton

    LOVE this whole ensemble. The coat is exquisite and just looks cozy warm. Thanks for sharing the thread tracing. Can’t wait to see what you are making for the silk dress you will wear to a wedding.

  2. That lining would make me happy, too. Such a coat would have felt just right here on a brisk, breezy spring day.

  3. This is looking so good!

  4. Can’t wait to see your spring inspirations. But that cashmere coat is yummy!!

  5. Back to Blighty

    Your coat looks amazing and I love the your fabric choice for the blouse!

  6. You’re going to have a gorgeous outfit! Thanks for sharing your process–you’ve given me “permission” to abandon my LFJ in favor of creating a light-weight spring/summer wardrobe.

    • Isn’t it funny how we invent these rules for our sewing behavior? And then feel relieved when we realize we can actually break them when necessary? Here’s to Spring and Summer wardrobes!

  7. Stunning ensemble. No one is forcing you to finish it now. You can look forward to completing it when the weather turns cool.

  8. Mery

    Anticipated fabulous and it’s even better than expected. It’ll be great to return to and great to have a break from. I’ve followed with rapt attention because my wardrobe runneth over with good country coats but its last city coat died several years ago. I don’t want a compromise coat: I want a really nice city cloth one to enjoy for years. Yet I haven’t given myself permission to invest the time. Have many patterns, including this one. Not much wool to select from except online. I get distracted imagining compromises (the worst is using car headliner as underlining to act as windbreak, ugly). I’ve been excellent at many things including appearing cool and ladylike in extreme heat, but with coats I need and appreciate your influence about exactly how excellence works.

    • I think one of the most difficult parts of coat-making is finding the right fabric/wool. I was incredibly lucky to have the opportunity to purchase this vintage cashmere – and then to find this vintage pattern which I LOVE! You will know when you’re ready to make your good city coat!

  9. Such beautiful fabrics – it is so difficult to find something this lovely! Beautiful work!

  10. Wise to move on to spring sewing I think…you’ll appreciate returning to it when the weather cools again. (I suspect you’ll receive many long hugs from chilly friends needing to warm up in that soft, cozy cashmere!)

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