Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Project that Keeps on Giving...

It's a gray day for a Grey coat. And I'm feeling betwixt and between with it right now.

For one thing, I'm about to go into a very busy phase - work-wise as well as in life. My family is coming into town for next weekend to celebrate Thanksgiving. (I almost called it Canadian Thanksgiving and then I thought: Duh, it's Canadian. Doesn't everyone know by now that we celebrate it early here?) I'll be traveling for my job, which is busy even when I'm not traveling. I feel like I need to break the back of this garment (nice imagery, huh?) before things go supernova. Because I do not like to be behind schedule.

That's one of the interesting things I'm learning about me during the sew along. Doesn't matter if it's work or play - if there's a plan, I want to be ahead of it. There are wonderful, talented people participating in this experience who honestly communicate their concerns about being late in the game, as it stands. And while part of me sympathizes, another part is all: What's the problem? Just work all day and into the evening on Saturday and wake up at 7 on Sunday and get a few hours done before breakfast.

Like I'm the arbiter of people's insanely busy lives??? I mean, some of these people home-school!

Everyone in the world - I apologize for my judginess. It's an ugly, shadow side of me.

For another thing, I'm at a critical juncture. With all the pieces ready to assemble, I don't know how to move forward with tailoring (not included in the instructions) in the absence of direction. I've never actually tailored. (Why do I say that like it's surprising?? Like, tailoring is just the kind of thing I do in my off-hours in front of the TV...)

So far, I've cut everything out (including my hair canvas interfacing). I've read the books. I've considered the issues 50 different ways. But I don't want to fuck this thing up - given how long I've worked so far - simply because I'm too impatient to wait and cuz I'm concerned about getting behind when that info is finally available.

I've decided I'm going to machine-stitch tailor. It's not as simple as weft (fusible) interfacing (which I have used to good effect in the past). It's not the hard core, pad-stitching, hand-sewing method - which I imagine Gertie will discuss, and maybe even do on her own coat, given her level of experience and her love of couture.

I could get all experimental today, and embark on the unknown, but why? Isn't this about learning from others rather than figuring it all out (including all the fear and horror that entails) for myself?

But I can't do nothing.

So today, so far, I've made the belt. Intriguingly, I cut the belt out incorrectly (I've known this since I made the mistake). I didn't put the piece on the fold so it was half the required length. The perfectionist in me was very unhappy. But the realist, home-sewist said: You're not going to go out and spend another 60 bucks on fabric to gain the length required, so cut another 2 pieces and seam them together at the centre.

I assumed, given I'm working in navy boucle, that this would not be very noticeable and, you know what?, I was right!

I will say that the belt took a good 90 minutes. And a bobbin of thread. So. much. stitching.

I broke a needle as I sewed through 6 layers (where the seaming was). Fortunately, I'm pretty familiar with that scenario! I am also learning about this fabric and how I need to keep the tension between 2 and 3?! (Non-sewists: Regular tension is at 4 and can often go to 5...)

I will aim to sew the fashion-fabric body of the coat before the end of day tomorrow. It's not the next thing on the plan but I think it's a discrete item which will not interfere with the interfacing of facing and lining assembly and insertion of shoulder pads and bound button holes (which scare me, I'll be frank.)

It's my own, sad way of staying ahead of the curve.


  1. I know the feeling of wanting to be ahead of the plan :-).

  2. However you write about sewing i find myself desperate for pictures: even if just cut up fabric, bobbins of thread or patterns. I have nothing claver or hopeful to say about developing patience or being okay with being off schedule. I wish I did.xxoxo

  3. Susan: Somehow I know you do :-)

    Bel: I know that feeling. when people write about sewing I totally want to see anything they've got in the background. I'm just to lazy to get my photos up. Sorry!