Monday, 26 March 2018

McCalls 7243, or goddammit my face really hurts right now

Things I have done in the past week:

1. Forgot to schedule my planning post while I was out of the country.
2. Changed my mind about most of the things in the planning post anyway.
3. Had lots of red wine and Iberian ham and some actual vitamin D in Seville.
4. Got a toothache on our last day, which I thought was somewhat inconvenient.
5. Woke up the next morning to discover the entire lower half of my face had swollen up.
6. Attempted to go out for Patrick's birthday dinner anyway.
7. Got an emergency dentist appointment and got told that I need two root canals. TWO root canals. Two simultaneous root canals. TWO.
8. Also got told that I can't have these two bastard root canals done until after Easter.

So suffice it to say, I am hurting and grumpy right now.  Please excuse my slightly terse blogging, but words are not currently my strong point unless those words are "ARRGGHH" or "my face hurts". 

However, before the Great Mouth Disaster, I did manage to get a few things made and photographed, so let's remember happier times. This was the first successful garment I made after my sewing drought:

I went to visit my parents just after my birthday last month, which of course meant a trip to Fabric Land. I bought four lengths of fabric and had a vague idea for each one, but only this one had a specific pattern in mind. I'm always looking for interesting knit tops and McCalls 7243 seemed to fit the bill (three out of four of the views are dresses, but they're all super clingy and that is not for me right now).

Obviously the main feature of this top is the collar, and it took me AGES to get it right. After the third screw-up I seriously considered abandoning the whole thing. I couldn't work out how they wanted me to finish the neckline (answer: they don't really, the seam just kind of sits slightly more towards the inside so you can't see it), and then getting the collar sewn in to the underarm and side seam took multiple unpickings and redoings. This might just be me and my rusty sewing brain, as all the reviews I could find said THIS IS LITERALLY THE EASIEST THING IN THE UNIVERSE, but I did not find it so. I'm pleased I persevered, though. 

I really like this top, though I'm in two minds whether to make it again. I'm not sure I need two of these, but also I have been wearing this to death since I made it. I think it'll be very dependent on whether I come across the right type of fabric - it looks great and falls beautifully in this sweater knit, but I think it would be kind of terrible in a lighter jersey. We shall see! 

(As I was taking these pictures the upstairs neighbour next door came out onto his balcony, which is basically five feet from my face, and gave me this "haha,women taking photos of themselves" smile. It was awkward.)

Next week: an experimental dress, and a still-pre-root-canals slightly grumpy Jen. Please feel free to send pictures of puppies or videos of terrible 90s pop.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Back, back, back again: the Rumana coat

Hi everyone. First of all I want to say thanks to the people who left supportive comments on my last post (including the ones that made it to my email but didn't show up on the actual blog for some reason) and everyone who messaged me directly. I was very much not in a place to reply to everyone, but I really did appreciate it and it's one of the things that helped get me into a place to come back. I thought I was going to be away for a week, and that turned into more than a month (not a fun month, either), but I think - I hope - that the worst is behind me and I can start to get back to living and sewing again.  

So! Coatmaking! 

Here we have the By Hand London Rumana coat. I bought this fabric several months ago on a trip to Abakhan in North Wales with the mother-in-law, and originally it was going to be a Leanne Marshall Simplicity coat. Then I decided I didn't like that very much and it was going to be a Rumana, before changing my mind again and cutting out the pattern tissue for Vogue 9289, whereupon I discovered that the pattern pieces were way too big for my fabric (ah, grown-on sleeves) and went back a step to the Rumana. Phew. 

The coat has a proper collar and collar stand, which I'd never done before. I was expecting it to be as annoying if not more than a shawl collar, but it was actually easier. (I hate shawl collars. Guess who'd currently making herself a dressing gown and struggling to find the motivation?) It also has giant pockets, which I very much appreciate. 

(Close-up collar and pocket shots. I got Patrick to take these on a different day, hence the sudden costume change. I think the collar in particular looks really good and I'm proud of my work there.)

The coat is fairly sleek and close-fitting, and so has quite a large back vent. I don't think I've ever sewn a vent on a lined garment before and for me was probably one of the more confusing things I had to do. This fabric is wool mix and didn't take to the iron quite as well as I was expecting, and the vent in particular I had to come back to several times to press the shit out of it. It still doesn't look like it's had the shit pressed out of it, so I'll probably keep doing it occasionally. 

I got this lining from Fabric Store in Walthamstow. It's a super-soft viscose and it feels really nice against bare skin. This is the kind of print I would never actually wear on the outside, but looks great as a coat lining; not so dramatic that it overshadows the actual coat, but dramatic enough that it's definitely a feature. A bunch of people have commented on it already, which is nice. I had enough left over to line another jacket, which hopefully you'll be seeing soon. 

I've not put a fastening on this coat. The pattern does come with button placements, but it looked like such an afterthought, like someone somewhere in the testing process said, "Uh, could this coat maybe close somehow?" and they went, "Oh! Closing! Didn't think of that!" I much prefer the look of it without buttons (and I don't think I've seen buttons on any of their samples) and though it does mean I have to hold it closed when it's very cold, that doesn't bother me as much as you might think. For most of spring and autumn I'll just let it billow out behind me, Spike-style. 

I have worn this coat literally every day since I made it. It's really great to have a proper long coat and I'm glad I went with the pattern that would allow me the most length for my three and a half metres. I made this coat in January (the only thing I made for the first two whole months of the year) before the cold snap and snowstorms, and even while I was feeling properly shitty I was extra grateful to Past Jen for having managed it. If I'd had to go out in negative temperatures in a hip-length coat, I think I might have cried. Or never left the house and starved, whichever. 


Next week is going to be a planning post, and then we're going to Spain for a couple of days. I'm hoping that pretty surroundings will allow me to get another couple of garments photographed, and I can get back into something resembling a rhythm. We shall see!