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Dec 16, 2010

FINISHED! Peter models the Vogue toggle coat



Friends, the toggle coat is in the can!  Wait -- that sounds wrong.  It's done.

Just to recap, here's the pattern, which I bought on Etsy from a seller in Barcelona:



And here's my coat, which I should only get to wear in Barcelona.



This project gave me a few gray hairs, not to be confused with all the pet hair I had to remove with the sticky roller and, in the case of a few stragglers, by hand.  As I've said before, it's not so much that this coat is difficult per se as much as there's so much to do. I'll probably write more about the construction tomorrow but let me say now you haven't lived till you've topstitched on a toggle.  (Not for the easily stressed.)



Readers, I must ask you.  Let's say I finish a project and I know there's something not quite perfect about it.  Would you prefer I --

a) point it out to you up front;

b) let you find it yourselves (in which case you'll probably find something I didn't even notice and would rather not know about); or

c) pretend it's flawless; hero-worship is an important coping mechanism in troubled times.

I ask you because I did make an error in judgment with regard to the hem -- though one that's entirely fixable.  Here's the deal: I turned up the hem, about 2 1/2" wide, and stitched it by hand, having bound the seam first.  The pattern then calls for topstitching roughly 1" from the bottom -- no problem.  But I'm seeing the wider hem above the topstitching from the outside.  I can either a) cut the hand stitches from the top of the hem, trim the hem facing down a bit and re-bind; or b) remove the hand stitches and re-stitch as-is, making sure the stitches go only through the underlining and not the out fabric so they won't be visible.

You can see what I'm talking about here, I think.  Or not.



More toggle coat-related pre-dawn stream of consciousness:

The thing about toggle coats is that they close more loosely than zippered or buttoned coats and they shift a bit as one moves.  There are very clear horizontals that ideally should match (like the bottom edges of the yoke or the left and right toggles themselves) or the coat looks askew.

The toggles are as distant from each other as they can be; the coat can't close any tighter.  Should I a) live with it, nobody will notice; or b) put a button or two on the inside flap to secure the coat without the toggles?  Thoughts?

Here's my toggle fashion spread, nothing fancy:



Thank you for encouraging me to buy the real horn toggles -- I love them!  And of course, your constructive comments were a great help thoughout, as always.

Happy Thursday Toggle-Love Day, everybody!

67 comments:

  1. Well (construction alteration queries aside) as a style-statement it looks fantastic! Very well done :)

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  2. aww, it is lovely, peter! i have some white horn toggle in my button stash, waiting for the make of a coat just like yours!!!

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  3. Awesome! I can't see how you could have done a better job or made a nicer toggle coat. It's perfect!

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  4. Oh, Peter! It looks simply marvellous!

    I am always pointing out the sewing/construction flaws to anyone who compliments me on my garments - no matter how small or inconsequential the flaws are - but I think it's quite detrimental to both myself and the admirer. It's very self-depreciating on my part and it lessens the loveliness of their generosity.

    Having said that, if it's a sewing friend, I do like discussing things that didn't quite work out; I usually learn something new!

    And so I vote for a: point it out to us up front.

    Also, if this were my coat, I would probably opt for a button or two to keep everything in place.

    I'm very impressed though!

    Sam

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  5. Very good! The courdoy jacket should be a breeze now!
    mici

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  6. It looks fabulous! Not that anyone is surprised :-). I don't think you're bound to point out the flaws (and there always are some) unless you feel like discussing whether they're fixable, or whether you should even do it.

    About the hem - why topstitch? Why topstitch there? I don't believe there should be both hand-stitching at the top and topstitching in the middle, once again it's the belt and suspenders syndrome. I think you're following directions entirely too much :-)..

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  7. It looks fantastic - you have a coat that fits perfectly and will keep you warm. I'm not sure I see what you mean about the hem, but if there's anything that bothers you I'm sure you can fix it. I really want a duffle coat now - love that look.

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  8. Your coat looks amazing, I wouldn't fret about the little details that no-one is going to notice at all. I suggest you give it a week or two and if they still drive you nuts then go back and fix them.

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  9. Peter, that is one mighty achievement. Don't focus upon the minor shortcomings as they always appear much bigger to the creator than they do to the observer and they'll make you dissatisfied with what is a superb piece of work. By the same token, if you think it needs buttons, put them on, or you may never be completely happy with it. I am in awe!

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  10. I can't believe you finished so quickly! Amazing! It looks great.

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  11. It looks wonderful. And as for tiny flaws...nothing is perfect. Pretend that the tiny flaws were put there on purpose, to teach you humility. The Chimayo weavers put flaws in their work on purpose. I think the hem topstitiching is superfluous. It is already hemmed. But that's me. :)

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  12. it looks awesome - i still love that plaid underlining :)

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  13. Peter, you are such an excellent sewist! Why draw attention to little things that might have been handled differently? You work sew neatly, sew fast, sew proudly, let things be as they are and if people see flaws in what you do don't take them to heart. If folks see things that THEY would have done differently, that is something different. Bask in the warmth of the amazing coat!.

    About toggle/duffle coat closures. I made one for myself, (I quilted pieces of flannel shirts and lined with a fake fleece) and the gapping is a challenge. I would like to re-design with a real zipper closure underthe toggle closure. Something like the way a zipper fly is inserted into trousers, but with functioning toggles as well. I could opt for ventilation or not.

    I really enjoy following your projects, and with a measure of envy of your skill.
    Jotham

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  14. What a fabulous garment! Perfect as is in my view, but if you would feel better with buttons and a re-done hem ...

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  15. Well done Peter, it looks wonderful. Your sewing skills are awesome, and you tackle some difficult projects that I just scare the heck out of me - like duffle coat construction.

    I think stick with option c) you're a sewing hero IMHO.

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  16. It looks lovely. Good on ya.

    WRT pointing out troubles -- I would suggest not doing so unless it is a sewing friend & you are discussing details. People don't necessarily want to know. If they are so much into sewing they do want to know -- well, that puts them in the first category, right? :-)

    Beth

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  17. I especially love that your argyle sweater accents the plaid underlining perfectly.

    It's exactly what you wanted! Bravo, this is why we sew.

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  18. I think the coat looks awesome!! Well done. I love all your modeling shots. You're a pro.

    Now here's my 2 cents, but only because you asked -

    Point things out to us only when you want to. Don't make any rule about it. You're still our hero. :-)

    Let the coat be for a few days. If the hem issue (which I can't see, even in the lightened photos) still bothers you, then I would opt for "b) remove the hand stitches and re-stitch as-is, making sure the stitches go only through the underlining and not the out fabric so they won't be visible."

    Buttons - Yes, the coat hangs askew sometimes. But I don't think it looks odd when it does. It's to be expected, no? Does the movement affect your warmth? Do you think anyone will really notice if you don't point it out? (They won't.) If you add buttons and buttonholes, they will be visible when the coat is open, and *that* might look strange.

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  19. Looks great, Peter! I think the fit's superb (you certainly proved the value of making a muslin on this one). I vote ixnay on any buttons. I think it would ruin the casual chic, devil may care attitude of the coat. Get out there and wear that bad boy. It's freakin cold enough for it!!!!

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  20. OMG, I LOVE your toggle coat!!! If you want to sell the pattern, I'll take it!

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  21. That looks great! You've sewn shirts, jeans, and now this --when it comes to men's clothes there isn't anything you can't make!

    I wouldn't have noticed the hem if you hadn't pointed it out and even then I could only see what you were talking about in one photo. Like some of the other commentors I didn't think topstitching needed to be done on a hem. Don't worry about it or...wait a week and see if it still bothers you. If it does then fix it like Debbie Cook said --option "b".

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  22. You looks SMASHING!
    Honestly, bravo, it really is a lovely lovely coat and you should be proud of it.

    As for the closure, I say do whatever makes you feel the most comfortable in the coat. If buttons inside would help, go for it. But it certainly looks terrific with it's current closure.

    Well done! Thanks for sharing the coat step by step. That was fun!

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  23. I think the coat looks great. The hem is fine as is. I would add the buttons only if you are worried about drafts because the coat is not closing tight enough. From strictly a style perspective, no buttons are necessary.

    Thank you for taking us through this process. I have been sewing since 2008 and while my skills are improving, I'm not ready to tackle anything as complicated as the coat you just finished. Projects like this one are an inspiration to keep improving and working towards harder projects.

    Merry Christmas!

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  24. The coat is awesome(!), of course... but in response to your question, what about large snaps instead of buttons, if button-visibility is a problem?

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  25. I think it looks fantastic! There is no such thing as a "perfect" sewing project...so just enjoy all of the compliments.

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  26. Did you not use a teflon foot? God luv 'ya for soldiering on if you didn't!

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  27. Your coat looks beautiful!! I am way jealous. I am totally in hero worship mode. I can't see a problem in the world from the photos.

    I am a perfectionist, not for anyone else, but for me. If I see a flaw in my work, I am not pleased with myself. With that in mind, were it me I would choose b and b. Redoing the hand stitching seems like the easier fix. I bet just one button on the inside would keep the toggles from shifting around so much .

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  28. Peter, I agree with others: don't point out the (self-perceived) errors to others. It's your personalized coat--those touches make it unique. I agree with the Debbie Cook---let the coat rest for a while and then make a decision about what you would like to change.

    Personally, because of my fear of buttonholes, I would use a decorative hook and eye (or sew on snap) to snug up the inside. But I would wait a day or two and try wearing it with a scarf.

    Rose in SV

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  29. Beautiful coat Peter! I didn't notice the hem issue, why don't you give it a few days and if it still bothers you then you can fix it. As for keeping it closed, how about covered snaps?

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  30. From where I sit, the finished coat looks marvelous!

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  31. Wow, your coat looks very good.

    Since you pointed out the hem-issue, I'll give my opinion. Like Marie-Christine, I don't understand the topstitching. If you finished the hem by hand already, why add that? Personally, I don't use topstitched hems on jackets, coats, skirts and trousers. Not even if the garment has topstitch features. I prefer the neat-and-invisible kind of hem.

    I can't offer any advice on the subject of the toggle closure for lack of experience. I would think that a button at the top of the overlap, on the inside would go a long way to stabilize the lot. If you're not sure, try a sew-on snap first. That way, you won't have to risk making holes in your fabric based on a theory.

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  32. Terrific looking coat and quite an accomplishment. Congratulations!

    Masterpieces are few and far between. I wonder if Leonardo Da Vinci had flaws in the Mona Lisa that he had to a)scrape off and try again...more than once b)just could not get a particular item quite to his liking c)told his painter friends d)never told anyone? I've had years of sewing and only one that I would consider a "masterpiece".

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  33. I'm with Allison. Wear the coat for a week or so. You'll know whether you want to "fix" it then. You'll also know if you need to add a strategic button after the first bad gust of winter wind.

    If you bought something at the thrift shop or if you paid retail, would you point out the garment's shortcomings to your acquaintances? No? I thought so. So, don't point out the shortcomings of your beautiful handmade, artisan garment.

    You should be proud. It is lovely.

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  34. Absolutely awesome coat. I would say don't topstitch the hem and do not add snaps, please. Snaps have no place on such a classic toggle coat stylewise (IMO, and pace those who have suggested them). Especially not those ugly monster-sized ones which are 'in' at the moment.

    On 'mistakes', well, this IS a sewing blog, isn't it? I prefer sewing blogs that discuss technique - otherwise they are just style blogs, which I find terribly tedious and self-obsessed.

    And all the best heroes have flaws, didn't you know? So discussing your 'learning process' is what a lot of people come for.

    Of course, there are bloggers who, when discussing technique, ask for suggestions/comments on their 'tutorials' etc and then don't publish the suggestions/comments (eg. if a reader points out that the tutorial is not, as it claims, for a swayback correction, but a waistline correction, which is different). But I notice you are not 'marketing yourself as an expert' or moderating comments to preserve an image, so why not continue to enjoy that freedom and talk about mistakes, things you might change if you did it again, etc? It's very helpful to your readers.

    Hatty

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  35. This coat is fantastic !! I am really impress with the result! Good job :)

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  36. Hero worship all the way!

    Actually, I'm totally kidding about that. I like to see the little imperfections and quirks that make something homemade. If it were absolutely perfect why bother to make it at all? I think wiggly top stitches give something charm and character.

    And I have no advice to toggles... so not a toggles girl.

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  37. Hi Peter - WOWZER!!!!
    It's lookng fab, what a fantastic job you have done on this one (as ever!)
    Personally I like the way you post right now - photos of construction, dialogue on technique and dilemas along the way. I'm open to seeing problems and issues during and after a project, that way we can all help each other and it encourages new sewers by showing that no matter how skilled we are, we all make mistakes (or have blonde moments).
    Keep up the good work Peter - you're an inspiration!

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  38. The coat looks amazing Peter! I'm so impressed!

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  39. What a lovely coat! I think discussing the little imperfections is your choice but I have learned so much from you. Perhaps not actually techniques but attitude toward sewing. I have sewed for 50 years at least and it is reinvigorating to hear about how another sewer (I'm old hat) approached a project.

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  40. Peter, your coat looks awesome! After seeing both you and Gigi making toggle coats on your blogs this week, I'm super excited to make a toggle coat of my own.

    My RTW toggle coat doesn't have any extra buttons or snaps, and it always seems fine to me. It does have 5 toggles instead of 4, if that makes a difference.

    Also, everything I've ever made has some kind of tiny flaw. I don't point them out unless I'm asking for advice from sewing friends.

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  41. Beautiful coat, Peter!

    If you look at your "flaws" as teaching tools, you'll be doing the rest of us newbies a favor. So thank you.

    But don't feel obligated to share "flaws" and opt to present to us an allusion of perfection. We'd never know.

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  42. Work it! It turned out better than perfect. The fit is superb. As for deviations…not flaws, you don't tell, we don't notice.

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  43. Looks great! The toggles really give it a professional look.

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  44. Peter, the coat looks great on you and it is as perfect as can be! Congratulations! You are the one who is going to use the iz, so it is up to you, if you need the buttons. I would live the way it is.

    Andrea
    (from Germany)

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  45. Nice work on the coat! I'd let it stay as is for a week. Then if it still bothers you, re-do. But above all, it's your coat, it needs to work for you.

    As far as pointing out the mistakes, I'm of 2 minds. One is to use the "galloping horse" rule. This is definitely what I use for passing compliments from people. The other is show where you deviated from the pattern and instructions, or had issues. I appreciate it when bloggers share their woes and work-arounds, as it has made me realize that I'm not alone when my projects don't work out as I hoped. I also learn how to work around issues when they crop up. Also, someone leaving a comment may have a new idea on how to resolve the problem.

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  46. It looks fantastic - great job! I am sure you'll get many wears out of it in the years to come!
    I'm always critical of my own work, but I think it is a good thing in the pursuit of perfection. You can hide your mistakes and hero-worship yourself if you want, but a real hero admits their mistakes, finds a solution, and shares it with everyone else so they learn from it too - he he that's my opinion!
    Re the hem, if the hem is attached to the lining I would just remove the handstitching, as the topstitching is doing the job.
    Re the toggles, I think that is just the toggle 'thing', and wouldn't add buttons.
    Enjoy your new coat - it's fabulous!

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  47. I think a toggle coat should have that sway and looseness, so I wouldn't add buttons, snaps etc. That's just me though, the coat should make you happy. :)

    I adore that you share your problems and the construction of the clothes. We learn so much from your sharing of these things, teachers are the greatest heros.

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  48. Gorgeous coat, Peter! If it's as warm as it looks it's going to be worth its weight in gold this winter. I sewed leather closures onto a jacket a couple years ago and it was AWFUL. I have blocked out what I did in the end, but I think it involved hand-cranking the sewing machine to punch holes in the closure and then hand-sewing the closure to the coat through the holes.

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  49. Thanks for the wonderful comments, everyone -- We'll talk tomorrow!

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  50. Lovely! I can't wait to hear more about it tomorrow, as I finish pajama set #10... infant's ruffle-butt footie jammies.

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  51. Stunning, stunning coat. I feel you on the loose toggle closure thing. I have a beautiful vintage coat that closes only with a belt, but on the inside it has a waist tie made out of the lining material and attached, um, from memory where the lining meets the coat facings, or is it the side seams, or one of each... anyway that helps the whole thing stay securely and symmetrically done up. I agree with the 'wear it for a while and see if it still bothers you' opinion offered by many here, but if this still bothers you, perhaps you could try some inner securings, if that makes sense?

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  52. love it Peter, excellent job as always!
    & none of us are perfect, the flaws in our workmanship are just characteristics that further enhance our garments, no need to announce them cos we all have them!
    The horn toggles are divine, & I wouldn't be too concerned about it not sitting perfectly all the time.... its a casual style after all, meant for looking lived in!
    Enjoy your gorgeous jacket, & the many compliments it will generate!

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  53. Fantastic coat - a real classic and you definitely wear it well. You have done an amazing job. Personally I like the way you chat about your projects. A little mention of what you perceive to be flaws (though I guarantee nobody else would ever spot them!)helps those of us who are learning to sew through you!

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  54. Oh, Peter, you little style-setter, you! Last night on the news, Julian Assange was released from custoday, and he appeared, wearing... a toggle coat! I'm impressed!

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  55. Another exciting leak -- thanks, Sue! LOL

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  56. Hi Peter!

    I have a suggestion on how to iron the shoulder of your coat: try to fill the space inside with a folded bath towel. Use one of your hand to secure in place and the other to iron.

    Greetings,

    Andrea
    from Germany

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  57. It's lovely. I vote for hero-worship! Don't point out the short-comings at all unless it's for this blog because I am a complete newbie and am always learning from you.

    In real life, just say thank you when they fawn over it. That is a fine looking coat.

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  58. Hi Peter .- You did an admirable job. Also, you look awesome. I always thought of doing this pattern, but .... I never did. Well, now is a pleasure to see wearing in you. ahhh .. I hope you look in Barcelona soon. You'll love this city. Best ..

    Paco

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  59. Thank you for your blogging efforts. I appreciate the work! The coat is gorgeous. I think a quick peruse of RTW toggle coats would quickly put things in perspective. That said, add a snap or button if you choose. I think the looseness of the design will carry the coat from fall to early spring. Swing open for kite flying and toggle up for dinner after dark.

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  60. Just wanted to let you know that we liked your toggle coat project so much that we posted a link to your Picasa page from our Vogue Patterns facebook page. Fantastic job!
    Kathy Marrone

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  61. I was on Vogue's facebook page, and saw your coat. It's great. As with most handmade items, the maker is usually the only one that sees the 'mistakes'. I think that whatever you decide about the hem, it will be just fine.

    I am going to make two duffle coats, one from the Vogue pattern you have and one from a McCalls pattern. Both OOP. I got both of mine on eBay. I was inspired by Isaac Mizrahi's version on QVC. His has toggle closures and a zipper. Might be an idea if you decide to do another.

    Great job.

    sewsy

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  62. I saw this on patternreview and again spotted you on the colette blog. I LOVE the jacket!

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  63. I've just started following your sewing adventures after stumbling across you on Pattern Reviews network. You are a real inspiration to the novice sewer. I am a 32 year old Science and Psychology teacher in London with a recent fascination for sewing clothes. I started out making pillows, then on to curtains. Now I’m trying my hand at making baby clothes for a friends new one.

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