Readers, it's time to return to the 1944 topper project, Butterick 2969. And I have good news to report. Though this coat hasn't been without its challenges, I'm very happy with it so far.
Whether it's on account of the texture of the fabric -- a well-worn vintage wool blanket -- or the dusty rose color, this is perhaps the most photogenic garment I've ever sewn. Not that it's not attractive in real life, mind you, but it glows on camera. It's the Ava Gardner of outerwear!
The biggest challenge has been the wool itself, which is closer to mohair than melton. It's loosely woven and moderately stretchy. You can press it -- carefully -- but you can also practically mold it into shape with your fingers, which means it is easily unmolded as well.
I've already attached facings and collar and turned them, and though I've trimmed and graded seam allowances extensively, facing seams retain a thickness I'll have to live with. I can press the life out of them from the inside with a clapper, but at a certain point I risk damaging the fabric, even if I'm pressing over a point board. I think the addition of topstitching along the front will make edges a bit more crisp. I've been noticing a lot of wool coats lately, and looser weaves like mohair have softer lapel edges and wider topstitching.
The fabric is very spongy. I'm sure you're familiar with the type of blanket this is/was -- very fluffy, with a visible weave, more visible still on account of the age of the blanket. Here's a close-up sample: you can see the yarn easily.
As I think I've mentioned, when steamed, the wool exudes the smell of an old vaudeville trunk. Oh well.
I padstitched the hair canvas: not as big a deal as I'd feared. I applied twill tape to the shoulder seams to strengthen them (and of course there's twill tape along the outer the edge of the front facings as well).
Front darts came out nicely.
The welt pocket was a headache and I wish the pattern had called for even deeper front pockets, but I managed. I love the look of the topstitched diagonal seam and pocket.
The coat drapes beautifully, perhaps due to the softness of it.
Yesterday I attached the sleeves and maybe for the first time ever, my sleeves went on without a hiccup. They eased in beautifully without any need to trim the sleeve cap.
How I'd like to show you the coat with sleeves, friends, but I want to keep it a surprise for now. I still have to line it, and I'm not sure what kind of lining I'm going to use just yet. Plus I need mega shoulder pads, which I may or may not make myself. I'm hoping to be able to photograph the whole ensemble -- Hollywood jumper and blouse and coat -- this coming week. Fun!
I hope your sewing is going well, friends, and who just said What sewing? Time to put your pedal to the metal -- or is it the other way around?
I'm a native New Yorker and sewing fanatic! I started sewing in 2009 and today make all my own clothes using vintage sewing machines and vintage patterns, in addition to sewing for private clients. Welcome to the warm and whimsical world of Male Pattern Boldness, where the conversation is sewing, style, fashion, fabric, and more!