A Coat in Central Park

I’ve recovered from a trip to NYC celebrating my 30th birthday, and I’ve got a few photos to share.  I was warned it would be cold there, but no amount of warnings prepared me for just how truly cold it was.  It’s not exactly that it was so much colder in NYC than anywhere else I’ve been, but the amount of walking outside we did was exponentially more than the norm for me.  I was never all that bothered by the cold in Texas this winter when I’d hop from one warm building to the next.  But it only took a minute for my hand to become icy cold in NYC when I was standing on a sidewalk trying to use my iPhone  to navigate the direction to the next tourist attraction.  We quickly learned the value of layering clothes, I bought fleece lined tights at the local Duane Reede, and we took turns taking gloves off to use our phones.
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I had four wonderful traveling companions…and I didn’t manage a photo of all of us.  So here are 3 of the 4 beauties I spent most of my time with.  My twin sister is on the left, little sister in the middle, and my Spanish friend Ruth on the right.  Ruth’s sister also joined us.

I won’t recount all the details for you, but we had a lovely time in the city.  I do intend to tell you all about the coat I made for my trip and the sewing blogger I met.

As for the coat, it’s a vintage Vogue Paris Original, # 2575.  I was drawn to the shape of the collar and the yoke details.  It lacks pockets, but after much searching for the perfect pattern, this was as close as I could get to a shape that I liked.  The side belting made adding pockets inconvenient, so I planned to wear gloves and not worry about pockets.

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The pattern was interesting to work with because there are no side seams and there were 1.5″ seam allowances at several points.  I couldn’t disregard the instructions since the shape and construction were quite different than any other jacket or shirt I’ve made before.  So I completed all the written instructions, one step at a time.  The shoulders are intentionally dropped, and there are no shoulder pads or sleeve heads.  The yoke is stabilized with horse hair canvas, and all pieces are underlined with weft interfacing which added subtle stability and a nice layer to anchor hand stitching. This was my first time using weft interfacing; it’s kind of like cheesecloth–loosely woven, and it definitely requires the use of a pressing cloth.  I cleaned my iron twice and used multiple cloths while working with this stuff–it was icky and awesome at the same time!
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The lining is a nasty poly fabric with an adorable Russian nesting doll print.  This fabric was awful to work with, but it’s nice and slippery as a lining.  I underlined the lining with a thick flannel for warmth (there by “interlining” the coat).  The flannel helped stabilize the poly lining and made it tolerable to work with.  Even with the interlining, I’m not sure this coat is exactly winter weight.  The outer fabric is an unknown wool that was given to me.  I think it’s on the lighter side for wool though and maybe not the stuff winter dreams are made of.  But hey, it was free, and it pressed and sewed beautifully.  Plus I just layered a sweater or other long sleeves underneath–isn’t that the point of a loose fitting coat, being able to wear layers under it?!

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The sleeves are a tad long, but I’d prefer a long sleeve to a short one any day.  And that kind of sloppy fitting is bound to happen when you skip the muslin fitting, right?  I can live with it.

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I doubled up on thread for the topstitching, not that you can tell.  I couldn’t find a topstitching thread in the right color, and after trying a couple different darker shades of brown, I decided the stitching looked best in a matching shade.
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I used brown buttons from my vintage stash (same source as the wool) for the front closing and the cuffs.  I couldn’t help but wonder if the lady who bought the wool picked these buttons to go with it, or if she had other plans.  The only problem with vintage buttons is that I didn’t have enough… So I used some from my local fabric store for the belting.  The fact that they don’t match doesn’t really bother me.  11 buttons is kind of a lot, and I don’t care to spend another $20+ for matching buttons.

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Central Park was a great place for taking photos.  It’s beautiful even in winter.  But I’d sure love to see it all green too!
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The final highlight of my trip that I’d like to share with you was meeting one of my sewing heroes, the blogger behind Ginger Makes.  Sonja is one of my favorite bloggers, and I regularly buy patterns based on her recommendations because she sews garments that are practical and spectacular.  She was kind enough to meet up with me and show me around Mood Fabrics too.  Thank you Sonja!!  I did buy two lovely fabrics at Mood, and I hope to share those as finished projects with you sometime this year.

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13 comments

  1. What a fun birthday trip!!! And so fearless of you to brave the cold! Your new coat looks gorgeous – I love all the topstitching and little details like the belting. Wonderfully done!

  2. Love your coat! It LOOKS cold so I am glad you had something warm to wear. :) And how neat that you were able to meet a fellow sewing blogger! Looks like you had a great time!

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