My January Garment plans – a fleece coat!

I’m definitely having some fun with the Late Lunch Tunic pattern (blogged here and here). The lines of the bodice are so classic, and I’m in love with the soft gathers in the skirt. So I’ve decided to draft a long coat using the LL Tunic as my base!

Here’s a look at the lines of the tunic – I’m really not making a lot of changes. Dropping the collar leaves a perfect round neck, and it’s easy to open the front of the skirt and extend the sleeves.

Inspiration? I fell in love with this Burda Style coat when it first appeared last year – charming! And the fabric is beautiful. I dream of doing a coat in a similar fabric…

BS 10/2013 #130 Maxi Coat
Here’s another gorgeous coat I found, again a beautiful fabric.
Sundance Oasis Jacket
But such pretty fabric is dear, so I’m doing my first version in a nice heather grey polyester fleece from JoAnns (recently on sale for only $2.99/yd). And I’m drafting a lining as well, in black poly/cotton broadcloth. I think – hope – the broadcloth lining will help ‘hold’ the structure of  the fleece.
My fabric is already cut out, I’m itching to get sewing today! Fleece is perfect for the Florida winter chill. And I’ll be in North Carolina at the end of the month to visit family. Not outside, but in and out of the car. This will be a nice alternative to a heavy coat.
The Make a Garment a Month challenge is such fun. And it’s on its own blog now – check it out, great garments being sewn, lots of familiar bloggers – and you can join in at any time. It’s low-key and really inspiring –  my kind of challenge 🙂
Bye for now – Coco

My December Garment of the Month!!

Well, it was New Year’s Eve yesterday – so I must be forgiven for being a day late with my December garment (we’ll forget about the 30 days preceding that…). Actually I took photos this morning after about 10 hours of sleep, even the fireworks did not keep me up!

Still half asleep – great hairdo, Coco!

My December garment is this little top based on Liesl Gibson’s Late Lunch Tunic. I blogged the original version, complete with collar, on Coco’s Loft in early December. The big change I’ve made is to remove the collar and make a v-neckline. I really like this look.

I noted in my earlier blog that I had added an inch to the bodice, front and back, because I’m a little taller than the pattern contemplates. Did not want the front gathers smack across my bust! And I added the fourth button as a result.  I also took the 1″ off the hemline, as the tunic is a generous length.
Love this cute fabric, a very soft and lightweight poly-rayon jersey from Fabric.com. So soft that I took the precaution of adding a little stabilizer… I used Pellon easy-knit fusible interfacing in the yoke linings, and twill tape in the shoulder seam allowance of the back lining. I pretty much always stabilize the shoulders in a knit top. Wright makes a 1/4″ polyester twill tape in white and black that works perfectly in a small seam allowance.

And now it’s truth time – those big buttons will be coming off, little ones going on, and this comfy top is going in my PJ drawer! Not what I intended – but it’s just a little too light and sheer for street-wear.

My wishes to all of you, my dear friends, for a happy, healthy new year that brings you peace, joy, challenge, contentment, fulfillment, wonderment, and prosperity in equal measure.

Ciao! Coco

Liesl + co. Late Lunch Tunic – Merry muslin go-round…

 Another cute tunic caught my eye recently on Pattern Review – the Late Lunch Tunic by Liesl Gibson, designer of the much-loved oliver + s childrens’ patterns. Her women’s line has four garments and one handbag, under the banner liesl + co. and all are digital patterns, which I love! Instant gratification.

This little number features 3/4 length sleeves that are cut as one piece with the yoked bodice, and a skirt that is gathered at the bodice front and back and has a hi-lo hemline. Oh, and a open-collar neckline with a two-button closure. Whew.

And I just could not leave it alone. So here starts the story of my muslin, which is done in a cotton jersey knit. The knit is on purpose – I want to sew it in knit fabric, not woven. All those gathers, the skirt volume, and the tight curve under the sleeve just seem to say “try me in a knit…”.

My first muslin is true to the pattern, with only a few adjustments:

I cut a size 12 (I’m 5’7″, 140 lbs, and have a 37.5″ bust) and added 1″ to the length of all the bodice pieces. The bodice seam falls slightly below the 10 1/2″ apex of a Big Four pattern- it’s worth doing some measuring on the pattern before cutting, particularly if you usually do a vertical bust adjustment! I do, my bust apex dropped years ago! and is somewhere around 12″ from my shoulder.
To offset the length added at the bodice, I removed 1″ from the hemline of the skirt pieces.
Also in deference to the extra length in the bodice, I added a third button at the neckline.
Since the front yoke is self lined, I cut a second back yoke and used it to line the back yoke as well. This replaced a bias binding used to face the back in the pattern, and it made for a very nice finish on the inside of the bodice.
And I made one more change to slim the front silhouette of the tunic. I took 6″ out of the width of the front skirt. This hugely decreased the gathers under the front bodice (I think that on my next version I will take out only 4″). 

Looks really good on Emile – but I did not like it on me! I’m really not fond of pointed, open collars on tops and blouses. I have a huge big large head, and think it’s accentuated by some collar styles. To me the top just looked blah. So I added a fourth button and ran elastic through the sleeve hems, looking to pep things up…. 

Sidebar please:
Buttons – sparkly ones from JoAnn’s. I used vertical buttonholes, instead of horizontal, for a couple reasons: (1) the overlap is narrow, not much room for a button of any size, and (2) on a knit, a horizontal buttonhole tends to push out at the edge because it is sewn with the stretch of the fabric.
May I mention that I love the buttonholes sewn by my Singer Quantum Stylist 9960? This area is interfaced with fusible easy-knit pellon. The buttonholes are so easy and pretty, even on a knit fabric.

My second version was not a hit – I knew I was struggling with a sea of grey fabric, but I just could not get over the collar. Everything else about the design was so nice. I did not want to give up.

So I chopped off the collar!! and converted the neckline to a v-neck. Cut 1.5″ off the sleeves and re-hemmed them to a shorter length. 
And the sun came out 🙂

Loving the new neckline!

Of course, by this time my poor muslin was pretty rumpled and crumpled. and the neckline did not have the advantage of being sewn before the entire tunic was assembled (a little stretched out). A good wash and dry should fix it up.
So this is my version of the Late Lunch Tunic, and I’m ready to commit to my first ‘real’ go. I have some cute dotted creamsicle and brown poly-rayon jersey from Fabric.com. And even ordered brown ponte on Black Friday, so I can make Marcy Tilton skinny pants to go-with.
And the two together will be my December garments-of-the-month!
Bye for now – Coco