Monday, November 24, 2014

Scandalishly Delicious!

SO, unless you are residing under a rock, you have heard the buzz about Scandal, the tv show with Kerry Washington.  Even if you haven't become obsessed with watching the "scandalous" behavior each episode, those of us who love clothes, love watching each week just to see the sartorial splendor donned by the character Olivia Pope.  All I ever need is a reason to sew something and so, I found it squarely rooted in the wardrobe of Ms. Pope.  As I noted in my last post, several years ago, I decided to tackle the coat making world.  I don't know why, other than "why not" for my rationale back then. And since it was around my birthday, I was certain this was a "sign" for me!  I mean, why wouldn't it be perfectly appropriate to celebrate my birthday with a new coat?  Funny thing about this new revelation; before a couple years ago, I wasn't even a big coat wearer.  It gets cold enough in Tennessee for them, but I never wear one when driving and for many years my job afforded me a parking garage so I didn't have to be terribly exposed to the elements.  So much for the practical aspects of outer garment wearing! I've never allowed practicality to stop me before.  :-)

So, back to my current situation.  Here is the inspiration:
And here is my take on the inspiration! (My face suggests that I'm very mean! I'm not and when my DD took this photo, I was just waiting for her to tell me she was ready! She didn't! Now I have to work on my "mean mug face!)

I just LOVED this thing from the moment I saw her wearing it.  It was classy, commanding (I mean who can get away with wearing a WHITE trench coat) and just a bit scandalous!  So, I saw this and knew this was the 2014 Barbara Birthday coat.  I also knew I already had a pattern in my stash and would probably not need to "frankenstein" several patterns to make it work.  And I thank you McCalls for that! I had no idea this pattern was a best pattern winner at from 2009! Wow, didn't know I'd been stashing for so long. ;-)
View E (the beige trench far left) was perfect.  Practically identical actually!.  Sew, the next step was fabric.  In my mind, I initially thought of the outerwear choices I see at Hancock's around this time of year.  They are these coated fabrics that I guess one would make rain slickers from (??).  They feel more like those plastic tablecloths that you can toss out when the picnic ends.  I wasn't feeling motivated.  Then, one day, lightening struck - well common sense I guess (which is rarely common) . I thought, a polished cotton or brushed cotton would be the perfect choice.  So, I set about to find such treasure.  I love online fabric options, but I try local first.  You can touch the fabric and know that it's right and if you want it right away, there you go.  Sadly, in Memphis, the fabric stores believe that the "World of Fleece" is the only world worth living in.  Thank goodness for online fabric and online fabric sales.  I checked and not only did they have a polished cotton, but it was a stretch (added bonus) and it was on sale for 5.99 a yard!!!  The fabric angels were shining down on me.

Ok, so the fabric arrives and I'm ready to go. Whoa nelly, what about lining?  Again, back to the COMPLETE LACK OF VARIETY AT THE LOCAL FABRIC STORES (that means I can't line this coat with fleece Hancock's FABRIC stores (you do know what the name means in your business name dontcha?  Of course the pattern called for China Silk for the lining and that is not going to be at my local store.  Usually, I just ignore the pattern recommendations and get what I like from what's available locally.  I must admit however, that has worked against me in the past. I have several dresses that I LOVE but hate the lining because it's either too heavy or too "polyestery" for the garment and thus, feels hot and/or cheap!  So, again to the online options I go.  Now I'm ready! I cut my fabric pieces. My lining hasn't yet arrived but no worries, I will get started.  Because my life is set up for simplicity, there MUST be a glitch.  SO on Sunday, a week ago, as I'm putting pieces together, I realize that the front of the coat has to be cut out FOUR times!!  I go back and barely manage to cut the front facings out! Whew! Crisis averted! Back to work. I know you think the drama and trauma should be over at this point but NOOOOOO! Not so much.  It seems, because I'm not that smart, not only did I miss cutting the front facing pieces out, I also missed cutting the side front pieces out!!  But unlike the "just barely" enough fabric save for the fronts, there is nothing left but cylindrical pieces left.  No way I can get anything more than a sweatband out of the remnants!  How could this happen?  Well, I'm notoriously bad about looking at fabric layout guides and especially so when I think I have LOTS of fabric so no issue.  This is a much bigger issue than I can properly convey in words.  Why you ask? Because, as I mentioned above, I was delightfully happy to have found this fabric on line!  At this point, that means I can't readily (like right now) go get more fabric. I pull my computer out and go back to the website to order more fabric because, this coat is solid white and matching whites (even if I found the exact fabric) is more difficult than matching colors.  Suffice it to say, I didn't find this fabric again online.  In tears now, I endeavor out to my local fabric stores (remember the ones I groused about above?) hoping against hope that I can find something that will work.  (Insert the thank you JoAnn's Speech here). After two Hancock's, I finally find two pieces that I think will work at JoAnn's!

Not only did I have a problem with the fabric, but also with the lining AND the buttons! Story below! But, after all of that, here is the finished product!  I must say, I'm in love with the final product.  It really wasn't difficult to sew at all!  It was all the other things that came into the process that aged me another year!

Like the buttons?  The buttons HAD to be silver, and they really needed to be shank type buttons.  And they needed to be 1 inch diameter.  Well, guess what I could not find? Yep, 1 inch, silver, shank buttons!  So, what are these you may ask? Well, they are covered buttons. Covered with what you may ask? Isn't it obvious? Duct Tape! Silver electrical duct tape! Honestly, it's cute and worked for my obsessive need to complete this coat and wear it today, but I will need to change them. I just have to find 1 inch silver shank buttons.  I looked at every fabric store in Memphis and looked on line.  I used the advertisements in Threads and looked for them.  Nothing.  So, hopefully someone will give me a lead on these most elusive closures! 

The cuff tabs.  I will need to alter the tab carriers.  They are too long, but I love the look!


So, I finally finished my coat! I did it an actual week before my real birthday on the 30th.  That's amazing for me.  I have a few things that still need to be changed, but it's done and I love it! Now on to the next crazy obsessive item to create! Hint:  it's not a coat but it's totally cool and I can't wait to share!!

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Easy Breezy Blue

So, November is my birthday month!!  Yay!!  And my tradition over the past several years has been to "be creative" for my birthday. For me, that has meant creating clothes.  And not just "a birthday dress" but usually a birthday "ensemble".  That has yielded this coat.
And the next year, this coat.
And last year, my DD gave me a "sartorial birthday party" and that resulted in these.

So, here we are this year!  And the plan is for a "Scandal-like" trench coat and a fabulous black dress that I saw on a runway last year.  And you would now expect me to import those photos right?  Nah, that's not how I operate.  I prefer to wait until the last minute and stress myself completely out in order to get the garments finished.  That makes sense right?  Yeah, I know. Completely nuts.  
So, the title of the post suggest something easy and stress free.  And that's exactly what I made Thursday night while watching Project Runway Allstars.  And just so you know, this is not one of the dresses (yes, more than one is the intent!) I plan to create in celebration of my birthday.  But, it was really easy and fun and I love the color. 
This fabric was in my stash.  I have had it for more than a year I'm certain.  I either got it from or  I can't remember why I originally selected it.  But once it arrived, I guess I didn't like it for the intended project.  Now I love it and so glad it was sitting there waiting for its moment.  This pattern has been in my stash for a while as well.  I love wrap dresses and should have far more than I actually have at this point.  I need to correct that error! :-)
This came together very quickly.  It fits well (need to force my daughter to take a photo of me in it!) I made it Thursday night while watching PR Allstars.  Hemmed it Friday morning and wore it to work Friday.  I got lots of compliments which confirmed this was a great combination.
So now, it's time to start that birthday collection.  LOL, I kill myself with the nuttiness that is my logic.  Well, my birthday is not until the last day of November, so I have time. Right??