Cashmere Coat Done!
This baby is put to bed! Over all I am pleased with the results. So here are some pics and comments. I used Simplicity 2812.
This pattern has great princess seams, the better for fit adjustments, several collar options, and a raised defined waistline, one of my better looks. I chose to do the view with the stand up collar and shorter length. I used a size 6 pattern. I "petited" it by folding out a good inch on the upper chest, back, and sleeve cap. I do this with all my patterns right out of the envelope. I did a full bust adjustment and also widened the waist and hips a tad. Upon flat pattern measuring the upper sleeve and comparing to my upper arm, I realized there was NO ease. I proceeded to widen the upper arm to accommodate mine. I have to tell you though, I am not a big person with big fleshy arms. So I didn't quite get this but the numbers didn't lie. This brings me to one of the things I don't like about this pattern and that is the sleeves. They are puffy. So I am thinking the top of the sleeve is over fitted and the bottom just too puffy. If you look at the full length coats on the pattern envelope you will see they are definitely puffy, something that I did not pick up on till my coat was cut and sewn. When I did my muslin I just did the bodice and upper hip. Shame on me. If I ever re do this pattern I will search out a two piece sleeve to use instead of the puffy version. To deal with the width I darted the lower sleeve and prickstitched it. The pattern offers a similar option as well as a tab option. I will say that the big sleeve is very comfortable, especially with a sweater underneath, the way I wore it shopping the other day.
One thing I do really like about the pattern is the collar. It is a wide stand away mandarin collar. Is there another name for this? It is easy to sneak a scarf in there, something very necessary in our climate and the way the collar stands away is very flattering to the neck and face. So that I like.
Another like is the lining. It is a silk crepe de chine. I was back and forth over whether to add a back neck facing or not. Then one night I stumbled on to Ann Rowley's pearls of wisdom from Stitcher's guild. In answer to the same question, she said that back neck facings were rarely seen in couture and the lining was always brought up to the neckline. Talk about a lucky lurk!.
Another thing I did not like about this pattern that did not become evident until construction was completed were the pocket flaps. They set way too low for my short body. I faced the hem to add additional length below the flaps and I think this saved the day. If I did this pattern again I would set the pockets and flaps much higher. Its a "short" thing. I know you petites understand.
My details included hand picking all the princess seams and flap and collar edges for additional definition. This detail really went quickly and I would not hesitate to do it again. If you try this do some samples first, trying different threads. Measure out your stitches for accuracy. The coat also has bound buttonholes which I hadn't done in a few years. I did LOTS of samples before I started on the actual coat and am glad I did. I actually put one of my samples in backwards and perish what that would have looked like on the coat! Irretrievable!
The buttons are JHB and I love them. Let's face it. The coat is pretty plain. The buttons jazzed it up just enough.
All in all, I am very happy with my new winter coat. It feels just scrumptious with its lighter than air cashmere shell, heavy flannel interlining, and silk crepe de chine lining. The other day we had a high of 12º and I tooled about town in my new coat and hat. I was warm as a brown marshmallow on a summer's night. This coat is really quite light to carry.
A few words about the cashmere. This stuff is yummy. HOWEVER, and it is a big however, it has a wicked nap. You need to baste your brains out here. It just moves everywhere, worse than velvet. The other caveat is the ironing. I used a medium/low setting and my own moisture put on with a dauber for the most part. In the beginning, while making samples, I figured out the ironing challenges. Thank goodness that lesson was learned before I ruined the coat. I did scorch a sample for failure to use a press cloth. Remember this stuff is hair from a goat, not fur. So it scorches. If this happens, take an emery board and just rub the scorch off. I did this on the sample and you never would have know it had burned. So always a press cloth, gentle touch, and moisture in those seams. All the tools came in handy for this, my pressing mitt, seam roll, ham, etc.
I will be away holiday visiting down on the Cape and the North Shore for the next week. When I get back it will be full tilt on the fur vest. At this point the pattern is all drawn out on the backing and I have started the tedious step of cutting it out, using little nips with the points of the scissors. Every time I go downstairs I do a few more inches. I hope to make another hat to go with it. Till next week..........Bunny