Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Greening up

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The black is miraculously turning green at last. The trees still look pretty ugly but the grass is growing and it makes such a difference.
View from bottom of the valley. Our house is on the hill at the top right.
For comparison, here's what the view of our hill looked like at the beginning of March,

We have had a lot of rain this year - almost a meter since Jan 1 - and a couple of weeks ago, we had 15 cm in two days! As a result, there were lots of slips. Ross had to get a digger in so he could get out the driveway to pick me up at the airport! There are lots of slips going down our valley as well.

Slip coming down through burned Mahoe trees

And the culvert on our stream that was burned out in the fire but still holding its tunnel shape was finally washed out.
Daphne and Phobe contemplating alternatives to jumping over!
But all that is easily fixed once it's dry enough for the digger driver to get down there.

Huge mats of broom are coming up in some places. We might join in with neighbours and do some aerial spraying in September or October. I also thought we might see if we can find some older broom with the broom gall mite on it. There was a lot of it on our property pre-fire but it was all burned. But maybe some of the neighbours have some surviving. It would be good to get several branches and distribute it through the new broom. 
Broom seedlings coming up
Another couple of months and we should be getting a hint of which trees are surviving. Lots of the cabbage trees are alive and virtually all of the flax has started to regrow. Looking forward to springtime!

Ross' Overcoat aka Vogue American Designer 1330

Another long overdue post! About one year ago, my husband Ross put in an order for an overcoat. I found a vintage Bill Blass pattern on Etsy in size 42. We then went fabric hunting and found a wool (80%)/acrylic (20%) blend check in dark brown and tan at Harald's in Christchurch. We also found a paisley acetate lining fabric. So by October I was ready to roll. Unfortunately, there were many interruptions including sewing Christmas presents, our big fire, making a baby quilt for the daughter of a good friend back in California. So I didn't finish it until May. Then I went to the US and Canada to visit family. But last weekend, Ross finally got to wear it out to the symphony on a chilly winter's evening.

Materials used:
Mid-weight wool (80%)/acrylic (20%) for exterior and front facing
Acetate for lining
Fashion Fuse woven interfacing 55 g/m2 as interlining for whole front (excluding revere and excluded SA from center front to corner and down front edge), upper back, front facing, sleeves to 2 inches above elbows, trimmed 1/4 inch off interfacing wherever it was included in the SA
Stayflex woven interfacing 79 g/m2 for revere (not SA), upper collar, pocket welts, sleeve tabs
Linen for undercollar interfacing
Medium weight hair canvas for breast plate from Hawes and Freer
Columbina domette from Bias Bespoke Supply Company
Raglan shoulder pads from Hawes and Freer
Guttermann polyester thread; contrasting topstitching thread for topstitching
Black cotton twill tape (preshrunk) on back lower foldline along vent, along armscye seams, and at cuff fold line
Horn buttons from Hawes and Freer

Machine info:
Janome Memorycraft 6600 Professional; 2.5mm stitch length (3 for topstitching); 4 thread tension
70/12 universal needle; jeans needle for topstitching

Changes from original pattern:
1. I couldn't find a good matching wool fabric so instead of lining the whole coat with contrasting fabric, I cut the front lining piece in two lengthwise, added seam allowances, and made the front half a facing made from the primary fabric. I lined the rest of the coat with paisley acetate lining.
Front lining cut in half and SAs added

Resulting front facing and front lining
2. I added a breast plate made with hair canvas and domette. I created the pattern pieces based on David Coffin's chapter 'Techniques for a Topcoat' in the book Jackets, Coats and Suits published by Threads magazine in 1992 (found on abebooks.com). I used the hybrid tailoring method from Alison Smith's tailoring class on craftsy.com. 

3. For the collar, I used David Coffin's technique on interfacing for a convertible collar from the same chapter described above.  This technique involves making two roll lines, an upper one for when the coat is buttoned to the top and a lower one for when the lapels are open. The interfacing is cut on the upper roll line and then rejoined using lining fabric(see photos below). I padstitched the undercollar. Sorry, I can't find the photo of all the padstitching. I also added centre back seams to the collar and undercollar so I could match the plaid to the back of the coat at the centre back. 

 4. I added a breast pocket on the left side using this method from The Sewing Academy.  Because of the breast pocket, I couldn't make a double entry pocket on this side. But I don't suppose Ross would have a lot of need to get through his left coat pocket into his pants pocket as he is right handed.

5. I made bound buttonholes for all the large butonholes down the front using the ebook How to Make a Bound Buttonhole by Karen Ball. I used automatic key type buttonholes for the cuffs and the top button on the collar.

Markings for bound buttonholes
With welt

Preparing the back window
6. I added raglan shoulder pads.

Other details:
I made a muslin first but I don't think it helped much as the fabric was so much lighter. 

I thread basted all the seam lines with cotton thread run through bees wax (which helps avoid thread tangles) as I was expecting to make alterations. When I did the first fitting with the shoulder pads basted in, the upper lateral sleeve was too full. I didn't want to take in the outside sleeve seam as it was already sewn and topstitched so I tried taking it in at the armscye - bad decision - it didn't work at all. So I bit the bullet and took out the topstitching and the seam. I then took in that seam line starting just above the tip of the shoulder, decreasing gradually to 1/4 inch of the SA emoved from each and tapered back to zero at the elbow. I also had to take in the side seams up to 1 inch on each piece. I guess I should have bought a size 40!

I made the fold line for the revere from just above the the top large button hole to the notch at the neckline. 

I reinforced the pocket facings with linen as I didn't think the lining fabric would be sturdy enough. for what men put in their coat pockets - keys, change etc.

I did a fair bit of tacking at the end: the double entry pocket welt to the chest plate, the undercollar to the outercollar at the neck seamline, the lining to the main coat at the bottom of the armscye.

When I pressed it at the end, I used lots of steam and for the collar, I pressed it around a rolled teatowel. 

And here is the final result. I'm happy and so is Ross!