Friday, 16 November 2012

Coat of so Much Comfort

And, here is my lovely new coat dress! I must say, lining up all those button holes nearly killed me but it was well worth the effort. I didn't end up using the vintage buttons I found at Buttonfest - they were too large - but I managed to find some suitable ones in Lincraft.

Those of you with a sharp eye will notice there appears to be a button missing, I forgot to do it up! Unfortunately I didn't notice 'till we were done and there was no way I was going to take the photos again, so just pretend they're all there.

The welted pockets are not all that functional. They're placed a little high to put your hands in for any length of time but they will come in handy for carrying little things.
The tab collar is just one of the many things I love about this dress. To begin with it was a little too bulky for the button to fasten properly - it needed to hold down six layers of fabric! I ended up using a large press stud to keep the neck closed, sewed the button on the outside and the tabs now sit perfectly. Too easy!!

Oooh, just look how the back skirt swishes!

 My 50s coat dress is so comfortable; it's likely to become the 'go to' outfit for outings on cooler days. And, being spring in Melbourne, I may just end up getting to wear it a few more times before the warm weather sets in. Fingers crossed!
- Tamara

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Making it Work

Several weeks ago now, I was browsing Ebay late one night when I came across a pattern for a button front coat dress. While I have my Bernie Dexter flasher coat  pattern, this one required much less fabric - roughly three metres, which I had in my stash.

Simplicity 4427
It took just over a week to ship from the US and believe it or not, I cut it out the very same day! I can't explain why, the pattern itself is not that spectacular and now the weather is getting warmer, the opportunities to wear a fully lined coat dress are diminishing.
My chosen fabric was a medium weight, wool-blend I scored for a song at Spotlight several years ago. It was originally intended for more of my 40s caplets, but I got tired of making them after sewing three and put the leftover fabric back in the stash.

As you can see, there was a lot left over.
This fabric has been great to work with, although it does fray quite a bit which means a whole lot of overlocking. I've read it's not necessary to finish inside seams if you're going to line a garment but the lining for this dress isn't attached at the bottom and I had visions of bits falling off everywhere I went.

The back pleat in the skirt was a little tricky but the only real issue I had making this dress was working out how to put the lining in. You see, there's a nifty design feature in back which helps the skirt sit out, a support strap of sorts, unfortunately it's joined in the centre back. How to get the lining to sit underneath it....?

Time to get out the unpicker! 
After a bit of puzzling, I decided to leave a slit on either side of the lining and pass the main dress pieces through.

I then refastened the main pieces and hand stitched the lining in place.
Problem solved!
Long-time readers will know just how much I hate button holes - there are ten down the front of this dress and they were supposed to be bound! No freakin' way was that going to happen, regular button holes would have to do. I was so particular about the spacing that I managed to bugger it up and had to resew all the button holes below the waistline. Thankfully, my fabric is very forgiving and they're barely noticeable, unless you're looking for them.

Marcel was tired of button holes too.
Stay tuned tomorrow for the finished project, but until then here's a sneak peak...

- Tamara

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Old Fashioned Love Songs

Has anyone else noticed how fast the days are going by now we're approaching the end of the year? So much to do, so little time... I've quite a bit of catching up to do on the blog front; there have been several outings to report and even a bit of sewing. Time's a wasting so let's get to it!
I've been a huge fan of the Canadian chanteuse Jill Barber since discovering her music back in 2009. My former workplace used to have staff sales of CDs and books which had been sent in for review, the proceeds of which were then donated to charity. When I spied 'Chances' among the offerings, it was love at first site.

I had no idea what the music was like but judging by the cover art, it was likely to be to my taste. Boy, was I ever right. From the moment the I heard the first couple of notes of the intro, I was hooked Listening to this collection of songs, it is amazing to think they are all original compositions. The sweeping strings and dramatic orchestrations combined with Jill's unmistakable voice takes one back to kinder, gentler times. She captures the feeling of times gone by; to quote one reviewer: 'she has a voice that stops time'.
You can imagine my excitement then, when I discovered I would finally get the chance to see Jill perform live. She was touring Australia for the release of her most recent album 'Mischievous Moon' and Melbourne was the final show. Woohoo!! The venue, Bennetts Lane, is nice and intimate and is billed as a 'listening venue' so patrons are respectful and keep quiet while the artist is performing. It was refreshing to be able to go to a gig and hear the entire performance for a change.

The first half of Jill's set featured mainly songs from 'Chances', she sang all my favourites first which pleased me no end. Then it was time for a costume change for the lounge era sound of 'Mischievous Moon'.

I had been dying to hear Jill sing live and it was everything I had hoped for and more. She sounded even better live than the recordings and was genuinely appreciative of the audience taking the time to listen to her songs; she has been writing songs since she was a teenager. She was even gracious enough to stick around and sign CDs after the show - I took my copies of both her albums for just such an occasion. 

Once again, I managed to get an extremely very flattering photo of myself with an artist I admire - damn you  'Self-portrait' setting! Thankfully Jill was patient enough with me to allow a couple more goes and I managed to one decent one of the two of us - even if my boof-head takes up most of the frame.
If you've not heard Jill Barber's music, you can listen to tracks on her website.
She really is lovely.
- Tamara
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