Friday, December 20, 2013

A very loud raincoat.

I have been working on this raincoat for longer than I care to admit, only to finish it in the most ironic way possible- the day before our first giant snowstorm. Then I procrastinated taking the photos of it for long enough that there is no more snow. You'll just have to take my word for it- we had snow. Lots of it.

 I'm not sure why I was seized with the desire to sew myself a raincoat, but I imagine it had something to do with the fabric. I bought this laminated fabric at a fabric outlet store in Sioux Falls, South Dakota when I was visiting my mother either one or two summers ago. Not sure. It sat in my stash, making me happy, until about two months ago, when it said to me, "Sew me." Normally I would be alarmed that my fabric was speaking to me, but in this case, I said, "Yes. Yes I will." Luckily I had a trench coat pattern in my collection (McCalls 5525), but unluckily, I didn't have quite enough fabric. I managed to get all the pieces out of my yardage except the front facings. I thought about trying to find more matching fabric, but the print is so incredibly loud that I thought a contrast print might be better.. easier on the eyes. Less searing.

So I bought a half yard of this Michael Miller polka dot print, only to realize that a half yard was about half of what I actually needed. There's some creative seaming happening with the lining and the polka dot print in the front facings, but it's a raincoat, and as such, will always be worn closed, so no will know but me. And now you.


I had everything done but the buttonholes for about a week, but having never actually made buttonholes before (I have no idea how I've avoided that, and ironically, I've made bound buttonholes, which are about eight million times harder), I procrastinated like a big baby. When I finally sat down to make them, it took about 4 seconds and required no work on my part, so I have no idea why I waited. Oh well.

For any sewing nerds out there, here's how I dealt with the laminated fabric:
- use small binder clips instead of pins during the construction. I did pin the pattern pieces to the fabric when I was cutting, but within the seam allowance only.
- I don't have a Teflon presser foot, so I just put Scotch tape on the bottom of my normal foot, and it worked just fine.
- when hand-sewing the bottom of the lining to the laminated fabric, I quickly realized that there was no way I was going to shove the needle through that fabric more than once. So I sewed the lining to the stitching only- like actually through each thread loop, then through the lining. I'm not sure how durable it will be, but at least it was easy on my hands.

The pattern is fine- it's not the easiest pattern I've used, but it's not the worst. The fit is good- the only change I made was to slope the shoulder seams down about 1/2" because I didn't want to use shoulder pads. Oh, and I didn't make buttonholes in the epaulets, because that just seemed goofy to me. I sewed the button on through all the fabric layers and called it good.

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