Christmas miracle

While there is alot I like about the holiday season, the worst part is I have to work.  Every year I don’t get to celebrate because I work.  This year is no exception.  I work from 24 December to 3 January with one mandatory, federally regulated day off.  Ugh!  So if my smile looks forced, that is why.

There are two bright spots.  First I should be able to snatch a bit of Christmas on Saturday because I’m supposed to lay over in Boston.  I get in late and leave early, but weather permitting, I shall run over to my sister’s for a bit of happiness and yummy leftovers.  My tupperware is empty and I plan on filling it.  I can sleep another day!

The second bright spot is that my Raspberry Coat is done!  I know it took me an age to make even though it really wasn’t a hard pattern.  It is Burda Style magazine 11/2008 model #116.  Sure, you have to trace off one million pattern pieces and make them fit somehow, but that is really the hardest part of the project.  After dragging my heels for a bit with indecision with how to proceed, I decided this was not going to be a couture coat of the century and just made the damn thing.  So with minimal hand stitching planned, I set off.

The Italian wool coating is thick and fuzzy, rather like a stuffed animal.  It is soft and yummy and was 50% off at Stonemountain and Daughter in Berkeley.  Score!  The thick fabric ravelled, but I fused interfacing to pretty much every body part so that helped.  I’d read that you weren’t supposed to overlock seams because they may distort the shape of the seams.  I lined the coat, so hopefully it won’t fall off my body and disintigrate.  All hem areas are interfaced to prevent wear and tear and I used a piece of muslin to make a back stay at the shoulder area to help that area keep its shape.

Tailoring-wise this was pretty easy.  The collar is a stand collar, so that’s not hard.  I used this method I found to construct the collar and minimize bulk.  The buttonholes are regular machine buttonholes.  The fabric is too fuzzy and thick to even think about bound buttonholes.  Maybe next time.  Of course it took every ounce of skill and patience to make the big buttonholes in the front.  My buttonhole foot will only make buttonholes a bit longer than an inch.  I wanted 1 1/8″ and that was NOT possible.  So I made them as long as possible, patiently feeding the material along the foot since it was way to thick for the machine’s automatic feature to cope.  You guessed it, I had four buttonholes to make and and I made about 9.  Each one twice and one bugger 3 times.  The other alternative was to fly to New York and get them done by Jonathan’s like the other pattern reviewer for this pattern. Hey, I fly for free so it was a close call.

Changes I made to the pattern were minimal.  I shortened the coat to a mid-thigh length and I added a triangle at the front.  Why?  You know when you button your coat and the bottom bit separates and pulls a bit – you need a triangle of material there.  My tailoring books all added that little detail to the pattern and I gave it a try.  You go out 1/2″ (in this case) at the waist and draw a line starting from zero at the neck edge through the 1/2″ dot at waist on down at that angle the length of the coat.  That’s all there was to it.  Gap free zone.

The lining I chose was a leopard print silk, also from the 50% room at Stonemountain.  Can I say how much I love sewing with silk!  I should have an all silk wardrobe.  I do love an unexpected lining, so leopard on the inside baby!  I bagged the lining so I could insert it mostly by machine.  Yay, hardly any hand sewing.

What would I change if I ever was to make this coat again?  I’d change the collar, either adding a closure there or making it a smaller mandarin style collar.  Otherwise, I’m happy with the result.  Project done and dusted!  A detailed review can be found on

Hope everyone has a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

15 responses

  1. Looks great, Sylvia! That’s a fantasic color – it’s so cheery & uplifting. Sucks that you’ve got to work, but I hope all your trips go smoothly over the holiday season. Merry Chistmas!

  2. And in the lower right picture, your expression makes me feel like you are looking right at me saying “see, it can be done.”

  3. Merry Christmas to you too! And what a Merry one, what with a beautiful coat like that. I love it! Sorry about the work, rest assured that I will not be among the many clogging the airways.

  4. Love the coat. I moved from the Bay Area to Idaho 17 years ago and bought fabric at Britex for a fabulous coat that I knew I would need in this cold climate. The fabric has never made it out of the bag, but every year I think about what a fabulous coat it will be some day. Congrats on finishing yours!

    ps. I always fly to Virginia at Christmas, and I always look for you on the planes. I think I’m on the wrong airlines, but I keep looking.

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