Slow Sewing, Couture Techniques and Big Progress

Happy weekend, peeps! I hope your February is going well. I haven’t completed any new projects, though I’ve been working hard on the next one: vintage Vogue 2275 Yves Saint Laurent coat. I don’t know when this pattern was published – it doesn’t say on the envelope, so I suspect it was around 1990 or so. 

I made a fitting muslin, and it fit pretty much beautifully to my mind out of the envelope. This is a size 14 pattern. Normally these days I start with a size 12 in Vogue, and then adjust from there. But because this is a “vintage” pattern, the sizing is slightly different from contemporary issues, and I used a 14. BTW, I got this pattern from my dear friend Paco Peralta. Thanks Paco!

I started by making a muslin. Using haute couture techniques, I started with the seamlines and traced those onto muslin. The beauty of these older (I HATE the word ‘vintage’ when it applies to my youth, can I just say that? Well I did, so there.) patterns is that they include the stitching lines, making it easier to trace them off and add your own seam allowances.

One size per pattern, but the stitching lines are there!

I traced the outer garment pieces along the stitching lines and added 1 inch seam allowances, using those to make a muslin.

Muslin in progress

I was actually quite pleased with the fit out of the envelope. There were a couple of small changes, but I was able to use it pretty much as-is. Generally speaking, coats are drafted to be more forgiving, and the shoulder lines on this fit beautifully from the start. As long as there aren’t any major drag lines or obvious tightness, I don’t sweat the fit on coats too much. In fact, I prefer a little extra room at the shoulders and upper arms for when I wear a slightly bulky sweater underneath. So I made the muslin.

If the lapels look a tad wonky, it’s because I didn’t trim them, so I could use them as pattern pieces later.

After tweaking the muslin, I pulled it apart carefully so I can use the pieces as the pattern.

The nice thing about this approach is that you can use a single-layer layout and save a lot of fabric, along with all the beautiful subtleties of fit (we’re not symmetrical).

So, once I completed the muslin and took it apart, I cut out both the lining and the interfacing pieces.

Lining – black and boring, but perfect for this coat

We’ll talk about those seam allowances later. They’re important.

I sewed the body lining.

This is the body of the lining. The sleeves are attached after the lining is sewn into the coat.

And that’s where it stands so far. In my philosophy of Make the Lining First, I did that and the underpinnings. Tomorrow I’ll cut into my outer-garment fabric and hopefully I’ll have a new coat by the end of the week.

In Health News…

This was a huge week! I went back to Body Pump (a weight lifting class) at my gym. The heaviest weight I was able to lift was a 9lb bar, but it’s a start. I also, and this is HUGE HUGE HUGE – drove for the first time since I got sick!!!! To give a little perspective, the last time I got behind the wheel of a car was November 12, 2017. I feel like I’ve gotten over a big hump in the last week and a half. I have also been able to spend most of my day wearing my regular glasses, rather than having to patch. I do have to patch one eye when I drive and when I get tired, but that’s happening later and later in the day. The body is an amazing thing, and I am healing, thank goodness!

Thanks again for your support while I’m going through all this. I hope I’m not boring you.

And of course, happy sewing!


19 thoughts on “Slow Sewing, Couture Techniques and Big Progress”

  1. Kathleen says:

    I’m so glad you’re feeling better. This coat is looking great so far.

  2. Mary says:

    Love to hear that you are healing–not boring–simply great news.

    Enjoying your coat process. But it is making me miss those Paris/Couturier Vogue patterns. Vogue always seemed to use gorgeous fabrics (pun intended) for the photo covers, unlike the fabrics used for display in too many of of today’s patterns where it often looks like they bought the fabric from end of the ugliest bolt available. My mother used to make me wonderful creations from those special Vogue patterns back in the 60s–beautiful soft wool dresses, lovely prom gowns, and once, a full length brocade evening coat. Good memories.

  3. Deborah says:

    Love the format of your ‘new’ blog. I’m enjoying your coat making process and please don’t stop giving updates on your health progress. The body is indeed a miracle.

  4. Dawna says:

    I don’t know what your health problems are. I lost my right eye as a baby so seeing with one eye is no big deal. I imagine it is quite wonky for you. I love the coat. 1990 is vintage EEKS. You gave me great ideas

    1. Irene says:

      Interesting! I also lost my right eye, at age 9. It is no big deal as our brains and body adjusts. Best wishes to you though. Really like the lining first idea. Still have those Paris Couture Vogue patterns, which are the Best. Have lots of sewing projects and happy to read your blog.

      1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

        My issue is double vision, thanks to a bout of Miller-Fisher syndrome. It’s resolving, but motion (like when I drive) causes the diplopia to come back. The good news is that I will heal. Thanks to you both for the encouraging words! It’s weird to me to drive without one side, but the brain is truly a miraculous organ, isn’t it? It’s amazing how we adjust.

        Hugs to you both!

  5. Anne Szabo says:

    So glad you are feeling better. You should be proud of your progress.
    I love making coats. I will be following your progress as you post.

  6. Wendy M says:

    Beautiful pattern. I love seeing your techniques and can’t wait to see more of this coat. I too, love the older Vogue Patterns and wish they were still made the same. CONGRATULATIONS on your continued good health. So happy to hear you are doing well!

  7. Wendy M says:

    Forgot to ask, what do you have the hair canvas interfacing stitched to? Is it a silk organza for stability? Thanks.

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      It is, Wendy. The organza is strong but won’t add bulk in the seams. I cut it on the same grain as the pattern piece.

  8. Catherine says:

    Love seeing your coat progress. So glad your health is improving so much. Driving IS a big deal–that’s the very symbol of our independence.

  9. Sharron says:

    Loved your site. I’m 75 and been sewing all my life.having vision problems.only have really bad vision in left eye and 20 prevent in right eye, when I went in for test for glasses, after cataract surgery which made my eyes worst, tectnition wanted to cancel my driving license, sewing and baking are my only loves ,your message makes me feel like I can do this, waiting for special surgery. Thank you Sharron

  10. Beth Galvin says:

    great pattern, looking forward to seeing this finished. I love a traditionally shaped coat – such a classic.

  11. suzanne says:

    Beautiful! I just finished a pencil skirt with a Vogue Ann Klein II pattern dated 1991… and it did not have the seam lines (which I love!), so even earlier? Can’t wait to see the finished project. Now, on to ruffles, silk chiffon and a date with Oscar de la Renta. It’s a first for me (ruffles, chiffon and Oscar!)

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Oooooo! sounds heavenly.

  12. Eileensews says:

    Great coat project. Even better: your health improvement news!

  13. Wendy M says:

    Can you tell me when you use silk organza and also where you purchase it? I’ve never used it but want to start. I love everything you make. Love your blog. Thanks again!

    1. Gorgeous Fabrics says:

      Ah, alas, Wendy, I bought all my organza when I owned the fabric store, which is now closed. However, Susan Khalje sells excellent quality organza (disclosure, she is a very dear friend but I get nothing for recommending her). You can also buy organza from Thai Silks in California.

      PS – do a search on the blog for “silk organza” and that will show you all sorts of posts about how I use it. It’s a staple in my sewing!

      1. Wendy M says:

        Thanks. Susan Khalje is where I had seen it and am going to order it from her. Thanks again!

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