Inside a Burberry Trench Part 2 – The Removable Liner

Almost four years ago, I wrote what has proved to be one of my most popular posts, Inside a Burberry Trench. While a Burberry trench is a wonderful lifetime-wear garment, it only sees three seasons in the Northeast. To make it warm for winter weather, you can add a removable liner. Let’s have a look, shall we?

The liner, installed in the coat

The Burberry liner is made of a medium-weight wool, polyamide and cashmere flannel in the classic Burberry plaid. It buttons into the coat, with roughly half an inch overlap on the coat’s facings.

And on its own

This is the liner turned inside out on Shelley. This is what would be against the body when wearing the coat.

There are some interesting details that you can see. First – the plaid’s major stripe is centered at the CB. There is no center back seam, just two side seams. The vent is off-center, to correspond to the vent on the coat. All the edges are finished with lightweight cotton twill tape binding.

The horizontal plaid is matched perfectly across all seams. Now, on the back side of the liner are some more cool details. All seams are finished with the same twill tape binding, so the liner looks good from all angles. The shoulder seams are generously wide (for RTW), probably to eliminate bulk when wearing the liner in the coat, and they are pressed toward the back.

There is a facing, made from the same fabric as the coat shell (cotton blend) that is about 2 inches wide. The edge is turned under and sewn to the liner. The facing is navy blue (my coat is navy), rather than a one-color-fits-all. It’s a nice detail that might go overlooked.

For a short coat, there are 12 buttons and buttonholes for affixing the liner to the coat. The buttonholes are spaced about 6 inches apart along the coat’s front, with two evenly spaced between the center back and the shoulder seams, and one at each shoulder seam. In a full-length trench, there are 14 buttons. The buttons are sewn to the coat’s facings, except at the collar and sleeves, where there is no facing.

The little buttons are for the liner. The big button is for the coat.

So that’s what the innards of a Burberry trench liner look like. That should give you some ideas if you are making your own. Hope this helps, and

Happy sewing!

A New Tool, and Snoop Shopping

Phyllis turned me on to the hams at Stitch Nerd. Needless to say, they appeal to my inner Pressinatrix. And she makes contoured hams! Those have become as rare as hen’s teeth, and I have scoured eBay for ages trying to get one. I ordered the Contoured Professional Size Tailor’s Ham, and a Ham Holder. I’m one happy Pressinatrix! What I love about Stitch Nerd is that you can customize your fabrics on each (wool/cotton) side of your ham. Here’s the wool side:

Purple Tweed

And here’s the cotton side:

How could I resist this print???

High End Snoop Shopping
My sister came out yesterday to see DS the Elder’s opening night performance. She lives in Boston, so we drove in this morning and did some snoop shopping in Barneys at Copley Place. I have fallen in love with the workmanship and quality of The Row garments. That’s the line owned by the Olsen twins. If I ever win the lottery, I’m going to buy an entire wardrobe of The Row. The workmanship is exquisite, and the designs are beautiful. Here’s a crappy phone picture I took of one jacket that I just love. It’s a princess line, with an extra dart. The pockets are cut-on and interfaced to stand out just a bit. This is fabulous!

Fabulosity incarnate. Well no, that's me, but this would help!

Alas, at $1,950.00, it’s not in the budget. But I can dream. It also comes in a dress, which you can see Here on the Barneys Website.

They had it in Black and in White. Here’s an interesting tidbit about it – it’s made of RPL, so as a stitcher, you can approximate it using RPL (I don’t have any in black right now, but I do have This Gray that would be perfect) paired with Marfy F2413. It would be fun to copy that cut-on pocket flap, don’t you think?

Well, that’s all for now. I’m off to finish my dress and press it using my new ham.
Happy sewing!

Spring Combo!

Phyllis and I spent much of the day working together yesterday. After we finished, we went to my house for wine and fashion talk, along with dish! How fun was that! I’m taking Susan Khalje’s Class, “The Couture Dress” on Craftsy, and I’ve been debating about the fabric I want to use for my dress. The pattern they supply for the class is this Vogue:

Vogue 8648

Yesterday, Phyllis helped me pick out the fabric for it, and then she went to town styling it for Spring by combining it with a bag and shoes. Prints that “clash” are all over the runways for spring. I figure I’ll wear it to the Couture Club of Chicago fashion show in May and look fabulous!

Love the contrast!

Alas, there is one slight problem. When I went to adjust the inventory for the silk fabric, I discovered someone had bought the last of it. Sniff! See? I own the store, and even I miss out on fabrics sometimes! Time to make some calls tomorrow morning to see if I can get another bolt.

Stay tuned!

Traveling in Style!

Wow, yesterday’s post certainly touched a nerve! I guess I’m not the only one who feels neglected by the sewing book publishers. For me, it’s not about age, as much as about ability. Then again, sometimes it’s hard to distinguish. Anyway, keep them cards and letters coming.

In the meantime, here’s today’s sewing pretty. Thanks to Laura of Capitol Sew and Sew, I am the proud owner of this fabulous overnight bag.

Overnight Bag from Modcloth

Laura posted about it on Facebook, and it just happened to be my birthday, so I treated myself to it! I love Laura, even if she has gone over to the dark side taken up knitting recently. I’m not sure if the bag is still available. I got it at Modcloth. I don’t have the link right now, but I’ll try to find it and post it here later.

ETA: Found it! You can see it Here on the Modcloth Site. I know. I’m eeeeeevil. But Laura started it!

Happy sewing!

Take Care of Your Ta-Tas, Ladies!

Good morning and happy October! Today’s public service announcement is:

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. If you are a woman over the age of 40, make sure to get an annual mammogram!

I say this in all seriousness. Most of you are aware that I am a breast cancer survivor (touch wood!). 2 years ago this December I was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer. They found it on my annual mammogram. It was tiny; I had no history and no reason to suspect I would be the one in eight women diagnosed with the disease. They saw a bunch of teeny little calcifications in one spot, and they did a biopsy. The day before my scheduled biopsy, some f*cking Einsteins in Washington DC (mostly male, BTW), came out with a prounouncement that women under the age of 50 (that would be me), who have no history in the family (that would be me), should have mammograms every 2 years. Hah! If I had followed that advice, I can tell you, I would be in far worse shape than I am now. And unless you have gone through breast cancer diagnosis and treatment, don’t try to be an apologist for the Einsteins. No woman should be needlessly put at risk. So let me say it again.

If you are a woman over the age of 40, please – get an annual mammogram.

This year, I will donate 5% of all sales at Gorgeous Fabrics during the month of October to the Winchester Hospital Breast Care Center. To paraphrase the late Speaker of the House, Thomas P. (Tip) O’Neill, “all healthcare is local”. Winchester BCC is where I was diagnosed and treated. I have a highly personal connection to the BCC. I helped raise funds for them long before I was diagnosed, and I have become friends with many of the staffers there. They do great work for the women in this area. So when you buy fabrics from Gorgeous Fabrics, you can not only look fabulous, you can feel fabulous too. Thanks for listening, and thanks for being so supportive of me, both during my treatment and since.

Okay, so on to the not-preachy part of today’s post. Phyllis is coming up and we’re going to spend the day sewing! I’m going to corral her into ask her to help me with the final fitting of my Pippa muslin, and I’m going to help her with fitting a blouse.

I mostly finished Tatiana’s new dress. I screwed up the cowl, and I don’t have enough mesh to recut it, so I made a temporary drape until I can order more mesh. I couldn’t put it on Shelley thanks to the leotard, and I didn’t have time to run it to the studio and photograph it on Mutt. So here are some pictures on the hanger.


Aside from redoing the cowl, I want to add some sort of bling to it. I have a Kandy Kane that I have never used (bling ain’t my thing), but I think I will pull it out, order some hot-fix rhinestones and add just a little sparkle. I’ll talk with Tatiana about it this week and see what she wants.

So that’s where things stand. More on Pippa as she progresses.

Happy sewing!

Inside a Burberry Trench

I know a lot of people who are making trench coats recently. The pinnacle of trench fabulosity is, of course, the Burberry trench. It’s cut and sewn to last forever, and it had a recent moment in the sun (or rain) when the Duchess of Cambridge sported one shortly after her engagement:

Looking Good in the Rain (AP Photo)

So for those who are looking to make their own version, here’s some snoop-shopping done for you.

Front of the trench, buttoned up



A couple of things to note about the current style of Burberry trench coat: the collar stand (of course it has a separate collar stand) is pretty high. This helps keep rain off the neck. It also looks really nice.

Note the stitching

The undercollar is constructed from bias-cut lining fabric, with a center back seam.


Buttons are either plastic or metal. This coat is navy; the buttons are black. Notice that the button for the breast flap is smaller than the others. The buttons are supported by small plastic buttons on the back.

Clear plastic buttons on the back provide support

Buttonholes are all machine-worked keyhole style.

And on the breast flap, the buttonhole is positioned at a 45-degree angle

Buckles on the belt and the sleeves are leather-covered. In some models they are metal to match the buttons.

The sleeves are three-piece raglan sleeves. Burberry also makes styles with 2-piece set-in sleeves. Sleeves are topstitched along the upper arm seam.

The body of the jacket is lined with the classic Burberry plaid. The sleeves are lined with satin twill to make the coat easier to get on and off.

Note the careful placement of the plaid along the princess seams.

The sleeve linings are also three-piece raglan.

The lining is bagged. Interestingly, while the outer shell has a center-back seam, the lining does not.

Burberry also positions the buttonholes so you can opt for a partially-open look. It’s kind of cool and a nice casual touch.

Hopefully that gives you some insight into the construction of a classic trench coat. Have fun and happy sewing!

And if you want to learn even more about Burberry and their construction, check out the follow up post on The Removable Liner.

Go, I say – Go!!!

Van Cleef and Arpels Brooch

I’ll admit the one thing that makes me weak in the knees is gorgeous jewelry. Whenever I go to the Smithsonian, I always carve out (excuse the pun) time to see the fine jewelry. I can’t get enough of the emeralds and rubies (the Hope Diamond? Pfeh). Well, when I found out that there was going to be a huge exhibit of Van Cleef and Arpels jewelry at the Cooper-Hewitt Museum, I had to get down there to see it.

My advice? Get your kiester over there. You will not be disappointed! I dragged my husband and sons, and they all loved it as well. It’s a huge (4 rooms full) exhibit, with drawings, videos, and of course, sparklies. The only down side is that we went on a weekend, and it was crowded.

VC&A is renowned for, among other things, the Mystere setting. I had the pleasure of meeting a jeweler recently who does work for VC&A and he showed me how the setting is done. It’s essentially a mortise and tenon, mounting the stones into each other with little grooves and tongues. He showed me that, if the metal around the edges of a piece comes loose or is damaged, the stones all fall out. The exhibit has lots of exquisite pieces using this setting, as well as more traditional settings. One of the cool aspects of VC&A jewelry is that many pieces were designed to be broken apart into other types of jewelry. For example, a necklace might break down into a bracelet and a brooch. A brooch might break up into a smaller brooch and a pair of earrings. There are also handbags made of seed pearls and platinum, necessaires (precursors of minaudieres today), cigarette cases and the like. One room is devoted to the jewels of various celebrities and socialites. As you exit the exhibit you are faced with a case filled with jewels worn by Princess Grace of Monaco.

If I ever hit Megamillions, I’m going to the Place Vendome to buy myself a couple of pieces.

In the meantime, if you want to see some spectacular jewels up close, get yourself over to the Cooper Hewitt Design Museum. The exhibit runs through June 5th.

The Cooper Hewitt is located at the corner of 5th Avenue and 91st Street in New York.

Happy sewing!

Dressing for the Now

I had a couple of interesting experiences recently. First is the close call I had with the Lady Gray muslin. I’ve decided to make the McCalls instead, but I was mildly disappointed, not with LG, but with myself. I’m glad that I’m self-aware enough to know when something really doesn’t suit me. But my disappointment stemmed from the fact that LG would look great on me 20 years ago. I was a size 4 (in 80s sizes, not today’s). I was tight, taut and toned. I’m still pretty tight, taut and toned, but gravity and two kids have done their jobs.

The second experience has to do with makeup. The other night I went to the store to buy makeup for fall. I decided, kind of on a lark, to go “au naturel” – no wig. I wanted to see what colors the makeup artist would recommend based on my true colors (as a corollary, it’s going to cost a bloody fortune to get my hair back to its “natural” color).

The colors she recommended surprised me. They were very different from what I wore in the past. And frankly? They look fantastic. (Note to self – put self in the hands of a makeup artist more often.) I don’t know about you, but I have been wearing the same color eyeshadows for about 10 years. I think I looked pretty damned good, but I didn’t evolve very much. Working with the makeup artist was, shall we say, an eye-opening experience.

So the point is to open yourself up for reinterpretation. I’ve had some pretty extreme changes in the last year. Have you? If so, embrace them! Adjust your pattern choices, color choices, makeup choices, whatever – to suit the now. Try new silhouettes (make a muslin first to make sure you like the results). Change the waistline up or down from your norm. Go to the most expensive store in your city or town and try on new stuff to see what you like. Take pictures of yourself from the neck down if you’re trying on something new, and see how you like it on your body without being distracted by your face. You might be completely surprised to find that you don’t like something that you have been wearing for a while. And you might find yourself surprised to love something that you never considered before.

It reminds me of this scene from Auntie Mame
Hmmmm – when we moved the blog over to GF, it looks like I lost the ability to directly embed videos. But this is safe for work, and one of my favorite movie scenes of all time.

Happy sewing!

Cancer, Chemo and What I Wore Part 4

Thank you, Charles M. Schulz

Stick a fork in me, I’m DONE!!!!!!

Yes, today was my fourth and final chemo session. I never thought I would be excited to go to chemo, which tells you how surreal this whole experience has been. Get yourself a cup of coffee or a glass of wine (Raise one for me, will you? I’m still off booze for 3 weeks), this is going to be a long one…

First thing, of course, is what I wore. I finished hemming my Vogue 1089 at 8:00 this morning (my appointment was at 9:15). Here I am in it, avec pink wig and a pair of pink stiletto mules by Andrea Pfister. I wasn’t able to find any new shoes I liked before my last session, so I went with these. They are nice shoes, but they are several years old, and they have been my go-to date night shoes in the spring and summer since I bought them. Date night around here usually means going into Boston. Going into Boston means walking on (and frequently falling in between) cobblestones, so the heels are more beat than I like, hence no closeups. For jewelry, I wore a necklace my husband gave me for our 15th anniversary.

Full makeup, and leg makeup (no stockings today).

I’ll do a review on it later, but let me just say, this fabric was an absolute JOY to sew. It has a wonderful hand and it’s just beautiful. It has a lot of stretch too, so you may want to go down in size a bit when working with this or its sister fabric. Like I say, more later.

Of course, for the first time ever, traffic was terrible, so I was late, but I called to let them know. When I got there, my doctor took me right in, did the usual workup and then brought me into the chemo room. Everyone was running in to see my wig and outfit, and all the patients were asking me where I got the wig. It really does bring a smile to everyone’s face, including mine. Hookup and drip per usual, no problems. DH took a picture of me working entering orders.

 Have you ever seen anyone look so happy at chemotherapy?

I brought my Hermes scarf and hung it on the IV pole like a knight’s battle standard. The staff was laughing every time they walked by. I also brought a huge box of Godiva chocolates for the staff. I think I got fave rave patient of the day. Everything was uneventful. In fact, I was finished about an hour before I expected. YAY!!!! Big shout out to Winchester Hospital’s staff and the Medical Oncology staff at Montvale in Stoneham. As I said to them, “You guys made a sucky experience a whole lot less sucky.” We were all giving each other hugs and kisses and high fives as I left. Here’s hoping we blasted the little bastard into oblivion.

Some Thoughts and Helpful Hints (I hope)
It is my most fervent hope that none of my readers ever have to go through this, but if the unthinkable happens to you, there are a few things to keep in mind. I’ll keep it on the light side:

The bad things about Chemotherapy
Well, the whole Cancer thing kind of really sucks
Your hair falls out. Adding insult to injury, in my case, only the non-gray fell out!
You keep asking, WTF? Like when they tell you
“You need to use barrier contraception while you’re on chemo.” (uh, what???)
“No salads, berries or raw food that can’t be thoroughly washed and peeled”
“You shouldn’t have manicures or pedicures” (that’s a no-go in my world, sorry)

The good things about Chemotherapy – Believe it or not, there are some
Showers/morning prep take a lot less time.
You save a lot of money on razor blades.
You don’t need to worry about bikini waxing.
Makeup application becomes easier – no worries about blending to the hairline.
You can change your hairstyle/color every day if you want.

A couple of things to keep in mind also to help you out if you do have to go through this. First, never feel like you’re being a bother if you have questions. The doctors and nurses are there to help you. They want you to get better.  They want you to have the information you need to make an informed decision.

Second, try to find the humor and joy in these situations. It’s there, and it will get you through the tough time. Silly things like pink wigs, “giving the big fangou to the big C”, adopting songs like “It Sucks to be Me” as your theme song… things like that take the edge off, both for you and for those around you.

Third, allow yourself some self-pity. My friend Marilyn, who is coming up on her 6th anniversary, told me, “Give yourself 20 minutes a day or when you feel you need it. Then dust yourself off and get back to living.” I found that spin class is a great time to indulge in a self-pity party. The lights are down low, and everyone is sweating so if you’re crying it just looks like you’re sweating heavily. Don’t sob though. That’s a dead giveaway.

Finally, lean on those around you. Larry, my husband, has been my rock and a godsend through this whole thing. My kids, family, neighbors and friends have all rallied around. Even getting little notes and emails from folks has been so helpful keeping my spirits up.  I couldn’t do it without them (and you!). Take the help and support they offer. Of course, every time someone says, “Let me know what I can do to help.” I say, “Well, my basement needs cleaning.” The basement still needs cleaning. Sigh…

About Those Damned Pink Ribbons
I think if you ask any breast cancer patient, the vast majority will tell you the same thing. Forget the Pink Ribbon. Wear one if it makes you feel better, but buying something that has a pink ribbon on it? Don’t bother. The amount of funds those things actually send to charities that need it is minuscule. And if you read the fine print, most of them say that they are sending a percentage to the charity after expenses, overhead, royalties and whatever are taken out. People slap pink ribbons on items for marketing purposes. I’m all for marketing services and products. But if you really want to make a difference, don’t buy something because it has a pink ribbon on it. Write a check, large or small, to the breast cancer charity of your choice. They’ll put that money directly to good use. All of it. And they won’t have to wait the better part of a year, if ever, to get the moneys from the company. And besides, by sending a check directly to the charity, YOU get to take the tax deduction, not some fatcat.

Parting Shot: Freedom!!!!!
How I really feel today

Happy sewing!