Sewing course 2023 (02)

In the second class we started drafting a pattern for a fitted bodice according to our own measurements. I started with the sleeve as well as I had some time left during class. Unfortunately, class was cancelled last week due to staff illness and this week it’s half term so no class either (but I am told we will catch up by the course running a little longer than initially scheduled).

I decided to do some work at home on what I want to do during the class to not lose too much momentum, so I finished the pattern for the sleeve today. This is the sleeve that goes with the fitted bodice. The top of my sleeve seems a little wonky so I’ll need help with this (hopefully next week!).

I have only a little experience drafting patterns the ‘right’ way as I just found it tedious and boring and too exact when I like my crafting to be relaxing and not too ‘scientific’. However, it pays off to put the effort into pattern drafting because when you then make the garment, the pieces will actually all fit together. This means that making the garment itself shouldn’t be too hard if the pattern has been developed well.

So, my intention for this sewing course is to learn to draft a pattern for a winter coat of my own design as well as to make the coat.

I bought the pattern drafting book used by our teacher which is titled ‘Metric Pattern Cutting for Women’s Wear, 6th Edition’ by Winifred Aldrich. Looking through this book, I think I might need to draft another pattern as the base to work off of, as the fitted bodice isn’t at all what I need for a loose-fitting winter coat. (Sidenote: when is the UK finally going to fully adopt the metric system?!)

I have made some sketches for the coat I intend to make but am not super happy with any of them. I want the coat to:

  • be loose-fitting
  • have a hood
  • be lined and possibly even with an additional layer as I want to wear the coat during UK winter
  • have at least two large pockets on the front that close with a large, thick button (probably not through a button hole but a loop)
  • have at least one internal pocket closing with a small button
  • go past my bum but end above the knee
  • perhaps have ribbed knit fabric for the cuff (receded/set in from the outer fabric cuff)
  • be made in either all black, or black outer with olive green lining

I rummaged through my fabric stash and it paid off that I had previously sorted all my fabrics roughly according to weight! I clipped off a swatch from each fabric piece to help me figure out which fabrics to use for this coat (yes, I am getting ahead of myself because at the moment I do not yet have a pattern). The issue is that the actual fabric pieces are of different sizes, so it’s likely I will need to use more than one kind of fabric for the outer, but that’s ok. I might even make it look intentional by going for a kind of patchwork outer…?

Here are the swatches. For some of them, I included a piece showing the right side as well as a piece showing the wrong side whereas for others, I am only showing the right side:

I would prefer it if I didn’t have to buy any additional fabric or materials as I have so many fabrics already. However, I feel that I might need some kind of quilted/padded fabric to give the coat some heat retention capacity (ok, I now remember I have some unusual kind of curtain I found second hand that is very lightly padded: it’s made with blue fabric but that would be ok if it’s sandwiched in between the outer and the lining of the coat). My preference would be to use all black, but I don’t have the two kinds of fabrics I have in olive, in black. I’ll have to just see how things look when I start making it: I want the outer for sure to be black only.

I have lots of buttons already, but I am kind of obsessed with buttons I saw on a capelet sold at a charity shop. It would have been worth it to buy it just for the buttons and faux bone toggles, but I couldn’t bring myself to get the garment to then take off the buttons and scrap the garment itself.

I’ll have to go back to the drawing board for my coat design, but I know my parameters and hadn’t previously thought about deliberately doing patchwork, so I have something to work with now. I’ll share my sketches once I’ve settled on a design!

By Alex

I have been crafting since early childhood and currently do mostly sewing and illustration. 'Almalauha' is the project I started to showcase my sewing/fashion hobby, at least that was the plan. But because I like a million different arts/crafts things, I'm just going to share most of the creative things I do on this blog.

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