Sunday, April 5, 2015


Remember these?

Completed in January, 2013.  Made from really nice fingering weight wool (Louet Gems 100% merino).  After two years of not-hard wear, this:

On inspecting my other me-made socks of similar age, made from "sock wool" i.e. wool with 25% or so nylon, they are in better shape.  If I'm going to spend a lot of time hand-knitting socks in future, I'll pay better attention to the fibre content.  

Anyway, since I spent A LOT of time knitting these particular ones (the most complicated/fancy socks in my wardrobe) I thought I'd spend a little time mending them.  

For the record this is the first time I have ever mended socks.  I knew that you can darn by sort of weaving a patch, but IMHO that's really ugly.  So I did a little research.  Turns out you can also darn by doing duplicate stitch, i.e. following the path of the original knitting.  Even to fill in an actual hole!  Here's the info.  
The finished patch is only moderately ugly.  I don't know how long it will last, but it'll give these poor tired socks a new lease on life for a little while at least.  
Then I inspected the other one.  Sigh.  What do they say?  A stitch in time saves nine ...

Friday, April 3, 2015

Mining the stash for my next project

I think I need another coat - but this time for spring and not dark navy or another subdued cold weather colour. Mother Nature is trying hard today to bless us with warmth and sun, and I know that when spring truly hits, suddenly The Sewing Lawyer's wardrobe will have to be turned upside down in search of items that are not WARM but light, in colour and weight, in keeping with the season.

The haul from stash
I've complained or bragged (depends I guess on your point of view) about my extensive stash. Recently I've made a bit of a fetish about only sewing from it.  I'm conscious of time passing, you see, i.e. running out of it before I can assemble wardrobe items from the accumulated fabric chosen for the Sewing Lawyer. Some of it won't be so suitable for the Sewing Retired Lawyer.

Today, the stash came through with 3.2 metres of 154 cm wide light turquoisey-blue raincoat fabric (Fabric Flea Market, $6.00 according to the tag still on it), and a length of fun printed cotton for lining.  I also have 9 large silvery buttons with a vague coat of arms on them. The stash disappointed me in the thread department though. I have two part spools that are the right colour, but that won't be enough.

In real life, the coating is more like the colour of the robin's egg in the photo at left.

The last lightweight coat I made was a dark brown trenchcoat, which has been pressed into service at my office during the times in the year when one wears bike clothes for the commute, and occasionally needs a cover for dresses and suits and the like. PatternReview reminds me that I made it in November, 2005.  Also that I started it around this time of year but found it a frustrating sew and completed it in November, just around the time it wouldn't be suitable at all. That sounds familiar!

Anyway, I rated the pattern (Vogue 2449) as great, but the coat itself as mediocre due to various operator errors.  Mostly, the fabric I chose was a beast to sew.  It's sueded microfibre that puckered unrelentingly when topstitched. And of course there are miles of (double) topstitching in this very classic and detailed coat. Years in the magic closet haven't altered my lack of enthusiasm for the result.

I still have the pattern, but I'd need more fabric - it calls for 3.6m.  I went diving in my Burda magazine pattern stash and came up with quite a number of alternatives. Help me rate them.

First up is the oldest, dating way back to 2000. (Yes I am a Burda hoarder. Why do you ask?)

I like the simple shape and the big collar and lapels. It calls for exactly the amount of fabric I have, is fully lined, and sports only seven buttons.

The coat is only knee length on this model but she must be very tall, because the coat is 105cm in length. This is 15cm shorter than my recently-completed winter coat but would still hit me below the knee. I'd want the coat to be long enough to cover most if not all my dresses. My latest dress is 102cm long at CB. I might aim for 110cm.

This coat has set in sleeves with what look like pretty high sleeve caps, and calls for shoulder pads, all of which makes me a bit nervous.

I present this raglan style from 2001. The magazine doesn't state the length but it seems to just cover the model's knees.

Unfortunately this coat is a fabric hog that calls for 3.85m in my size.  I'm sure I could find ways to pare that down (maybe eliminating the pleat at the CB).  Also, I'd need more buttons because it calls for 8 large and 5 small ones.

It's also only partially lined.  My fabric has a coating on the underside that I'd want to protect with a full lining.

From 2006 we have another raglan of the same length (105cm) with lots of flaps. I adore how the model is wearing it in white with bright red boots, gloves and scarf.  So smart!

If I were to choose this version I'd change the pockets. The design has welt pockets under a button-down flap.  Too much!  I think I'd go for patch pockets.  Since this style only calls for 2.8m I'd have enough fabric to add them.

I'd also have to find more buttons since this one needs 7 large and 7 smaller buttons.

Isn't this 2009 trench cute?  Except I cannot bear the "I've deliberately chosen a coat that is too short for my dress" look. If I could figure out how to make it longer without losing the quirkiness of the flounce I'd try.  But I couldn't do it with the amount of fabric I have since this style (only 92cm long) already needs 3.1m.

Under the cape is a two piece set in sleeve and shoulder pads.  Despite the date on the magazine, this combination reminds me of the 1980s.

I guess it's not a serious contender. But it's cute!


Hmm. Another set-in sleeve but this one has a true trench style collar with a separate stand. This combination gives that high square opening between the collar and the top of the double breasted front that you can see in the left-most coat in the photo. The coat can be closed right up at the neck by fastening the collar stand and buttoning the front to the very top.  The other styles we've looked at so far all have a collar with partial stand and attached lapel. They are more naturally worn open but the top lapel can be buttoned over in a gale.

View B is 108cm long and takes 3.25m of fabric and 16 (sixteen!) buttons.

When I started this exercise, I was pretty sure I'd go for the 2010 true trench. After having taken a close look at them all, I'm leaning towards the 2006 raglan, even though I know I'd never look quite as well put together as the lady in white.  So readers, which would you choose?