A Sparkle Tweed Coat for Spring

 

img_2982-2I didn’t know I was a fan of sparkle tweed until I saw this Kate Spade coat. njmu7301-black-d7d16d49

In person, this tweed is gorgeous, and when I saw the coat at Saks I became a serious fan. I love how Kate Spade designs clothes that feel vintage yet fresh. And those shoes…!!

img_3014The photo above shows my coat buttoned up all the way like the  Kate Spade version, but I think I like it unbuttoned better.

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I found my sparkle tweed at Mill End Store last fall. It’s a wool blend that’s warm but lightweight enough for Spring, perfect for my Kate Spade knock off. The pattern I used is Butterick 5468, an older fast and easy pattern that could be a good starting point if you’ve never made a coat before. It isn’t in print anymore, but it’s available on Etsy and Ebay. It’s such a basic style, you could probably substitute B6107 or B6385 and get the same look.

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I love the in-seam pockets on the longer versions of this coat.

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I modified the pattern by lengthening the sleeves to full length. The Kate Spade sleeves are 3/4 length which is really cute, but less than practical in blustery Oregon. I also fully lined the coat, even though the pattern doesn’t call for it. I added a double faced tie at the waist too.

It’s an easy pattern, without alot of bells and whistles which is perfect for highlighting a special fabric like mine. As usual, the biggest challenge was the plaid matching. Grrr. I had to cut the sleeves twice to get them right. Fortunately, I had extra fabric, a rarity for me!

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I like the fact that this coat looks manish and boxy without a belt but more feminine and retro with one. Two looks from one pattern, Yay!

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img_2951What do you think, belted and girlish or unbelted and mannish? The Kate Spade version is a little fuller below the waist, I think, and the shorter sleeves have a bit more of a bell shape. Next time??? I think my version is close enough to enjoy, and reasonably priced as well (LOL).

In spite of the fact that it’s cold here, with the threat of snow in the forecast, I am happily transitioning into Spring sewing. I’ve organized my stash of linen and cotton and will be working on those sorts of projects going forward.  Out with the wools, in with the linens!! Have you transitioned into Spring?

Happy sewing and thanks for stopping by!

 

Kimono sleeves or bell sleeves? That is the question!

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For months, I was sure the sleeves on this top were called ‘kimono sleeves’ until I was corrected by a clerk in a local fabric store. “No,” she insisted. “Those are NOT kimono sleeves. Kimono sleeves are cut as part of the bodice. Those are definitely bell sleeves.”

Really? I was doubtful. But, well, yes. According to the Craftsy website, she was 100% correct. Bell sleeves are are always narrow at the shoulder, wide at the bottom and they are never cut as part of the bodice. Live and learn.
For me, the Bell sleeves are the major attraction of this otherwise simple top.
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I fell in love with those fun sleeves all over again this Spring, when I noticed them in the Chanel resort collection.
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And this is by Oscar de la Renta….
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 I’ve been a bit obsessed ever since for reasons I can’t explain. Perhaps, it’s because they’re a bit retro?
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Or is because they’re so comfortable? Who knows?
I used Butterick 6175 for my bell sleeved top, a semi fitted pullover top with sleeve variations.
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Since the top has a very simple design, it seemed to be the perfect opportunity to use a not-so-simple fabric. So, I chose a Japanese border print I had in my stash. It has a large floral design as the main motif, with a contrasting (but subtle) checkered print as the border. I cut  the bodice from the flowered motif and the sleeves from the checkered border.
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The tricky part was laying the pattern out in a way that captured the directional focus of the floral print. Because the pattern’s ‘repeat’ is widely spaced, it was a bit tricky, since I’d purchased a (very) scant yard and a quarter (when will I learn to buy a little extra to be on the safe side?). I also wanted some pattern at the neck for interest.
After struggling for well over an hour to get it right, I decided, I’d had enough torture for one day. So, I simplified things and made the liberating decision to cut the sleeves from the contrasting border print, which didn’t have a pattern repeat to contend with.
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 I made one slight variation to the pattern. I skipped the back neck line slit, as I am not a fan of that look and used a short zipper in the back instead.
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The construction of the top was easy. But do I like the finished product? Hmmmm.  I’m not altogether sure. In hindsight, a boxy, cropped top probably isn’t the best choice for a short-waisted girl like me.  But I do like the fabric, so I’ll probably wear this top, anyway. I guess I could always add a couple of eyelash darts to the back to give it a bit more shape (?). Regardless, the project was worth the effort as I learned a lot from the challenges posed by choosing a fabric that has a one way print with a repeating pattern. Next time (if there is a next time) I vow to buy way more fabric than I think I need!!  And, I do love those sleeves!
How do you modify patterns to make them less boxy? Or do you just skip the look? Thanks for stopping by!

A Spring Coat like Betty’s

Betty Draper was my inspiration for this coat. Do you all remember the blue coat she wore in season one, when she was still in love with Don?
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A statement coat to be sure! And look at her hair, how it curls under so perfectly! No wonder Don had to have her.
I made my version of her coat from a Butterick pattern from my own extensive (!!) archives. It’s Butterick 5569, a coat pattern designed by The Cut Line that has princess seams and a big collar that gives the style a retro feel.
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The fabric is from Mill End, an incredible fabric store here in Portland that has a wool department that beats all. My coat is made from a thick, double-faced wool in black, dotted with flecks of white.
To sharpen the details, I trimmed the coat’s front lapel and collar with piping, then finished it with vintage buttons I found in Stars Antique Mall in Portland.
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Because the wool is double-faced, it’s very heavy, so I didn’t want to line the coat because I thought it would be too hot to wear. So, I finished the seams with binding so that they wouldn’t fray, giving the inside of the coat a finished look.
The coat’s comfortable and warm. I even braved the elements and wore it when I visited Anthropologie last week (okay, true confession. I do not make everything I wear, LOL), and I did not feel out of place in my me-made garment, which makes it a win, right?
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Soon, it will be so warm here in Portland, I won’t want to wear this coat (says the optimist).  But right now, Summer feels years away, so coats are a must.
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I love retro fashion, but prefer to sew from modern patterns with their fabulous fit. What about you? Have you used vintage patterns? Good experience or bad?