It's been much longer than I anticipated between posts but I promise I have a very good excuse. I decided to tra-la-la around Europe and see how the other folks live! Naturally, the prep work and subsequent site seeing haven't left me with much time to write. I did find time to make a few new things before I left though....and boy am I glad I did.
I was actually rather concerned that I would look like a slob compared to the stylish Europeans. Canada is a beautiful but frosty place and we're not necessarily known for our style. I often find I have to dress down not because I want to....but because I have to. Walking to work in -25 air temps calls for parkas and rugged boots and it means that my cute vintage dresses and separates aren't always practical attire. (Although, I have smartened up in recent years and invested in more winter weight, wooly dresses). Even my selection of boiled wool coats are no match for arctic air.....unless I were to wear two of them at once.
How this gal normally dresses for a Canadian winter (apologies for the grainy front facing iphone4 shot) ;
Thankfully, winter in Europe is not as harsh, but, it is still winter. It didn't make sense to bring my large winter parka and snow shoeing boots so I wanted to have something lighter, more versatile, and stylish. I needed something good for site seeing but that could also pass as dressy for the odd evening excursion. As with all projects, they start with a concept sketch! As you can see from the sketch below and the picture above I made some changes to the design during the construction process. But it came pretty darn close to what I had envisioned. I could see this coat fitting in nicely on the swinging London scene of 1965.
I decided to use a combination of newly purchased black wool and some vintage houndstooth I've had in my stash forever. Both fabrics were purchased in Edmonton from two different fabric stores that are now defunct. Edmonton used to have some amazing fabric shops but sadly we've lost several of them in the past 5 years. One of them, Windscape, closed this past summer. I was sad to see it go but it did mean that I got an absolute steal on this gorgeous black wool. I also lined the coat with a layer of quilting batting to give it some substance and warmth (not featured in the photo below).
This coat was definitely one of the most challenging things I've made in a while. It's the third coat I've made and while the design was minimal enough, the sewing proved to be a bit of a challenge. The zipper flap gave my head a spin and took some finagling to make it work the way I wanted it to. I also had a few issues in the drafting process thanks to a tape measure that had stretched out. Man, did that lead to some unnecessarily complicated math! The lesson here; measure till you get it right....then cut. Unfortunately though, I was in such a rush to get it done before leaving that I didn't stop to take too many photos of the sewing and drafting process. Though I did snap one photo of my favourite feline living up to her cat like curiosity as I sewed on the final snaps. In actuality, she just wanted to play with the thread.
There are definitely some changes I plan on making to this pattern to correct the fit and the way the zipper flap sits but that's part of the fun of prototypes. Definitely a good starting point and I can have lots of fun making variations of this design. In the meantime though, it's serving me well on my European adventure! More on my tra-la-la-ing shortly.
Thanks for looking!!
Nicole A Go Go