Wednesday, December 18, 2013

All These People Want to Know...

Normally I hate it when fashion bloggers make sweeping statements like "____ people should never wear ____," or "____ is the must-have item this season." However, I'm inclined to agree with the "every lady needs at least one fabulous statement coat in her wardrobe" sentiment. While I understand that, for many people, function and practicality are more important than style and statement-making, I have to admit I'm a sucker for 1) red garments, and 2) anything long enough to swoop around in. Besides, long red coats always make me think of that infamous international burglar...

Can you guess who I am? (And don't you love my superb photoshopping skills?)

Fun fact about me: I hate games of chance. I prefer to win based on my (perceived) intellectual merit; trivia games are the best because they allow me to show off the results of way too many nights of following Wikipedia rabbit trails. Even when I was younger, I enjoyed collecting tidbits of knowledge the way some of my classmates liked collecting Sanrio items, so it's probably no surprise to those of you who grew up in the 90s that my favorite kid's game show was -- you know what it is* -- Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? 

Please tell me you read that last run-on sentence super fast, in Greg Lee's voice. 

Anyway, by now you've probably heard about Lolita Patterns' latest release, the Spearmint coat. I was originally contacted about being a test sewer a few months ago, but due to a sad comedy of errors (a tragedy of errors?), I wasn't able to finish the coat before the deadline. I was originally going to use the rest of the velvet tablecloth from my pirate coat, but there wasn't quite enough for a long coat, it was too drapey for the my liking, and my machine's walking foot decided to give up the ghost, so pile fabrics were not going to happen. By the time I switched gears and prepped, cut, and underlined new fabric, there was no way I was going to finish in time to give Amity and Leila any feedback. I was pretty disappointed in myself for botching my first test-sewing experience, but thankfully those two lovely ladies were very understanding. I did finally finish my coat about three weeks ago, though, and thank goodness it's such a fabulous garment, because my initial bad feelings toward the coat are now totally eclipsed in my memory by how much I like this coat! Seriously, every time I wear it, I get so many positive comments. And I can't help but feel good when wearing such a bold color. The Lolita!CarmenSandiego cosplay potential doesn't hurt either!

Likes: dramatic collar, full skirt, and slim-cut sleeves. I don't know why so many Big 4 patterns have sleeves big enough for two of my arms. 
And oh hey, look at what's hanging out in the side seam...
Pocketses! 
Okay, totally geeky of me, but look what I've got on my pocketses lining fabric: rings. Pay tribute when you can, right?
The coat looks good hanging open, too. 
I need to press and steam it better. 
Side view...oh hey, I'm following one of those fashion blogger tips: if you've got a small bust, wear something with large ruffles in the chest area to make it look fuller. 
Back view...I'm in love with how huge the collar is!

After getting over the initial bad mojo from the failed tablecloth version, I have to say that the sewing process itself went fairly smoothly. For all that the collar looks so impressive, it's actually extremely easy to sew, and I think a confident beginner could tackle this coat. When I showed my mom and sister, they were both duly impressed that I had actually made it myself.

I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself too!

Summary:
Fabric: 100% wool coating from Jo-Ann Fabrics (purchased two years ago with the intention of making a winter coat, only I decided that I wasn't ready to tackle it yet), underlined with a cotton/poly bedsheet since the coating was still pretty thin and drapey. The lining was another sheet, but a 100% polyester microfiber one instead, since I wanted it to be somewhat slippery, but not as slippery as actual satin lining fabric. I did actually start using the "real" lining fabric for the pockets, but it misbehaved so much that I opted against using any more for the sake of my sanity.


Notions: A yard of horsehair canvas, plus a hook and eye.

Techniques used: You guys, I actually bag-lined my first ever garment! I think I've read this Threads article about fifty times, and been confused every time, but the ladies over at Lolita Patterns did a good enough job explaining it that I did it right the first time (an achievement in and of itself), and, get this, it was 2 AM. If my sleep-deprived and sickness-addled teacher/student brain could do it without seam ripping, those must be some pretty dang good instructions. Oh, and I used horsehair as interfacing for the first time! Good thing, too, since it then gave me the idea to interface Thranduil's collar with the leftovers.

Hours: Ummmm, this might be the only downside. It took me a good 4-5 hours to cut everything, and then an additional 15 or so hours to do the sewing (but I was also underlining everything). I didn't need to do any fitting though, thanks to the forgiving front opening, so there was that. I also didn't do the bound buttonhole, so that saved on sewing time. What I did appreciate was not having to waste time trying to figure out why pieces didn't fit together -- guys, this pattern is well-drafted and everything actually matches up!

Total cost: Thanks to massive sales, teacher discounts, and excellent coupon usage, I was able to get the wool for the coat for $12, and then the two sheets were an additional $3 each. I think the horsehair was about $12...throw in another few bucks for thread and it brings the price of materials to about $35. Not bad at all, considering that a coat like this could easily run upwards of $100 at Nordstrom.

Will you make it again? I think it's unlikely, since it's a pretty singular coat, and more than one garment with a huge ruffled collar is not really necessary. However, I will most likely steal the sleeve and armscye of this pattern, because it is one of the nicest I've ever had to set in. Also, as mentioned by several other test sewers and the actual pattern debut blog entry, this is a "top coat," so it definitely runs snug.  I cut the size recommended for my measurements and I can't wear this with anything bulkier than a long-sleeve tee or a thin sweater (think the kind of flimsy ones they sell at Target in the Merona collection). Since I live in California, that doesn't really bother me, but if you're intending to actually layers items under this, I'd go up a size or two. I would also check the size of the pocket opening, too, since they feel rather large to me. I might just go and sew up the bottom third of mine, actually.

Final thoughts: Thank you, Lolita Patterns, for coming up with such a fabulous coat pattern! It's almost as fabulous as Thranduil's spangly tunic, it's that fun. And while some people have said (hi Mom!) that the front neckline is too open and I'll catch my death of cold, I personally think of it as a built-in scarf showcasing mechanism. Now I have an excuse to get more huge statement scarves.

If you're interested in purchasing your own Spearmint pattern, you can get it here at their online shop, or you can even buy it in a bundle with the other Lolita Patterns releases, the Gunmetal and Sugarplum.

Twirl time!

And if you haven't seen Knitnbee's and LadyKatza's red Spearmints yet, you should go check them out! Apparently this pattern just begs to be made up in such a vibrant color. Hmm, what are the chances of one day having a red Spearmint meet-up IRL?


* "Do it Rockapella!" Oh my goodness, this song brings me back to middle school like no other. It used to be my dream to get on the show, even though I'm terrible at making decisions/answering questions when under a time crunch. I'm pretty sure I would never buzz in first and then end up being the gumshoe that doesn't even make it to The Chase.

48 comments:

  1. Beautiful! It looks super professional! What areas did you interface with the horsehair- just the collar, or the front as well? I'm working on my first coat right now and a bit overwhelmed by all the options...
    http://cashmerette.blogspot.com/2013/12/muslin-advice-needed-and-open-coat.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I only interfaced the bottom layer of the collar with horsehair, although I think a lot of coat patterns also call for interfacing (but not necessarily with horsehair) the front panels too.

      Delete
  2. This looks fantastic! Beautiful job!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love how the red looks on you! Great job on your coat! I was a huge Carmen Sandiego fan as a kid too - you need to make a matching red hat now. =)

    I am probably one of the only testers who didn't make a bold color/print version - which kind of makes me laugh because I usually go bold, but didn't have any good fabric already in my stash. (Still need to get good photos!) I ended up stitching my pockets up about 2 inches on the bottom so I can carry my phone in them without worrying about it falling out.

    (And technically, I didn't finish mine on time either. I had to do two mockups, but it was enough to get them feedback on the survey.)

    ~ Brooke

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good to know I'm not the only one who didn't finish on time! I've seen yours and it looks so classic...they don't all have to be bright flashy colors! And I think I'll take a page from your book and sew up the bottom of my pockets too.

      Delete
  4. Fab coat- very Carmen SanDiego, indeed! I want to be a gumshoe SO BADLY.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The word gumshoe cracks me up so much...but yes, let's be gumshoes :)

      Delete
  5. I love it! It looks perfect. I have not had a new coat in a while-now I have coat envy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think the takeaway from this project was that making coats doesn't have to be that difficult...it's a more involved process, but it's really no more tricky than say, making a lined dress.

      Delete
  6. Carmen Sandeigo! I knew it!!! You're rocking my favorite color and the pattern itself is lovely!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm really pleasantly surprised by how many people know Carmen Sandiego! And yes, LP did a fantastic job on the pattern.

      Delete
  7. OMG, I loved that show!!!! Rockapella was the best, ooo bop, ooo bop, doobie doobie doobie... Wait where am I? Sitting in my parent's living room after school? But enough of that, I think your coat is the best red one of the bunch. Maybe cause it's got that classy photo shopped hat as an accessory. We need to find hats like that in real life for our real red coat meet up. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You know how it is...photoshopped red hats are the best! If we ever do a meet up, I'll bring paper print outs for us to hold over our heads :)

      Delete
  8. Haven't heard of that Carmen before. At first I thought you were making another McDonald's reference (Hamburgler)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Heh, Carmen Sandiego was only around for a very brief time in the 90s, so I don't blame you for not knowing her!

      Delete
  9. I recently saw a light pink wool coat for sale called the Lotus Collar coat that looks exactly like that. I must have that pattern. Your coat is beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I just looked it up and my goodness, they're so similar! I'll have to show Amity!

      Delete
  10. My sewing hero!! Coat looks fantastic!

    ReplyDelete
  11. This coat is stunning on you! Amazing :)

    ReplyDelete
  12. Your coat is lovely! Love the carmen sandiego reference, hahaha. I played the computer games obsessively as a kid, and dressed up as her for my halloween costume three years ago. None of the little kids got it, haha, but one of the dads thought it was great :P

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nice! Glad to know I'm not the only one dressing up as an obscure 90s character!

      Delete
  13. Hooray for Carmen Sandiego! I'm pretty sure I learned 90% of my world history from playing the spin-off computer game, Where in Time is Carmen Sandiego.

    This coat looks lovely. SInce I first saw it, I've been envisioning it in a steampunk style.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooh, obviously I need to play that game, because my world history is terrible! I think this coat would make a terrific steampunk jacket...I'm picturing if in a brown tweed...mmmm....

      Delete
  14. As soon as I saw your first picture, I had the Carmen Sandiego song stuck in my head...and it's still there. Apparently watching the show while in middle-school embeds such things into one's long-term memory. Great job on the coat.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yaaaaay mission accomplished! Obviously the goal here was to get the theme song stuck in everyone's head.

      Delete
  15. It's gorgeous - from all the versions of this I've been spotting around the interwebs - I think your wool really does the ruffle collar justice. A lovely shape and flounce to it! It suits you wonderfully :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks! I'm slowly taking on more new skills, like working with horsehair, thanks to your inspiring couture class sharing!

      Delete
  16. I don't know who Carmen Sandiego is I'm afraid, but I love your coat and the red is fabulous. I wish our winter was cold enough to need a lovely coat like that. Beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The nice thing about this coat is that depending on the material you use, it doesn't have to be a heavy coat!

      Delete
  17. Replies
    1. :))) Red is one of my favorite colors to wear!

      Delete
  18. I loved that show! I recognized you/her immediately. Your coat came out really well!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hehehe awesome! I just need a real, non-photoshop hat now!

      Delete
  19. Wow, that photographs really nicely. It is so beautiful in person! I love the color & I like the hooh & eye closure. It just looks fantastic on you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Secret: I'm too lazy/scared to do bound buttonholes, and hooks and eyes can be moved around if you messed up the placement the first time :)

      Delete
  20. You should have put an 'earworm warning' - I've got the song in my head! haha The jacket is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete
  21. What a gorgeous coat! I just finished making the Minoru Jacket for myself and like you, am amazed at how easy it is to do 'professional' looking lined jackets! Also l-o-v-e-d playing Carmen Sandiego as a kid, thanks for reminding me of that.
    (Oh and thank you for correctly using 'singular'... everyone seems to be using it as a synonym for 'single' ... grrrrr :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Isn't it incredible what one can make with a good pattern and instructions? And yes, that singular thing bugs me too!

      Delete
  22. Pssst! Don't tell LadyKatza or HeatherB, but I like yours the best, I think because of the colour. The seaming on the back has a really beautiful shape too!

    I was too old for Camen Sandiego, but I know exactly what you mean about games of chance vs. games of knowledge. I always go for the latter. I even tried out for Jeopardy once and made it to the regional testing in Boston, but flubbed the whole hitting-the-clicker-1-millisecond-after-it-unlocks thing. Boo. Think of all the 100% wool suiting I could have bought with my Jeopardy winnings.....;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha I won't tell :)

      I'm horrible at any game that involves quick thinking and beating other people out on buzzers...but gosh, give me a test of a bazillion random facts and I'll happily bubble in answers!

      Delete
  23. Ok DAMN Christmas being to busy to read anything, I just saw this and it is AMAZING! AND RED! And my keyboard doesn't have enough exclamation points! !!!!

    Ahem. Don't hate me if I buy this pattern and make one just like it?

    ReplyDelete
  24. What an amazing colour! This is definitely a statement coat, and I think the statement is "I'm awesome".

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for taking the time to tell me your thoughts! I appreciate reading them and I try to reply to most, if not all, comments, especially when they are questions. I ask that you keep your comments polite, and if you're a spammer, don't bother because your comment will just be deleted! Also, if you're commenting on a post that's more than two weeks old, it will be moderated.