Sunday, May 27, 2012

The List....

Remember the list from a few blogs ago?

  • Mrs. D sewed a suit for Gail
  • Mrs. W's gray wool skirt
  • Mrs. H's blouse
  • White wool coat
  • Fabric shopping
  • Jean jacket/batik remake
I wrote about the suit and the skirt and the blouse, with a segue into the white wool coat.  So this is the story of that coat!

After Mrs. H bought me the gorgeous white wool and all the accessories to make a dress coat, I went into whatever it is that's the sewist's equivalent to writer's block!  I was so undecided on what to do next... imagine what it's like to stare at beautiful, pristine, NEW fabric, after working on fabric salvaged from recycled items all the time.  Somehow having the freedom to choose the pattern myself and make anything I wanted seemed too hard.

But my mom did not suffer fools lightly, and she said, basically, "get your rear in gear and get it done".  So I cleared off the kitchen table, laid out the fabric and started cutting.  I cut lining and interfacing, because by this time I had learned to read the pattern directions all the way through before starting anything.  I marked with old fashioned tailor's tacks because anything else might have left permanent marks.  And I started to assemble the coat.

Working after school and around my part-time job, it took me almost a month to get it done.  I never spent a lot of time on homework because school was pretty easy for me, but that had to come first.  That was the first question we were asked at the dinner table, and a no meant you were going to be back at the kitchen table with books right after the dishes were done.

So that was probably the longest period of time I ever worked on a garment continuously, that is without working on some other project in between.  But I spent a lot of time reading my source material (the pattern guide sheet) to make sure I did it right.  And I had to set up anew each time I worked, which also meant cleaning up after -- machine, materials, iron and ironing board.  Each time I think of this project I give thanks that now I have a big dedicated space in which to work!

I learned the use of a press cloth working on this coat.  I learned how to press lightly so as not to get the impression of your hem showing on the right side of your garment.  I finally perfected that button hole attachment... and I was impressed at how much the texture and loft of wool can hide some of the imperfections of a beginner sewist.

The first day that I put that coat on over my church dress, I felt like the princess going to the ball.  And when I showed it to Mrs. H, she was very liberal in her praise of my skills. 

I wore that coat for 'dress up' occasions until about 10 years after I graduated from high school.  Somewhere I have a photo of me wearing that and holding my DD as a baby in about 1976 or 77.  It still looked really good! 

Sadly, having two small children and a white coat didn't really go together.  Wearing the same coat every spring and fall for a number of years, and sending to the dry cleaners regularly, made it kind of an expensive item of clothing.  It really didn't make sense to hang on to it, and the fabric became so worn that it couldn't be recycled.  One sad spring day it was put into the donation box and that was that!

I never made another coat for myself.  I used those skills to make a number of coats and outerwear jackets for my children over the years.  Now I make other items of clothing for myself and the family.  But I will always have warm memories of the years with my white wool coat!

Thanks, Mrs. H, for lovely memories.

Sew on!

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