Sewcation Day 1: Pattern and fabric

Sewcation Day 1 - assembling PDF

First of all, thank you so much for your very thoughtful messages of support after my last post about work-related stress.  I generally don’t expect to get much feedback on random non-sewing related posts, but it was wonderful to hear your encouraging words, suggestions, and well wishes.  I was really touched – thank you.

After several weeks (months?) of dealing with pressure at work, I’m delighted to announce that I’m taking this upcoming week off from work.  Yes, a whole week to myself, hooray!  Essentially I’m taking my holiday vacation a few weeks late, since I wasn’t able to take it during the usual time.  Unlike the holidays, however, I have no travel plans and have decided to make this an epic sewcation.  I’m thrilled!

Sewcation Day 1 - PDF assembled and pieces rough cut

To really take advantage of an entire week off, I’m embarking on a more in-depth and completely “for fun” project – the Sewaholic Robson Trench.  Screw my usual practical projects; this time I really want to dive in and make something beautiful!  I spent the day today assembling the PDF, which was quite a few pages (61 to be exact) but was thoughtfully put together.  I appreciate it when the pattern pieces are placed to avoid as many overlapping pages as possible.

I’ve realized lately that I much prefer PDF patterns over paper patterns.  I know most people fall solidly into one camp or the other, but to each their own.  Personally, I like the lower price and instant delivery of PDFs, and I actually find cutting off the edges and taping everything together quite relaxing and all part of the fun of sewing.  Since I have no desire whatsoever to rush my sewing process, taking the extra time for assembly is no big deal for me.  Plus, I like that all the pattern pieces come out flat, with no fold lines or creases.

Sewcation Day 1 - contemplating pattern adjustments

Now, in all honesty, I broke my usual rule of only buying patterns that are drafted for my body type.  Sewaholic’s narrow-shouldered, pear-shaped model is quite the opposite of my inverse triangle body.  However, this pattern was downloadable instantly and had most of the classic trench coat features I was looking for, and with a week off, I figured I could take some extra time for adjustments.  I took a bunch of measurements today (of both the pattern and my body) and confirmed that some major shoulder re-working is in order, but I think I have a handle on it.  There will be a full muslin, as usual.

Sewcation Day 1 - fabric for Robson Trench

After spending the day with paper and pencil, look what arrived at my doorstep this evening!  This gorgeous stretch cotton sateen is from Mood and features a blue and purple floral print that’s just the right scale for a coat – not too big or too small.  (As of publishing this post, there’s still some left if you want to scoop it up!)  I wasn’t sure about the scale when ordering online but was really pleased when I opened the box.  The fabric quality seems good too, but we’ll see how it holds up to a pre-wash.

I’ve also ordered some white cotton flannel to interline the coat for added warmth, as well as some purple Bemberg rayon for a full lining.  The Robson pattern doesn’t include a lining, but it won’t be too difficult to draft one.  I have the time, after all.  🙂  I won’t be doing any tailoring or adding much internal structure to the coat other than the usual bits of interfacing, and I’m hoping the coat won’t really need it.  We’ll see though.  I may change my mind once I get going.

Sewcation Day 1 - fabric for Robson Trench - detail

If you’re thinking to yourself, “Wow, that is going to be a bright coat…”, then we’re on the same page.  🙂  I really wanted to go for it with this project, just for fun!  You may have noticed that I enjoy wearing bright colors anyway, so this fabric choice shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone.  If the finished coat is eye-searingly fabulous, I will have accomplished my goal.  🙂

I hope to post a few in-progress photos every few days over the course of the week, so stay tuned if you’re interested in seeing the coat come together.  I don’t think I’ll finish it this week, but I might come close.  I’m so glad I finally have some time to dive into a big project.  If nothing else, hopefully I’ll be able to replace my stress dreams with fabric dreams.  Yay, sewcation!

38 thoughts on “Sewcation Day 1: Pattern and fabric

  1. I’m excited for you!! Can’t wait to see this being made. If you’ve not got chance to write anything just pictures will suffice! Just a thought, but this would look amazing with a bold solid piping! 😃


  2. Hi Caroline,

    Do you use tape for the pdf patterns? Use glue or glue stick, it’s faster, cheaper and the paper will be more secure too …


  3. Yay, sewcation! You totally deserve it! Guess what? I have a piece of that same fabric, gifted to me by a dear friend! And I had ear-marked it for a floral blazer, inspired by the print one you did! But lately I’ve been thinking that I might want to make it into a short spring jacket. It’s such a precious piece to me because it was a gift, so I want to make sure I make a great pattern match. It’s going to be fabulous as a Robson – this same friend made a floral Robson with a similar scale print, and it looks amazing. Have fun!


    • Oh my gosh, how awesome Gail! I can’t wait to see what you make with this fabric! How much do you have? A spring jacket is a great idea – that’s essentially what I’m going for with the Robson too. I’m glad your friend’s floral Robson came out well. I considered getting a solid instead, just to be more practical, but decided to splurge on the floral instead!


      • I have 2.5 yards, so it’s going to have to be a short jacket. I have several contenders, so I’m having a hard time deciding! Maybe your coat will help me land on something 🙂


  4. Hi Carolyn, sewcation sounds a great idea, especially after all this stressful period that you had. For some reason when i’m on vacation although I expect to sew as much as i can in reallity i get very lazy and don’t sew much! This trench is going to be gorgeus, love your fabric choice, it will brighten the winter days!!


    • Aida, I often do the same thing! When I finally have time off from work, I tend to be lazy and just relax. This time I’m trying to be productive though, and so far I’ve been enjoying it. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Yay or sewcations! You are going to have a blast, and that fabric is beautiful! Will be perfect for those gray Boston spring days! I have mini sew-craft-cations when my hubby travels for business and the girls are at school…I spend the whole day working on something and the girls could care less if we have spaghetti for dinner every night 😉 Have fun!


  6. A whole week just to sew?!? Jealous. I love the bold fabric you picked for your coat and will be eagerly following along!

    (I feel like a bit of a heel for not at least chiming in with some encouragement on the stress post; I can certainly relate to the internal pressures and the impacts of acute stress on other aspects of life. Sadly, I am wound tighter than fine-gauge piano wire, so I felt I wouldn’t be of much help and mostly read the comments, trying to soak in some of the ideas for myself! But I certainly wish you luck and peace of mind going forward, and am glad that you received so many thoughtful comments.)


    • Thank you for the kind words, Mads, and no worries about not chiming in earlier! No one is obligated to be my online therapist. 🙂 I am pretty tightly wound myself, which I think contributes to my inability to handle stress well. Such is life – my personality is not going to change after all these years! I wish you the best of luck in dealing with stressful situations as well. I find that planning works well for me – if I can see a reasonable path forward, it’s easier to handle the present moment.

      Liked by 1 person

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