Floral Robson trench: layers coming together

floral-robson-trench-neckline-seam

If you told me in January when I started this coat that it still wouldn’t be finished by November, I wouldn’t have believed you.  Then again, if you told me a week ago that Donald Trump would be the next president of the United States, I wouldn’t have believed you either, but that is a story for an entirely different post.  As for the coat, not only has this been way more work than I had anticipated, but the utter size and weight of this thing makes every step an odyssey, requiring a will of steel to keep it all moving forward.

Two truths:

  1. I am SO ready for this coat to be finished.
  2. There is still so much more work left to do.

Le sigh.

But never fear, things ARE moving forward, albeit at my typical glacially slow pace.  Today I have more in-progress shots to share, as the outer shell comes together and the three layers of the coat become one.  Onward!

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Floral Robson trench: more bias binding and lining assembly

floral-robson-trench-collar-with-storm-flaps

Folks, I’ve come to the conclusion that sewing a 3-layered trench coat is no joke.  Not that I thought this was going to be a quick and easy project, but still!  As I get deeper and deeper into the sewing process, I realize just how much more there is to go.  Really, a 3-layered coat means sewing 3 separate coats, not to mention all the little details.  Don’t get me wrong, I am thoroughly enjoying every minute of sewing this coat.  It is just a beast.  🙂

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Floral Robson trench: adventures in bias binding

robson-trench-practice-bias-trim

[Oops!  I hit publish on this post before I finished writing it!  Hopefully those of you who read this post early enjoyed my slew of photos with no explanations. 🙂 ]

Work on my floral Robson trench continues!  I’m happy to report that I seem to have found some motivation to actually work on this project now that (a) the epic cutting part is complete, and (b) the cool fall weather is arriving.  Today’s installment: bias binding.  One of the defining features of my trench (aside from the beautiful floral fabric, of course!) will be black bias binding that will boldly outline various parts of the coat, including the collar and lapels.

This past weekend I started binding a few of the small pieces: the pocket welts and shoulder epaulettes.  It was… time consuming.  Of course.  This is me we’re talking about, after all.  🙂  I’ve been mitering the corners, which is both extremely fiddly and extremely satisfying.  I bound a total of 4 pieces, and each took about 45 minutes!  But, I really like the finished effect, and I think it will give the trench a unique touch.

I took a few in-progress photos of my ad-hoc (aka totally made-up) binding technique.  I’m using what is essentially double-fold bias tape that I cut from a black cotton/linen blend, and I’ve folded over the 5/8″ seam allowance on the part that gets folded over to the back.  The rest of the folds get made during application.  If you have any advice on how to apply the tape and miter the corners better than what I’m doing here, I’m all ears!

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Floral Robson trench: finally finished cutting

sewaholic-robson-trench-hair-canvas-on-front-facings

After many months and what seems like an epic number of hours hunched over my cutting table, I’m happy to report that all the millions of pieces of my floral Robson trench coat are finally cut, interfaced, and ready to sew.  Hooray!  🙂

As you can see above, I’m using fusible hair canvas on the front facings to give the lapels a bit of structure.  This is the good stuff from Fashion Sewing Supply.  It’s my first time using it, so we’ll see how it goes!  I opted NOT to use sew-in hair canvas and pad stitch it in, mostly to preserve my sanity.  The lapels may stick out a bit as a result, but I think I’m ok with that.

sewaholic-robson-trench-interfacing-along-hems

I’m using regular interfacing along the jacket and sleeve hems.  I’ve done this before with my Simplicity 2446 blazers to great effect.

sewaholic-robson-trench-pile-of-cut-and-interfaced-pieces

There is quite a large pile of cut pieces currently sitting on my sewing table.  It’s a little overwhelming!  Between the floral outer fabric, flannel interlining, rayon lining, and all the little pieces for the pockets, sleeve tabs, welts, etc…. I think this coat is going to weigh a ton!  Not to mention the awesome black bias binding that is going to be outlining all the major pieces.  🙂

readers-digest-complete-guide-to-sewing-interlining-instructions

I’ve been reading up on how to assemble a jacket with both an interlining and lining.  I think I may leave all 3 layers as separate as possible to allow for movement, but I have a feeling I’ll wing it as I start assembling.  One thing I’ve decided is that I won’t be treating the interlining like an underlining (assembling the main fabric and interlining as one) since I don’t want the bulk of the flannel in the major garment seams.  We’ll see if I live to regret this or not!

At this point the sewing has officially begun: I started putting together the interlining pieces over the weekend.  I’m excited!  The cutting on this project was really weighing me down, but now that it’s done and fall is approaching, I’ve found some momentum on this project.  I’ll keep you posted.  🙂

Epic fabric cutting in progress

Robson Trench - black bias binding

There is going to be a ton of fabric cutting for my floral Robson trench.  This weekend, I started to make a dent.  Above, feast your eyes on approximately 12 yards of bias binding.  This took me an entire afternoon!

Robson Trench - flannel interlining fabric cut

I also cut out all the flannel interlining…

Robson Trench - starting to cut floral cotton sateen

… and started on the main floral fabric.  Confession: I almost cut out these front facing pieces with the print upside down!  I’m so glad I caught it in time.

Lots more cutting to go, including the slippery rayon lining which I always hate cutting.  I need to find a zen-like state of inner peace before I attempt this.  🙂

I won’t finish this coat anytime soon, but I hope you’ll enjoy seeing little bits of progress here and there.  Stay tuned!

Resurrecting the beast

Sewaholic Robson pattern pieces

Guess what I dug out of my pattern storage bin this weekend?  My Robson trench!  Yeah!!!  You may recall that I did a ton of work on this pattern in January during a week-long sewcation, which ultimately resulted in me throwing out my back.  Not fun.  But you know what IS fun?  Returning to a complicated pattern with nearly all of the hard work (muslining and fitting) already done.

The keyword being NEARLY.

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Sewcation Day 7: Alteration exasperation

Sewcation Day 7 - exasperation

This is the face of exasperation.  Do you recognize it?  It’s when you take a week off from work, spend the bulk of 7 full days working on a pattern, and don’t even get to the part where you get to play with nice fabric.  I am tired of working on this muslin.  I am DONE.

Noteworthy happenings from today:

  • I firmly decided to stick with the Robson, after getting *this close* to pulling the trigger on this Burda trench.  Morgan, you crafty temptress!  You almost had me.  If I’m making a mistake, I only have myself to blame!
  • I pre-washed all my fabric.  Everything went through 2 wash cycles on warm and into the dryer.  No disasters to report, thankfully.
  • I transferred all my muslin alterations back to the paper patterns.  I hate that part.
  • I re-drafted the front and back trench coat flaps, which proved to be rather unpleasant.  Details below.
  • I didn’t draft the lining pieces yet, but I’m brainstorming strategies.  Will have to take into account the fact that the interlining and lining don’t stretch, but the fashion fabric does.  What’s the solution – pleats?

Ok, flaps.  FLAPS!!  The back flap wasn’t too bad, but the front flap drove me insane.  I need a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy to bring me a cocktail.  I need a cabin boy who will draft my flaps for me AND bring me a cocktail.

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Sewcation Days 5-6: Updated muslin and thank you!

Sewcation Days 5-6 - pattern alteration zone

Wow, thank you all so much for your thoughtful fitting suggestions!!  This is where being part of the online sewing community is unbelievably helpful and makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.  🙂  Your comments were very thought-provoking, and they helped me to zone in on what issues were bothering me the most, and what (perhaps) I could live with.

First, I decided to stick with the Robson pattern, for now at least.  I haven’t cut into my real fabric yet, so I reserve the right to change my mind!  I suspect most of this has to do with the fact that I’m very stubborn and have sunk so much time and effort into this thing.  It would be satisfying to tame this pattern once and for all.

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Sewcation Day 4: Forge ahead or abandon ship?

Sewing friends, I am at a crossroads with this pattern.  While running errands and cooking for most of the day, I was pondering my fitting issues in the back of my mind.  Can I save this Robson, or should I move on?  I decided to try to fix one more issue and then re-asses.

I was experiencing some tightness across the front upper chest and bust, especially when I moved my arm back.  I’m pointing to the issue below:

Sewcation Day 4 - fitting upper chest 1

So I opened up the princess seams and tried to maneuver the fabric until things felt a bit more comfortable.  I was feeling pretty smug for “discovering” this awesome technique until I realized that everyone does this, LOL.  It definitely helped to fix the tightness across the chest, but it was by no means a miracle cure.

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Sewcation Day 3: Muslin mania

Sewcation Day 3 - sewing machine in twilight

Today was all muslin, all the time.  I cut out and assembled my Robson in plain cotton muslin (and thankfully, I had just enough left over from previous projects).  I tried it on.  I stared at my shoulders.  I pinned, I sewed, I seam ripped, and I pinned and sewed some more.  Then I stared at my shoulders again.  I raised my arms.  I lowered them.  I tugged and pulled and poked and prodded.  Then I took off the coat and declared defeat.  Temporary defeat.

I WILL figure this out.  Just not today.

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