Made by Me!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Cutting The Coat Out - Or How To Get Scared By Plaids and Stripes

The coat has moved on to the next level, I have cut out the lining and after the better part of a day of deliberating about pattern placement I have finally managed to cut the self fabric out. It was lucky that on the morning I decided to tackle actually putting a pair scissors to the wool a Colette Patterns 'how to match plaids and stripes' freebie for the new Dahlia pattern popped into my inbox....what lucky, lucky timing. I can tell you that my fabric stared at me for about two weeks before I had the nerve to touch it. It's a high stakes project when you only have just enough fabric to make what you want (which is admittedly silly when you need to match plaids or stripes but its all they had left in the shop) and the fabric cost so much money I really didn't want to make a mistake!! But you cant stay scared all your life and so I tried to put all of that to one side and take it a step at a time...and after about 4 hours of playing around and lots of pensive thinking I felt confident enough to cut it. Ridiculous I know but so far I have only been semi successful at matching my plaids or stripes on previous projects and as Sarai Mitnick from Colette mentions in her booklet, most of the matching happens in the cutting stage... and well to be honest that made me feel a little more nervous about fluffing it up!! So as I really wanted to try hard to make this coat as good as it could be I thought it cant hurt to take more time to make sure I feel confident that I am making the right decisions. Lets face it once its cut, its cut!

Initially I spent about half an hour pushing back everything in the front room to allow space to spread out the fabric fully on the floor, then I matched the selvage edges together and pinned it along its length to make sure all stripes matched. I also smoothed the fabric to make sure there were no lumps and bumps throughout and when I was finally satisfied started laying the pattern pieces down.

As you can see in the images above and below the fabric is striped with a more subtle plaid design - and I hope you agree it blooming gorgeous! I just love the colour and the fluffiness!! I saw it and had to have it!

Sarai makes the point that you have to decide what the most important elements to match are so I decided to think about centring the front and back pieces and the side seams, which would be the most obvious if they were off centre, and then I decided it might be good to try and match up the armhole and sleeve. I wasn't as worried about the waistline as the tie around the middle of the coat would shield anything that wasn't exact.

Now I have to be honest and say that I am not going to try and explain the process that Sarai details in her booklet as she explains everything much better than I can. I wanted to apply all her suggestions in detail but in the end I kind of did it by eye and with occasional use of a tape measure, using her ideas but not really executing them in the way she described. My mind works a lot more visually than marking out and measuring intensely. Potentially that will be my downfall but I just don't compute stuff in that way. So a bit of freehand ensued. I found matching armhole points or bottoms of skirt pieces together and moving the fabric around to emulate how pieces would be placed together worked quite well. You just have to remember that you are matching seam allowances and not the outer edge of the pattern piece. All in all it took a while; I had just enough fabric to make it work and when I felt I could no longer improve the layout I pinned it all down, took a deep breath and started to cut the pattern up.

Does anyone else feel like they come out in a cold sweat at the thought of matching pattern pieces? Is it just me? And why if it makes me so nervous do I have to choose a fabric that I know will make me feel a little intimidated!

And you can see its all done now so there's no turning back!! It really was a very nerve wracking experience but I felt I learned a little something along the way and Sarai's booklet really helped to focus on the important details. I am really excited to be at a point to start sewing the coat up now. Come back in the next few days to see how I am getting on.


  1. Replies
    1. And so beautifully soft and warm! Almost time to wear the coat again and so glad I invested in this fabric.


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