With the hibernating sew-jo mentioned in my last post, I decided to kick-start my dressmaking for 2017 by booking myself on a couple of courses. I find that if I have paid good money for something, I will definitely do it.
I spotted Sew Me Something’s Blanket Coat workshop on Instagram, and I really liked the look of it. I couldn’t quite believe we could make a coat in just three little hours, but Jules assured me it was possible! Never mind that they’re based in Stratford-Upon-Avon, which is over a hundred miles away from Guildford! My trusty Nissan got me there in good time.
All you needed to bring with you was fabric (although if you didn’t have any, the Sew Me Something Emporium was open to us!). Since I am on a Stash diet, I pulled out the black & white wool-mix bouclé which I’d bought in November from the World Famous Man Outside Sainsburys, in Walthamstow. I’d originally thought I’d use it for a jacket, but when you are shopping from stash, you adapt your plans according to what you’ve got available. The wrong side is lovely and soft, as it’s brushed and smooth, compared to the more textured right side. I hope this photo captures the difference between the two sides.
The cutting took a little while. I found that my fabric was ever so slightly shorter than I needed, but I shortened the length of the pattern by 5cm to be safe, and all was fine. I have to confess, I hadn’t thought about working with the nap of the wrong side of my fabric, but thankfully the pattern layout is all “one way”, and by merest chance, I managed to align my fabric so that the nap strokes downwards throughout. Next time, I would be more aware of that particular aspect.
The construction was done almost entirely on the overlocker. The collar is ingenious, and when the penny dropped about how it worked, it felt very satisfying. It was astonishing how quickly it all came together, but I guess that’s the joy of overlocking – it’s quick. Also, the edges are all finished on the overlocker and there are no fastenings. I’m toying with the idea of adding a great big statement button at the collar, but I think that would only be if I come across a suitably superb button.
I opted for red thread for the overlocking, as you can see. I do love a dramatic contrast. But also, it’s a kind of an homage to the Sherlock overcoat with its red buttonhole!
Things I have learned from this workshop:
- The overlock stitch has a front and a back, so you need to think about which side you want to sew on. You consequently need to be aware of which side you are pinning on. As well as being very careful to pin well away from anywhere that might come into contact with the needles or the blade.
- I was feeling quite comfortable when using the overlocker. Obviously the small amount of use I had of the one on the dressmaking evening classes I did last year has given me some confidence.
- I don’t need an overlocker. I don’t need an overlocker. I don’t need an overlocker. I don’t need an overlocker. I really *want* an overlocker…
One of the reasons I was keen to take this workshop is that outerwear is one of my me-made wardrobe gaps. At last I will have a proper coat to take me into Me Made May. It’s also met one of my personal sewing tick-boxes, and it’s a good starting point to build towards sewing a more structured coat or jacket in the future.
Jules is a fab teacher – she walked the tightrope between making sure each of us knew what we were doing, and allowing us to get on with it. There were six of us and each of us came away with a beautiful coat/jacket. The workshop itself was extremely good value for money and I am more than happy to recommend it. Jules will be running the same workshop again on 22nd March and on 29th April. Go! You’ll have fun and make a well funky coat- what’s not to like?