However, this is one big self delusion, particularly when it comes to fabric acquisition, because somehow, when a fabric is called "Liberty" or or "Linton Tweed", all of a sudden it becomes remarkably more attractive. Even worse," used by Donna Karan" "end of roll from Lisa Ho" or "used by Chanel" has the same sort of aura despite the fact that neither I, nor anyone I associate with would recognize these fabrics as "designer" unless told so ! What can I say? Marketing techniques work.
Imagine then, my weakness when Gorgeous Fabrics had some "used by Chanel knit", in a sale no less. It leapt out at me in a weak moment.
Despite a rather guilty feeling, I was determined to do this fabric justice.II picked out the pattern and ordered a selection of zips from Zipperstop in colours I thought would look pretty good (I love the Pantone numbers on the Gorgeous Fabrics site, allowing this sort of pre planning).
When the fabric arrived, none of my other fabrics were quite the right colour for the trim, so I held a yarn audition and knit a nice wide piece in moss stitch in a variegated grey, a bit time consuming, but worth it, I told myself, for this fancy project. I picked out a nice stretch silk to line the jacket and was all set for a muslin.
The muslin was in polarfleece, this having approximately the same thickness and stretch as the real deal fabric, and I thought I might get a useful running jacket from my trial.
The muslin, was possibly the most ill fitting and unattractive thing I have ever made from Burda - clearly not suitable for my magic fabric.
Whilst I was mourning my pattern
I already knew the fabric was quite unusual in construction,very interesting, with an almost roving texture of yarn on a very fine and open knit mesh- like base on one side and a stocking stitch texture on the other
, but what I had not seen before this up close and personal inspection were the holes, clearly ravelling even as I held the fabric up against the light to inspect it.
I did not contact Gorgeous Fabrics about this. I have never had trouble with fabric from this source before, and the service has always been excellent. Probably I should have, but I didn't - by the time anything was sorted, if it were sorted, and not eaten up by the postage costs between the USA and Australia, the weather here would be hot and un-woolly-knit suitable, and I was pretty sure that Ann had not gone around snipping holes in her fabrics.
1. I mended the holes. Darning is a skill of my mis-spent youth, and I happened to have some recycled mohair-merino yarn in just the right green. I then hand washed the fabric and lay it out flat on towels to dry -no more holes appeared, a win!
2. I picked an easy looking pattern, that used 2 yards of fabric - I didn't want this lying around leering at me in my stash reminding me of my bad sewing weekend. From my magazine collection, but also available here, Burda Style 10-2012-102 - No one had reviewed this at pattern review (or the nearly the same 101 nor 103), but I Did Not Care.
I decided to use the fancy poufy side of the fabric as the "wrong" side that makes up the extravagant collar and started cutting.
(I found a very cool version of the coat here at Dottiedoodle though..and a nice new-to-me sewing blog to look at, bonus!t)
3. I didn't even make a muslin. Bad me.
4. I cut up an old merino rib knit top of my husband's to semi line the back and the outer fronts over the bust (the pattern is unlined) - not wasting any stretch silk on this old rag! The old knit top has some holes that look suspiciously like welding burns all over the front, even though a certain person claims to never wear his hand made clothes for welding..... Good to use up some more rags though. I felt that the fabric needed some support in stress areas.
To prevent sitting-down/reaching forward damage to the fabric, I not only lined it to mid thigh at the back, but added an inverted pleat, stitched down at the neck and the waist.
Although the fabric is quite bulky, this gives some shape, although unfortunately not miraculous visual slimness, to this otherwise boxy cut.
5.I finished the inner seams with zigzag stitch on the machine (my overlocker hated the fabric and went into a 3 day sulk after being introduced to it briefly).
I hemmed and edged the coat by hand using the same knitting yarn as I did for the darns, in catch stitch, for the stretchy properties of this stitch. No couture techniques for my rag coat. (You can see in the first photo where I forgot to turn the cuff down after taking inside photos of my rough hemming)
The pattern instructions say not to hem (their mohair knit), or if you want to hem, to add 2cm. I added the 2cm, but when I came to the fronts, realized that due to the wrong side of the fabric being the collar, the hem would have to switch sides somewhere along the front edges. Instead of doing this, I left in the mitred corner at the inside of the bottom hem, giving a rounded front lower edge, but otherwise left the collar and front edges raw, which makes me feel like a sewing rebel.
6. Actually, on returning to the coat later in the week, I had forgiven it slightly, and bound the neck seam, which might be visible if I were to take it off and hang it up somewhere in public, with bias silk duchess satin, which I just happened to have lying around in forest green. (My daughter's formal dress )
7. Having developed a mild affection for the coat by this stage, I was concerned that the fastening would pull the fabric apart. I chose not to use snaps as instructed in the pattern, as these encourage pulling, that being how you undo them, and backed the button region and the loop fastening region with scraps of the bias satin, and extra buttons to support the outer ones.
5. Amazingly, the resulting coat is remarkably pleasing to me, even though it looks nothing like my original idea. It is very warm, and I can throw it on over jeans or even my knit dress.
In fact, I think it looks much more practical than Karl's use of the fabric - March 2009. No wonder the fabric has holes in it, Karl has had it lying around for years!
Hmm, maybe I could make a silly looking hat with the scraps Oh, wait, I already have a green silly hat ;) A Chanel fabric pencil case maybe.......
Dismal failure, fabric both newly purchased and expensive.
I will wear my nice woolly coat whilst I walk to work for the remaining frosty mornings of winter in order to assuage my conscience.