Outerwear, Underwear – it’s all happening here!

Yesterday was the first of my four coat making workshops at Sew Over It Clapham with super patient Julie who has already guided me through a lace dress and a pair of trousers.  The workshops were a Christmas present (obviously lots of careful hints) to my other half.


This is my fabric – a beautiful (reversible) daisy wool and the polka dot is for the lining; both from Guthrie and Ghani. I got the gorgeous buttons from Ditto fabrics.

There are just three of us in the class – just as well as the class is labelled as Advanced and at the very best I would describe myself as Intermediate Beginner.  The others have chosen wonderful fabric/lining combinations so I am hopeful we will have a trio of quite dramatic coats to show off mid February.




The style is 1960s.  Here is a rather unflattering photo of me wearing the sample.  It will be quite interesting to compare my final version with this beauty!

imageThere is a lot to do.  The session lasted for three hours and in that time all I managed to do was cut out the wool and pin the interfacing.  The construction process is carefully broken down into four weeks and there are detailed instructions for what needs to be covered each week during the lesson and separate instructions for what needs to be done for homework.  The homework is substantial – I would say at least a further three hours but I will let you know in my next progress report. Most of the pieces need to be cut out three times: fabric, lining, interfacing. New things I learned: there is a different type of interfacing (not the Vilene type stuff I have used previously) which is used for coats – it is actually woven and you have to cut it on the grain. This I have to cut and iron on for my homework so I cannot comment on if it is easier/trickier etc.  The other interesting thing is that a man in Soho is recommended to do our button holes.  I had commented that they looked great on the sample and despaired of ever being able to do anything like that and then we were given the recommendation.  I did wonder if it was sort of cheating to get someone else to do the final finishing touches but it would be a total bummer to have made your coat, invested hours and hours and then bugger up the buttonholes – which I would almost certainly do.  If you read my blog about the silk top you will know that button holes are my nemesis.

imageI DO love the studio.  It is such a calming (although I was anything but calm and that is going to be the subject of a future, navel-gazing style post), twee, girly space – all shocking pink staircases, pretty jars of notions and tea cup pin cushions.  Always there is lovely cake and tea on tap.  That was something else I learned – when you are sewing, your bladder ceases to function! I have a lovely little routine – established when I did the lace dress workshops –  I leave work and arrive an hour or so before the class starts (I am always a super punctual person and would rather arrive an hour early than with just two minutes to spare) and then sit in a little independent coffee house and use the wifi to catch up on blogs whilst having a couple of lattes. Then, at the studios, there were further mugs of tea and it was only when I got home I realised I hadn’t been to the loo once!  Anyone else get so engrossed they forget such things?!

So, I have made a start – there is much to do this weekend but I hope you found my first progress report interesting.

Just a quick thing to finish with – a pair of pants!


I saw on IG that JustSewtherapeutic had had a snow day (no sign of any here) and had productively made three pairs of Trixie Lixie pants.  I am a shameless copycat and immediately bought a kit (bargain as it includes the pattern, elastic, fabric etc).  It really is the first time I can say “it came together easily”.  I knocked them out Sunday night – we were watching a box set of Spiral series one (on a colleague’s recommendation) but I found it too distressing so gave up and took refuge in my Janome.  I wore them on Monday and they were comfy too – hoorah!  I plan to make many more in Liberty lawn – specifically the new Alice in Wonderland designs.

Hope you are having a good week!,

Toodle pip,

Clarinda x




11 responses

  1. Pingback: Finally ….. I am proud to present: The 1960s Coat | clarinda kaleidoscope

  2. I love your knickers! (it’s not every day I say that to someone!!) Where do you get your knicker elastic from? I am trying to find a good source of nice but not too expensive…….?


  3. Pingback: Week two of my coat making plus a dollop of naval gazing | clarinda kaleidoscope

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