Saturday, October 04, 2014

The most challenging thing I've ever sewn.

I don't even know where to start with this story.  Do you watch Dr. Who?

A friend was looking for a coat like the 10th doctor wears for a kid.  Apparently, this is an under-served market.  The choices are bespoke and expensive or licensed and expensive.  If the person who is wearing the coat is age 7, they will probably grow out of it (hopefully), so neither looked like great options.

I said yes to the challenge and began doing research online.  Steve Ricks was a great resource.  This blog post from a mom who made Dr Who costumes for her four kids was inspirational.

The first step was finding a pattern.  Looking at the lines of the coat, I considered lengthening a Miami Vice style double breasted coat.  Or scaling down (and lengthening) a 3 button single breasted men's sport coat.  But then I found this, probably at Lanetz Living.


Tell me Honest Abe isn't the spitting image of the 10th doctor?  You know, with a little imagination.
Especially if the coat was a little longer and brown.  As a side note, my mom made my sister an Uncle Sam costume for Halloween when she was in 4th or 5th grade.  It was pretty impressive and all through this project I kept thinking of it and how impressed I am with my mom's skillz.  She also made our chorus circle skirts without a pattern (gored, with a waist band)- just newspaper, a pencil and string (and probably some math).  Also, as I was taking out the pattern pieces, I kept texting the mom to see if she was sure they wanted 10th doctor and not Lady Liberty.

My problems with working neatly seem like they are well documented here.  So, I made a muslin out of genuine muslin.  I even washed and ironed the muslin first.  Totally out of character.  And then I was reminded once again with how important maintaining a consistent seam allowance is.  The muslin is totally not ready for prime time, but it was good practice for figuring out what the instructions meant and which pieces were actually necessary.

I got the muslin to my person and he tried it on and it was fab.  Twirly is not often in the feature set of clothes for boys, but this was twirly and awesome.

We already had some brown fabric at home that would work for the final draft.  My husband has been asking me for a Jedi robe for like since I've had a sewing machine.  It turned out to be nice 10th doctor material.  But then summer got kind of crazy.  And the muslin really was the hardest thing I've made and cutting in to the fabric seemed like such a commitment.

Eventually, I realized that the worst case scenario was that I would have to buy new material and start it over.  Not anything high stakes, just a little inconvenient.  Finally I had a break from work and I got the bulk of the work done one day while everyone else was at school or work.  Do you ever ride a roller coaster and then the next time you ride it, you know that there is a scary part coming up, but you don't remember exactly where/how/what?  That's what most of sewing this was like.  Once the sleeves were attached, I could breathe again.

My friend tried on the coat and we could see how long the sleeves should be, where was his waist.  The hand sewn hem was super wonky, but generally the coat was good.

Now, we are at the point where I'm hoping the sleeves are the right length (I cut the fabric!) the hem is good and the buttons are in the right place.  Hooray!  

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