Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Koos van den Akker Vogue 1277 coat for PR Sewing Bee Round 3

When I first read "reversible garment" requirement all I could think is "Bah!!!". I started to have more respect for using the right fabrics and the lining is really important here. I had several projects that might have worked as reversible but using 2 fashion fabrics would not feel right to me. I would much rather just make 2 separate ones.
    And I was just aimlessly browsing patterns I come across of something magnificent.  Koos van den Akker coat featured by Vogue 1277.
   I remember clearly the beauty of this pattern hitting me while reading Communing With Fabric blog and getting a glimpse of it. And then a little while later seeing Margy version inspired by this. Both stuck in my head stored carefully in I wish I would do something like that and look that stylish.
   And since the Sewing bee spirit is about pushing your boundaries and challenging yourself more then anything else this seemed like the perfect choice. After making this decision it is was a nervous next day confirming the pattern was in stock at a local re-seller and the delivery will be made as soon as possible. And the 2 days of hunting the local stores for the perfect fabric combos  ( before and after work ; waiting at their door in the morning before they were even open and when they ask me what are you looking for answering with " I really don't know. I will know when I see it"; I am sure some of those ladies thought I have lost it ... - but who cares - I was following my dream - such a great feeling).
   I first wanted to make it in wool but most of the fabrics I was thinking were not in stock yet. After the initial scan of the possibilities I decided to go with a dressy version in luxurious fabrics.
   My base color would be black and the second was a choice between gold or red. This is how my sewing room floor looked like after shopping and stash digging.
 The final stack cosited in this:
JACKET:  Red textured brocade with a bit of black. This was my favorite fabric of all. The photos don't do it justice. So I centered the coat to work around it.
CONTRAST 1: Black textured waterproof softshell. - I really needed one extra reason to make this reversible and have one side waterproof was a good one.
CONTRAST 2: Black brocade again. Is softer and drapes better then most of the other fabrics and I thought it would be great for comfortable sleeves . It has a discreet metallic thread as well that makes it a dressy fabric.

CONTRAST 3: Double side black brocade. it seems there are 2 types of threads in it - one furry and one satin like. Lovely texture.
CONTRAST 4: Plaid textured velvet like fabric.
CONTRAST 5: Black and red brocade. My least favorite fabric from all but the shades and pattern seemed perfect for the rest of my fabrics.
CONTRAST 6: Short hair faux fur. The only fabric I used from stash.

CONTRAST 7: This is a lighter special occasion fabric with stripes pattern and 3D textures. It was a real torture making bias stripes and self piping out of it but I love the look of it so much.
It was not an easy process. All front pieces are huge and took a long time to cut them off. Then they are all cut on bias and took a even longer time to actually position them on the fabrics and cut my fabric make my marks and everything.
    Those really long curves with just 1 or 2 notches on bias pieces are really hard to get right. I had to unpick the 1st one 2 times. After that I got smarter and basted everything by hand before sewing. I think it got things better. But using this kind of fabrics meant I could not do any direct ironing on them and it was a real pain.
    Then doing bias stripes from unraveling fabric was extremely courageous. I found double fusible band to be of great help to stabilize the stripes:
At first I joined stripes on bias and that was to bulky after folding in in the bias maker. after then I joined them along the grain and that made the change of pieces almost unrecognizable. I actually had to use my finders to feel where to bulk was to know:
The sleeve were an interesting exercise of careful feeding fabric to my machine:

And here I got to:

    I prepared a few pocket flaps in several fabrics and even a decorated one but they all seemed to break the design. I was pretty set on putting the decorated ones on the inside but after deciding to maybe gift this to my mom and consulting with my sister as she and mom have similar tastes decided to leave it out.
    I first wanted this to be a total surprise but could not resist the temptation and I wanted to tell mom to bring some black pants so I told her that something will be waiting on dressform for her and she needed black pants for it. Her first question was if it had many "things in it" and if it is done "my usual way".... Oops!.. I said yes! And she said an half hearted OK! Good thing she was not around for the construction. I don't think she would approved. But I think she really likes the end result! And specially the way it looks on her. I caught her looking at the photos I took over my shoulder! She actually asked : "Is that me?"  me :"Yes" her: "I look good!" me: "Yes you do look more then good!". I absolutely love it on her.
   The colors are all over the place but some photos were done in the evening and some in the morning and I was playing with the settings trying to make my fabric details show.

And a few close ups. Side piping & topstitching:
 Bias stripes over seams:
 Inside neck and shoulders seams:
 Sleeve opening with piping and top stitching:
 Sleeve spiral seam with top stitched bias stripe covering:
 Under arm:
I took a few quick shoots with the coat as well but it doesn't look as good on me as on her. Most of my pants are slim fit and I look like I take 2 sticks instead of legs. I am really not that skinny.
It seems that my mother like the collar down and I liked it more up. It has wire in the seam to you can easily make it stand the way you like it. She also looks a lot better in it then me. I am not sure if are the long hours lately, the black or I am actually losing some wight but I look a lot skinnier then I feel In this pictures!
Tacking down fabrics for this project I bought 14 new fabrics and used 7 of those. The others : 3 of those were with a gold theme instead of red, 2 were thinner and candidates for the bias stripes, 1 extra red and black that didn't made the final cut. With this coat and the 2 pieces for round 2 my debt is now 189.


  1. Wow! This is a showpiece, and your Mom has a certain gravitas that makes her look just spectacular. It was totally the right call to do the striped bias; it adds so much, and the ravelly fabric matches so well. It was totally worth the struggle.

    1. Thank you so much! Seeing my mom in it really makes all the making pain memories go away!

  2. What an amazing garment! This Bee has really pushed your boundaries, with magnificent results. You Mom looks great in this. Using a waterproof fabric for one side was really inspired.

  3. Beautiful - - such gorgeous fabrics. You have a lovely eye!

  4. I just say WOW! What a fantastic fabric combination, Georgia! You are genius:)

    1. You are very kind! I am really pleased with how it turned out! Looks like the stress and need to make fast decisions helped!

  5. Fantastic work!! You are amazing!! ♥ Good luck to you!

    1. Thank you Ellen! I made it to the final! One more outfit to go!