Sunday, December 22, 2013

DIY : Red Wool Coat w/ Shawl Collar

It's been exactly one year since I've started DIYing, it's amazing how time flies! My very first project was a circle skirt and I was naive enough to think that I could actually make a circle skirt with no sewing experience. LoL. At least I tried, and this time I'm going about it with a different perspective of DIYing my very first coat. I learned that you have to do a bit of research and planning before diving in to save yourself time and heartache (like ruining your expensive fabric).
For those of you who are interested in making your own coat, I'll direct you to a few resources and what foundations you need before sewing your final piece. This is a project that I started Thanksgiving weekend and just finished a few days ago, so it took me almost a month (spending a few hours each day). Keep in mind, I pattern and sew at a snail's pace so don't get discouraged by how much time it took me to do this....I'm sure most people can do it a lot quicker.

Making a coat your size:
1) You need to create a bodice, skirt and sleeve sloper to create a dress sloper. I used the dress sloper (you can also use a jacket sloper) and added extra room all around to accommodate for layers underneath. There are numerous tutorials on how to create those slopers, so just Google those terms and you'll be on your way! More info about slopers here.
2) Then I added princess seams (tutorial) to the front and back and also pleats (tutorial) to the side of the coat.
3) I first drafted an asymmetrical collar, but ended up not liking the look for this coat and decided on the shawl collar instead.
4) After drafting my coat pattern with princess seams and pleats, I wanted to line my coat for extra warmth. Here's a really easy tutorial on how to draft a coat lining pattern. Most coats are lined with a thin slipper fabric, but I wanted something thicker and cozier. I initially bought a medium weight satin, but thought it wasn't thick enough to keep me warm in this unusually cold winter in SF. I decided to use flannel instead since it's thicker and insulates better. I also remembered that my J. Crew coat was interlined with thinsulate and wanted to try that. I did some research and eventually decided not to go that route, as I was unsure if you sew the thinsulate to the fashion fabric or to the lining. Before I forget, here's also a tutorial on how to sew a lining into a coat -- watch after the hour mark. The sleeves were lined with the satin fabric instead of flannel. Satin fabric is slippery and it makes getting your arm in and out of the coat much easier.
5) After your pattern is finished, you'd want to sew up a sample first using a cheaper similar weight fabric. It's always good to sew a sample so you can see if your garment fits. If it doesn't, then you can go back to your pattern and makes changes (which I had to do). For my sample, I used a cheap wool that pilled up in no time so don't use cheap wool for your final piece! You can get very basic black or grey wool blend for $10 a yard (they are on the thin side), but most coating weight wool that is not black or grey will run you about $20+ per yard. For a coat this length, I bought 4 yards (60" width) and ended up with about 1 yard leftover.
6) The buttons I used below are self covered buttons from Jo-Anns. I thought they would be expensive, but ended up being only $1 a button. I was going to send out my coat to get the button holes professionally put in, but I ended up doing it myself. Helpful resource here about buttons and button holes.

Making a coat is a lot of work and definitely not a cheap process. An alternative you could consider is buying a commercial pattern because the majority of my time was spent developing the sloper, patterning my design and correcting the pattern after the sample fitting. The sewing part felt like a breeze compared to the pattern development. SPG wrote a really good article on when to buy or DIY and on her list of things to buy are coats....after making a coat and understanding the process, I can definitely see why one would buy instead of DIYing. But overall, I did really enjoy the learning experience and am happy with the end result and would consider using my pattern again (since I've put so much work into it) to make this coat in another color. 
DIY Red Coat. (similar here, here + here)
 Nine West Flax Pumps. Size 5. Runs 1/2 size too big.

DIY enthusiasts - would you consider making a coat? If you have already, please let me know your thoughts and the challenges you faced!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


Outfit inspired by Blair of Atlantic-Pacific

F21 Peter Pan Blouse. S. (similar here)
Armani Exchange Sheath Dress. 0P. (similar here + here)
  C Label Luxe-23 Pump (buy here, here or here). Size 5.5. Runs 1/2 size too big and narrow at the toe area. Returned, but would recommend to those who have narrow feet.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Blue Heels + Good Company

Hi ladies! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend filled with lots of food, love and shopping! I didn't do much shopping during black Friday because I've done it in previous years and honestly never found deals that were impressive enough to warrant the crowd and chaos. 
H&M Denim Shirt. Size 2. (similar here + here)
F21 Pleather Skirt - sold out. XS. (similar here + here)
Qupid Potion-89 Pumps (buy here or here). Size 5.5.
I ordered these Qupid Potion-89 Pumps a couple of weeks ago and have been wearing them non-stop since I've gotten them. They run very true to size and the heel height is about 4".  I have worn them for short periods of times (1-2 hours) and they felt comfortable. I really pushed my luck today and wore them while shopping and they definitely hurt my feet after extensive walking. Despite that, I still love them!

I got to see my 2 little cousins during Thanksgiving. I've watched them grow up and can't believe they are still taller than me with my 4" heels. I always tell them that I wish that I was as tall as they are and they always tell me that they would happily switch places with me so they could be petite. LoL! I guess the grass is always greener on the other side.
I also got to meet up with SPG & Karen for some delicious Thai food at Lers Ros. Their menu is huge and I love that their offerings differ from your usual curry, pad thai noodles or papaya salad! If you are in the mood for something exotic, they also have dishes that contain alligator, rabbit or frog legs. I'd say this is definitely one of my favorite restaurants and would recommend it to those who love Thai food.
Fried Trout | Duck Larb | Fried Pork Belly | BBQ Chicken | Pan Fried Noodles 

Thanks for stopping by and have a great week!