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Date Started

November 01, 2009

Date Finished

November 01, 2009

With winter on its way, I was craving something soft, luxe, and seasonal. In LA you can get the first two, but seasonal is more of a state of mind than of weather. In December, you will see people in bikinis as they try to hold onto summer and others in scarves as they try to imagine winter...I am one of the later. (Plus, I would look like hell in a Bikini!)

While trolling through some German magazines, I found a copy of Burda that promised Apsen inspired do-it-yourself fashion. If anyone understands winter-fabulous, it would be the Germans. So $5 later, I have inpirational photos and a pattern pull out that was a product of some SS torture program...the patterns are layered four deep in black, blue, green, and red. Part of the challenge is to sort your pattern ID out and figure out which color on which pull out is yours. To make it more fun, they re-use the same parts of the page. So panel one of my blue pattern was squarly crossing panel two. So you cannot just cut out what you want, you must be ready to trace. The difference between dark blue and black through tracing papers? Well played Pattern Dominatrix, well played. It was certainly punishing.

But the photos kept egging me on, so I opted for a lined fur vest combo that I would man-up with some lapels and a hood. The pattern was easy enough, just two peices: right and left. I cut out a plaid lining in cotton and the shell in shaggy white faux-fur. For the fur, i couldn't use my trusty cutting wheel, as it cuts the fur into a sad little bowl cut edge. I found that I had to cut the fur using scissors, using my fingers to keep the shaggy strands out of my blades. No more sad bowl cut.

I assembled the liner and then the shell. Next I took a french curve and started to fudge a hood. I used muslin to keep working the shape until I had something that seemed to fit my head. I cut out two pieces and sewed them together inside out leaving the neck open. I pinned the hood to the inside of the liner, pleating the base to make it fit.

I pinned the liner and the shell together, inside out and flipping the hood "inside" of the jacket; then sewed them together; leaving a small 5 inch opening near the back. I turned the vest inside out and was please by how easy this was turning out. Then put them back inside out and sewed together the arm holes. I can hear people rolling their eyes, but this is my first lined anything and the instructions were in German!

Turns out, if your sew together shapes inside of the border of a "bag", you cannot just flip them right-side out when you are done. If I had stopped to think about it, it would have been an obvious forehead smack moment. Sewing for me is all about doing something right, thinking you get it, then going on with my new found confidence to make a jack-ass of myself.

So the next step was to seam rip the arm holes and figure out what to do about the jagged edges, I found some white bias tape (Which i have decided next to fusing, is the duct tape of the sewing world. Speaking of which, I was fearful of ironing faux-fur, so this whole project was done without ANY fusing!). I sewed the bias tape around the arm hole, giving a nice strong layer and a clean edge.

Next I made lapels like pockets. I made their basic shape, cut out two and sewed them together and turned them inside out. I attached these inside the jacked to the lining and then rolled them out just like a bathrobe. I am thinking about going back and sewing some quilting lines to give these lapels more structure.

Not finding it "sporty" enough, I decided to add pockets. I made 6x8 pockets of the white and the grey fuax-fur and make little pocket squares that I flipped right-side out through a small 3 inch opening in a corner. Here I cheated and hate myself a little for it. I should have unstitched the liner and attached the pockets to the shell only to keep a nice clean liner. Maybe I will go back and do that. (HA!)

I sewed the pockets to the jacket, leaving a little of the gray insides to peak out at the edges.