During Indie month over on The Monthly Stitch I fell for a few new patterns, you know what it’s like, they showcase a designer you’ve not come across before, you click over onto their site and before you know it you’ve bought a pattern!
One such pattern was the Dakota Duster by Serendipity Studio, it looks a very versatile pattern, you could make a linen summer version or a wool winter coat. I also like all the variations, I like buying patterns from independent designers but they do tend to be a bit of an investment so to have one with so many variations is a bonus…you can have knee length or fingertip length, mandarin collar,scalloped back yoke, folded collar, ruffles, tabs, embroidery. It’s an unlined coat but it’s easy enough to add a lining.
I decided to make it in a printed needlecord. I bought the fabric last year (I think!) on Goldhawk Road. My original plan was to make a skirt with it but the more I looked at it, the more I thought it could be a bit much on a skirt. It’s a gorgeous design, silvery grey background with soft purple flowers, it’s one of those that the more you look at it the prettier it gets! Even better I had just enough to make the Dakota!
I cut it out at the end of last month when I had a few days up to date with my quilting, I then got distracted when a final quilt block was released early and it got put in a pile on my cutting table. Last weeks annual leave was a perfect time to sew it. I was making the fingertip length duster, with scalloped back yoke, in-seam pockets and a mandarin collar.
It went together beautifully, the instructions are really good and easy to follow. One useful tip I learnt was with the setting in of the sleeves. Rather than using a gathering stitch to create the ease on the sleeve head, she recommends stitching with the jacket side uppermost, so the extra in the sleeve is against the feed dogs. As you stitch you can pull the jacket fabric firmly whilst pushing the sleeve along, with the feed dogs help the sleeve will set in perfectly…I thought, this is never going to work…but it did, both sleeves set in beautifully!
I wanted to line the jacket, Fletchers in Leeds market have some really nice patterned linings, they’re a lovely weight, with the lady’s assistance I found that by using the wrong side of a silvery spotted lining, it matched pretty well. I cut out identical pieces to the main fabric, I just added a couple of cms in the centre back for ease.and then trimmed off what I didn’t need. I attached it as I was stitching the collar on and then hand-stitched it in everywhere else. I created a fold on the centre back and caught it at the waist for a couple of inches.
Everything was going swimmingly until I tried it on after fitting the sleeves, they were too short! Like about 2″ too short!!!
I kept calm, I thought never mind, I’ll just add a cuff with some of the spare fabric….until I tried to find that spare fabric! I must have had a moment of madness and had a tidy up!! Now anyone who has seen my sewing room recently will laugh their socks off at this one as it certainly doesn’t look like I’ve tied up! I even rescued two bags from the recycle bin, just to check it wasn’t there. This has been a salutary lesson on why you should never tidy up a sewing room when there is any work in progress…which for me will be never!!!
I then had to think up a plan B as I knew there was no chance of getting any more fabric. I noticed that one of the quilting cottons left from a quilt I made last week was actually quite a good match. I tried a few different ones but decided on the grey passion flower. I only just had enough of that too, I literally just cut it in half and stitched it on. I’ve made the cuffs to fold up, I’ve used a scant 1/4″ seam, if that leftover fabric ever does turn up I can always replace it. I actually quite like the floral cuffs, I think they co-ordinate enough to blend in. I still haven’t quite worked out where I went wrong, I feel I cut the length for the 3/4 sleeves, but I can’t see any sign on the pattern to indicate that. I’ve now written on my pattern in big letters, so I don’t repeat the mistake next time.
I wanted some nice buttons so I went to Duttons for Buttons in Ilkley, they have 1000’s of buttons there, all neatly displayed in cardboard boxes. I discovered as usual that I had fallen for a fabric that is not a standard colour, but eventually I spotted these buttons, they match perfectly. They were £1.28 each but as I could just buy what I needed rather than by the card of buttons I decided the jacket was worth it. They’ve got four holes so I decided to use the keyhole buttonhole on my machine. I don’t often use it but it does allow the button hole to sit better round the wider shank. I tried to do a bit of a thread shank too so it’s very slightly raised off the fabric surface.
I’m really pleased with my Lavender Dakota, I’ve also really enjoyed getting back into clothes sewing, this year has been a bit taken over by having three quilt-a-longs on the go, but hopefully that is going to improve over the next couple of months! I’m afraid all my photos are on Florence, my muse, as my chief photographer is on army training and my second-in-command is working late!! Tomorrow I’ve got a WI day, I’m planning to wear it so I’ll try and get someone to take a photo or two!