Birthing a coat

Yes, it’s true, I’d never inserted a bagged lining until now.

Popped my proverbial bagged-lining cherry, if you will. (Ooh, what a sentence that is! And what an image it conjures!)

It was a messy affair. I was nervous and sweaty. Got out my trusty walking foot for extra protection and added comfort.

There were a few moments of: wait, that goes where? That’s supposed to fit in here?

I have to pull the whole coat, inside out, through this impossibly small opening?!

But I huffed and I puffed and presto!: a fully lined coat emerged.

One of life’s precious little miracles.

  • Pattern: Cascade duffle coat
  • Size: 10
  • Fabric: Charcoal medium weight wool blend; black kasha lining; leather salvaged from a thrifted jacket
  • Notes: The toggles were pieced together from a hacked up Anne Taylor leather jacket. I had to double the half circle parts for extra beefiness. I punched each hole around the edge with a nail and sewed them on by hand using buttonhole thread -With the zipper bands already attached, there was no way I was jamming the whole thing under my walking foot to sew by machine.
  • Mods I would’ve made: 1. I’m pretty sure they should have drafted a separate piece for the hood lining. As it is, there’s no accounting for the facings. I had to make two little tucks to get it to line up along the neck. 2. The zipper band in contrasting fabric should be interfaced, in my opinion. Especially if you use lining fabric as they suggest.

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The cult


“Ooooh… modest!” was the first catcall this dress elicited from my man.

Can’t say that’s one I’d heard before. I imagine it might be the kind of thing one gets when out too late on the mean streets of Salt Lake City.

The high neck, the colour and texture do give the dress a kind of “burlap haute couture look” or “wartime factory elegance”. And I don’t suppose my prairie girl single braid helps.

Well, too bad boys. I keeps the goods under wraps.




I’ve worn this dress out with my new pair of Birkenstocks, a brand of sandal I used to wear a bunch but hadn’t owned in many years. What I had forgotten about Birks is that the profile of the sole mimics my high arches in such a way that they suction together as I walk.  In other words, my steps are punctuated by timid little fart noises.

“Pfft. Pfft. Pfft…” whisper my feet as I stroll.

So, yes, I’m the modestly dressed, perpetually gassy gal. That’s me.

  • Pattern: Vogue 8805
  • Size: 14, b cup
  • Fabric: Army green linen-viscose blend, same as piped pants
  • Notes: I somehow sewed one dart about an inch too deep, ending directly on the apex of the bust. I realized this as I sat at my desk at work. Like any sewing mistake I spot while out in the world (or any sartorial error for that matter – shirts inside out, mismatched socks), I was left feeling unreasonably embarrassed by the discovery. I took to carrying items in front of my chest and keeping my arms folded at all other times, lest someone notice my ever so slightly lopsided darts. No one did, of course, and the fact is no one ever would. But I knew the mistake was there. I could feel it burning a hole through my skin. I solved the matter later that night by extending the other dart as far. One mistake is an eyesore. Two symmetrical mistakes are a choice.




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linen satin dress full

My frustration with this dress may have been a little misplaced. You see, I was deep into a binge of season 1 of the Undisclosed podcast as I was sewing. My head was spinning with cellphone pings, brady violations, and all the perplexing and terrifying details of a murder trial in the American justice system.

(Listen to Serial, then listen to Undisclosed, then start the revolution. Or at the very least, write a short blog post about it.)

(Oh, and throw in Making a Murderer, Rectify and OJ: Made in America for good measure. You’ll be so mired in the stench of American crime you’ll need a Canadian cleanse. A Red Green enema, might do the trick?)

linen satin dress full side

The sleeve cap on this dress may not actually have been too big, but dagnabbit,  it seemed miles longer that the armscye. All that ease was going to drive me batty! The pinning, the basting, the pinning, the basting… and all the while, the nagging introspection:

Could I be coerced into a false confession?

Would I be an ethical and intelligent juror? What is reasonable doubt?

Do I remember what I did two weeks ago, Friday? Do I remember with any accuracy what I did last night? Just how malleable is memory? How much eyewitness testimony can ever really be trusted?

And what silly human decided to forgo the elegant simplicity of the kimono sleeve in favour of the convoluted logic of the set-in sleeve?! (Since writing this, I’ve learned that “kimono” in this context may not be appropriate or sensitive.)

linen satin sleeve detail

To make matters worse, where there was too much fabric at the sleeve cap, there wasn’t nearly enough at the hip. And a sausage casing butt is not a good look.

So the dress was sentenced to a few days solitary confinement. It needed to have a good long think about all that wanton ease and all the beautifully sewn in-seam pockets it had massacred.

linen satin dress detail neck

When it emerged, I (=empathetic and reasonable citizen) voted for rehabilitation. Sleeve caps were eased in with newfound patience and care. Side seam pockets were replaced with two piece godets to allow mobility.

A perfectly serviceable dress was born.

If only all fibre inmates at the woolandpotato prison fared so well.

linen satin dress detail bottom

  • Pattern: Burdastyle Linen shirt dress
  • Size: I must’ve sewn the 38? But looking at the sizing on the pattern now is making me confused…
  • Fabric: Linen viscose blend, cause why would you sew with anything else in the summer? Accents in poly satin.

mtl overpass rain

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