Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

It has been a slow start to serious sewing in 2016 for several reasons not least because (a) I have a horrible cold which is making my head pound, (b) I have a new boss so my mind has been extra focused on work and (c) David Bowie died.  He was there throughout my formative teenage years in the 70s and as pictures of him were plastered all over my bedroom wall he was the first thing I saw every morning.  Somehow his death has made me reflect on life – especially the rapid passing of time – which has been rather distracting.

hunky dory

I’ve not been entirely idle and as we finally have some colder weather I decided to get on with shortening the sleeves on two winter coats I found in charity shops.  Alterations like this are something I would never have tackled in the past but I now feel much more confident, which is helpful when you have rather short arms.  As I’m talking about alterations I thought I could get away with the title of this post to fit with the Bowie theme!

The first coat was brand new from a high street chain with the tags still on it.  It wasn’t an amazing bargain but I really like to support the Chestnut Tree which is a local children’s hospice.  I’m already wearing this one and really like the fabric, although I have an aversion to the very large shiny button and need to find something more matt and vintage-looking to replace it.

Next up is a black wool coat I found in Barnardos a while ago.  It is by Cerruti 1881 and made from some seriously lovely wool fabric.  I decided to use the first coat as a practice run as I was more nervous about this one.  I paid £14.95 for it.  I can only find men’s coats by Cerruti online but they are certainly a luxury item at £700+!   I had it dry cleaned straightaway as it looked decidedly grubby but it came up beautifully.

I picked up a few tips to assist with these alterations :

  • Before doing anything run a line of basting stitches around the sleeve (including the lining) at about elbow level.  This will stop the lining twisting inside the sleeve when you are working on it.
  • Work on one sleeve at a time so that you can refer back to the original finish to make sure you match it as far as possible.
  • Keep trying on the garment to be sure that the length is (a) right and (b) the two sleeves match!

I rarely buy ‘proper’ coats and I’ve certainly never had two smart ones at the same time!  I’m properly set up for whatever the rest of this winter throws at us.

Another alteration on the pile is for my mother “as you’ve got your sewing machine out all the time”. We’re back to the 70s theme with these flares! Amazingly she had some almost perfectly matching thread in her collection.  Given how many things she’s sewn/knitted/altered for me over the years I reckon I owe her one.

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This weekend I’m hoping to make a start on my Moss Skirt in the very special selvedge denim I bought from the Fabric Godmother.  I had originally intended to try and utilise the selvedge in some visible way but the colour ran slightly into the white stripe when I washed it so that plan has been shelved.  It is still looking pristine in this photo.

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I’ve been very good and read through the pattern twice (bit like reading exam questions properly before you launch into answering them) so I’m reasonably clear on what I’m doing and I’m also studying the Colette tutorial (with photographs) on inserting the fly zip.  I think I’ll do a quick toile because I want to get the size right before I cut into the denim.  I have high hopes for this pattern so I hope it works out according to plan.

 

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29 thoughts on “Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes

  1. Good alteration tips. And reading pattern instructions twice. I don’t even read them once – just a bit randomly as I stagger along. I will try to adopt both these very sensible tips. I like your coats, especially the light grey one. I bought a jacket from a hospice shop over Christmas for the huge price of £25. The company is Marc Cain (which I had never heard of before) and I found my jacket for £750!

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    • I love it when you discover your charity shop find is something special! This is a first for me reading through a pattern properly – I’m hoping it will make all the difference!

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  2. Both coats look lovely, great finds! I also get the mum trousers to shorten, since, as you say, the machine is already out! When you shorten your sleeves remember to do it through the hole in one of the sleeve linings, It’s how they will have manufactured it.

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    • Thanks so much for the link to the tutorial, I shall study that tonight – I’m much better if someone actually shows me what to do! I was never keen on alterations but since I took part in the Refashioners this year I have done more and it is definitely worth it for charity shop treasures!

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  3. Snap! I managed to find a suitable Bowie song for my blog post title too! Great coats, well done.
    And I always use dye catchers when I wash new fabrics in case excess colour comes out – they generally seem to work x

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    • I must try those dye catchers! Sounds like you had a great time in Birmingham – so good that you were able to catch up with an old friend. Glad we both managed to get a Bowie title in – the soundtrack of our youth! x

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    • Thank you! I’ve been wearing the grey coat constantly. I’m pretty short and it is just the right length. So sad about Alan Rickman, he was a great actor. I met him once at the stage door – my friend adored him so was determined to get his autograph – and he was absolutely charming!

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