Saturday, October 17, 2015

Purple Donuts


Hello, everyone! I'm glad to catch up! I have been working on a coat, but it's taken me awhile.

Purple Donuts Coat

Two years ago, more or less, I made a coat that I have loved wearing. I call it a coat, but it's really more of a long cardigan and perfect for San Francisco weather. I used a downloadable Burda pattern that is super simple. In fact, it consists of 4 pattern pieces: front, back, and a 2-piece sleeve. Five pieces, if you count the pocket bag. This pattern has no facings or lining.

Recently, Marcy Tilton posted a gorgeous fabric on her site. She also posted the fabric on her Facebook page, and I gave my credit card whiplash running over to buy it.

Margy dubbed it "purple donuts" as in, "How is purple donuts coming?" But the donuts are magenta in real life

The fabric arrived, and it was still hot weather, but I decided I had to make it up right away. You know how THAT is, right?

The fabric is a wool sweater knit. The background, which I thought was black when I ordered it, is actually a dark navy and has a felted texture to it. The "purple donuts", which are actually magenta, are made from fur, so the fabric has a very definite nap.

When cut, the fur created fluff as fur does when one cuts it, but I didn't treat it in any special way. I would have used fur-sewing techniques if it was an overall-furry fabric. The fabric was very easy to sew.

When I made this coat last time, I added curved welt pockets, but I didn't want to put a welt through the fur, so I used side seam pockets. I don't really like side seam pockets, as a rule. They can add bulk and flop around. So, instead of cutting two pocket bag pieces for each pocket, I cut only one. I sewed one pocket bag to the back at each side seam. I sewed the rest of the side seam on the machine, and then I sewed the pocket bag to the front along the pocket edge. This creates a flat pocket that doesn't flop around. Because I didn't want to topstitch through the furry fabric, and the background fabric has a nice loft to it, I stitched around the edge of the pocket by hand, using a satin-stitch. This took some time and a lot of thread, but I love the flat, hidden pockets that resulted.

I used a remnant of black ponte for the pocket bag. You can see the contrast of the black pocket against the navy backing.

The fabric doesn't actually need a seam finish, as the sweater knit doesn't ravel, but I wanted to do something to the raw edges. I didn't want to use a Hong Kong finish, which would have been lumpy with the furry bits, so I opened each seam and whipstitched it, by hand, to the coat backing, resulting in seams that lay flat. You can probably see this in the last pic. Luckily, I like handwork.

Something Marcy didn't mention when selling this fabric, is the wonderful selvedge. The entire selvedge edge, on both sides, is finished with a strip of fur. I immediately decided to cut the coat fronts with the fur along the front edge.

My final design decision was how to handle the neckline edge. When I made this coat last time, I used a binding along the neck and front edges. But this time, I decided to finish the neckline with a strip of fur selvedge. This had the advantage of stabilizing the neck, as the selvedge has no stretch. (The stretch in this fabric goes from selvedge to selvedge, and not down the length of the fabric.)

Hand sewing the fur selvedge to the neck edge

When I made this coat before, I closed it with a toggle-style closure and snaps. I wanted to do that again, so I wore the coat to Britex in search of a navy toggle closure. They had one, and only one, navy toggle closure. It's made from felt—the "button" portion was created from rolling up from a little felt rectangle, so this closure would be easy to replicate at home.

Closeup of felt toggle

Other than the toggle, the double breasted coat closes with a snap at the top of each corner. If the black snaps had bothered me, I would have covered them, but they didn't bother me.

Closeup of the snaps and fabric selvedge

Worn closed

Worn open

When I wore the coat to work and then to Britex, and also to an Asiatica trunk sale (drool), lots of people wanted to pet me. ;)

Artistry in Fashion

With Ronda Chaney, head of the Fashion Dept at Cañada College, wearing a Sewing Workshop Bristol top

Artistry in Fashion was three weeks ago and it was great! Margy drove up from southern California (a 4-hour drive), and it was so nice to hang with her! Other friends were there, and I met new folks.

I met lovely Joan, from Chico. She is wearing Sandra Betzina's tunic, V1456, made from a striking Marcy Tilton fabric. I love her matching shoes!

I enjoyed chatting with Linda Lee and her helper, Ann, for whom one of her patterns was named. I watched her fashion show, which featured a bounty of garments made from Sewing Workshop patterns.

I always love the Designer Showcase—a mini fashion show organized by a local stylist featuring garments and accessories from the vendors. In fact, three friends you might recognize modeled in the Designer Showcase. Here they are, right after, still wearing their modeling duds: Dorothy K, Ann Smith, and Barbara V!

Ann later bought the jacket and necklaces that she modeled.

After they changed back to their own clothing, I took another pic. (It was a *very* warm day, as it can be in late September.)

In honor of Linda Lee, all three are wearing at least one garment made from a Sewing Workshop pattern

We corralled Margy, wearing another gorgeously composed outfit, into the photo.

Jillian was there! (And she's just returned to blogging!)

Margy and Jillian

Margy's toesies!

Other that the people, my favorite part of AIF is the shopping! This year did not disappoint! I don't have photos of everything I purchased, but my favorite is this necklace.

Necklace by Eccentric Design

This necklace was worn in the Designer Showcase and I got a chance to study it up close afterwards. It didn't take me long to decide to buy it. It was Eccentric Designs first year at AIF and, I hope, not their last. The tiny photos on this necklace were taken of grates in San Francisco. On a visit to San Francisco, the artist's daughter took photos of metal grates, while she collected what she calls "garbage" off the street. The artist then composed a San Francisco-inspired necklace using the photos and the found items. So delightful—I love love love it!

I also bought this quirky fleece hat, from the same vendor where Margy bought her "deodorant balls" necklace.

Felt hat

I bought these earrings and a necklace (not pictured) from MariRose. She was my favorite new vendor last year and uses lots of rubber in her jewelry.

Earrings by MariRose

I bought two other necklaces that I haven't photographed, so this was a bounty AIF, accessory-wise!

Knitted Cowl

Some months ago, I came across Anne Whalley, Image Consultant, on Instagram. Based in Australia, she sews most of her own clothing. She often wears a knitted cowl that I really like and I saw, from one of her IG posts, that her cowl was made by an artist, Alfia, of Alfia's Designs.

I contacted Alfia and asked if I could order one of her knitted cowls. It wasn't a good time for her, as she was busy moving across the world (from Australia to Russia), so I told her I could wait. Her life finally settled down and she sent me my lovely cowl!

Thanks, Alfia! I love it!


My life has been fairly busy lately. Work has been taking a lot of my energy and attention. I also purchased an InstantPot, which is an electronic pressure cooker, which also sautées, slow cooks, and makes yoghurt. I've been really enjoying playing with that; I am making lots of fall soups and stews.

Sweet Potato and Split Pea Soup

And, even more exciting, I am leaving soon for a week-long Design Outside the Lines retreat with Diane Ericson and Carol Lee Shanks. The theme for this retreat is coat-making, so I pulled a few fabrics:


Have a great weekend!