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07 August 2011

Colonel Mustard with a pink lining in Iceland

My name is Lucia. I am a fabricholic. And I can never for the life of me finish anything. Until today! My first official garment is now done: a raincoat. I used Vogue pattern 2873 by Michael Kors. A double breasted jacket with wide collar and lapels.

Changes I made: lengthened it to midthigh, removed the decorative flaps, made a back vent, added a belt and sewed rain flaps both at back and on the right shoulder.

I used a waterproof twill that I bought in 2003 in Edinburgh. The matching (loud!) lining I bought at the same time. I used some gorgeous dark brown bakelite buttons from my stash, plus a bakelite buckle also from my stash.

I have to admit that I thought I was an "intermediate" seamstress yet with this raincoat I've had to eat a double serving of humble pie. I guess I should have known that this was not an ideal first project after so many years of not sewing. For starters it takes a long time! There are lots of pieces and steps. Then, to make matters worse, a waterproof fabric is very difficult to sew. Why? Let me count the ways: (1) on the good side it is somewhat slippery, good against rain, bad when sewing. (2) on the back side it has a waterproof plastic layer, again, good for rain, bad because it sticks to the sewing plate, cannot be ironed, and marks with every pin prick. (3) it cannot hold a crease, and yet, bizarrely, it wrinkles easily and keeps fold marks for ages! (4) it is not stretchy or shrinkable, so it cannot be eased nor ironed to shape. Hence there are a few small tucks at the armholes and bust where I tried to ease the fabric but couldn't quite manage it.

I did learn a lot, though. Thanks to this fabric I now own a teflon foot (Bernina #52) and I learned how to work with sew-in interfacing. And finally, I had a terrible time topstitching. I used a buttonhole twist on the top, because I wanted more definition on my topstitching. I knew that this required some adjustment to the tension, since the buttonhole twist is much thicker than the normal thread. But even though I increased the top tension all the way to 10, I still could not get the bottom side of the seam to look nice. I am now thinking that perhaps the problem was the needle, because on one of the last seams I noticed that the buttonhole thread was too thick to fit in the needle channel around the eye. But it was just my luck that I noticed this when I only had one more topstitching stretch to do! Ripping is of course out of the question given how the fabric marks. So all I can do is note it down for the next time.

I love the colorful and perfectly matching lining!

Still, I did enjoy working on this raincoat, I am rather proud of how it came out but most of all I am so proud that I finished it!! There may yet be hope for me...


  1. Great job, it looks very nice on you!

  2. It's wonderful! I love the colour - I was driving through the downtown core of Toronto the other day and noticed two coats in that lovely mustard colour. Good for you - finishing a project - and such a work-intensive one, too.