Book Report + Giveaway: Girly Style Wardrobe

Hi, guys! Hope you’re all staying warm if you’re in the northeast and enjoying a lovely holiday weekend if you’re in the States!

Today, I’m sharing a review of “Girly Style Wardrobe” by Yoshiko Tsukiori. Laurence King Publishing asked if I would like a review copy of this book, and even though I don’t have kids, I wanted to check out the book because I was interested to see Tsukiori’s aesthetic applied to children’s clothing (she’s written a couple of popular women’s pattern books). I really like the flowy, fun dresses that Tsukiori designs, but feel like I would look like a little kid in them. So, unsurprisingly, her designs are really nice for kids! This is a new English translation of a book that was published in Japan in 2007, so if the cover looks familiar, you may have seen the Japanese edition somewhere!

OK, so there are 28 patterns in the book, including tops, tunics, dresses, skirts, shorts, pants, a bolero, a smock, a little parka (my favorite!), a slip, a cap, and a purse. A couple of the “patterns” use the same block, but say, shorten the length (dress to tunic) or swap out long sleeves for short, but I think I counted 24 different designs (don’t hold me to that! I’m lousy at keeping track of things!). Like other Japanese pattern books, the patterns need to be traced and the seam allowance needs to be added. The sizing is based on height and fits approximately ages 3 to 10. There are a couple of patterns that you need to draw pieces for, like a tiered skirt that’s made entirely of rectangles.

Construction of these garments seems pretty straightforward. There’s nothing very complicated, but at the same time, the styles aren’t so simple that they’re boring. They include lots of pretty details like lace, gathers, pleats, and pintucks, and are styled in soft florals and pastels (I mean, the book is called “Girly Style Wardrobe”, so it makes sense that it would be a pretty feminine aesthetic). But I think it would be fun to sew these up in mod prints and bold colors.

With the huge caveat that I’m not a parent, this seems like a good investment if you sew for kids. There’s a wide range of styles, and at a retail price of 20USD, they’re a good value (you can even get it for $15 at The Book Depository or Amazon). There are even a few patterns that would totally work for boys, too, so if the little girl in your life has a brother, you could get a little more bang for your buck!

Like you usually see in these books, the instructions are fairly minimal, but there are lots of helpful diagrams. I really like sewing with visual aids like this… it’s easy to figure out how everything goes together, and I feel like I learn a lot just looking at the diagrams!

OK, as usual, I can give away a free copy to a U.S. reader! If you’d like to be entered in the drawing, please fill out the Google form below before Monday, February 23rd at 11:59PM EST and I’ll pick a winner using random.org! Good luck!

Ginger Made: Hestapeysa (Sweater with Horses)

Guys! Look at my ridiculous sweater!!!!!

Hestapeysa | Ginger Makes

It’s huge and puffy, it’s totally shapeless, fits kinda weird and is overall pretty ridiculous, but I love it! But wait, let me give you the back story!

Hestapeysa | Ginger Makes

This sweater’s story starts back in July, when Man Friend and I spent a week in Iceland. You guys. Iceland. It’s amazing- absolutely beautiful, unique, and just… amazing. All the people we met were warm and kind, and to top it all off, they wore incredible hand-knitted sweaters! I was sorely tempted to buy a sweater at the Handknitting Association of Iceland, and while the price was great for something handmade (about 115USD with the exchange rate while we were there), it was just a bit more than I wanted to spend. SO, I decided to take a stab at knitting one myself, even though I hadn’t been knitting much at the time and had never tried colorwork. Now, the one major downside of visiting Iceland is that it’s EXPENSIVE (to Americans, anyway… maybe costs don’t seem as high tof European visitors). Food, lodging, clothing, everything was really costly… except for yarn! I purchased the yarn and two patterns for about 30USD… cheaper than I could possibly source 100% wool yarn anywhere in the States! You can also find knitted items and yarn for sale everywhere- gift shops, drugstores, grocery stores! Crazy!

There were quite a few patterns to choose from, but I knew I wanted this one: Hestapeysa (sweater with horses). It’s available as a free download, in English, if you want one of your own! Dudes, I was one of those little kids obsessed with horses for as long as I can remember. I actually got a pony when I was maybe 7 (long story short, my dad found an ad in the paper for a $75 pony… the only catch was that it had never been touched by a human hand!) and the highlight of my childhood was pretending like I was winning the Kentucky Derby or riding for the Pony Express. So when we spent a morning riding horseback in the Icelandic hills and valleys, I was on cloud nine! I wanted to make a horse sweater to commemorate what was, honestly, one of the happiest days of my life!

Fun fact: when the folks at the horse farm found out I’d grown up riding a pony, they got really excited to find me a horse that would be “really fun”. I’m missing the fear normal people have around large animals, but even I got nervous when they told me that the horse’s name, Rody, was an old Viking word that meant “blood smear”. They insisted that the name referred to his color rather than any murderous tendencies, but still! Rody was a bit crazy, but awesome, and we had a great time together- he was a lot like a NYC driver in that he loved tailgating and wanted to pass every other horse in order to go faster!

OK, OK, I could go on about horses for hours, but I’ll get back to the sweater! The yarn is Ístex Létt-Lopi, which is aran weight, so it knits up pretty quickly. I knew I wanted to use kinda natural colors for the sweater, so I chose acorn heather and light beige heather. But I liked the idea of using an unnatural color (for horses), so I picked blue for them. The blue horses really make me smile! The yarn is really warm and is a bit itchy, so I’ll always wear this with something underneath it. There’s just one women’s size, meant to be about 43″ at the chest, but my gauge was a bit tighter, and I calculated that I would end up with about 40″, giving me 6″ of ease, which seemed right (you can see my Ravelry project here, if you like those sort of details).

Hestapeysa | Ginger Makes

I had no idea how to get started with stranded knitting, so I reached out to Sarah from Knit York City, one of the most skilled knitters that I know. She pointed me in the direction of this post from Ysolda Teague explaining color dominance. I was still confused about how to hold yarn when you have more than one color, but I found this totally helpful post from Tasha at By Gum By Golly and it gave me the confidence to dive in. I decided to hold one color in each hand, knitting continental (like I usually do) with the left-hand yarn and English-style with the right. It was a little tricky at first, but got easier quickly. This Knitty post by Theresa Vinson Stenerson really helped me sort out the floats. I definitely didn’t keep my tension even throughout the yoke- I was worried after I’d knit the horses that they were too tight, so I really loosened up my floats above them and those stitches look a bit wonky and loose. But oh well! I’ll have a better idea next time!

I started knitting this in October and was pretty slow. I picked it back up over New Year’s, joined the sleeves to the body mid-month, and then sped through the colorwork in a week. It’s just so fun to see the pattern develop- I stayed up past my bedtime nearly every night because I just wanted to do a few more rows! Colorwork looks really complicated, but once you’ve figured out how to hold the yarn, it’s easy to keep track of where you are in the chart and you’re just knitting stockinette in the round, so it’s really pretty quick compared to anything cabled.

Hestapeysa | Ginger Makes

The sweater is a little crazy, and dude, it is WARM. My face and hands were cold when I was taking these photos, but I was otherwise completely comfortable (and it was about 20F!). If you’re not familiar with this kind of knitting, the color you’re not knitting with gets carried behind your stitches, so the yoke is a double thickness of yarn. Also, the sweater is so bulky that I’m wearing a flannel buttondown underneath it in these photos and you can’t even tell! Oh, I should probably mention the hat, which is also handmade. This was a quick knit with a single skein of Cascade Eco Cloud I’ve had in my stash for a long time- I thought the color would go nicely with my furry Gerard. You guys, Eco Cloud is SO soft and nice! It’s a chainette yarn made of merino & alpaca, so it looks really cool knit up and is really springy and squishy. Plus, the colorway is named “Bunny”! I used another free download, the Mock Rib Watch Cap. It’s very, very easy and would be a great first hat project!

Hestapeysa | Ginger Makes

OK, tell me- do you knit? What’s on your needles? Any favorite patterns or recent projects? Were you a horse-crazy kid like me? Would you get on a horse named “Bloodsmear”?

Rigel Bomber January: Your Bombers!!!

Hi, guys!!!!! I’m sorry to bring you sad news, but Rigel Bomber January is over! It’s OK to cry… just let out all the bad feelings. The good news is that I think a roundup of some of the amazing bomber jackets you guys sewed will lift your spirits! What say you? Stay tuned until the end… I’ll reveal my favorite bomber, the winner of a Papercut Pattern of her choice!

OK, so I’m only featuring 1/3 of the finished jackets here… to see the rest, check out Kat‘s post and Mel’s post! Also, there are lots more cool bombers on Instagram… just search for the tag #rigelbomberjanuary and you’ll see them (I just couldn’t find a way to pull photos from IG that wasn’t super time-intensive… sorry!)!

First up, here’s Sally‘s adorable polka dot bomber:

Here’s Carlalissa’s (with a bonus doggie photobomb)!

Check out Amiria’s!

Rose Cherry made a super cute bomber inspired by Shanni’s:

Becky Jo made a beautiful version:

Here’s Eirenep’s lovely floral version:

Now, I want to show you Kat‘s version! She’s managed to fit snails, pea pods, AND leopard print in hers!

Now, here’s my favorite jacket… but guys, I had a really, REALLY hard time choosing just one! I loved seeing all your bombers and really could have picked every single one of them. But, I finally had to just choose one, so, it’s…

Oh, She Dabbles! I really like the mix of fabrics she chose!

Super cool! Girl, I’ll be in touch to hook you up with your free pattern!

Alright, that about wraps it up! Thanks so much for playing along! January was much more fun and bright this year! Now, tell me, which is your favorite jacket? And what’s on your sewing machine right now? Oh, and don’t forget to check out Kat and Mel‘s blogs to see the rest of the bombers!

How To… Sew with Faux Fur!

Sewing with Faux Fur | Ginger Makes

Hi, guys! Thank you all for your kind words about my furry Gerard! It sounds like many of you are interested in sewing with faux fur, which really makes me happy! So I wanted to be sure to get this tutorial up quickly so you can get started right away! Of course, there are always multiple ways to do things, so I’m not saying this is the right/only way to do it… it’s just how I handle faux fur!

First things first, gather your supplies!

  • faux fur (the one I used for my coat has a woven backing, but some that I’ve used at work have knit backings)
  • small scissors (larger than embroidery, but easier to control than shears)
  • awl (something like this is fine)
  • comb (this is a regular comb like my dad always used on his hair, hee)
  • spray bottle filled with water
  • snack
  • riveting audiobook (sewing with faux fur gets boring! a $2 download of The Count of Monte Cristo was a lifesaver during this project and several others… it’s 60 hours long!!!)
  • vacuum (furry bits fly everywhere and things get really messy really quick!)

sewing with faux fur | Ginger Makes

First things first, think long and hard about your nap. Faux fur is directional- take a look at it, pet it, and you’ll see what I mean! You really, really, really don’t want to end up with one piece of your coat, for example, with the nap running a different direction than the rest! Where this gets tricky is when you’re dealing with things like collars and facings. I find it really helpful to mark an arrow on the pattern pieces to help me remember which way things need to be oriented. Also, if you’re making something like a coat, it’s good to think through what actually needs to be cut out of the fur. You might want to use another fabric for some of your facings or line to the edges to cut down on bulk. Once I’ve confirmed how things need to be cut out, I lay out the pieces and trace them directly onto the backing. I use a yellow sharpie- it writes much more smoothly on the bumpy backing than chalk does, and I don’t have to worry about it being visible through the fur.

When you cut, do small snips into the backing rather than large cuts. The goal is to just be cutting the backing, not the fur itself.

Here are my two pieces, side by side. You can see the nap is going in the same direction. Pin ’em together with long pins. Sometimes I use regular wooden clothes pins (the kind you use to hang laundry on the line), too, if things are getting really thick. I always pin perpendicular and always use pins with a colored ball head… dressmaking pins will get lost in the fur!

Now, when you sew with faux fur, you want to sew in the direction of the nap. Normally when you sew garments, you sew them in a way that makes the grainline happy (usually from the bottom of the garment up, from wider to skinnier). But with fur, nap is more important! At work we aren’t using fur for garments, and the seams don’t need to be flat, so we use a zigzag stitch and sew about 1/4″ seams. But for this coat, I just did a regular straight stitch, but I lengthened it to about 3mm to get a normal-looking seam in such thick fabric. I put a lot of pressure on the two layers to help them go under the presser foot as flat as possible.  Now, hide your kids and hide your wife before I tell you this terrifying fact: I leave the pins in as I sew and just go right over them! Naughty, right?! But it helps to keep the fur from shifting. I also like to sew in little stretches rather than one long seam, so I can stop to make sure everything is still oriented correctly and the layers haven’t shifted too much.

This is what the seam looks like from the wrong side. OK, I know that some people like to trim the fur out of the seam allowance before sewing, but I don’t do that (I don’t want to accidentally trim too much and have an ugly seam!). It’s totally cool to disagree with me here… this is just how I like to do it. OK, before trimming, I use the comb to gently pull the fur out of the seam allowance by combing against the nap.

See how much fur was caught in the seam?? Then I use my small scissors to trim it close to the backing (some people shave the fur, but I don’t have an appropriate tool and I’m sure Man Friend would have a fit if I tried using any of his shaving equipment for this!). This is where your spray bottle can come in handy. I spritz it lightly so the fur bits don’t fly away as much and are more manageable. The water has never bothered any faux fur that I’ve used, but it’s probably a good idea to check on a swatch just to make sure.

OK, that’s better, but there’s still some fur caught in the seam. So I use my awl to gently pull any tricky bits out of the seam.

That’s the ticket!

OK, let’s take a look at the front!

Looks a little gross. So, let’s use the comb, against the nap, to lift the fur out of the seam allowance.

Looking better…

Let’s just use the awl to pull out a little bit more…

Now…

Looks good to me! One last thing to talk about is pressing the seams. I’ve never tried to iron faux fur, so for the coat, I just finger pressed it and then catch stitched the seams open by hand. I didn’t have one handy, but Claire Schaeffer suggested trying a clean paint roller to press your seams open, which sounds like fun! (Also, Claire Schaeffer’s Fabric Sewing Guide has lots of information about sewing with faux fur if you want some further reading… I have an older edition of this book that I bought used for just a few dollars and it’s really, really useful).

Alright, I hope this is helpful! Anyone have any other tips to add or different techniques that have worked for them? Please share! :)

Ginger Made: Rigel Bomber Jacket!

Woohoo! My bomber jacket is done! I’ve had so much fun making this alongside everyone taking part in Rigel Bomber January! In case you haven’t been following these posts, Kat, Mel, and I are making the Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket during the month of January with anyone else who wanted to join in on the fun! It’s a little “sew-together”! I’ve had this pattern since it came out, so it was nice to have some companions (and a deadline!) to give me the nudge I needed to finally make it! Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes So, here it is! Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes I’d originally planned to look for something black with gold sparkles or glitter, but this wool herringbone caught my eye at Mood and I had to have it! It was the end of the bolt and there was just enough for the jacket… must have been fate! :) I matched it to this burgundy ribbing, also from Mood. They’ve recently started to carry this ribbing in quite a few colors, in pre-cut pieces that are 38″ x 7″ ($9.95 ea). I just barely squeezed all the pattern pieces onto two pieces of ribbing. This is a heavier ribbing, like you would see in a sporty jacket, not a sweatshirt or tee, in case you’re curious. These colors are totally different than ones I usually wear, but they’re really pretty and have a sort of autumnal, collegiate feel. Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes The zipper is a metal YKK from SIL Thread, my favorite place to shop for zippers. It’s $5 for a 22″ separating zipper, and they shorten them to custom lengths for an additional $1, not bad! I think my zipper may have been shortened a tiny bit too much- we had some confusion over converting the listed metric length to imperial measurements- so it doesn’t come up quite as far as I would like it to, but, whatevs. It happens! Since my fashion fabric is pretty lightweight, like suiting, I interfaced the center fronts before installing the zipper to prevent any waviness. Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes This pattern is actually really quick and easy to sew! The welt pockets take some time to mark and sew, but that’s the hardest part and it’s over at the very beginning, so the rest of the project is a snap after that! Raglan sleeves are just so quick and easy… I definitely prefer sewing them over set-in sleeves! Speaking of sleeves, I lengthened them by 2″- I probably didn’t need to add so much length, but I like my sleeves on the long side. That’s the only alteration I made- it’s otherwise a straight XS. Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes OK, let’s talk about the lining! I agonized over whether or not I should use this lining or not for a very long time. You see, the floral print is Liberty silk twill (!), a gift from the lovely and oh-so-sweet Dibs. She sent me a meter a few years ago and I’ve been too scared to cut into it because it’s just so nice! I really hesitated before using it because I wanted to make something special, but the print goes so nicely with the herringbone and I knew that I would be happy looking at it every time I wore this jacket, so I decided to go for it. Thank you, Dibs! I didn’t have quite enough for the entire lining, so I cut the sleeves from some poly charmeuse I had leftover from my final patternmaking project (my classmate worked in the cutting room for Vera Wang and brought yardage for everyone in the class to use… so kind!). I really like the way the two fabrics work together, and I’m happy I was able to use some fun stuff from the stash. :) As I was putting the finishing touches on the jacket, I realized that it would be really easy to make one that’s reversible! I’ll have to try that sometime… wouldn’t that be fun? I wonder if anyone else has tried that! Alright, I think that’s all! Any other construction techniques or tips I used are detailed in the RBJ posts I’ve put up this month, so if you want more info on how I lined it or anything like that you can look there! Keep posting your finished bombers in the Flickr group or on Instagram, using the hashtag #rigelbomberjanuary. Reminder: Kat, Mel, and I will each pick a favorite jacket and the three makers will each get a free pattern courtesy of Katie from Papercut! Yay! Thanks so much for sewing alongside me! It’s been so much fun!!! Papercut Patterns Rigel Bomber Jacket | Ginger Makes

Rigel Bomber January: Tips & Tutorials!

Hi, guys! I’m sure you’re all busy as bees, sewing up a storm! I’m really enjoying Rigel Bomber Jacket January so far- there are already so many cute jackets popping up on Flickr and Instagram! Can’t wait to see what else you guys make! Yay! So today I have collected a few of the helpful tutorials I’ve seen around as well as a few tips of my own that helped me get good results when sewing the bomber. Forgive me if this post is kinda scattered… it was hard to organize a lot of information in a clear and concise way!

Before I forget, if you can, please upload your photos to the Flickr group. If you don’t have an account, you can totally share your photos on Instagram using #rigelbomberjanuary. It’s just nice to be able to look at bigger pics, so that’s why we like Flickr! :)

Katy & Laney’s Rigel… how’s that for inspiration?!

OK, here are some tutorials that recently popped up online that might help you out!

Katie quilting her Rigel

Hopefully these are helpful to you! But let’s say that you, like me, are a little bit lazy and the thought of drafting new lining pieces is making you drag your feet a little. Don’t drag your feet… quick-line your bomber, dude!

How to Quick-Line the Rigel Bomber:

Cut your fronts and sleeves using the original pattern pieces. Cut your lining back, using the original pattern piece, but slide the pattern piece over from the fold to give yourself some ease to create a pleat. I cut mine 2″ from the fold for a total of 4″ of ease. Then, clip a notch right next to the pattern piece at the top and the bottom (so you know where to stitch your pleat!).

Measure where you want your pleat to end and mark it with chalk. At the bottom I marked a line 2″ up, and on the top, about 3.5″ down (your pleat just needs to be long enough that the facing can fit on top of it). Now, stitch from the notch to the chalk mark and press it to one side. Easy!

Assemble your lining just like your shell: stitch sleeve fronts to front, and sleeve backs to back, then stitch the side seams from hem to sleeve hem. Stitch your facing seam and press it open. Next, stitch a line along the outside of the facing (not the neck edge) from end to end with a 1cm seam allowance. Press the seam allowance under along the stitched line.

Now, lay your facing on top of your lining with right sides up on BOTH pieces (not right sides together!). Baste together along the neck edge.

Edgstitch the facing down on top of the lining to keep it in place, leaving about 2″ unstitched right above the lining hem line. That’s it!

How to Bag Your Lining:

If the concept of bagging your lining is confusing or new to you, check out Jen’s amazing tutorial here. The idea is to sew the whole thing right sides together, and then make an opening in the lining to pull the jacket out. It might not make sense at first to do this, but it’s really pretty easy. To start, have your lining/facing unit sewed and the zipper and ribbing in your jacket, but don’t topstitch the hem ribbing.

  1. Pin and stitch the facing to the jacket (right sides together) along the neck edge from hem to hem. I used my zipper foot to stitch close to the zipper teeth on the jacket front. Understitch the seam allowance to the facing, leaving a few cms free at the very edge.
  2. Next, match the lining hem to the ribbing seam allowance and stitch it together. You’ll want to position and sew it the same way that you sewed your jacket to the ribbing (with it extending 2cm past the corner).
  3. Stitch the jacket front to the facing at the bottom of the little rectangle (next to the ribbing).
  4. Stitch the sleeve linings to the seam allowance of the cuffs.
  5. Open up one sleeve seam to turn the jacket right side out, and close it up when you’re done! You’ll also need to slip stitch the 2″ or so where you didn’t edgestitch the facing to the lining. Now you can topstitch the little bit where the facing meets the ribbing, too, or you can slip stitch it closed. Whatevs!

From the Flickr group, here’s Rose’s Liberty bomber! Whoa!

Applying the Neck Ribbing:

I’ve noticed in a few of the Rigels I’ve seen online that the ribbing sometimes stands away from the wearer’s neck. This could be because the amount of stretch varies in different fabrics, but one thing that helped me get good results was to apply the ribbing without stretching it (at a 1:1 ratio to the fashion fabric) on the jacket fronts, and then to only stretch it on the back neckline. That should help it to hug your neck (as would shortening it).

Sewing the Zipper:

OK, I know some people aren’t going to like this advice, but in a garment like this where you want your zipper to be really even, it can really help to hand baste your zipper. Pins shift, scotch tape isn’t always strong enough to do the trick, and the whole zipper can get scooched down and out of place no matter how careful you are! I just remind myself that, yeah, hand basting is a little slow, but seam ripping is way, WAY slower. :) I baste one side in place, pin the other to check that both sides are properly aligned, and then baste the second side. Easy! Also, interfacing the zipper edge is probably a good idea unless your fabric is super stable. :)

Alright, hope this was helpful and not too confusing! How are your bombers going? Any helpful tips or tricks?

Ginger Made: Gerard #2, or, I Always Wanted to be a Tenenbaum, You Know?

Hi, guys! Hope all is well with you, and that if you’re here in the northeast, you’re not too tired from digging yourselves out of the snow! I must confess to secretly being glad about the snowfall… what better excuse to wear my new faux fur coat?!

Friends, I’ve wanted a coat like this for many years (to be exact, since I first saw The Royal Tenenbaums way back in 2001, when I was but a wee college freshman. I fell in love with the movie, the soundtrack, and Margot’s coat). I’m so excited to finally make one! I know that sewing with faux fur can be intimidating to many, but at the workshop where I began working this past summer, we sew with it all the time, so I’ve gotten in some good practice and I want you all to know that it’s not hard at all! It takes some time, to be sure, but it’s not difficult and it’s so rewarding! DO NOT FEAR, DUDES! Moody Margot Tenenbaum coats for everyone!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

So, I decided that my first Mood Sewing Network* project of 2015 would be The Coat! I spent ages at Mood, torn between different fabrics, and had a really hard time making a decision! But this golden fabric looked really expensive and lush, plus it’s imported from France, ooh la la! As a bonus, I look like a giant golden retriever, and who doesn’t want that? Decision made!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I considered a few different patterns, but in the end, opted to use the République Du Chiffon Gerard pattern again, the same one I used for my bouclé coat. Doesn’t it look different in fur??? I love how much fabric choice can alter a pattern’s look! Plus, this is a pretty simple design, which is key when you’re working with faux fur. Each seam takes time to prep and finish, so you don’t want to add extra work for yourself, plus the fur itself will obscure the lines, so there’s no point in making something with lots of design lines. Another thing to think about is that since fur is puffy, things look bigger in it, so keep that in mind when you’re choosing a shape. You can see how much bulkier this coat looks than the bouclé version!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

Since I didn’t want any unnecessary seams, I cut the coat back and the lower facing on the fold (originally they both had a seam at the center back). I also eliminated the patch pockets and instead made side-seam pockets for a smoother silhouette. Now, this is controversial, but I didn’t use any interfacing at all! I’d initially planned to baste in silk organza, but I decided I wanted a very soft look, so I skipped it. But I did tape the neckline, lapels, and any other area I thought might stretch, applying twill tape that I’d ironed to shrink with a catch stitch. Faux fur can get really heavy, so I wanted to make sure things wouldn’t sag and stretch out of shape over time. Likewise, I taped the roll line like I did last time. I meant to include a back stay again, buuuuuuut… I forgot. Oops! Also, I realized this time around that I made a slight mistake on my last Gerard by adding a seam allowance to the upper edge of the sleeve interfacing… this made my sleeves 1cm shorter than they should have been. The length is perfect with the 1cm added back in!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

The most important thing of all when you’re dealing with faux fur is to check and double-check that your nap is going the right direction! It would be super uggo if one of your pieces is cut the wrong direction! It can help to make an arrow on all your pattern pieces just to make sure you’re positioning everything the right way. I had to re-cut the upper collar because I got confused and cut it the wrong way… I just barely had enough fabric to do this, phew! I sewed everything together with a longer straight stitch (around 3mm). After sewing the seams, I use a comb (just a regular plastic comb for hair!) to pull the fur out of the seam on both right and wrong sides, then I trim all the fur out of the seam allowance. I couldn’t press this fabric, so I just finger pressed the seams open and catch stitched them down. Slow, but it does the trick! I’m going to post some detailed tips on how to work with faux fur very soon, so keep an eye out for that!

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

If you sew a faux fur coat and decide to bag the lining, learn from my mistake and do not, I repeat, DO NOT try to turn it back out through a hole in the sleeve lining. Holy cow, that was a huge mistake! It’s not that the opening isn’t big enough, but rather that the coat is too bulky to pull through the sleeve itself. Turning it through an opening in the center back seam is a much better idea. :)

I splurged on kasha lining from A Fashionable Stitch for the coat, and it’s really, really nice! Kasha is a flannel-backed satin, much thicker and warmer than usual lining fabrics. For additional warmth, I interlined the coat with lambswool from Steinlauf & Stoller here in the city. The coat is so warm and snuggly… I love it! I used 2 yards of faux fur, 1.5 yards of lining, and 1 yard of lambswool (we had a miscommunication at the store,  but I was able to make it work by piecing one sleeve together… phew!).

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

I’m really pleased with my final coat! I’ve left off a closure for the time being as I’m still deciding what I want to do, but I’m leaning towards a large hook and eye so I can wear it open or closed without seeing any kind of closure (I’m thinking a snap might look kind of ugly when the coat is open). The whole thing is a bit over the top, but hey, it’s really fun to wear! Man Friend, on the other hand, isn’t so sure about this one. He was excited by the fabric (“you’ll look like a lemur!”), but when I tried on the finished product, he thought I looked like “an ewok”. Honestly, I thought he would go for a Joe Namath comparison, so an ewok is pretty flattering by comparison. :) I don’t care… I feel like a sassy starlet in this! No pictures, please! ;)

RDC Gerard coat | Ginger Makes

What do you think? Tempted to give faux fur a go??? It’s not hard, I promise! Now, tell me, what are you working on??? Anything fun? And, do you think golden retriever fur counts for Jungle January? ;)

*Once a month I receive a fabric allowance from Mood to make something fun! I blog it first on the MSN blog, then over here. If I use stash materials or things purchased from another source, I’ll let you know in my post. :)

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