#sewingthescene : Shades of Blue

I love a good Instagram sewing challenge but I rarely participate. #sewingthescene appealed to me as it wasn’t about sewing a specific garment or pattern. Instead it was replicating an outfit that you had seen in a film or television programme.

I must admit since starting to sew, I find myself taking pictures of outfits I’ve seen on-screen for inspiration. So as soon as the challenged was posted on Instagram I had a few ideas in mind.

The #sewingthescene challenge was created by sewist Jo who I follow on Instagram @theunfinishedseamstress. The challenge was to create something you could wear everyday rather than a costume. Jo managed to organise sponsors and created three prize categories.

I don’t get to watch too much tv these days unless it’s CBeebies, but on the rare evening both kids are in bed and I’m not at work I like to catch an episode of a tv series. I had recently finished series 2 of the American cop drama Shades of Blue. The show stars Jennifer Lopez and the amazing Ray Liotta.

When I watched the first episode J Lo appeared on-screen wearing a trench coat and I remember thinking I need a trench coat in my wardrobe. Then every episode J Lo wore a different but equally amazing trench. So I ended up watching as much to see what coat she would be wearing as the story line!

When the challenge was announced, a Shades Of Blue inspired trench was my first idea. I very nearly dismissed the idea as it seemed too involved and out of my comfort zone. But then I posted my idea on Instagram and there was no going back!

There aren’t loads of trench coat sewing patterns out there. I did a quick google search and found three suitable candidates. Burda Style 6845, Londres by Orageuse Patterns and Named Patterns Isla.

Out of those I felt the Orageuse was more drapey and looked more like the ones J Lo wears. Also I was more likely to wear this style.

A quick Google search for trench coat fabric told me Gaberchino was the fabric of choice. Calico Lane are an online fabric shop that have garberchino in a range of colours. At only £4.99 per metre I ordered 3 metres of the beige. When it arrived I was pleased. It was heavy, but draped well, perfect for a trench.

I’ve never sewn a Orageuse pattern before. They are a French company and pattern instructions are in French and English.

The pattern is easy to follow, although not for a new sewer as I feel it skips out parts that they assume you already know how to do.

I managed to cut the pattern out incorrectly twice. Not the instructions, rather me staying up late to get it done. As the coat is long you have to stick the top and bottom of the coat front and back together before cutting. Obvious yeah? Well it seems even though the pattern piece says 1/2 and 2/2, unless the pattern specifically says for me to stick them together I will cut them as separate pieces. I think I am use to instructions with more hand holding, so as it didn’t specifically say to do that, I didn’t. Lucky the yardage the pattern states is needed is way more than necessary so I was able to recut the pieces.

The coat pattern is unlined. Although there is a lining expansion pack which can be purchased separately for only 2 euros. I didn’t purchase it as I thought bias bound seams or a striking colour overlocking thread would look good. I was wrong and should have just gone with the lining.

At first I tried a navy serged seam line but it didn’t look good. I had already constructed some parts so I applied bias binding after construction. The results were messy.

Another problem I faced with not lining the coat was the interfaced areas on the inside. For the pockets and hem you need to interface a large area that isn’t completely concealed when the coat is finished. I had to remove some of the interfacing at the end.

The coat came together quickly. The instructions for the pocket construction could have been clearer. I read them many times before I actually sewed anything together. They went in correctly first time! I’ve got some bunching at pocket corners, so I think I should have snipped more at the corners.

The shoulder flap is lined and I couldn’t resist using a fun print. I had this bright pink french bulldog quilting cotton in my stash for a while. It’s not visible when the garment is worn.

I found the sizing to be a bit skimpy. I chose the size based on my hip measurements and there isn’t much of an overlap when the belt is tied. When I look at the pattern pictures it’s of similar fit.

Not only did I gain a wearable coat, I also made one of three finalists in the Scarily Accurate catergory of the challenge! I didn’t win, but it was lovely to be in the running.

I’m really pleased with the finished result. Plenty of flaws, but considering I didn’t make a muslin, these are to be expected. I love the fabric and the drape, it came out just as I had hoped. I’ll feel much more confident to try this pattern again. Maybe a short version next time.

I was so pleased Jo created the #sewingthescene challenge. I think if I had started this pattern without a deadline, when I got to a tricky part I would have abandoned it and added it to my very large WIP pile. I’m planning on joining in a few more instagram challenges in 2018.

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