Today is the last garment of my 5 piece Sew Over It Work to Weekend capsule! This is none other than the Anna Trench Coat and might be my favorite of the 5 pieces!
When I was planning out this capsule, I was having a hard time deciding what I wanted to do for the trench coat. I’ve made trench coats in the past, but always with the more traditional twill. I really wanted to do something different. While going through my stash and looking for a piece with enough yardage (this coat takes at least 4 yards), I came across this plaid wool that was actually gifted to me from a friend's very generous mother-in-law that was downsizing. It was like a lightning bolt. I knew this would be my new fabulous trench coat.
Now I did have some issues arise when making this coat, but before I get to that, I want to share the adjustments I made to the pattern for fit:
I sewed an 8 at the shoulders and neckline and graded to a 14 at the armsyce. The rest of the coat is sewn in a 14
I removed 4” from the length
I removed 1 1/2” from the sleeve length
I did a 1” full bicep adjustment for the sleeve
I lined the coat, though it is an unlined pattern.
I think the biggest item on this list is that I created a lining for an unlined coat. For any of those interested in lining this coat, I have put together a tutorial on YouTube here:
So about those issues; they had nothing to do with the coat itself. In fact, the coat sewed up pretty quickly in a couple of afternoons (I could have probably done it in a day if I hadn't been filming my lining steps!). As I was collecting my supplies for this capsule, I realized two things. First, my stash of interfacing was almost completely gone and, second, I don’t keep lining on hand in my stash (I buy it as needed).
For those of you who have been following me for a while, you are aware that, up until recently, I worked for clients doing alterations and custom sewing. At the beginning of the summer, I felt a shift was necessary in my business and instead of sewing for others, I wanted to help others make their own dream wardrobes.
When I made this decision and closed my business account at the bank, I moved all my funds to a line item in our family account. Since that time, I’ve been pulling from those funds for a few odds and ends (mostly notions). When I got to the point of needing to purchase a few things for this capsule, I noticed that my little line item had become virtually non existent.
When I decided to embark on this little YouTube (and increased blogging) adventure, I decided that I was not going to pull resources from my family in order to make it successful. I have high hopes of eventually being able to monetize off my YouTube channel (however small the amount) to at least help pay for my supplies, but as of now, that is a no go. This left me with two options: 1. don’t make the coat or 2. figure out a way to do it cheap. Since I had already promised not only the trench coat, but also a lining tutorial, I decided to get creative.
Now, I have a pretty impressive stash in my sewing studio. I figured that there MUST be something down there I could make work. Needless to say, after much digging, I was able to come up with some remnants of drapery lining (from a past client project, I’m sure) to use as sew-in interfacing and, darn it, if I didn’t find about 5 yards of Bemberg rayon lining hiding in one of my drawers. I immediately remembered buying it for another project that never happened! I was set and ready to roll!
Also, while digging through my drawers, I was reminded of a lot of men’s silk neckties that I bought at Goodwill AGES ago with the idea to use them as bias binding (neck ties are cut on the bias). There was even a yellow and blue one that matched my fabric perfectly. This tie was disassembled and cut into bias strips to use to finish off the edges of my facing. There is also a little video on how I did that as well!
It was during this little exercise that I began to think about the economies of sewing. When looking back at history, sewing your own clothes was always a more economical way (and for most of history the only option) of acquiring clothing. Its been within the past 20-30 years that fast fashion as started to wreak havoc on the clothing industry. When asked if it’s cheaper to make my clothes, the quick answer would be no. I can definitely run to a fast fashion establishment and buy a piece of trendy clothing for much less (in both time and money) than it would cost me to make it. However, the long answer would be the opposite. When you take into consideration the impact that fast fashion has on the economy, on the quality of living for those making the clothes and on the environment, I would say that making ones clothing is definitely the cheaper of choices in ways much more than just monetary cost.
Without getting too deep, I was reminded, this week, that when sewing a new garment, I need to be responsible in my consumption. There are many ways to save a few dollars and the environment, etc, by doing things as simple as looking for fabrics and notions second hand. In this manor, you are not only saving a few items from the landfills, but are also saving a few bucks in the process (here is where I refashioned a secondhand men’s sweater).
What do you think? Is sewing your own clothes cheaper than buying ready-to-wear or not? Is it just the dollar that matters or are there more reasons that make handmade a better option for you?
On that note, I’ll end with a passel of pictures of this coat that’s going to receive SO much love this Fall and Winter!
That wraps up this capsule wardrobe! Stay tuned for a round up post.
Until next time!