MPB is proud to be the world's most popular men's sewing blog!



Apr 17, 2012

Inside Cathy's Opera Coat

 

First off, readers, let me say how very touched Cathy was with your response to her maternity ensemble photo shoot.  Over breakfast yesterday morning, she couldn't stop beaming.  She later threw up but such is pregnancy.

I realized too that we never talked much about Cathy's coat.  To recap: I had originally intended for the cotton floral print lining fabric to be the outside of the coat, but I quickly realized it wasn't going to work: too light, too busy, too lining-like.



Here is an exclusive, never-before-seen test shot!



I had also taken this shot with a pink pashmina and immediately realized that that salmony color was what was needed to balance things out.  As you can see, we do a lot of wardrobe testing here at MPB Studios!



That's when I realized I was going to have to go fabric shopping, even though I really wanted to sew this outfit entirely from my stash.  (With the exception of the pink cotton sateen I used for the coat, I did.)



Next, I had to address the collar.  The original pattern, which is for a women's robe, has a Peter Pan collar that is just too prissy and bathrobe-y (though opera coat patterns had Peter Pan collars too -- they were all the rage back then). 





I wanted a collar like this one. (Quick: name that famous Barbie outfit!)



I dug through my stash and found this old Vogue Americana pattern with exactly the kind of large collar I wanted.  The under collar and over collar pattern pieces are drafted differently, so the finished collar has a beautiful shape to it.



I interfaced the under collar (two pieces) with cotton shirting, and the one-piece over collar with stiffer hair canvas.







OK, so one of the versions of my robe pattern, Simplicity 3216, is lined and I followed the instructions provided.  The lining is supposed to be cut exactly like the outer cloth (how convenient for me!) and attached at the front edges, right sides together, and then turned.  Now, with wrong sides together (i.e., the lining inside where it belongs), the collar and neck facing are attached.  There are no separate lapel facings, just an approximately three-inch front edge that's turned inside and slip-stitched in place.  Readers, I had never slip-stitched in my life, but I learned!



The neck facing, just a piece of bias-cut cloth, is also slip-stitched to the lining.



Rather than fold the hem up two inches, since this fabric is so thick and has a little lycra in it, I feared it would look bunchy, so I cut a bias facing and used that.  (I also didn't have length to spare.)  It worked, though if I had to do it again, I'd cut my facing out of something lighter in weight.  The raw edge of the hem facing is turned under and stitched.  The hem itself is attached to the coat with an invisible (more or less) hem stitch.



I wanted the lining to hang free at the bottom (though at either end it's attached to the front edge of the coat).  I simply turned it under and hem stitched it from the inside. 





I attached the cuffs with a facing too.  The facing, turned inside, is stitched to the sleeve lining.  I modified the cuff so the ends are separate, rather than cylindrical, as in the original pattern.





All in all, a success.  Now I'll quote wise Casey:

There are very, very few sewing projects that I can truly say I’m completely satisfied with. I’m sure other sewers can understand: there are usually one or two details or aspects you’d do differently next time. Sewing is a learning process, and as such I find it is rare for a project to be a total success from start to finish.

I read this last week and I thought, BINGO -- that is so true!  Take Cathy's opera coat, for example: I honestly like the way it drapes without a lining better than with, but I also love the look of a contrasting lining.  Next time, maybe I'll have no lining and just finish all those raw edges (it's a raglan-sleeve coat, so there are lots of seams).





In closing, is it time for an opera coat sew-along?  You don't have to be going to the opera to wear one and you certainly don't have to be pregnant!   Thoughts?

Have a great day, everybody!

28 comments:

  1. opera coat sew along??? hell yeah; i'm in. trots off to Etsy looking for suitable pattern.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm not the opera coat type, but yours is a masterpiece. So I comment to ask the name of the Barbie outfit? I used to know but can't remember. Also your photo shoot was more than mildly entertaining. I especially like the word youngish;) I couldn't resist a wink. Forgive me.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's funny, only yesterday it occurred to me (after seeing Cathy's fab coat) it would be good to make an opera coat if I'm going to be making some nice summer dresses! All my coats are too casual, too short or too dark for dresses. So yeah! Opera coat sewalong!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Barbie is wearing "Easter Parade"... and Cathy's coat is perfect!

    ReplyDelete
  5. You're not kidding about the wardrobe testing. Even the background character had a change of pants and hosiery.

    ReplyDelete
  6. I don't know who looks better in that pink - you or Cathy.

    ReplyDelete
  7. I do need a spring coat - my only concern is that I would look gravid instead of glamourous.
    I think I'm going to look at patterns and have a bit of a think...

    ReplyDelete
  8. The opera coat is adorable. I would love a sew-along.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the opera coat. However, I have put myself on a strict coat-making diet until next fall at the earliest. Too much else going on in life.

    ... yeah, I kinda think I'm going to fall off the wagon. Don't tempt me! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  10. I need, need, need an opera coat. I would even wear it to the opera!

    Would we all make the same pattern, or would we be all over the place?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marjorie, I fear we'd be working on different patterns, though we COULD all make a raglan sleeve overcoat. I don't think there's anything like an opera coat pattern in print, though I could be wrong.

      Delete
  11. I just love peeking inside others' creations! THanks for sharing, Peter. I agree - even projects that I'm happy with I would often do differently (better?) the next time around. I guess this is why so many sewists love their TNT patterns.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh please can we have a see along? Your coat is amazing, I have a pattern on the way, and I know I could learn a thing or two (or lots) from you! Pretty please!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I actually like the idea of a See Along -- I just sit back and watch you guys work! ;)

      Delete
    2. THIS is why I should comment on your blog on a computer, not on my iphone. I swear those things have a mind of their own!

      But I can do that :) If you don't have a SEW along, I will give you a SEE along when I sew my coat :D

      Delete
  13. appropos of very little, I wanted to share this with you. It's from a letter from my grandmother to her mother, dated Sept 30, 1936 (my mother was almost 8 months old at the time):
    I got some remnants on Monday & had one coat (bridge?sp?) cut (free) to wear over my purple evening dress. Had to go in yesterday morning to collect it, & made it up between 2.30 & 4.30 yesterday afternoon. Then spent till 6 at the hairdressers, & finished the coat with Grace’s able help last night. Its to wear to a party on Saturday night & looks lovely. At least 5 guineas it would cost & the total to me was 9/-6.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I think it's time I made a purple evening dress, don't you?

      Delete
    2. Yes!!! My new favourite colour is lilac... which is just a paler version of purple. I'd love to see it!

      Delete
    3. Definitely, Peter. Especially if it's my favourite purple, which I refer to as "Cadbury" purple. (Those of your readers in Australia and maybe the UK may recognise this colour. It's hard to describe otherwise! I have a purple streak in my hair and wear purple very often. Maybe you can make ME a purple evening dress?

      Delete
  14. I would love to join in but I'll just watch your fabulous work from the sidelines.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Vogue offered an Oscar de la Renta opera coat pattern sometime in the past 5 or so years (maybe longer). It was luscious, but I was being practical and didn't buy it. Fail.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have too many coats and jackets already!! But I want an opera coat. Wah! Maybe mine will be in rainwear and I'll add a hood.
    I love the idea of the drape of the full, full coat without the lining. Just have to finish all those seams with a gorgeous Hong Kong finish. Yikes!

    ReplyDelete
  17. My Aunts loved thire luscious opera coats. We know one hid several liquor flasks in hers.

    Josette

    ReplyDelete
  18. J'adore the opera coat!!! :) Fabulous work!

    ReplyDelete

Related Posts with Thumbnails