The thoughts, sewing projects, and fabric oglings of a dedicated sewist.

Vogue 1377 & Unexpected Joy

This project started as a blanket, a wool cape, a silk suit, and various scraps from various projects.

My client, Alice, brought me the blanket back in August along with a copy of Vogue 1377 and asked me to make her a coat. At the muslin fitting, she brought the cape and suit and added it to the pile of materials. 

Crazy muslin
This project definitely came with some challenges: ridiculously thick fabric (did I mention I was cutting out a blanket?), a dizzying number of pattern pieces, welt pockets, hammered snaps, overlays, decorative stitching, an enormous amount of ease, flat fell seams (sewing through not one, not two, but three or four layers of wool blanket), and heavy lifting (by the end, the coat almost weighed too much to stay in the machine). I had to make a map before cutting it out so that I didn't get lost. 

Cutting out piece #7 from the wool cape. If you look closely you can
see my label so that I cut it from the correct fabric.

I've struggled with an anxious awareness of time when I am sewing for others. Getting things done on time, being efficient with time so that I don't waste hours (the ones I'm charging for and the ones I don't), squeezing in time between drop off/pick up/after school activities/teaching/my own meetings. This project brought me some peace with time.

Front laid out after cutting.

And Back.
This anxiety gets in the way of experiencing the joy of what I'm going. Most projects I do for others give me joy at the end - the pleasure of pleasing someone else, the satisfaction of bragging on social media, the gratification of earning every penny in the check I receive when I hand it over. But is sometimes feels like I can only enjoy the joy for a minute before the race begins again. This one gave me joy at almost every step along the way.

Who doesn't have fun with hammers?
Why? I think in part because it was the right blend of challenge and ease. I sewed some seams and tackled a decorative overlay. I sewed some seams and figured out where and how to hammer some snaps. I sewed a collar and created welt pockets. 

Some of the joy also came from the design. I don't love this coat design for myself. I experienced no envy when I handed it off to Alice. But I got giddy at certain points along the way with how things came together. Giddy with learning something new and thinking about where else I might apply it, giddy at the cleverness and humor in certain design elements.

Blanket label. Decorative stitching on overlay.

Pocket right side

Pocket wrong side
And maybe just because I let the joy wash over me. I was challenged enough to have to set aside my anxiety about time in order to fully concentrate. I knew it would take a lot of time, my estimate reflected that, and then I could just be in the doing. By the time I was midway through the project, I was having too much fun to worry.

I always thank clients for bringing me work. The money I earn that helps me contribute financially to my family comes from that work. And I love solving problems (riddles, patterns, mysteries) and my work generally involves a lot of that. My gratitude for this project went way beyond the money part of it, and the problem solving games it involved. It made me happy. 

*For the nitty gritty review of Vogue 1377, please see my review here.
10 comments on "Vogue 1377 & Unexpected Joy"
  1. I also don't love this design for myself. But your work - so nice. All the lovely details. That you were able to have fun with it makes it even better!

  2. I think you did a great job putting this coat together. I've thought about making a duster out of a wool blanket, but I haven't found the right combination yet.

    1. Did you see this one, TresBienEnsemble?

      I can picture it with a wool blanket.

  3. Truly a work of art! I'm sure your client loved it.

    1. Thanks, Beverly. I felt like I had a "patron" as I was making this!

  4. Replies
    1. I might be able to get you some extra blanket . . .