Friday, March 25, 2016

My Slightly DIfferent Forward Shoulder Sleeve Head Adjustment

This time:  picture heavy, word light!!  I apologize in advance for the shadows in some of the pictures - it was cloudy when I took these.  But I think they're clear enough for you to get the idea.

I had a few questions about how I adjusted my sleeve head on the Inari dress for the forward shoulder adjustment I did, and I figured it warranted its own blog post.  Please keep in mind that this may not be 100% legit - I'm not a professional, and while I've done a fair amount of research on fitting, almost all of that research is geared toward solving my own fitting problems.  I've tried a few different things to adjust the sleeve heads after a forward shoulder adjustment, and this one is the one that usually works well for me on my body.

I also want to give credit where credit is due.  I first learned of this type of adjustment from Heather B's blog - you can find her tutorial here.  This one is pretty much the same, except at the end.

So, let's get started with the sleeve as it is, unaltered and with the seam allowances marked:

The first thing I've done is to draw a line perpendicular to the grain line, about half way between the front/back notches and the tip of the shoulder.  The exact position isn't important, so you can just eyeball it.

Next, make a tick mark along that horizontal line, the same distance from the grain line as you adjusted your shoulder seam, toward the front of the sleeve.  My forward shoulder adjustment was 1/2", so my mark is 1/2" to the left of the grain line.  (note that the front is on the left side on this pattern)

Then extend that mark, perfectly parallel to the grain line, about an inch above and below the horizontal line.

Cut along the horizontal line - I use a straight edge and my rotary cutter for speed.

Slide the upper piece 1/2" (or whatever your forward shoulder measurement is) toward the front of the sleeve.  Line up the upper portion of the grain line with the mark you made before.

Align everything neatly, then tape it together along the cut edge.

Now we need to fix the sticky-outy and poky-inny bits.  This is where my method begins to differ from Heather's.  First, tape or glue some extra paper to the back of the pattern piece at the front and back of the sleeve.  Then take your hip/armhole curve ruler and find the section that most closely resembles the curve of your sleeve head at the seam line on the top section of the sleeve cap.

Now shift that curve in a bit, so that it's positioned in the middle of the difference between the seamlines of the top and bottom sections of the sleeve.  Make sure the curve blends nicely with the notch and the top of the sleeve cap.

Use this position to draw in your new seam line.

Do the same steps to the other side.

Now add the seam allowances.  Because the new seam line is nicely blended at the shoulder and notch, those seam allowances will still be true; you'll gradually be going out onto the extra paper behind.  I just use a ruler and make closely-spaced tick marks all the way up the line, then connect them with a solid line.

Now you can cut along this new edge, trimming away the filler paper.

Notice that instead of trimming away the entire front "sticky-outy bit" and adding to the back "pokey-inny bit", you're actually trimming a bit from each, since your new line is in between.

Here is what you end up with:  notice how the sleeve cap now looks like it's leaning forward.  I'll put the original just below so you can compare.

I've given it a lot of thought, and I think that the reason this method gives me a better fit than Heather's original method is that I need some extra room in the shoulder joint.  Since Heather's adjustment cuts away all the excess (otherwise known as sticky-outy bit) at the front, I don't get quite as good a fit with it as I do with this variation.  I also don't need as much extra at the back of the sleeve as her method adds; this way, I'm only adding half that amount.

So I suggest you give Heather's original adjustment a try if you need to do this adjustment - it's somewhat less work than the way I do it.  And then if you feel like you need to refine it a bit more, give this a try.  And if you find something else that works for you, please let me know!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Thinking Out Loud About Fitting

WARNING:  Picture light, and word heavy!  This is for my fellow fitting nerds . . .

Before I get started on this post, I want to mention that this morning I realized I'd left out some information from my first Inari post that I think is pretty important. I've gone back and edited that post, but I thought I'd add it here too:

You may be wondering why I went to all the trouble of cutting along the seam line for the front and slashing and spreading for the back, rather than just adding some extra to the outside of each cutting line.  Sometimes adding to the edge of the pattern works, especially on straighter edges and for smaller additions, and where two adjoining pieces will add the same amount. But in my experiments with fitting over the last few years, I've found that I often make things easier for myself by maintaining the length of the original seam line.  In both the adjustments above, the length of the seam line remained unchanged, and therefore everything matched up like the original when I went to sew the pieces together.  So more and more, I tend to adjust along the seam line when possible.

To illustrate this point, imagine 2 concentric semi-circles, let's say 1/2" apart.  If you could straighten those two lines out, you'd find that the inside line is shorter than the outside line.  Now imagine that those two semi-circles are pattern pieces with the inside line being the seam line and the outside line being the cutting line, and you need to add more room.  If you just add, say another 1/4" to the outside, your new seam line moves out to correspond - but it is now longer than it was originally!  If you did not make a corresponding adjustment to the piece it will be sewn to, they won't fit together.

So, seam line adjustments seem like more work - and they are a little - but they often save me a bunch of frustration.  And I get to feel like I really know what I'm doing ;-)

OK, so now today's post begins :-)

I think about fitting All. The. Time.  It's one of those things where I didn't know that I didn't know, but now that I do know . . .  I was perfectly happy for a long time buying and sewing clothes that fit OK, but not great.  But once I started to learn how to fix some of the areas that weren't fitting well, I became kind of obsessed with it.

Add to that the fact that I'm a "Princess and the Pea" kind of girl - seriously, the other day my foot was bothering me and I finally discovered that there was a flax seed in my shoe.  A flax seed!!  I'm very sensitive to sound and touch - I hate getting my hair cut because it hurts when the hairdresser washes, combs and styles it!  So when my clothes are too tight, or dig in certain areas, or shift so that I have to keep yanking them back into place . . . I'm not a happy camper.  And that is the main reason that I do all the fitting I do.

So for quite a while, I've been trying to pay attention to how my clothes feel when I'm wearing them, and apply that to changes I might make when sewing.  Scooping that bit out of the front armhole on the Inari is a good example:  that feeling had been bugging me for a while on many garments, and it finally filtered through to my brain how to fix it.

I received a few comments both here and on Instagram to the effect of "Oy - if I have to make that many adjustments, I'm just not going to make that thing!!"  I get that, I really do!  The thing is, from an aesthetic point of view, a lot of the adjusting I do isn't strictly necessary.  It's just what I do to make myself feel more comfortable in my clothes.

I'm going to give some examples of that in a bit, but first I think it might be helpful for you guys to know my starting point.  In addition to having 3 different sizes for bust, waist and hips (not at all uncommon) I also have a LOT of asymmetries in my body - more than most, I believe.  For instance, one of my legs is longer than the other (which creates a tilted pelvis, which creates differing hip curves right and left) and the shorter leg has a longer foot to compensate!  I have a prominent shoulder blade on the right side only, so if I were going to REALLY make a perfectly fitting garment, I'd have to create different patterns for the right and left sides of my body.  I could go on . . .

To illustrate, here are the adjustments I do - I think you'll be shocked by the sheer number!

I almost always have to do:
1.  Forward shoulder adjustment (and corresponding sleeve head adjustment)
2.  Broad back adjustment
3.  Sway back adjustment
4.  Larger hip adjustment
5.  Shorten sleeves
6.  Shorten length for skirts, dresses and pants

I often also have to do:
7.  Low round back adjustment (a.k.a. dowager's hump - oy!)
8.  Outwardly rotating elbows adjustment
9.  Shallow upper chest adjustment
10.  Prominent thighs/full seat adjustment for skirts or pants
11.  Knock knees adjustment for pants
12.  Narrow upper chest adjustment

Yeah, it's a lot.  I don't have to do all of these all the time, but I always have in the back of my mind that this is a menu of changes I might have to choose from.

I've noticed that how much fitting I have to do depends not only on the style of the garment, but also on the brand of pattern I'm using.  I'm sure that comes as no surprise to most of you.  While I do enjoy the challenge of fitting, I'm not a glutton for punishment.  So for instance, I mostly avoid Colette patterns these days because they just take too much re-inventing of the wheel to work for me. I've found that patterns by Burda and Named are often really good starting points for me, i.e. need less adjusting.  I'm having a love/hate relationship with Style Arc at the moment because I love the designs, but have had mixed results with the fit.

Most of the time when I'm trying out a new pattern for a woven, I'll do a tissue fitting first.  The tissue fitting doesn't always diagnose all the issues, but it's a good start for me.  For knits and stretch wovens, obviously that won't work, since paper doesn't stretch. So I generally make up a garment using a similar, less expensive fabric.

In both cases, after I've made my first garment, I wear it a bit and then go back and tweak the fit.  My problem is that when I make something I like, I usually want to make five more Right Now!!  After I made my Inari dress the other day, I really had to stop myself from immediately cutting out another.

Now, like I said, a lot of the adjusting I do isn't really necessary for appearance. Once I started to learn to fit, I found that I look at people on the street and assess the fit of their garments AND my reactions to their garments.  I often can see where they'd need adjustments, but you know what?  It's mostly no big deal - they look fine.  And I know that I do too, in a garment that doesn't have optimal fit.

Here are some examples pulled from things I've made over the last few months. Last week I bought the Grainline Lark pattern.  The very first thing I did was to trace out the pieces in size 2, grading to 4 at the hip and removing 2" from the bottom.  I also did a small forward shoulder adjustment, 3/8" I think.  Here's that top:

Pretty nice, huh?  It's still a little long, but that's because I used a very drapey rayon jersey.  The next day I made another one, also navy blue, in cotton/lycra and the fit was much closer and shorter.  (I couldn't get a picture because it was too cloudy that day.)

Then I got curious:  what would this pattern look like on me completely unadjusted?  So I decided to find out.  I made the third one with no adjustments except for the body length - I'm only 5'4" after all! This one is made from rayon/lycra jersey.  And it looks fine!  It was also comfortable enough for me to wear it for 2 days.

Here's another example.  I'm exploring French jackets lately.  I made my first one in January, all by machine, to see if I liked the style on me before going whole hog with the handmade kind.  I used a Burda magazine pattern (03/2012 #109) and did a quick tissue fit, after which I only did a small forward shoulder adjustment. Here's jacket #1:

Looks great, IMO!  And feels good.  But after wearing it a couple times, I decided to refine the fit.  For version 2, I narrowed the shoulders 1/2" (unusual for me), took a 1/4" tuck out of the upper chest and added 1" overall to the hem width. Very slight adjustments that produced an even better fit.  Good enough that I also used this pattern for the leather jacket I made earlier this month:

These are to illustrate my point:  do I really NEED all the adjustments?  Not necessarily.  But do they make the garment look and feel better?  Definitely.  And I truly enjoy the challenge of figuring out what each new pattern needs.  But if I didn't enjoy it, I could totally skip it and it would be fine.

So for those of you that don't enjoy going to these lengths with fitting - don't! Unless a garment is uncomfortable or doesn't fit at all, don't worry about it!  I'm perfectly happy wearing RTW pants and jeans that have wrinkles at the back of the legs.  But if I'm making pants or jeans, I do what I can to remove those wrinkles. It's an interesting pastime for me.

I'll end with another picture of my Inari dress, version one.  I like it; it's comfortable enough.  I will certainly wear it even though the fit isn't spot on, because the fabric is so pretty.

Are you a fitting nerd too?  I'd love to hear your thoughts on these matters.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Fitting Inari, part 2

I decided not to wait til tomorrow - I don't want to forget what I did!

OK, so those deep armholes . . . I spent some time looking at the pattern and deciding on an approach.  I finally realized that I could just fold out some excess, right across the middle of the armhole both front and back, like this:

Because I have high armpits, I needed to take it up a lot - I folded out 1" right across the middle of the armhole.  The original was pretty straight at that point, so I didn't even have to true up the edges!

Taking an inch out of the front and back meant I had to do that to the sleeve cap as well.   You can see above that I did this in two 1/2" folds rather than one 1" fold.  I did it that way so that the truing up was easier.  Take a look at the two photos below to see what I mean:

Much nicer to do it in stages!  At this point, I traced a new sleeve, truing up the line.

The great thing about doing the adjustments this way is that all the notches remained the same and I didn't have to completely redraw the sleeve.  I took measurements of the armscye and the sleeve cap seam both before and after doing these adjustments; in the original, the sleeve cap is 3/4" longer than the armscye.  In my new version, it is 1" longer.  I've found that adding 1/4" doesn't affect the ease too much - these sleeves set in as easily as the original.

To check this out, I made a quick muslin just of the shoulder and sleeve, extending a couple inches below the bust.  No need to make a complete dress to check the fit of the sleeves!

Version 2 fit pretty well - better than the original.  I didn't take any photos because I'm way too old (and smart) to share my exposed midriff on the interwebz. I did notice though that it was pulling toward the back - this is true on the original dress as well, although the weight of the extra fabric helps mitigate this a bit. Shifting toward the back is a sign of forward shoulders, so I went ahead and corrected that as well with a 3/8" forward shoulder adjustment across the entire shoulder seam.  Forward shoulder adjustments are standard for me - I really don't know why I didn't do one from the get-go!

To adjust the sleeve cap for the forward shoulder, I did a slash and slide in the same amount.  I cut across the sleeve cap about half way up, then shifted the top toward the front 3/8" like this:

(I cut this from the lay plan of the pattern, and didn't realize until after I'd taken the picture and thrown away the pieces that I shifted it toward the back, as the drawing didn't have a double notch for the back.  Just imagine that it's shifted toward the front.)

Time to true up the seam line again - I use my hip and armhole curve to do this. Now take a look at my new sleeve (which now has a reduced cap and forward shoulder adjustment) compared to the original:

The sleeve seams and notches remain the same as the original, but the shape of the cap above the notches is completely different.  Notice how the slope is longer and more horizontal at the back (right side) and shorter and more vertical at the front (left side).  This shape gives me a really good fit.

There was just one more adjustment I wanted to make.  It's something I've been thinking about a lot lately and this was the perfect place to try it.  On a lot of tops, I often feel like there's too much fabric right at the front of the armhole on the bodice.  In other words, my upper chest is narrower than most patterns are drafted for.  So this time, I scooped out a little bit of the front armhole - just 3/16".  That small amount meant I wouldn't have to worry about the sleeve cap fitting, but it was just the right amount to remove the excess fabric that digs into my arm/shoulder joint.  In the photo below, I'm pointing at the amount I scooped out and you can see it in comparison to the original seam line.  The original is the purple dashed line, and I've already trimmed the seam allowance to match my new line.

Here's a look at my new front, compared to the original, where you can also see the amount I scooped out:

Finally, I added 1" of length in the body to both the front and the back.  I'll feel more comfortable with a little more coverage, especially with that vented hem at the front.  The pattern gives 2 lengthen/shorten lines:  one just below the armhole and another a few inches above the vent.  I chose to lengthen at the lower line; if I'd lengthened at the upper line, my width placement for the hip adjustment I showed in the previous post would then be an inch too low!

By that time, my pattern pieces were a cobbled-together mess!  So I retraced everything and drew new pieces for the facings, and it's all set to go for tomorrow (I hope) so I can sew together Version Two.  I have a piece of linen I bought last year for culottes that never got made; I think it will be just right for this dress. And if it fits as well as I think it will, I'm hoping that I have enough of a piece of Nani Iro in my stash for version 3!  The Nani Iro is a narrower fabric, so I'm not sure it will all fit on the 2 yards I have.  Fingers crossed!

Fitting Inari, part 1

Yesterday I made an Inari Dress.  I've been wanting to make this dress for a long time - I love pretty much every version I see, and it seems to look great on every body type.  But I had to spend a while figuring out how to fit it.  I couldn't find a lot of fitting information online for this pattern, so I thought I'd share what I did in case it's helpful to some of you.

In Named patterns, I take a size EU 36 at the bust, EU 38 at the waist and EU 42 at the hip.  Not usually a problem to grade among these sizes, and Named patterns are a better starting point for my body than some other companies' blocks.  The problem here is the unusual shape of this dress:  not only does the side seam wrap from the back to the front, but it's a cocoon shape as well!  I wanted to preserve that cocoon shape, but didn't have much experience with it, so I had to ponder for a few days.

I started out by determining how much extra width I'd need for the bottom half, and exactly where.  I looked at the finished garment measurements on the pattern and took flat pattern measurements.  I also did a tissue fitting and made a mark at the place where I needed to expand.  According to all of these, I needed to add a total of about 3" to get the right amount of ease around my hips.

After looking through all my fitting books, I settled on using two different types of adjustments.  For the front, I did a seam line adjustment and for the back I did a slash and spread.  Here's what I did:

Using my rotary cutter, I sliced up the entire side seam line from the hem fold to the underarm seam.  At those two places I clipped in little hinges, then clipped little hinges all along that seam allowance every couple inches so that I could curve the seam allowance out.  At the mark I'd made where I needed the most room, I pulled the seam allowance out about 1/2", then curved the rest of the seam allowance as similarly as possible to the original shape.  I taped all of this to my cutting mat to keep it in place.

Then I put new paper over it and retraced my pattern.

For the back, since it already had a slight A-line shape, I thought a slash and spread would be a good fix.  This adjustment makes an A-line even more so: compare this shape below to the original, which you can see in the two photos above.  It's not too dissimilar.

For this adjustment, I drew a line from the armpit straight down to the hem, parallel to the grain line.  I slashed up this line with my rotary cutter, stopping at the under arm seam allowance, then clipped a hinge into that seam allowance.  I swung the whole thing out until I had 1" extra at the place I'd marked, then filled it all in with extra paper.  Again, I taped it down and traced a new pattern.


EDITED TO ADD:  You may be wondering why I went to all the trouble of cutting along the seam line for the front and slashing and spreading for the back, rather than just adding some extra to the outside of each cutting line.  Sometimes adding to the edge of the pattern works, especially on straighter edges and for smaller additions, and where two adjoining pieces will add the same amount. But in my experiments with fitting over the last few years, I've found that I often make things easier for myself by maintaining the length of the original seam line.  In both the adjustments above, the length of the seam line remained unchanged, and therefore everything matched up like the original when I went to sew the pieces together.  So more and more, I tend to adjust along the seam line when possible.

To illustrate this point, imagine 2 concentric semi-circles, let's say 1/2" apart.  If you could straighten those two lines out, you'd find that the inside line is shorter than the outside line.  Now imagine that those two semi-circles are pattern pieces with the inside line being the seam line and the outside line being the cutting line, and you need to add more room.  If you just add, say another 1/4" to the outside, your new seam line moves out to correspond - but it is now longer than it was originally!  If you did not make a corresponding adjustment to the piece it will be sewn to, they won't fit together.


How did it work?  Really well!  Here's my dress:

I got exactly the amount of ease I wanted through the hips - loose enough to move, but not so loose that you can't see the shape.

I'm happy with this first version of the dress - I have to say I was shocked that this shape works for me!   This pattern produces a magic dress I think - as I said above, it seems to look good on everybody!

That said, there were a couple things I wanted to change.  The most important is that the armholes on this dress are low.  I've seen some other reviews saying the same thing.  I'm not surprised that I need to bring them up - it's an adjustment I sometimes have to do.  I also think this length is a smidge short for me.  This dress is totally wearable, but knowing I could make it better, I started hacking this afternoon.  I did a bunch of adjustments to the armhole, sleeve and shoulder and got it to a place where I think it's just about perfect for me.  Those adjustments are a lot more involved, so I'll write those up for tomorrow.  Stay tuned!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Named Olivia Wrap Dress

I had been dreaming of making this dress ever since the pattern came out early this fall.  But I kept putting it off while I pondered how to fit it.  In Named patterns, I size in at 36 bust, 38 waist and 42 hip.  The tulip shape of the skirt gives you a little wiggle room with this pattern, but I think if you make it too tight, you lose the original proportions of the design.

After a lot of thought, I decided to go with the 36 bust and grade out to 38 for the waist, and then make the entire skirt in size 38 as well.  The fit is slightly snugger across my backside than intended, but I still think it's flattering.  Note:  I wasn't wearing a slip when I took these photos but I did wear a "slipshort," and the back got a bit hung up on it and made those wrinkles at the left hip.

As you can see,  the bodice is designed to be slightly blousey.  There are a couple darts on the front skirt, and the waist has elastic as well as the wrap ties.  There are on-seam pockets at the hip as well.  I was dubious about how this would work but I went ahead and tried them on this dress, which I consider my test version. For once, I followed all the instructions.  Against my better judgment, I inserted the pockets as written:  the side seams are sewn except at the pocket opening, and then the pocket bags are attached to the seam allowances at the opening, and finally sewn to each other.  I like to think that I'm pretty good at precision sewing, but this was really hard for me!!  Next time, if I do pockets at all, I'll do them in my normal way of attaching the bags to the front and back pieces first and then sewing the side seams and pocket bags all in one go.  My inability to sew the pockets accurately resulted in some holes and misalignments; I was able to close up the holes afterwards by hand, but as you can see in the photo above, there is some bunching at the left hip because I couldn't get that pocket aligned exactly.

I say "next time" . . . I think there will be a next time - I like the pattern and design enough to have more than one of this dress.  But I found the sewing of it extremely tedious.  First off, I loathe sewing knits on the regular sewing machine, and because of the construction of this dress, there are very few seams that can be sewn on the serger.  Secondly, those pockets.  Much too tedious.  And finally, I find it very frustrating to have to wrangle large stretchy pieces with long, skinny, even stretchier pieces hanging off.  By sheer force of will, I managed to complete this dress in 3 days.  So, after a cooling off period, during which I'll go back to my comfort zone of hand-tailoring blazers, I may try it again.

The only other little tidbit to share is that the opening in the side for the tie is quite large - I went back and closed it up by 1/4" each top and bottom to avoid exposing myself.

The sun came out yesterday, so after I got back from the gym, I quickly put on the dress and snapped a few shots.  But even with the sunshine, it's hard to see the details of the dress - really, the lighting in my house is horrible.  So I ended up playing around with some of the editing tools in iPhoto to make them more visible. And I decided I quite liked the artiness of it!  Here's a before and after example:

I liked that I could add pink shadows.

Do any of you intend to make this dress?  How do you feel about sewing knits on the sewing machine?  Do large, stretchy garments make you frustrated too?

Monday, December 7, 2015

Style Arc Stella Coat

I've been on kind of a Style Arc bender lately . . .  And I've been obsessed with this pattern ever since Sam made hers last spring.  So I finally broke down and bought it a few weeks ago, along with a few yards of this Italian wool blend coating.   I'd really intended to make this coat in a classic camel, but decided to find an outer to go with this silk CDC lining I'd bought last month.

This wrap coat has a slim silhouette.  As with my Dotty blouse, I bought the pattern in size 8 to accommodate my shoulders, but of course had to grade out to about a 12 from the waist down.  I did many of my typical adjustments after a tissue fitting:  shortened the sleeves, did a broad back adjustment, low round back adjustment and sway back adjustment.  Although the line drawing shows three panels across the back there is actually a center back seam, which is great for me - when a back is cut on the fold I usually have to convert it to a seam to make the adjustments for my back.  All those vertical seams means that there are plenty of opportunities for grading in or out as needed.

This design is also clever in that the front piece doesn't go all the way to the side. There is a narrow panel at the underarm, so that the on-seam pocket in the "side" seam is actually positioned a bit to the front, placing it just right for easy access.

I've said this before, but I really love that the seam allowances are marked on Style Arc patterns.  The typical seam allowance is 3/8", but I've noticed that the neckline seam allowances tend to be 1/4".  Because my fabric was so thick, I took that up to 3/8".  It took me a while to get used to this after 40 years of predominantly 5/8" allowances!  But I realized that the smaller seam allowance basically means that the seams are pre-trimmed, and I like that a lot.

On both the Style Arc patterns I've used so far, the sleeve heads have been perfection.  The amount of ease is so spot on that the sleeves insert beautifully. The sleeve heads are also shaped with more volume at the back, which is what I need for my forward shoulders.  It is so nice - and so novel - to use a sleeve "as written."

For this pattern, there was a new-to-me concept of using fusible interfacing as the sleeve header.  I really liked how this worked for this jacket, which is softer in shape and has little interfacing and no shoulder pads.  Something to keep in mind for future projects.

I liked pretty much everything about the pattern.  I didn't love working with this thick wool very much, although I like the outcome.  It really didn't want to hold a press, so I ended up topstitching all the seams except the sleeve set-in - which means that I sewed every seam three times.  I wasn't so sure about the look of the topstitching, but I was unanimously outvoted when I asked my Instagram friends! In the end I'm happy with it though, and although it added a lot of work to the process, it was still probably less than catch-stitching all those seam allowances down by hand.

The pattern gives instructions for a bagged lining and even has a couple of diagrams.  But I felt more comfortable making the lining and facing into a unit and sewing the whole thing to the outer at the front and collar edges, then closing it up by hand at the sleeve and coat hems.

I put in the last hem stitches just 15 minutes before I had to get ready to go downtown for a concert Friday evening.  It ended up being a warm-ish evening, so I pushed myself to finish.  And I have to say, I felt like a million bucks in my new coat and silk Dotty blouse!  I did have a little bit of a scare though when the kid next to me on the subway opened up a bottle of some bright red sports drink!  You better believe I got up and walked to the other end of the car!  I have a feeling I'll be worried about stains every time I wear this coat, but I love it all the same.

A last note on the length:  I did not shorten the body, which surprised me.  I'd wanted the coat to come to must below my knees, and that's exactly where it ended up as drafted.  It surprised me because at 5'4" I generally do have to shorten things.

I'm a huge sucker for outerwear, but I think this will have to be my last coat for a while.  My closet is crammed full!  But I can see making this again in the spring in a cotton twill, maybe in a mid-thigh length.