It’s been a rather long blogging hiatus. My mother, who has multiple myeloma, has been undergoing chemo and a stem cell transplant, and caring for her has been one of the things taking up my time (somewhat) and energy (a lot). The cancer won’t be cured, but she’s on the mend from the chemo now and looking at several more years of health, thanks to some cutting edge treatment. Amazing stuff.
So: as I’ve not stopped making things, I’d better catch you up. I was travelling to and from Melbourne in the last days of winter. I was determined not to be cold; I had a week or so before I left: a new coat was in order. The thing about Melbourne cold is its relentlessness and its piercing wind—a ‘skinny’ wind, my cousin used to call it—one that’s skinny enough to get through the thickest knits. I decided pure wool and a quilted lining were called for.
Of course, since unusual is the new usual when it comes to weather, Melbourne was sunny and warm for most of the time I was there (d’oh!). But Sydney had a cold snap, so I did have proof of the efficacy of this coat when I was home. Now, in Sydney, it’s hot, but at least I know the coat will be a God-send next winter. I don’t care what anyone says, it does get cold in Sydney.
I started with more of a cape in mind, but during the patternmaking process, it morphed into a coat with wide, flared sleeves.
Also originally, I had an image in my head springing from the photos from this stunning exhibition in New York (in March 2011) of classic American red and white quilts. Have a look at the photos on Martha Stewart’s blog (of course she went!). I wanted to cut some ‘snowflake’ shapes in red and appliqué them to the coat.
It has welted pockets, which look fine until you put something in them, then they spoil the drape somewhat. Oh well.
I used some thin cotton batting and quilted the lining. This means the drape of the original fabric is a little stiffer than I’d like now, but the added toastiness makes it worth putting up with.
I think the fix is to sew a small hook to the inside of the button wrap, and a bar just below the collar. I could use a small snap, but think the hook and bar will be more discreet when the coat is hanging open, which it’s designed to be able to do. We’ll see when I get around to doing it.
It is incredibly warm and wind-proof, but as a bonus, it looks great on (much better than on Gertrude, my mannequin, who has even less shoulder than I do). I felt very luxurious wearing it, and it attracted many compliments.