Starting the Sewing Challenge

Though I have been finishing up a few projects from last year, I have been super excited to start my year-long sewing plan for 2012, and I have been debating which projects I should do first.  Ever since the magazine was published, I have been dying to make the October BurdaStyle pants:

BS-10-2011-127

So I think this will be my first project of 2012.  I plan on doing a “wearable muslin” version in a brown striped fabric I got from a Joann’s Red Tag sale for $2/yard.  If they turn out then I will do a nicer version in some lovely grey PRL I got from Hancock’s.  I don’t know if this style would technically meet the “classic” criteria for my challenge (since a true classic trouser should fall from the hip and not be so fitted through the knee), but I generally prefer this more fitted style, so if they look good then I am willing to go with it.

I already have the patterns traced and the test fabric ready to go, so I will try to post results once I finish them.  A word of caution to anyone else considering this pattern – these pants are looooooooooong!  I have made one pair of Burda pants before, and while I perhaps should have reduced the length by 1/2-1″ on that pair the length was decent.  I took out 2″ already on this pattern, and they still look long!  I made the adjustment by comparing inseam and outseam lengths between my legs and the pattern, and then by holding the pattern up to my legs to see where things will probably fall.  It looked like the pants *should* have a nice fit from waist to knee, but they were extremely long below that, so I took out all of the excess length from the mid-calf region, and adjusted the pattern accordingly.  Remains to be seen if I took out too much, but honestly it looked like Burda was planning on having us all wear 10″ heels!  In any case, I am hoping to get the muslin done this weekend, and sew up the real deal next weekend.  I have a couple of busy weekends in the next month, so I don’t know exactly how much sewing will get done, but do want to try and maintain a pace of one challenge project per month if possible.

After making what I hope turn out to be some rather amazing pants I want to work on one of the more time consuming and possibly difficult projects on my list – the raincoat.  February and March tend to be quite rainy where I live, so I really want to try to make this before the rain season starts in earnest.  I haven’t owned an actual raincoat since I was a little girl – is it me or is it really hard to find a stylish raincoat?  So this is a project that I have been thinking about for a long time, and I finally think I have the skills to attempt it.  For the raincoat I am also planning on using a BurdaStyle pattern, this one from the December issue:

BS-12-2011-118

I have already started tracing it, and there are a lot of pieces!  I was hoping to get a muslin done for the coat this weekend as well, but it might have to wait until next week because I don’t know if I will have enough time to get it all done.  I am pretty confident that Burda size 40 is going to fit, but I have some amazing blue water repellant rubber-backed fabric that I found at a Hancock’s this past summer that I will be using for the shell of this coat, and so I want to ensure that I don’t waste it on a poorly fitting pattern.

There are a lot of extra changes that I want to make to this pattern.  The pattern, as drafted, only has a partial lining, so I will be needing to draft my own full lining pattern (necessary to cover the rubber backing on the blue fabric.  I plan to use a pale blue polyester lining fabric, which I was able to find for less than $1.50/yard.  I am thinking I might use some sort of stiff polyester fabric as sew-in interfacing if needed (I worry about using a lot of the fusible on the rubber-backed fabric).  I also want to attach a removable hood (using part of the BWOF-05-2002-123 pattern), because what is the point of a raincoat without a hood?  I also plan on using fabric covered snaps for the first time as the closure (I have never actually covered them with fabric before…).

On top of all this, there are even more technical considerations with a raincoat than there are with a regular coat.  Most important in this regard is the waterproofing of the seams.  Obviously, sewing the material will create punctures in the fabric, which will allow water to go through the rubber seal.  In order to prevent this, there are seam sealants that will keep the seam areas water-proof.  There are liquid and tape varieties – I have decided to go with a tape.  I placed an order with Quest Outfitters, and I am very happy to report that the order was placed, shipped, and received very quickly.

My seam tape for water-proofing

The only problem with the tape is that it is heat set – which sometimes isn’t good for the rubber backed materials.  I have read that using a teflon press-sheet can help with this, so I have ordered one of those as well.  I will give an updated report once this project gets underway.  Also, I will be experimenting with using a teflon foot vs. a roller foot for constructing the seams (I am thinking I might end up using a combination roller foot for long seams, teflon foot for smaller things like the collar), and I plan to test out glue-stick basting, since I clearly won’t be wanting to use pins to hold things in place.  Paper-clip basting might also come into play around the collar, remains to be seen.

Whoooo, I am tired just thinking about it…  But excited.  I think these will be enough to keep me plenty busy for the better part of the next month, so that’s about as far as I am going to plan things out for now.  I probably won’t be posting too much about the pants until they are done (maybe a quick view of the muslin), but I will probably post a lot of updates while I am working on the coat since I will be trying out a lot of new techniques and new tools.  Very excited by these plans – can’t wait!

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3 thoughts on “Starting the Sewing Challenge

  1. Wow – sounds pretty cool to me! I like that Burdastyle coat pattern – working with waterproof materials definitely sounds like a challenge and a half. Can't wait to see how they both turn out!

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  2. I can't wait to see how your 2012 sewing challenge unfolds!

    Re #10 – I made the BurdaStyle pants (06-2011-114) over the summer and they came out great! Really, the style and fit was much better than any other pull on pants I've seen or tried.

    Thanks so much for your comments yesterday! We seem to speak the same language! 😉

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