Monday, May 18, 2015

Big cold doggies need your help!

When we Facebooked a photo a while back showing a greyhound sitting on some fabric and pattern pieces, it had possibly the most 'likes' of any Drapery post, ever. So we know there are plenty of dog-overs out there! It also started a conversation with the RSPCA Lonsdale Shelter. They need YOUR HELP!

Could you sew a coat to keep a large rescue dog warm this winter? They often receive small dog coats but larger sizes are desperately needed.

Just make a coat (or several), using the tutorial below or your own pattern, and bring them to The Drapery as soon as you can. We'll see them safely delivered to the RSPCA. (Of course, you can post or take them to the RSPCA directly if you prefer: 25 Meyer Road, Lonsdale SA 5160.)

This tutorial is for a quilted and bound coat. If you have some fabric in your stash that's warm enough as a single layer, e.g. polar fleece or felted wool, you could easily use the same shape and skip the quilting layers. If you have a large dog, you may like to measure the pattern against your pooch and make adjustments to suit; a variety of shapes would probably be helpful. Whatever pattern or fabric you use, just make sure it's:

- machine washable
- won't take too long to dry
- Medium to Extra-Large dog sized
- preferably with adjustable velcro closure.

What a great way to use up some mid-sized pieces in your fabric stash - and know they're going to be well-used and appreciated!

If you're in the shop we are very happy to trace off a quick brown-paper-copy of this simple pattern for you to take home. Otherwise, it should be pretty simple to draw one up following the images below.

*** The RSPCA is going to provide us with some measurements for Medium and Extra Large dogs to help if you would like to adjust the following pattern. This post will be updated when info available. ***


For quilted version you will need:
  • 2 pieces of fabric, at least 60 x 75cm each, prewashed, plus extra for binding
  • 1 piece of quilt batting, 60 x 75cm (we used our wool batting for warmth)
  • 13" (30cm) of wide elastic (we used our 1/5" wide) 
  • piece of velcro, about 7cm long (velcro available at The Drapery).

Please excuse mixing of metric and imperial throughout... it's a sewing thing isn't it?

Sketch out the following on a rectangle of paper. 
 Close-up photos show dimensions of front and back darts.

 Place pattern on the fold of fabric and cut one of each fabric and batting.

 Mark and sew back and front darts on each piece.
Trim excess fabric from inside darts and press seams open.

 Layer the 3 pieces to form a 'quilt sandwich' with right sides of fabrics facing outwards, and baste with pins. The darts mean it won't sit flat, so this takes a little bit of fiddling.
 Quilt with your preferred method. The darts also mean it's difficult to make straight lines all over so here I chose to make deliberately wonky lines using different coloured topstitching threads I had in my stash. If you're good at free-motion quilting, now would be a great time to go wild!

 Check both sides of the quilted coat and trim off any uneven edges.
 Cut 2" wide bias strips and join enough to go right around. Pin right-side-down, edges matching, on the underside of the coat.
 When the ends meet up, mark that spot then sew the ends together, trim and press the seam open.

 Sew the binding down at about 3/8". It will probably buckle and fold a bit as you go around the tighter curves but don't fuss too much: it's a dog coat.
 Then fold the binding around to the other side, turn the edge under, pin and topstitch down. (Trim away a bit of seam allowance if you need to, to help it wrap neatly around.)
 Nearly done!
 Take 8.5" of your elastic and place it on the binding around the centre of one side, using the mark on the pattern piece as a guide. Fold the raw end under, pin and stitch down firmly. I used a short and narrow zigzag.
 Attach the remaining 4.5" elastic in the same manner to the two front tabs to form the neck closure.
On the opposite side of the coat to where you attached the elastic, sew the furry side of your velcro, matching the position of the elastic. Sew the 'hook' side of your velcro to the end of the elastic. This piece can be shorter than the furry piece. Round off the corners of the velcro to help avoid any scratchy bits. 

And done!

 My model was not very interested in standing still. At least this design allows for good freedom of movement!

 We, and the RSPCA Lonsdale Shelter, and countless dogs, will be very grateful for every dog coat received. Thanks in advance!

- Jane & Fiona xx

PS anyone may feel free to use this pattern and tutorial to sew for an animal rescue organisation of their choice, or for their own pets, but we would appreciate links/credits where appropriate, thanks.

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Wintery Things to Sew: The Colette Moneta Dress

The chill is in the air in this part of the world, and we are all reaching for layers of comfy things to keep us warm. Layerable dresses with sleeves? Yes please. The Colette Moneta dress for knits looked like it might tick a few of those boxes. And indeed it has. 

I made this wearable muslin from this Soy/Organic Cotton/Spandex French Terry in 'Coffee Bean'. It's a sturdy, medium weight knit with lots of drape plus just the right amount of spandex necessary for the Moneta. 

I chose to make the Medium based on my waist measurements. My sizing tends to be all over the place with Collette patterns so I picked somewhere in the middle, hoping it would be the easiest place to let the adjustment party begin. Happily, nay - amazingly, no adjustments were needed. Happy days! 

This came together super quickly on my domestic sewing machine using its stretch stitch (a small zig zag would have done equally well) and the overcast stitch to finish the seams, plus a ball point needle and walking foot. It would overlock even faster.

Silly twirl shot to show the back.
It's a great pattern and I'll definitely make another. The only hitch came once I'd tried it on and noticed some excess fabric just under the arms. Thanks to the wonderfully helpful sewing blog network (thank you Rachel and Emma!), this problem was diagnosed as a common one, easy fixed with a straightforward adjustment (link below).

Pattern notes:
Pattern: Colette Moneta, version 3 with 3/4 length sleeves.
Fabric: Soy/Organic Cotton/Spandex French Terry in 'Coffee Bean'.
Notions: The pattern calls for clear elastic at the waist (available in store).
Size: Medium
Alterations: Nothing for this version, but next time I'll follow this great tutorial at Miss Make to combat the dreaded underarm crinkle. I'd also noted online that some makers had opted to gather their skirt waist using a good old gathering stitch rather than shirring the clear elastic - I gave this a go and it worked out fine.

- Fiona & Jane xx

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat: finished!

Not much left to say here except I LOVE IT! This is the kind of project that you'll be so proud to have made. Although it was time-consuming and involved many pieces and steps, there's nothing too difficult really. And the result? So worth it.

Pattern: Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat, View A with hood.
Fabrics: Japanese wool blend, 'Cecil' (2 metres) and Liberty Tana Lawn 'Oxford'. (1.55m... just!)
Interfacing: lightweight cotton woven.
Size: 12 graded to 14 at hips.
Alterations: Sleeves shortened just a tad. Pockets shortened by about 4cm. When I came to attach my zip, the pull was on the opposite side to that stated in the pattern, but it all worked out fine.

- Jane & Fiona xx

New Workshop Date!

Thursday 21st May
7pm - 9pm
Brick + Mortar Creative
49 George Street, Norwood
(rear of Norwood Town Hall) 

We are thrilled to announce our latest workshop to be held at the new Brick + Mortar Creative Hub in Norwood. 

Learn to make your own simple hand-stitched linen scarf in a one-evening workshop of relaxing hand stitching. Come alone or with a friend! 

Beautiful washed linen from Lithuania makes a soft and light scarf or cowl that’s cosy in winter and breathable and provides sun protection in warmer weather. This project is beginner friendly: anyone can master this extremely simple hand-stitching project with beautiful results. Finish your scarf with simple hand stitching, or embellish with felt balls or trimmings - the choice is yours. A sewing machine will also be available on the night if you wish to try a machine sewn option.

All materials and tools are included, and you'll leave with your own 100% linen scarf. 

Session costs $40. 

Places are limited! 

To reserve your spot, please call us during opening hours on 7324 5883 or drop us an email:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Grainline Cascade Duffle Coat: progress.

I've managed to find a few good chunks of time to devote to the Cascade Duffle Coat. And I have to say, it's a bit addictive watching it all come together.
Between the written instructions and the photographic sewalong on the Grainline blog, there's all the information a first-time coat sewist could want.
Before long you have something that's starting to look like a garment!

 The toggle closures are the detail that really makes a duffle coat a duffle coat. I went for the make-your-own option; partly because I didn't like my chances of finding ready-made, and partly because it sounded like fun. New crafty accomplishment? Yes please.

The toggle buttons came from The Button Bar in Adelaide Arcade, which is a wall-to-wall button treasure trove. They have quite a few kinds of toggles. I only had a 15 minute park or else I could have been there all day! These ones are made of horn ('not endangered', said the tube) (actually now I have a good look at them I'm pretty sure they're plastic, which would definitely not be endangered, heh, but in any case I probably feel a bit better about that).

We have one kind of wooden toggles at The Drapery, but they're black, which didn't seem right on this coat.

I sourced scrap leather and leather lacing from Adelaide Leather & Saddlery Supplies which is another local Aladdin's Cave of goodness and makes me want to learn how to make ALL the leather things.

The lacing was stuck down with a touch of PVA glue - not necessarily recommended but worked fine for me - before the closures were sewn on as per the instructions.
 Front and back joined. I tried it on at this stage and really, really wanted to make another version that's sleeveless. Jen from Grainline has promised this as an upcoming how-to blog post.
 Check out below how beautifully this wool 'eases' for the setting in of sleeves!
 And here we have the completed coat shell and lining. The lining is Liberty 'Oxford' Tana Lawn.
 Really the only snag I have hit in the whole construction is when I came to the first step of attaching the lining. I found I couldn't pin the lining and outer together as required because the seam allowance at the centre front had been caught in the stitching of the toggle leather.
 However, a little very careful snipping and the seam allowance was free, and the rest of the lining process happened by the book. So satisfying.
 Amazing how this strange crab-shaped arrangement can be flipped about to become a completed coat.
Yes, it is actually finished now, hooray! Photos soon.

- Jane & Fiona xx