Tag Archives: coat

Baby steps back to blogging…and another flipped pea coat

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowHave you ever had a friend move away – a very dear and close friend who you were sure you’d always keep in touch with?  And then, as time passed, maintaining that level of contact became more difficult.  And then, the longer you left it to send that email/make that phone call/post that letter, the harder it became.  Each passing day was filled with more news that needed to be relayed which meant the email/call/letter needed to be even longer and in-depth.

But she’s was good friend – a great one, in fact – and you didn’t want to let the friendship go so, at some point, you just had to take the plunge.  And even if it wasn’t as complete and thorough as you would have liked, at least it was contact and at least you knew you aren’t going to lose this friend forever.

It turns out that, for me, this ‘friend’ is my blog.  I never intended to step away from blogging and I most certainly didn’t intend to take a break from sewing.  But, for various reasons that is exactly what happened.  Almost daily I have tried to jump back into the blogging world, but then another day passes making the whole process of re-insertion fractionally more difficult.

This post has been a long time coming – the culmination of thoughts, ideas, motivations – sprinkled with some deeper soul-searching, complete with the realisation of my somewhat difficult and contradictory relationship with social media (which could easily be the subject of another post entirely).

My unplanned path down the road to a blogging break

When I posted about my flipped Pea Coat back in November, I didn’t know it would be my last post for 4 months!!  (My jaw still drops when I write that!).  It’s only now, with enough space for reflection that I can really understand why this happened.  This is sort of the path I went down…

  • As some of you already know, my family and I moved from Belgium to the UK last summer.  Since then my entire life-style changed – moving from city to country, getting a dog, more commitments with kids’ schooling, trying to make friends and integrate in a new country, etc.  These changes meant that my normal ‘routine’ of sewing, photographing and blogging was dramatically disturbed.  Not necessarily in a bad way mind you…
  • This reshuffle shook things up enough that some interests other than sewing started to resurface (yup, I have interests other than sewing – shocking, I know!).  I found myself filling my free time with long walks, enjoying our local forests, getting back into an exercise routine, reading books, and cooking up meals with all our local produce.  I even tried crocheting a hot water bottle cover (which I never finished).  It’s not that I consciously didn’t want to sew – it was just that other things were taking priority in a way that they hadn’t since I started this blog in February 2012.  And it felt good!!
  • Well, it felt good for a while.  Once I decided to try to get back on track I made the mistake of checking back in with the online sewing community.  I say ‘mistake’ because what I found there was more pace, passion, commitment, energy and general lightning speed creations that I felt that I could cope with.  This, in turn, lead to a bit of a crisis in confidence culminating in a state of not believing my own sewing hype.  And this is a dangerous place to be as a blogger!!
  • Once you lose a bit of the love for the work you create, it becomes almost impossible (for me at least) to shout from the rooftops social media outlets, telling everyone to come have a look.  And isn’t that what having a sewing blog is all about – sharing your sewing?!
  • So I spent a long time not knowing how to proceed – I was in a state of limbo – not contributing to my blog but not wanting to let it go either.

Regaining focus

So how does one exit this drifting state of blogger/non-blogger, sewist/non-sewist?  It turns out that the answer was simple!  To make me feel like I was back in the game, I realised that all I needed to do was to start sewing again!!  Sew something, sew anything, just sew!  For about two months I spent time in my sewing studio just milling around being a bit pathetic.  I would pick up a pattern here, some fabric there, contemplate making something, decide the pattern/fabric wasn’t right and then move on to something else.  Or I would convince myself that I just didn’t have enough time or energy (I used to think nothing of starting a sewing project at 10pm but now I was wanting to curl up in bed with my book).  I made a few gifts along the way but nothing that I would consider serious sewing.  I even made napkins; yup, napkins – and two sides were already hemmed!  Nothing says ‘sewing funk’ like some straight line stitching (although I do love the napkins!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

And then a couple of weeks ago I got entirely fed up with myself!  I sat down and made lots of lists and resolutions (sewing and otherwise) and generally gave myself the proverbial kick up the backside that I needed.  Since then I’ve made this coat, a skater dress, some new baby bunting, a spring skirt for me, a Liberty and linen dress for Margot, and a Named batwing shirt.  And, now, I think I can safely say that the doubtful sewing demons have been banished! *poof* And since I now, again, believe my own hype, blog posts on all these outstanding creations will be coming soon 😉 .

Moving in the right direction

It would be a shame to let all this time spent self-reflecting go to waste so I have used this period of uncertainty to figure out what it is I want from my sewing and blogging going forward.  I’m hoping these will make me a happier and better blogger.

  • My biggest motivations for blogging have always been to make connections with other like-minded sewists and to create further opportunities in this field.  I have always seen blogging as a journey as opposed to a destination and, in this respect, nothing has changed since day one.
  • I have learned that I’m not as single-minded about sewing and blogging as I thought I was!!  Shock!  Horror!  This is the realisation that surprised me the most.  It is not to say that I enjoy sewing any less than I did before, it’s just that I’m not willing to make it my entire life.  I feel happier and more well-rounded when I’m also pursuing my other interests.  Perhaps this will be a detriment to my long-term blogging goals but if a happy blogger = a good blogger then this is the way it has to be.
  • The lightning pace of blogging – particularly in the sewing/DIY genre – is something that’s always jarred with my approach to sewing.  I want to take my time over a project.  I want to hand-finish that hem even though it would delay the blog post; I want to take time to learn a new skill properly, not just a quick-fix to get the thing done; I want to share projects that inspire a true desire to sew, not just slap something together for the nearest holiday season.
  • Leading on from this, I want to make 2015 the year that I increase my core sewing skills.  I want to push myself to master new techniques which will open up new possibilities in my sewing.  It’s my hope I can share some of these with you.
  • Finally, I want my sewing and blogging to be a reflection of my dedication to sustainable fashion.  With Fashion Revolution Day quickly approaching, I think we could all spare a thought for those who make our ready-to-wear clothes in factories all over the world – many of which with far few worker’s rights than we would accept.

So, dear friends, I am sorry I have been out of touch but now at least I hope you see the reasons why.  I promise I won’t let it drift so long again.

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Now!  Enough introspection – let’s get on to the sewing!!

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Today I’m sharing a new coat I made for the littlest member of our family.  Aptly enough, the starting point for this coat is the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat – the same pattern I flipped in my previous post waaaaaay back in November (yikes!)

This pattern is a perfect starting point for lots of personalisation.  Sewing outerwear is great as it makes such a big impact.  This one’s a double-win because it’s also easy to sew.  For this version I played it much closer to the printed pattern than I did the first time round.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

Here’s the nitty-gritty:

  • I made size 4 for my 5-year-old.  It came up a bit wider and shorter than I imagined but he wears it happily so this isn’t really a complaint.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I changed up the method of closing.  This came about because when he tried it on (minus the buttonholes) it naturally came together like this and I liked it!  Plus, it meant far fewer buttonholes to be sewn – which is always a good thing on thick fabric like this.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • The exterior fabric is wool (the green – left over from Christmas stockings a few years ago) and boiled wool (the sleeves and pockets – left over from this Oliver+s cape).
  • The interior fabric is a light-weight quilted cotton for the sleeves and faux sheep skin for the rest.
  • I added patch pockets – lined with the same striped orange ribbing as the cuffs.

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

  • In a similar fashion to my previous version, I added wrist cuffs with thumb holes.
  • The buttons are actually pebbles that have been drilled to make them into buttons (courtesy of my jeweller mother, Molly Sharp!).

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the HedgerowThis is a really useful coat that didn’t take an eternity to make.  Of course Spring is nearly upon us and I suppose most of you are turning your sewing efforts to warmer weather makes but it’s worth book-marking this pattern to bring out when you’re looking for something warm and cozy for your little one.

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Whew – this post has been such a long time coming that it feels great to finally have it out there.  Thanks for sticking with me until the end – I promise there will be more sewing and less self-analysis in the future!!

As a sewist and/or a blogger, have you ever encountered any of these stumbling blocks on your journey?  I’d love to hear.

As ever, thanks for reading,

Laura x

Dear My Kids Trendy Pea Coat // Behind the Hedgerow

The Pixie Dust Pea Coat (full post)

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

In case you missed it on Monday, I’m bringing home my Flip This Pattern for the DMK Pea Coat.  It’s a busy time of year and I’m sure you’re all stitching your hearts out for the upcoming festivities but, if you have a spare moment I’d love it if you could support Frances Suzanne’s Flip This Pattern series by heading over and voting for your favourite flip.  It is truly amazing to see one pattern taken in so many directions – princess seams, lots of zips, faux leather, a Christmas dress – if you haven’t been following along go immediately and check out what you’ve missed!

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Well, hello there flipped pattern enthusiasts!  I’m Laura from Behind the Hedgerow and I’m here to confess that I have spent far too much time, energy and all-consuming thought on this flipped version of the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  My kids are unwashed and hungry, there is not a single pair of clean underpants in the house, and my own family members have given up having a meaningful conversation with me and, the worst part of all, I don’t regret a single moment!  This coat has truly been stitched with love and I’m thrilled to share all the details with you like-minded creative sewists.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I had two main inspirations for this coat.  The first was the 1940s – 1960s children’s book series Pookie by Ivy Wallace.  The story focuses on Pookie, a little white rabbit with wings and his adventures in the world.  They were read to me as a child and the whimsical illustrations have always stayed with me.  I can imagine Margot playing with Pookie in the forest while wearing this coat.

The second starting point for this project was function!  Margot needed a versatile, stylish and warm coat for the winter (her coat from last year is one of the many things that mysteriously disappeared during our house move in the summer).  So this project had to work out and it had to be something that could be worn for longer than a single photo shoot!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

 

Margot and I sat down over a mug of marshmallow-laden hot chocolate and chatted about her coat needs.  We decided that the Ultimate Winter Coat needed:

  • a good fit but with still enough room for layering underneath.
  • a generous hood so a snug hat could be worn with the hood still up.
  • a hood that is NOT detachable – that’s just asking for it to be taken off and discarded somewhere never to be seen again.
  • to be able to get on and off easily and independently.
  • at least one secret pocket.
  • generously sized side pockets.
  • wrist cuffs with thumb holes (the thumb holes were the biggest selling point for Margot!) to stop the wind blowing straight up the sleeves.
  • a cosy lining for extra warmth.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

Whew – that’s a lot of elements!  The Dear My Kids pea coat is a fantastic starting point for all of these things.  It’s a solid pattern that leaves lots of room for personalisation.  As is evident from the photos, I kept this coat a coat with the following changes in order to fill the above brief for the Ultimate Winter Coat.

  • I extended and accentuated the a-line of the shape of the coat.  This made it more like a swing coat and meant it would be warmer.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I cut the back section as one piece (instead of 2 as stated in the pattern) and added 4cm to the width so I could add a 2cm inverted pleat.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I added a hood (with handmade piping!  Can’t believe that I haven’t made my own piping until now.  It’s really quick and easy and I used this brief tutorial if you’re interested).  Sadly, this meant I had to get rid of the collar.  I wanted to have both but in my muslin I couldn’t get them both to work together.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I modified the neckline slightly so it was a bit lower.
  • I added side welt pockets.  I love these pockets!  I think they really give a professional look to a garment.  The best tutorial for doing these is Kristin’s (Skirt as Top) tutorial on the Oliver+s blog.  Seriously, it is fail-proof!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • To fulfil Margot’s desire for a secret pocket I added another welt pocket to the inside.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I shortened the sleeve length slightly and added wrist cuffs with thumb holes.  I love this feature most of all!  They make the coat unique while serving a really important function.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

  • I omitted with wrist bands from the pattern.
  • I added a facing to the lining which, again, gives it a more polished, professional finish.
  • This facing was the perfect place to add the hand-embroidered name tag (no doubts about who this coat belongs to!) and hanging hook.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

The fabric choices for this coat came together beautifully.  I originally wanted the outer coat to be made from Harris Tweed wool but when I saw this aqua wool blend from The Sewing Shop in Canterbury I was in love.  Stumbling upon this Liberty jersey remnant for the hood and cuffs quickly brought the whole look together.  The yellow fabric for the piping was leftover from this dress and matches the buttons perfectly.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I always knew I’d use the faux sheepskin for the lining and I had plenty in my stash from Minerva Crafts.  Although I didn’t get a decent picture of it, the arms are lined with a quilted jersey which gives added warmth but without being as bulky as they would have been with the sheepskin.

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

I won’t lie.  The entire process of making this coat took forever!  Each changed element required additional thought and consideration (how wide should the thumb hole in the cuff be?, where exactly should the welt pockets be placed?, will a stretchy jersey work for the hood lining?, etc) but I have loved every step…and it fits!…and Margot loves it!  And, most miraculously, there were no catastrophic disasters along the way…almost as if the entire project were sprinkled with pixie dust!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

The Pixie Dust Pea Coat – I flipped the Dear My Kids Pea Coat pattern!

Pea Coat Flip // Behind the Hedgerow

Oh boy am I excited to share today’s post!  Months ago I got involved with Emily and Ashley’s (from Frances Suzanne blog) Flip This Pattern series and today’s I’m sharing my interpretation of the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  You can read the full post HERE.

The idea behind the series is pretty straightforward – you’re given a pattern and you have to flip, alter, change, or re-work it in any way you see fit.  You can make minor or major changes just as long as you use the original pattern as your starting point.  If you haven’t been following along it’s worth having a trawl back through some of the entries for different patterns – they’re full of inspiration.

This month the patterns was the Dear My Kids Trendy Unisex Pea Coat.  This is what the original pattern looks like.  I had such a great time changing and adapting this pattern to exactly what I wanted.  It reminded me of why I sew – to see something that has existed only in my mind turn into an actual, physical, touchable garment in front of my eyes!  It’s so immensely satisfying!

I would love for you to have a look at all the fun changes I made and details I added!  They’ll be four different versions of this pattern presented by four different bloggers this week so keep checking back on the Frances Suzanne site to see them all – there is some series talent in this group and I can’t wait to see what everyone comes up with!  On Friday you can vote for your favourite.

Thanks for reading!

Laura x