Nov 11, 2011

Finished (with new and improved buttons!): Very Easy Vogue 8626

There are some things I've learned in recent years that were at once a revelation and slap in the face that some things are much easier to do than you think. For example: did you know you can make microwave popcorn in a paper lunch bag? You just throw the kernels in the bag, fold it shut, and microwave on high for 2 &1/2 minutes. When I discovered this (I think via ReadyMade Magazine — may it rest in peace), I was pissed at myself for not figuring out sooner. As someone who hates the flavour of fake butter (and is too counter-space-poor to buy an air popper) I thought I had to make it in a pot. Do you know how many pots I have ruined over the years?

I digress. You know what else is easy? Sewing a coat. I don't know why I thought it would be harder (maybe because they're so darn expensive?). Well, probably not all coats are easy to sew. But if it has "Very Easy" in the title, then you can bet you won't be losing too much sleep over it. Witness my Very Easy Vogue 8626 coat in blue plaid wool with new delicious orange (possibly leather or faux leather) buttons:

 Don't I look happy despite the fact that I always end up in an argument with my husband when he's taking photos of me in a finished project? It's because I adore the back of this coat:

 Love that pleat and those seams, and the way the collar stands sort of ruggedly over those very feminine design details. I like wearing this new coat with the collar down too. Witness the versatility:

And here's the secret ugly surprise that I am not too ashamed to show you:

Coat of many ugly colours
Fleece lining in not one, but two ugly colours. I can't stress enough how little I spent on sewing this coat, which I do really love: $4 for the blue plaid wool fabric, nothing on the fleece, which was leftover from some costume projects, and $5 on the buttons, which I bought at Vardhman Inc. on 39th St at 8th Ave in NYC (I just looked up the name of this notions store using Google maps; I had to get the street view, which is always fun. Here it is in case you want to find it. I love this place. It's not the biggest, but I always find something, and the whole family seems to work there):

Vardhman Inc

I've mentioned before a few of the changes I made to this pattern: I shortened it through the waist a couple inches (because I have a short torso; that's a standard mod for me), and I also shortened it at the hem because I didn't have enough fabric to make it full length. It's one of those decisions you make and then hope for the best: I worried it would change the proportions of this coat, and indeed the one issue I have is the side seam curves out a little too much at the hip (and I have wide hips for my frame, so usually I need to add ease at the hip). But it's possible in the longer length, that curve would be less pronounced. I actually think the shorter length makes this coat a little younger and more wearable day-to-day — a happy accident I can attribute to my past self who thought two yards of wool should be enough for a jacket. The present me knows better.


  1. Terrific coat, and perfect buttons. Miss working in the garment district now!

  2. This jacket is beyond cute! Love the buttons. How did I miss that Ready Made shuttered? So sad.

  3. Love the coat. The seam detail in the back is great and I admire your creativity in making something gorgeous out of what you had! Great plaid matching, too.

  4. You're husband is a great photographer! You should definitely listen to his suggestions in terms of the most affective poses. Really his taste is amazing. You should definitely listen to him all the time. About everything. Like even when he says it's not his fault that he doesn't know where anything is in the apartment. I am sure that's not his fault. Great coat. And the buttons you chose are awesome. I also think the back is 150 percent awesome! I don't know the proper terms, but I like how the seams are like 2 arches starting at the shoulder and moving toward the middle of the back.

  5. Really cute, nice worksmanship.
    Any special steps you took in preparation for or during the sewing, for doing the coat? I am a little intimidated. Just bigger needle, heavy thread?

  6. Good question, Wendy: No, I just used a universal needle for medium weight fabric. And the same old thread I always use. The wool suiting is not thick, so it was easy to sew. The fleece was a little thicker, but I sewed it on the serger mostly.

  7. Good to know. I saw another blog suggesting sewing a coat. With the two of you encouraging it, I think I may give it a try! It seems nice to be able to customize the fit. Where did you find your plaid fabric so amazingly cheap?

  8. I got it at the Fashion Institute of Technology. There was a random fabric sale in a classroom one night. It's an unbelievable deal, I know.

  9. Beautiful coat! I'm in the process of making my first coat and have been having so much fun reading about tailoring. I love the popcorn idea; do you put butter in the bag with the kernels?

  10. Let me just say that usually I don't READ sewing blogs because, well, sometimes it's best to stick with the pictures. I don't know. I think I've been burned once or twice when I was reading along and then in the middle of some seemingly benign little blurb about invisible zippers, everything got a little unexpectedly Jesus-y among other things. Anyway, you are WELL funny and between the easy coat (which I will no doubt find a way to make difficult) and the paper-bag-popcorn, I'm in.

    I'm doing a totally sincere slow clap and can't wait to read more:)



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