Lady Grey, Part 1: Or, What To Do During a Christmas Blizzard

I mentioned in my last post that Christmas, in these parts, is largely reserved for being lazy and pursuing our own selfish interests.

This year, we were aided in that goal by Sunday night’s snowstorm.  We’ve had virtually no snow so far this winter, which has (perhaps unfairly) only increased my impression of New England winters not being nearly as harsh as they’re talked up to be.  So I was definitely not upset to have an extra blizzard-given craft day appended to my holiday weekend, and spent much of it watching my neighbors dig out their driveways and walkways.  This being not nearly as cold of a place as Canada or the upper Midwest, though, the plowed roads were already thawing out under the sun the next day. Why, when I was a child, it snowed uphill!  Both ways!

My big project of the moment is the Lady Grey coat, which I’ve had my eye on for some time.  Then a good portion of the crafty internet made one as part of a sew-along.  I’m not typically one who requires a lot of hand-holding, and I’d already purchased some tailoring books and materials in anticipation of forging out on my own, but I figured it’d be an opportune time to tackle a fairly larger project.  I’ve had a few yards of nice-quality — really nice quality — wool that my mom bought for me in Montreal kicking around for some time now, and it seemed like the LG coat would be a good reason to hack boldly into it.

After a muslin or two, of course.

Here are my fitting notes, to add to the wealth of groupthinky knowledge that is the internet.  (Please note that these none-too-flattering photos were taken a month or so ago, immediately following a trip to the gym.  Also, I’ve left on a sweatshirt and a t-shirt, because even though I’m not going to be wearing a coat with below-the-elbow sleeves in the depth of winter, it is likely that I’ll be wearing it over a couple of layers.)

After this muslin, I ended up taking a huge chunk out of the floppy lapel, lowering the armholes a good 3/4″ on both the body and the sleeves, tapering the peplum slightly on most of the pieces, and enlarging the sleeve cap slightly.  After some tinkering, I left the sleeves alone, because I wasn’t doing much good, and I can always take them in later if I need to.  This particular muslin comes from an old bedsheet that I moved from Montreal for this express purpose: I love nothing better than being able to scribble directly on my draft garment with various colors of ballpoint pen.

Also, this is the part where I brag about cutting out the revised pattern.  One of my husband’s particular talents is the ability to fit things neatly into a given space: he’s incredibly useful when it comes to packing boxes, for example, and we’ve never had anything broken in any of our Pete-packed moves.  So, I gave him my steam-treated, pre-shrunk length of wool, a brief lesson on the meaning of pattern markings like “cut on fold,” and had him go to town.

In the end, he was able to fit all of the shell pieces on a 2 1/3-yard length of wool, when the pattern calls for more than 4.  Boo-yah.  Do not try this at home.

Next up: lots and lots of tailoring, and a cautionary tale about buttonhole-related overconfidence.

Useful links, other than the sew-along:

2 thoughts on “Lady Grey, Part 1: Or, What To Do During a Christmas Blizzard

  1. I love your blog!! Don’t remember how I came upon it but I so envy your sewing/stitching ability and creative style.As the mom of a 21-yr-old who spent most of her Christmas break obsessed with making perler pieces of various memes, I appreciated those as well!

  2. I’m curious to hear about the buttonholes. I am AWFUL AWFUL AWFUL at buttonholes. In fact, I should hire a seamstress to make all my buttonholes. I mean, I get the concept. It doesn’t look that hard. But somehow every time they end up looking like shit.

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