We are always told to listen to our Mothers, and as a Mother of five girls I am not about to dispute that. However, sometimes we have to modify that advice based on experience. Always “to buy the best you can afford” holds good in many cases – in the ‘Case of The Red Coat’, it hasn’t. Let me explain; I’ve been hunting for good quality wool fabric in nice cheery child friendly colours for a good while, as I wanted to make my four great grandchildren Burda 2534 -as in this toile for Phoebe,my youngest grand-daughter. I eventually found some truly beautiful pillar box red wool with cashmere. It was a gorgeous colour, and as soft as thistle down. I was extremely pleased. Then on my hunting trip to Reading for fabric I asked for black velvet for the collars and cuffs. I was shown two bolts of velvet, One a firm, fairly soft pile and one with beautiful sheen and soft as silk – at twice the price of the first. Got the picture?
Now for the experience. The red wool was soft as only cashmere and wool can be, and as all true aristocrats, it had to be treated gently, that was O.K. I didn’t mind that at all, I bound or overlocked all the seams and all went reasonably and carefully well until it came to buttonholes! I wanted to do bound buttonholes. ‘Oh No!,’ said the red wool ‘not on me you don’t’. Practice piece after practice piece hit the bin, the results looking like the pillar boxes the colour represented. Never mind, we’ll use Plan B .My daughter Abigail has a super duper Pfaff that can do all kinds of buttonholes as beautifully as you would wish. What my red wool did to her machines still wakes me up in the middle of the night in a cold sweat – we won’t go there. We did eventually manage to do three nice buttonholes, but at what a price!
The velvet collars [ I use the plural] suffered a similar fate. The velvet was clearly designed to look and feel good, but not to be used for collars with curves that can’t be bound.
This was the result time after time; [you can see the back of the interlining here]. I finally gave in and made a final decision to go red – and made a self-coloured collar instead.
Now just in case you think the whole thing was an unmitigated disaster, let me show you the finished coat.
I put black piping round the cuffs as clearly the black velvet wouldn’t wear well on a child’s coat cuffs, [I also added seam pockets, lined with wool and ladybirds] and with these black buttons and the bright lining, the whole thing came together and looks very nice indeed thankyou! Whew!