Hi! I was so excited when Allie asked me if I wanted to do a guest blog post. I'm her mom and I like to sew too, but not vintage patterns. I enjoy sewing many of the usual suspects including, but not limited to, Merchant & Mills, Grainline Studio, and of course Simplicity 2444. I wasn't sure what I wanted to talk about but I decided to tackle the Grainline Studio Tamarack Pattern.
I made a straight size four. My measurements said I should have made a six but I always make a four in Grainline patterns. (I would make a size six if I wanted to wear a lot of layers underneath, but then again, this is not a winter coat. I might also make the sleeves an inch longer so that I can cuff them.)
I used a cotton chambray on the outside and cotton quilt batting as the insulation, lined with pima cotton shirting from my stash. Definitely read the directions on your quilt batting! Mine said it would shrink 3% and that you couldn't spin it, you have to soak it and it took forever to dry. It's a commitment! The other big commitment is thread. If you do the diamond quilting get two spools since you don't want to go to the store in the middle of the project. I know this from personal experience.
In addition to garment sewing, I enjoy patchwork and quilting, so the quilting on this wasn't daunting. I sewed it with my vintage Bernina and I didn't find a walking foot necessary--I didn't use one and I don't have any tucks. I wouldn't be worried if you don't have a walking foot. I also set my stitch length to a 3.
But don't even try to freaking chalk the lines--use tape! Every quilter uses it.
Mark one line and use tape as your diagonal. 1.5" painter's tape can just be moved from one side of your seam to the other. I didn't have any painters tape handy so I used regular scotch tape to mark my quilting lines. It worked great but I had to measure and place the tape whereas 1.5 inch painters tape just needs placement.
You will use a lot of tape!
I do think that Jen might have given additional instruction about finishing the interior seams. I used three different finishing methods because I didn't know what to do. Because of the bulk, I wouldn't recommend french seams. I french seamed the shoulder seams which was fine but bulky, and I serged the armhole seams. I bias bound the side seams (like this). I did the exterior bias binding exactly the opposite as instructed: I prefer the precision of topstiching from the right side so I sewed the bias to the interior and wrapped it to the outside; that way you don't have to guess at catching the underlap while stitching in the ditch from the top side. I'm really happy with how it turned out. (I finish all my quilts that way too. You're not supposed to but I always do them that way.)
Some people have questioned the hook-and-eye closure, but I love them; my hair hasn't gotten stuck. The Brooks Brothers jacket [ed note: we spotted this practically identical jacket at the Flatiron store in Durham NC and found it online for like $350!!] has the exact same closure, and once you close them, they are closed. It's not flapping around. I do hate hand stitching, so sewing on eight hooks and eyes was really a pain.
My favorite part is the shirt tail back, it's really cute! I also really like my welt pockets, I had never made them before and I'm really happy with how they turned out. They look good! I will definitely make this pattern again, with horizontal quilting option on the front and back, and the diamond quilting on the sleeves--that will be much faster and use less thread.
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed this guest post! I'd like to thank Diana, my mom. Hopefully she'll agree to come back and write another post for us :)
ps: if you were wondering what it looks like on me, it looks like this! i was not expecting to be in front of the camera so excuse the look!
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