Monday, 23 February 2015

A round belly and a round cocoon coat

Another blog post! I hope this last hurrah of energy means baby Szabobobo is on her way...

I've been meaning to blog my coat since November, but just never got round to it. I've been sewing lots (and not just baby stuff), it's just I never really felt like bringing it to the blog - anyone else ever feel the need for a blog sabbatical? However, with baby almost here, I thought I'd put on my favourite wedges, some make-up and take some pics of me in all my swollen glory. Mr Szabo and I have realised we don't have that many photos of me documenting the pregnancy - so, baby Szabobobo here is what your Mama likes to get up to in her spare time.

Towards the end of last year I made a cocoon-style coat, which I've been wanting for some time having seen some gorgeous versions from Stella McCartney and other designers. I wanted something over-sized, which would work with my pregnancy and after.

For the pattern I chose the Round Coat from Burda - minus the dodgy faux fur panels at the bottom. I initially had the Burda magazine with the pattern, but I took one look at those pattern lines and thought, um... NO! So I bought the PDF, although it might be the lesser of two evils it still made me want to collapse in a broken heap.


For some time I've had this camel coloured wool coating in my stash - it's from Dalston Mill and was quite pricey at the time. Although I don't buy wool anymore for ethical reasons, I didn't want to be wasteful and decided that if I loved this coat, I'd probably keep it for a long time anyway, so it would at least be unwasted and sustainable.


Pattern wise...well...it's Burda, so after the whole nightmare of sticking together the PDF pattern and realising that certain bits were for a completely different pattern altogether, I then had the instructions to deal with.


To be fair, the coat is fairly straightforward to begin with. There's no collar, lapels or even set in sleeves to fuss about, you just sew up the panels and the raglan-style sleeves and you pretty much have a coat! Plus, being pregnant I decided against doing any grand tailoring techniques. I figured this kind of coat is supposed to be loose and slouchy - I also felt that less time sewing, is more time eating.

Turns out my only issue making this was adding the lining.


As you can see I chose a brushed cotton from Calico Laine to make the coat warm and cosy. However, Burda's instructions for inserting this made as much sense to my preggo brain as a life without grape nut flakes (I can eat a box for England) plus the lining didn't fit the neckline facing, so at that point I chucked the instructions aside and did my own thing. I trimmed the lining neckline to make it bigger and then, making sure I had both sides symmetrical, I pinned the lining to the facing and hand stitched it in place, leaving two pleats at the bottom near the hem for ease. It seems to have worked well and the coat hangs nicely without being pulled up at the bottom. Huzzah!

Another step I added myself was to use nylon horse hair in the coat hem. I tried without first but the hem really lacked structure - with the horse hair it has a far better shape, plus is a tiny bit weighted.

To finish, I used medium sized poppers from Ray Stitch, which I self-covered with lining fabric. To do this, cut out a big circle, sew a large running stitch around the edge, make a tiny snip in the middle to push the 'male' part of the popper through, and then gather fabric around the popper. I'm still wondering whether I should have left these silver, but I haven't really felt arsed to change them!

Um, wind.

So, that's my coat! I've worn it lots and it's super warm. If I made it again (which is unlikely) I would probably add more structure to the inside of the two 'button plackets' to stiffen them up. Burda do not make any suggestions for this, but I think it would help the look of the coat when buttoned up.

If you like the style of this, I would definitely recommend you check out Jane's amazing blue coat and Jo's super delish 'coat of many compliments' for similar pattern/fabric options.

Currently on the sewing table is a denim shirt with poppers for easy nursing access - I'm hoping to finish that before the big arrival. However, if I go quiet again, you know why. See you on the other side!

Sunday, 22 February 2015

I just can't help believin'

That I have met such an amazing bunch of people (& community) through sewing.

Yesterday, I thought I was meeting Tania and Sally for a relaxed lunch in Cafe Rouge in Greenwich followed by some wedding make-up shopping for Sally in the afternoon. I even packed a little bag of make-up samples to show over coffee and carbs - you know, cos I'm such a beauty expert and all ;)

However, on arriving at Cafe Rouge I was completely floored by a table of Spoolettes (Re, Lou, Nicole, Fiona, Jo, Emmie, Katie, Sally, Tania, Alison) waiting to throw me a surprise baby shower. Seriously, I thought not only my heart was going to burst but also my pants with an excited little baby wanting to join in on her first sewing meet-up. I was absolutely surprised, elated and sincerely touched.

Oh and did I mention Elvis was there?!



Rehanon, in the words of Matt Dillon, you rock my world!

Last night, lying in bed and thinking how lucky I am, I wanted to tweet a big thank you but somehow 140 characters didn't cut it, and had no way of expressing how grateful and overwhelmed I am. So I decided to wait to write this blog post AND to show you all photos of the amazing gifts I received.

So, Shrimp and I would like to say a huge huge huge thank you for our amazing baby shower. It was perfect and despite hormonal sweats I felt amazing! Thank you to everyone for being so generous and big thanks to those who contributed to my gifts but couldn't make it, you were sorely missed - hugs to Rachel, Roisin, Jane, Janene, Kathryn and Ness!


Here's how much Shrimp and I got spoilt:

A gorgeous knitted elephant from Lou


Beautiful denim dress and Elvis taggy comforter from Alison - so cool!


Things got soulful when Re gave me this incredible book
where I can write letters to Shrimp to read when she's older. 
Let's all cry now!



Speechless! This mega cute denim jacket from Emmie complete 
with TCB logo and Spoolette embroidery on the back. AND, 
inside she sewed in a yoke using the John Lewis fabric I used
to make my Betty dress. AGGGHHH!

Elvis and hot pink! Gorgeous baby taggy made by Katie
So so cool!

Froggie power! This awesome hat from Tania will definitely make 
its debut in Canada in the summer. And check out the
awesome bibs!

This blew everyone's mind! Sally made Shrimp her very own
Spoolettes bowling shirt complete with name embroidery - this chokes 
me up every time I look at it.

This was done by hand. BY HAND!

Amazing.

If Jo doesn't make me a matching pair of knickers, I'll cry.
How cute is this dress and knicker set? I need this!

Ahh Mrs Needles knows me too well. Not only did she find
this amazing Elvis bag, but when I opened my Joan nail 
varnish I think I gave the same convulsion-like reaction as
when my parents gave me an Atari STe for Christmas. 

This nail varnish is called....ALEXIS. I'm wearing this for child birth. FACT.

Also not pictured is a gorgeous knitted cardigan for Shrimp.


Close up of Joan. This is how you look after application.

Completely in love with this amazing Neals Yard gift set from
everyone! I love this stuff. So so thoughtful...thank you so much
everyone xxxx

We spent ages in Cafe Rouge - it was fantastic - talk about ladies who lunch! Afterwards we went to the pub and suddenly it was getting on for 10pm. Normally I am in something elasticated and stretchy, beached on the sofa, contemplating the eternal snack vs. heartburn conundrum - but there I was, in a gay pub, drinking soda water with a 9-month baby cookin' away. Thank you Spoolettes! You gave me a lease of energy and a much-needed dose of pre-bump-Szabo revelry yesterday - I'll treasure it forever as another amazing moment in this epic, beautiful, crazy journey of growing the biggest part of me I'll ever have....so now, come on baby, we're all waiting!


Obviously not wearing Joan's nail varnish but some 
sort of trailer trash fancy dress costume ;) (And incase
anyone was about to phone EMERGENCY, those curtains are long gone)