Out and about with my new pal Gerard!


I made a Gerard!

I've been swooning over the Gerard coat pattern by République du Chiffon ever since I first saw the various wonderful versions of the pattern by Jolies Bobines; to me it seemed like the perfect coat pattern: smart yet slouchy at the same time.

But I thought "well, of course I could never make a coat, that's only for real sewers and not pretendy ones like me".

I also remember at the Belgian/Dutch sewing blogger meet up in January how impressed I was by the number of people who had made their own coat. It sort of became my personal mission to make a coat by the end of 2014 (whoo for setting self-imposed challenges for no reason at all).

Then, along came the Sew it Up challenge in May where I made the La Maison Victor 'Jackie' jacket which I was pretty proud of. It was a good warm up for making a coat! I had actually initially planned to make the Gerard pattern for the personal style challenge but as I never got that far in the competition (sniff sniff) and summer weather beckoned I put making a coat on the back burner.

But with autumn well and truly here, October was the month I finally got round to getting on with my very own Gerard. And I'm so pleased with it!



I like the pattern just as much as I anticipated and luckily the size is fine - I just cut a straight size small and didn't even consider making any adjustments beforehand - the style of the pattern is pretty forgiving in terms of fitting so you can afford to take a gamble really - a huge part of its appeal!

And, as I had so much of the fabric and lining I used for my Jackie jacket left I just used exactly the same combination. One, because I had so much left it made sense to use it up, and two, because I really like the combination!


Main think I learnt: how to sew a tailored collar. Result! Unfortunately, this means I am now obsessed with staring at the topstitching on coat lapels everywhere I go. Sorry in advance for staring at your collar while you are speaking to me. I'm listening really.

(I also learnt which side of a coat you are supposed to put the buttons on - mainly because I got them the wrong way round this time! Oh well, doesn't seem to make that much of a difference!)


Also, it is worth highlighting that the instructions accurately state that two-thirds of the time taken to make the coat are on preparing the pattern pieces and cutting out. So be ready to put the time in before you even get to your sewing machine. Not always easy when you are itching to start sewing. The instructions are pretty easy to follow although probably not for beginners.



I'd like to make this again in a thicker wool for a cosier version. I'd try to do a better job on the cutting and getting a cleaner finish. But I'm pretty pleased with it for a first go at this type of project!

At some point I'll try a more complicated coat pattern in terms of fit. But for now I'm happy with Gerard!

I was sewing this just as the second round of Sew it Up started so I'll consider this as my sew-a-long entry for the coat week! If you're not following and voting yet, make sure you take a look at the lovely garments the contestants are making. So far Lieke's orange coat is my favourite!


She wore (black) velvet



Here is the result of some experimental sewing!

This dress in black fine velvet was initially meant to be a version of the BHL Anna dress. But as it proved so difficult to cut out the pattern pieces when the fabric would not stop sliding about all over the place, in the end I opted to just eyeball cutting the bodice pieces into something that loosely resembled the Anna bodice pieces and sew them up as they were and hope for the best.

I decided not to add any darts or pleats and fit the bodice by gathering at the neckline.

I then added a simple gathered skirt and fit the garment at the centre back seam by cutting away the excess and adding a zip.

It could have been a disaster but the sewing gods were on my side and luckily I'm really pleased with the result. This was one of those satisfying projects that takes just one whole day (with a break for a tea on a sunny terrace) from start to finish. I really love it as it's super comfy and I'll wear it for lots of different occasions.

I was really determined to use up this black velvet as I'd got it out several times to think about what to do with it but could never settle on an idea. I got a few metres of it for a very good price at a fabric sale at Le Caméléon Coquet on Place Van Meenen in Saint-Gilles - a gallery/shop/workshop that specialises in Japanese paper and fabric. It is quite a mysterious place but opens every so often for fabric sales, otherwise I think you have to make an appointment.

It's lovely fabric but I'm definitely looking forward to sewing with something sturdier now though!

You can't see so well in the photos but there is some interesting detailing on the fabric.