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Thursday, March 29, 2012

The 'Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Rain Coat'

I've been so busy the last couple of weeks that I haven't been able to get much sewing done.  I always forget how crazy March is because of St. Patrick's Day.  Extra dance practices with the class and on my own suck up a lot of sewing time.  And work has been crazy busy too.  So I'm trying to keep afloat and get some 'me' time in with my sewing.  Oh, and did I mention one of our cars died?  And the hubby had to have surgery to have his tonsils removed? Buuusssyyy! Luckily the hubby dances too so we spent a lot of time together prepping for the shows.  They were a lot of fun, but as with every year - I'm glad they're over!

Hubby and I at one of our rainy shows.  Taken by my amazing friend Deb.
Now, onto my garment for the week.  Or last two weeks.  Because I've been so busy, this project took a while.  But it also was just a slow garment to sew and took a lot of concentration, so I tried to take my time.  But I was excited to do it and to have it done in time for Pantone week at Sew Weekly.  Luckily this week's theme was pushed out one week due to a impromptu green challenge (I know, I can't believe I sat out of that one, but I just didn't have time!).

A few years ago I worked in product development and thus lived and breathed Pantone.  I was constantly referring to Pantone guides for the household goods I would create, as it's the only way to ensure uniformity in products from multiple manufacturers.  I used to love going to the Chicago Housewares show and checking out Pantone's mega displays of colors and color trends.  Now, I've moved on from that life, but I instantly jumped on this week's Sew Weekly challenge.

Not only was the challenge timely to really use the Spring 2012 color trends, but my garment happened to be right on time too.  You see, I decided to make my second rain coat.  Because apparently working with oil cloth once just wasn't enough.  One of the first garments I made when I started sewing clothing in 2012 was a rain coat.  I used the Amy Butler Rainy Days pattern which is pretty straightforward. But what they don't tell you in sewing 101 (or maybe that do... I never really took sewing 101) is that oil cloth, while fairly easy to work with, definitely comes with it's challenges.  The two main ones:

1. The inability to use pins.  Any holes you make in oil cloth stay there.  So swap out the pins for alligator/binder clips.  When cutting your fabric, tape the pattern pieces with little bits of scotch tape.  It makes it so much easier!
2.  It's sticky. On your machine and metal that is.  So either stick some scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot or use a plastic presser foot.  My new machine came with the latter so I was eager to try it out.
3. You can't iron your oilcloth... or it'll melt. So once you've sewed a bit, but back your seam allowances and finger press your seams.

Even knowing these two things though, the main thing with oil cloth is you can't be a speed demon.  Because it's tacky you have to slow it down a bit or it'll get lumps and bunches while you're sewing.  Or maybe that's just me?  But really, this project was done in slow motion.  Every time I worked on a bit in cotton you could hear me exclaim 'wooooohoooo!!' and then I'd repeat the process in the oil cloth and a groan would come out from the sewing room.  And gathering in oil cloth?  A whole 'nother story.

So, back to my garment and how it meets this week's requirements.  So I used the Prince Charming Dew Drops laminated cotton fabric from Fabric.com.  The fabric happens to have three of the Spring 2012 pantone colors in it: Sodalite Blue, Solar Power and Cockatoo.  The fabric itself looks more green online, but it is in-fact mostly blue, teals and yellow.

The Facts
Fabric: 3 yards Free Spirit Laminated Fabric $45, 3 yards Kona cotton in Canary $15
Pattern: Amy Butler's Rainy Days, 2nd time making $0
Year: Contemporary
Notions:  6 buttons $3
Time to Complete: Approx. 8 hours
First worn: All week!
Wear again: Oh yeah!
Total Price: $63

I omitted the pockets for now as I don't usually use them too much on my previous rain coat.  I did make them so I might add them at some point, but for now, I liked the solid panels of the rain drop fabric in the front.  Oh and this is one of the first times that I've really worked with a directional print.  That was a learning lesson in itself. Luckily I only had one minor mishap where I cut the under-sleeve panel upside down but I quickly realized that I needed to be more conscious when working with this fabric.

Finishing this project was so satisfying! I love rain coats - they're so convenient! Not having to panic if you forgot an umbrella, or if the weather is just iffy, you can wear it just in case.  And I love the rain drops print with the bright yellow inside. It makes me feel very festive for Winter/Spring.

What I Watched: 
More Scrubs! Finished Season 1, now onto Season 2


  1. Now I want to make a rain coat!!! :)

  2. COOL FABRIC!!!! I love the print, it's perfect for a raincoat!! It looks great on you.

  3. Hi Cristine...lovely post today... Great tips for oilcloth fabrics x

  4. Very cute jacket!!! Hope your hubby is on the mend and that you get sewing time in.

  5. I love it! Rain drops on your rain coat. "Sew" cool!

  6. Great oilcloth tips. I have a cute piece of polka dotted oilcloth but I've held off on using it because it's such an unusual piece of fabric. Thanks for sharing your experience!

  7. It is just TOO FANTASTIC for words! Thank you for the tips on working with oilcloth - I've always been curious about what it was like to sew with, and I would never have thought that it would be tacky... interesting!


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