The Coat of Many Colours

My closest shop is an upholsterer who I often stop to chat too and he's been really helpful passing on unwanted fabric sample books which would otherwise be waste.

When Stitchless TV challenged her followers to use fabric sample books to create something new it seemed a no brainer for me to get involved. Here's the story of what I made for the #fabricsamplebookchallenge.

As the fabrics were all upholstery weight a coat seemed the most obvious thing to make. The books were different sizes and mainly plain or mottled fabrics with a few tartan ones. .....and lots of neutral tones

The first thing to do was dismantle the sample books and remove the paper from the wrong side. I find the easiest method is to iron the paper to melt the glue. Then I sorted the samples into broad colour groups.

I had no master plan except I wasn't going to use traditional construction techniques. The fabrics didn't lend themselves to a traditional seam so I overlaid them and used a 3 step zig zag to sew them down onto a muslin backing. The edges might fray a bit, but that'll add to the design over time.

I had a coat pattern I've made before. As I didn't want any seams I drew round the pieces to show where I needed to create darts in the muslin and to be able to plan the position of the different fabrics.

The facings make use of the tartan pieces positioning them to reflect the colours on the outside of the coat.

Once the darts were sewn on the inside I overlapped the fabric samples so the outside took on the shape. The raglan sleeves were done in a similar way, sewing the seam in the muslin and then working out which samples would lie on top to create a pleasing design.

Although all the samples were sewn down some of the edges where going to benefit from some extra stitching so I decided to add some hand embroidery using pearle thread I've had ages.

Like everything with this coat the embroidery was never meant to be perfect. I just enjoyed experimenting with different stitches

For Christmas I had a circle attachment for my Janome MC6700p and I decided to experiment with it on the coat lapel, this developed into a 'broche' effect by adding more hand embroidery

The collar seam allowances were trimmed off as well as the front edge of the coat and front facing. This meant I could sandwich the coat neck between the under and upper collar and then secure with 3 step zig zag.

The outer edges of the front and collar where joined with 3 step zig zag as well.

The lining was something I'd acquired from my sewing group when a member's neighbour passed on her fabrics that had been in the loft for ages. This was definitely a project designed to make use of fabrics that I already had. The only thing I bought was 3 metres of muslin!

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