Catherine Coat

Another pattern I recently tested, by the same designer as my last make – Grammies Dolls, was the Catherine Coat.

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It’s a fully-lined coat with a princess-seamed bodice and skirt with box pleats.  I haven’t made much outerwear (just a couple of coats), so this was a really fun pattern to test.  I made the coat entirely out of fabrics I had in my stash, so it was essentially free!

The pattern is designed to have button closures and an optional sash, but I left both off because I liked how it looked open.  I think I’ll have to go back and add in some sort of closure, though, to ward off the wind!

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The designer also added in a detachable hood (though I didn’t get a chance to test that).  I think I may have to add that to this coat as well to make the coat even more useful.

I’ve worn this coat a number of times since I made it, and I feel so chic in it!

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I especially like the fullness of the skirt – it’s fun and flippy. (And a very different silhouette than my normal silhouette.)

This coat was easy to fit – because it has a full lining, I just put that together, adjusted it to make it fit just right (had to take in the bodice a bit to fit me), and then made those same adjustments to the fabric pieces.  The only changes I made, aside from fitting the bodice a bit, were shortening the skirt a little and top stitching around the entire coat (my fabric frayed really badly, plus it was really thick so it didn’t press well – the top stitching served the double purpose of securing the seams a bit more and making them lie flat).  I left off the optional cuffs.

This pattern convinced me that I need to make more outerwear pieces!

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Penelope Pencil Skirt

I’ve been doing a lot of pattern testing lately, which has been a lot of fun (albeit a little stressful to keep up with these deadlines plus work deadlines…).  It’s so nice to get to see patterns as they go through the final revisions and get ready to be listed for sale.   One pattern designer I’ve been fortunate enough to test for recently is Grammies Dolls, which is a new-to-me designer.  She has primarily designed clothing patterns for little girls, but is branching out into designs for women (and I believe she plans on making some designs for boys in the future, too).

Her first pattern to be released for women is the Penelope Pencil Skirt, which is a fully-lined, knee-length pencil skirt with kick pleat.

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I would say this is an intermediate-level pattern, as it requires installation of a zipper plus the kick pleat.  I had never done a kick pleat before, but the new instructions for that make that technique pretty doable, I think.  I made a medium (size 8-10) based on waist measurements.  I had to take in the hips a bit, though, as my hips are a size smaller (the pattern has since been adjusted, though, so keep that in mind).

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I love the finished product.  It will be perfect for work.

But I have a confession : this is now a lining-less skirt.  I have a rather ridiculous fabric stash at the moment, so I’m trying to just use fabrics I have without buying anything new.  I had this linen blend for the outer fabric, which has some silver sparkle to it (though you can’t really see that from the pictures) and thought it would be perfect for the skirt.  For the lining, though, I used this golden colored lining material which I bought about a million years ago (when I had very little knowledge about what the heck I was doing with a sewing machine).  And I hated it.  The lining was just awful.  Not the pattern – that was just fine.  It was the quality of the material.  Yuck.  So, instead of having an item where I would hate the lining, I simply removed it.  It’s now a lining-less skirt, which I think works perfectly over leggings, or a slip, if need be.  Now you know – this skirt can be made without a lining if you prefer!

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And look!  My photo is the cover photo of the pattern!  How exciting.  That’s definitely a first for me.  🙂

The pattern is available here, and, until Monday at midnight, you can get it 20% off by using the code “newlisting” (without the quotation marks).

I can’t wait until you see the next pattern being released by Grammies Dolls (which I also tested).  It’s already become a staple in my closet!