Saturday, 16 October 2010

Cunning Coat Planning Strategy

Right. I am all business today. My most recent project was the last relatively quick fix before embarking on something way more involved: a winter coat! Oh yes. Having had to jettison my old warm coat in Spain before 'Mission Repatriation' brought me back to UK, the leopard coat will no doubt shortly be insufficient as Winter gets intimidatingly close. Recently, the coastal winds have got frikkin' nippy as I walk to work in the mornings, which has sharpened my focus towards getting in this project underway.

I don't usually post about upcoming projects, preferring to blog about completed ones instead. I guess I want to avoid any feeling of expectation in case I decide to go off on a tangent and do something different instead. But for reasons stated above, this project could do with a catalyst and maybe announcing my plans will provide that. So let me divulge. My intention is to use the vintage Vogue pattern pictured above that featured in my Recent Acquisitions post. Incidentally, if anyone knows of a site that can date undated vintage patterns, I'd be very grateful if you could leave a comment. In that post I mentioned a desire to basically recreate View E, the green version. However, after a trawl of Brighton's limited range of fabric shops, a lack of suitable green fabric resulted in me coming home with some lovely midnight blue wool instead. Ok, so squint and try to invision this in midnight blue:


Nice? Let's hope so. However, I find keeping the momentum to continue through a major project very difficult to sustain, and it's easy for such a project to become a drag rather than a pleasure. The aforementioned leopard coat, for example, had me going crazy after weeks of staring at the same unfinished garment, the progress of which appeared to move at the pace of a snail. So, to keep myself plugging forward I'm going to treat each stage of planning and construction of this coat as a series of little goals. And to help me to this, I am going to deploy a new piece of technology that my boyfriend recently discovered: Todobedobedo. This beta site was actually developed in Hove, just down the road from where I am currently typing. It allows you to create lists of tasks that you can 'tick off' as you complete them, and you receive encouraging little missives for your trouble. In no way does this offer you more you could achieve with a pen and paper and a little self-congratulation, but for me the process of seeing each planned task on a computer screen somehow make it feel more official and, therefore, me more accountable!

So, I thought out the first chunk of steps required for my coat project and created a new list (careful not to add too many steps in advance that may make the project appear too intimidating) and so far it looks like this:


I'll update you on this method as a way to structure a scary sewing project. In the meantime, if anyone has any other tips on how they passify themselves in the face of a massive project or ideas on how to break down and structure the construction tasks, please share!

19 comments:

tanitisis said...

Ooh, exciting! I love that pattern. I recently finished my own winter coat (well, I hope it will suffice for the winter, anyway) and yeah, it was a LOT of work. I found the deterioration of the weather definitely helped spur me along, though...

Curious to see how the list-site works. I have trouble following through when I make to-do lists. :)

Cecili said...

Hey Zoe, that coat is going to look lovely! Midnight blue is a classy, easy to wear colour and may I suggest a bright orange/coral shiny lining? The only tip I may have about completing a difficult garment is that I set myself a deadline, I usually manage to respect it. Anyway, I'm eager to seeing your coat!

shams said...

OMIGOSH. My mother made that coat for me when I was in high school - in 1975. I *loved* that coat, which was out of a wool tweed.

Good luck with the list site. :)

Madelaine said...

Hi Zoe,

http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Vogue_7443 This pattern of a close number, price and illustration syle is from December 1968. So it's likely your coat's from then too!

~Sherry~ said...

I too have been on the quest for the perfect green coat fabric - for a few years now! There is always olive green, jade green, but never any green green! Still midnight blue will be fab.

bookette said...

Okay, this is probably going to be fairly UNhelpful of me, but I was reminded, while reading this post, that I took a class from Kitty Rotruck (Bishop Method) back in my teen years called "A Coat in a Day". You really truly can make a coat in one day, not including letting the coat hang up overnight to let the hemline settle before hemming it.
I admit, neither mom nor I finished our coats while taking the class (which was 2 hrs a day for a week or so), but it can be done.
So, there's my unhelpful comment for you.

On the possibly more helpful side, I think I might go with a hot-pink lining for a midnight blue coat. And I do like the pattern.

I'm off to find my notebook from that class. I've got some interesting "ostrich" vinyl and coordinating fake fur that are just begging to become a coat.
Not that I need a new coat.

Can't wait to see how yours progresses!

Toria said...

I think the coat will look great, good luck with it! Let us know how the to-do site works for you, paper to-do lists just don't seem to cut it for me, it'll be interesting to see if electronic ones work better.

emily.marie said...

ooooh! the coat sounds like it's going to be really great!

the to-do site sounds really intriguing; I LOVE to write/draw fancy to-do lists but they get lost far too often. I usually need a swift kick in the butt to get any project for myself done... does the site send you e-mails telling you to finish? I actually might benefit from strangers yelling at me via the internet :)

B @ Sweet Limes said...

I have to say I'm terribly jealous that you're making yourself a winter coat. This has been on my want list for so long but I can't find anything suitable for our bitter cold winters and it isn't something I trust to buy online. I think your choice of midnight blue with that pattern is going to be lovely, can't wait to see how it turns out.

Rachel said...

I took my time when making my winter coat - I enjoyed making it slowly and ensuring each step was perfect before moving on. However, it took me 3 months to complete working on it a couple of nights a week, which doesn't seem to fit with your timeframe!

If you want tips for breaking down the construction in her Lady Grey sew along Gertie has been breaking down all the steps quite well: http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/search/label/Lady%20Grey%20Sew-Along

Steph said...

Love the pattern! So simple & elegant, it'll look beautiful in a midnight navy.

As for breaking challenging projects down I'm a big fan of lists & timing plans. When I first start something really challenging, I write a BIG list of all the things I will have to do to finish some. I try to make each of the steps something that could be done in 10-15mins. Then I look at when I want to sew in the next couple of weeks & allocate different steps to blocks of time accordingly.
It may seem a bit ridiculous on the surface to be timetabling in your hobby, but that's not really the point. I may not neccessarily follow it the plat to the T, it just helps me break things down & realise that I do have enough time to do things properly, (or if I don't have enough time to set a realistic expectation of when I'll complete it).

Tilly said...

Ooh midnight blue, very chic! This is going to look gorgeous.

Because I'm a complete saddo, I can heartily recommend a book on productivity called Getting Things Done, by David Allen. When approaching potentially overwhelming projects, such as making a coat, GTD would advise you not to think about all the steps but to focus on the very next action that you need to do. Makes it much more manageable and can motivate you to get going. What's the next action?

GTD would NOT advise watching ANTM on YouTube, mind you.

sewducky said...

I checked CoPA, and this is on there from 1968.

Minnado said...

I love that pattern - it will look fab I am sure.
Just to be even more of a saddo than Tilly, I was told by a meccano maker to break projects down into little steps and not to look at the end result when you are starting out or in the middle. I think maybe that is good advice for a large sewing project?

Anonymous said...

I make myself about one winter coat per year, because this is where sewing is really rewarding. But I have to add that I almost never make a muslin. I sew a lot from 1960´s patterns, so here´s what I always do when working with one: 1)lower the bust dart 2) make the shoulders smaler and "raise" the shoulder line (broad, sloped shoulders were considered feminine in the 60´s (it´s even visible on the envelope drawing on your pattern) but somehow look ill-fitting today)

Wishing you success with your coat!
Hanna

Zoe said...

Thanks everyone for your encouraging and useful comments regarding 'Mission Coat'!

LOVE the idea of both coral and hot pink lining with midnight blue, Cecili and bookette, thanks for the ideas, but will remember those colour combos for future projects. I'm thinking I'll go for red satin lining as I just bought a lovely wooly scarf (fair trade) that is navy blue and red and would like to tie that in. I also have an incredible red plastic belt buckle and think I may make a matching belt for the coat as well.

Thanks very much to the ladies that researched the date of my pattern, love the extra info!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

zeddie said...

Love love the pattern. I haven't seen a coat that has darts and a waist seam and a flared "skirt". It's very different. Usually, winter coats have princess seams or are very rectangular or very flared. This is just right. I wonder if the pattern is available anywhere?

la inglesita said...

As I'm very short of sewing time what I do is break down my projects in 45min sessions (baby's naps) The benefit is that I never get tired of a project and manage to complete one step at each sitting.
I agree it'll be a great coat. Hope you enjoy the task. :-)

beassewingadventures said...

I'm in the process of reading your blog in date order (I'm subscribed on bloglovin, so I'm trying to get myself up to date!), and hadn't really planned on commenting on the historic stuff, but I want to say a bit THANK YOU!!! for pointing me the way of Todobedobedo- this is a fantastic way of organising all the random thoughts about sewing projects that I've got in my head. I'm always so much calmer about things when I've got them written down somewhere, and this is the *perfect* way to do it!

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