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Named Isla Trench Coat – Part 2

(EDIT: I discovered, in August 2021, that this post has been languishing in my drafts since January. FAIL! Anyway, here it is, for posterity, published many months later!)

My previous post has all the details about the preparation and assembly of the trench coat. So, without further ado, here’s the big reveal!

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Fusible interfacing: testing and tips

I have found in the last 18 months or so (read: Covid pandemic!) that my sewing time has become more limited and, consequently, more precious. I’m not sewing as often, so I end up deliberating for days over what to sew next, determined that it should be 100% the right project and the right outcome. When I finally sit down to make something I want to achieve the best fit and finish that I can, so I’ve really been taking my time to do things that contribute to that outcome. I make toiles, I use swatches, and in this post I’m discussing something else that can make all the difference – fusible interfacing!

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A YouTube adventure!

A quick glance at the date of the previous post on this blog will show that I have struggled to find the time to write blog posts. A quick glance through previous posts will also show that my posts are not usually brief(!), because I like to go into detail and I usually have a fair amount to say about my makes, hacks, or sewing tips. However, for a long time I have wanted to delve into filming some in-depth tutorials, particularly around drafting and pattern hacking, and I’ve recently had a little bit of breathing room which has allowed me to finally bite the bullet … Michelle Sews is coming to YouTube!

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Pattern instructions: PDF or paper?

A couple of weeks ago, I put up a poll on my Instagram Stories. Along with the new pattern releases that are in the pipeline, I have been considering whether and how to offer paper patterns alongside the PDFs. I wasn’t sure whether, when people opt for paper patterns, the printed instructions booklet is as important as the printed pattern pieces. I can see environmental benefits of providing printed pattern pieces with a link to a PDF instructions booklet, but I also know that some people feel very strongly about having the whole package of printed documents! So, I asked the lovely people who follow me on Instagram.

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Named Isla Trench Coat: Part 1

I have a long-running ‘wardrobe wishlist’ of core, classic pieces I want to make for my wardrobe. Many of the items feature on the usual ‘capsule wardrobe’ lists – you know: a pencil skirt, cigarette pants, a smart wool coat, the perfect white shirt, and so on. In fact, my search for a classic pencil skirt sewing pattern with all my ideal features led me to draft the first version of my Agnes Skirt sewing pattern.

Last summer, given the restrictions imposed in response to the Covid pandemic, like so many other people I spent a lot more time than usual at home. I started to think about working through that list again, and I found my eye drawn repeatedly to one item in particular: the trench coat. And so began a project that took almost six months to complete, but that I FINALLY finished in the last days of 2020! To be fair, I had to set the project aside for long periods within that six months, so in real terms this was probably more of a two-week kind of project. But, here we are!

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The process behind my patterns (Pt.1)


For a long while, I didn’t think of myself as a designer. Before I started sewing, I didn’t even think of myself as particularly creative! But sewing, like many creative hobbies, has really shown me new sides to myself. In a sense, we sewists are all designers – because every time we sit down to a new project, the outcome derives from various design decisions WE make. The choice of pattern, fabric, print placement, fastening, pattern alterations, and even internal support mechanisms such as interfacings, all require you to create your own vision of the end garment. And for me, designing sewing patterns became a natural extension of all that thinking.

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