Saturday, 23 September 2017

The Littlest Production Animal - Genoa Tote in competition

For a few years now I've decided that visiting the Royal Show with children is much more entertaining if you enter something in competition. That way you have to walk right past all the rides and junk food stands to go see mummy's whatever-it-was-that-she-entered. Of course once you're in the Art, Craft and Cookery area the kids end up making pom poms or flower crowns and being amazed by all the decorated cakes, art, textiles, toys, hats, woodwork..... It's great.



Previously I've entered something that was already made and seemed to fit a category, but this year I didn't have anything in mind. At least not until I saw there was a competition class just for tote bags, called "amusingly" Totes Amazing! competition class.

Then, when I saw on Instagram that both Jane and Nicole were going to enter, and both were planning to use the great Genoa Tote pattern by BloglessAnna I had my answer.

I threw my hat in the ring with another Genoa Tote, and in doing so helped to fuel the great Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria Genoa Tote-Off of 2017 or #rasvgenoatoteoff2017


Being a bit canny, I think, to what floats the boat of agricultural type people I thought I'd give my Genoa Tote a bit of a production animal theme. So I'm celebrating that humble little food producer, the honey bee.

I have a Japanese embroidery magazine (Stitch Idees Vol 7) that has sashiko honeycomb stitching on a tote bag and I've always really liked it. Time to make one! That bag has dark brown stitching on a yellow background - a bit bright for me and not anything that I had to hand...


I rummaged in the stash and found this remnant of rust brown denim (previously made into Art Museum trousers) and wouldn't you know it, it was a perfect match for the leather straps that Anna had kindly gifted me when she first released the pattern.

In an extra lucky moment I had just the right amount for a medium sized Genoa Tote. I ruled up my honeycomb and set to stitching...

I decided I needed a honeycomb patterned fabric for the lining and found a great cotton drill at Spotlight.


The honeycomb pattern is in a light bronze/gold metallic print and in another moment of it's-amazing-how-my-stash-can-always-come-to-the-rescue, I found I had just the right amount leftover of a fine, gold cotton voile that I had used to line a dodgy leather bag back here.

Damn, and if it didn't match the printed lining fabric perfectly too! Feeling lucky.


My previous "successes" (we don't mention the number of entrants in a category now, do we?) at the show in the textile competitions (first place for this, and for this) meant that I had to enter the Open Category. While Jane and Nic would battle it out with their totes in the Novice Category.

A bit of self applied pressure had me line my pocket so that there are no exposed seams on the inside of the pocket. The cotton I used is so light, that I interfaced one pocket piece and then lined with non interfaced and it worked perfectly. I also fully enclosed the tab for the key clip so there's no peek of an unfinished side. Easy changes to the pattern that are entirely unnecessary unless you think you are entering into competition with "true ladies of craft" (add your own crashing thunder background noise when you read that).


Of course I may have to admit I have turned, or at least, am turning, into one of those such ladies as we visited the show today to learn my Genoa Tote won first place. :) Congratulations also to Nic and Jane on their beautiful entries and rightly deserved ribbons. I think these bags all need to go out for post show drinks after we collect them!

Much to their delight, the kids entered for the first time and took out a second place in the Anzac Biscuits and a Commendation for some Choc Chip Cookies. We're all feeling pretty clever.

Details:
Pattern: Genoa Tote by BloglessAnna
Size: Medium
Notions: Leather straps, rivets and key clip all from BloglessAnna via PatternFantastique. Embroidery thread. Metal zip from my stash.
Fabrics: Stashed denim, Cotton drill lining from Spotlight. Stashed cotton for pocket/key clip
Modifications: Embroidery and lined the pocket and key clip tab

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

Building Block Dress her way

In a curious coincidence, last week was the first anniversary of the release of the Building Block Dress Book and last week was the first time I really used the book in the way it was intended.

I handed it to my daughter and said pick your dress. Whatever you pick, I can sew it!


We had another Saturday ballet matinee coming up and I was in the mood to use up some of my cotton stash for a new pretty dress. Maybe it was also wishful thinking that spring would come if I would just sew some spring-like garments.

The Building Block Dress Book takes one basic block pattern and then guides you through alterations to every aspect of it such that you end up creating a truly unique dress. Previously I'd used the pattern block and turned it into T-shirt dresses (here and here) by using knit fabric and omitting any closures. Those dresses have both been in heavy rotation.

Applying herself to the task, A sat down and pored over the book then finally declared she liked a dress example with scalloped yoke and hem facing.

Image from Oliver + S with A's dress choice shown on the far right

I rummaged through the fabric stash and presented her with 4 or 5 choices for the main fabric (yep, I wasn't going to let her loose in the fabric stash unsupervised). She picked a quilting cotton that I had 1 metre of and had probably earmarked for making her a blouse about 4 years ago.

Then I hunted for a suitable contrasting solid. The blue from my Lisette dress was a perfect colour compliment, although a bit limp and drapey as a fabric. Still, I was determined that this was to be a stash fabric make so it had to do.


And I set to work on the pattern: the silhouette is unaltered from the basic pattern block. I drafted a size 6 with size 7 length, then retraced the bodice and drew in my curved yoke, cut my tracings and added seam allowances.

For the skirt I wanted the scallops to be about the same size as on the bodice, but of course I also wanted them to continue across the side seams and the centre back seam apparently unbroken. That took a fair bit of measuring and adjusting to get it just right. I thought that was the hard bit done....


But then came the sewing.

Just to sew the two curves each of the front and back bodice was one solid evening's work. There were twenty more on the skirt.

Man, it sucked. Each scallop is the joining of two tight, opposing curves that requires lots of clipping and pinning and careful stitching to avoid puckers. It took forever.


To finish the dress I'd decided on a full lining and invisible zipper. Here I confess I sewed from memory and didn't reference the various parts of the Building Block Dress Book where the instructions could be found. I sewed the dress in the same way I have sewn the Fairy Tale dress (many times now).

I used a lightweight cream cotton from the stash for the lining and then decided that it needed some tulle, so I did end up buying some fabric after all. One metre of light green bridal tulle was enough for a double layered tulle underskirt.


It was all getting pretty last minute by this stage and so I confess that none of those seams are finished. The scallops are all edgestitched, but I should get in under there with the pinking shears and at least trim the raw fabric edges. Or maybe, since it's lined, I'll just ignore the seam allowances and trim stray threads if and when they dangle below the hemline! :)


When she first put it on I wasn't entirely sold on the fit, but then as she moved around (and twirled and twirled - the pictures were taken after attending the ballet hence all the posing) it looked better and better. While I probably do prefer the fit of the Fairy Tale bodice, the twirly part circle skirt on this pattern is a complete winner as far as she's concerned.

Of course the whole point of the Building Block Dress Book is that you don't even have to use the pattern, just use the ideas of pattern manipulation and the techniques shown. So why not put a part circle skirt on the Fairy Tale bodice? Or why not add some waist darts or even princess seams to this bodice to alter it's fit? That is what the book is all about.


The armholes are finished with a bias facing cut from the last little bits of the green floral fabric. The facing is then handstitched to the lining. I think without sleeves I should probably have enlarged the front armhole ever so slightly, and I could have lowered the front neckline just a little - as she sat to watch the ballet it pulled back a bit and was tight across her throat. Solved in 6 year old fashion of course by hefting all her skirts out from under her and not sitting on her skirts at all.


It was certainly a fun challenge and I like the idea of working through a lot of my fabric stash with the "you design the dress, I supply the fabric" team approach. With 60,481* possible variations on the basic block dress I think we'll be kept busy using this book for lots of future ballet attending dresses.

*yep, they crunched the numbers. That many different dresses without even changing fabric!

Details:
Pattern: Building Block Dress Book  - basic silhouette. - sleeveless, bias facing. - scalloped yoke and hem. - no collar. - full lining with tulle underskirt. - invisible zipper
Size 6 width, 7 length
Fabric: Quilting cotton (American Cottage by Little Quilts for Peter Pan Fabrics) and tencel, drapey, mystery blue stuff. Batiste lining and tulle
Notions: invisible zipper, thread, and sheer exhaustion. All. those. little. f'ing. curves.

Friday, 8 September 2017

Forest Path and Finch - more winter sewing

I am absolutely over winter weather. It's officially spring but we've been having some seriously arctic winds and plenty of squalls of rain and hail recently. Enough already!

I'm hoping this was the last of my winter sewing completed...


I had lots of projects to do in June/July, then had an enforced "week off" from sewing. Of course that turned into about three days of tidiness and inactivity, and then I couldn't help myself and went on a big tracing and cutting binge. The end result was this huge pile of cut out projects:


There was P's jacket and undervest, A's impossible jacket, my Lisette coat , a top secret project for me and then this cape for A. All are now finished, and as I said, I am over winter sewing!


The cape is the ever so cute Forest Path Cape by Oliver + S, and if you know the pattern you might have already spotted the alteration: I added a collar.

Previously I made a size 4 cape and I love it, but I always thought it might look better with a collar or a hood. Having just recently made the Sunday Brunch jacket with its darling little mandarin collar I wondered if that collar would fit the cape. It does. Perfectly!


I made the size 6 cape and used the size 6 Sunday Brunch collar and didn't need to do a thing else. Just sewed the collar in before attaching the facing for the cape. Easy! I added a hanging loop and a cute bit of Daiso adhesive cotton tape as a label. By stitching the label on through all layers it also helps to keep the facing in place.


The lining is the lining that I picked up at The Fabric Store when I was searching for lining for my Lisette coat. I loved it,. but there wasn't enough left on the bolt for my coat. It came home with me anyway with no particular project in mind and turned out to be perfect for this cape.

The outer wool is that same double wool that was P's School Days Coat. It is all finished now and I think three garments out of the original cut at sale prices made it a very wise purchase. See, fabric hoarding is completely legit and cost effective.


Button hoarding is perfectly understandable too, as my button stash yielded the perfect buttons for the cape. Nothing gilt or fancy this time, just lovely nut/wood buttons in a variegated grey brown that matched the cape perfectly.

This time I haven't handstitched the lining around the perimeter and it seems to be behaving just fine and not sagging out at all. This wool, being more like a coating, is much more stable than either my Woodland Stroll cape or A's earlier cape so I'm sure that's the difference.


And then my pile of cutting out was complete and I immediately figured that A needed a pair of lined wool shorts like mine! I jumped straight into a pattern that has been in my to-make-one-day pile forever: the Finch Shorts by Clever Charlotte. 

I noted Nicole's (treasure trove of pattern knowledge!) comments that the Clever Charlotte patterns tended to run large and so went with size 6 which was a tiny bit below her measurements. Sure enough, they're quite big and the elastic in the back waist is cinched in a fair bit.


Lining the shorts was easy. The pattern already has the waistband and cuffs constructed from inner and outer pattern pieces. I just cut the facing pieces out of lining and made sure to understitch the seams so that the lining rolled in nicely. I then cut the shorts out of both wool and lining and followed my own "reverse the pleats" tutorial to baste the lining shorts into the outer shorts before adding the cuffs and waistband.



This lightweight wool works well for these shorts. It's just crisp enough to hold the pleats but still soft enough to move nicely and feel great, along with the lining, when worn over tights. I think they'll feel nice on bare legs too and hopefully they get a bit of warm weather wear as well. Did I say I'm over winter yet?...

Details:

Cape:
Pattern: Oliver + S Forest Path Cape
Size: 6
Modifications: added collar from Sunday Brunch pattern. Added hanging loop.
Fabrics: Double wool originally from The Fabric Store , same for lining

Shorts:
Pattern: Finch shorts by Clever Chalrotte
Size: 6
Modifications: added full lining
Fabrics: Wool blend and lining both from Rathdowne Fabrics

Buttons: all from Buttonmania via my stash

(Top: previously made Rowan Tee Skivvy, seen here.)







Friday, 1 September 2017

Book Week and Bits 'n' Bobs

Last week the kids had their annual Book Week with the parade that involves dressing up as a book character.

Now, as you may already know I'm not one for passing up a chance to make a costume, and I'm absolutely fanatical about books, more books, great books and reading. This year I was pretty busy and so the costumes were kept simple, but we stuck with the reading theme (no superhero characters that happen to have a merchandise colouring book tie-in will get past me as book characters. No sir.).


Marisa recently posted a lovely dress for her daughter on her blog, ThirtyNine, and in the comments section a discussion of books for reading aloud to kids kicked off. The conversation continued via email between Inder, Rachel, Marisa and I, and I'm happy to say I've found quite a few new recommendations for books to read. Coming from different parts of the world we all have very different experiences of being read to and which books floated our boats back then, and which still do now.

One that I recently saw on a shelf in a bookshop is The Phantom Tollbooth (by Norton Juster). It looked vaguely familiar and when I picked it up and read the dust jacket it all came back to me. This was a book from my childhood. The main protagonist is called Milo, and as that's my nephew's name I instantly bought it.


Well, once the kids and I had read it together we were never going to give it away. So, I bought another copy for Milo, whose birthday was last month and posted it off, along with another outgrown coat (his biennial sewing gift :) ).

In the story Milo travels to two cities, Dictionopolis and Digitopolis in search of twin princesses, Rhyme and Reason. It's full of verbal puns and number games and I often had to show the kids the writing on the page for them to get the joke.

The best joke of all was my son wanting to dress up for book week as Tock the Watchdog....


For Tock is a Watch Dog, whose job it is to make sure that time is valued and appreciated. When he first encounters Milo and asks what he is doing, Milo offhandedly replies that he is killing time and Tock becomes apoplectic (and his alarm goes off)
“It's bad enough wasting time without killing it.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Well there is no greater time waster than my nine year old boy, so, loving the irony we went ahead with a costume.

The grey tracksuit that was first an elephant, then a mole, and is in regular use as pyjamas, could serve duty as a dog suit. Luckily, I had kept these small and probably otherwise useless remnants of the same fabric, and from that came a hood with ears, and a tail.

The hood is the largest size of the Cozy Bear Hood from Little Things To Sew, just with some ear modifications. The tail was just a tube closed at one end, turned and stuffed then attached to waistband elastic.

Cozy Bear Hoods - bear style


I was very happy that A was willing to not dress up as a character, but to wear a T-shirt that my brother had given her for Christmas last year. It cracks me up.

"Read or Die"
And to get in the right frame of mind she practised her "Read or Die" laser eye death stare on our new pet dog.


Her pants are the one sthat I made back in early July and which have been worn a lot but not yet been documented....

On an afternoon off work I went through my wardrobe and did a big clean out of things that didn't fit, that I didn't like or just that never got worn. I was never going  to repurpose fabric, I have to much to be bothered with that and most of the garments might be perfectly OK for somebody else. So a lot of it went to the charity shop. The only thing that was chopped up was this trial run of a dress, as I knew the skirt portion would be perfect for jeggings.


I used the Oliver + S Playtime Leggings as the base pattern, size 6 maybe? I forget. Anyway I didn't have enough fabric length for the full leg, so I added a cuff at the bottom.

At the top I decided I wanted pockets, so I used the pockets from the After School Pants pattern in whatever size I had drafted, maybe size 4?  The way the Playtime leggings are constructed is that the top of the waist is folded to the inside to make the waistband casing. That wouldn't work with my  additional pockets, so I added a waistband of ribbing.


Which, had I thought about it, meant I didn't need a good few inches of height at the top of the pattern and could have moved them on the fabric and got the hem length afterall. Anyway, I like the cuffs, so lets call them a design feature. I took some off the top but with the added waistband they are still higher rise than the pattern intends.

It doesn't show well in these pictures but I used the twin needle to double topstitch all the "jeans" seams. That way the seams still stretched. They've turned out to be very practical pants and dressed up with a fancy coat they look ok!


With Book Week done for the year it must soon be time to start thinking about Italian Day...

My friend Morag has put in a request for last year's outfits to appear on the blog (previously only on Instagram). So here's what you can do with two sombreros, a plastic laundry basket and some cardboard - why you can make it into a flask of Chianti Classico and a round of Parmiggiano cheese!




Sunday, 27 August 2017

Vogue 1512 - Polyester Queen

This dress had quite a few theme songs during it's construction. Little ear worms that came and went with each step. Mostly they related to the near-awful polyester fabric, but I'll get to that in a bit. So,
let's get humming a bit of Billy Ocean while we dive into the blog post....


The Handmaker's Factory were hosting their annual Dressmaker's Dinner/Do and a winter dress was in order. I'd fallen hard for this Tracey Reese Vogue pattern when I first spotted it and knew it was what I wanted to make. It seemed so perfect to me, heck she was even wearing my shoes!


Problem was I wanted that exact fabric on the pattern envelope. The pattern required a stable knit with about 25% stretch and I hunted high and low for a jacquard knit fabric that I liked. My criteria were a blue colour and a geometric print with a retro vibe.


I eventually found what I thought was perfect on Etsy, I paid what was undoubtedly too much, and a 5 yard cut was winging it's way to me from the states. Only when it arrived, it was 4 yards, it was seriously nasty and it looked a heck of a lot like a bad motel bedspread. To make matters worse it still had the original price stapled to the corner. I won't say anything more about that except to say congratulations to the Etsy seller. You made a hefty profit.

Of course while I was waiting on the postage of this fabric I went shopping for some navy ponte for the body of the dress. While I was out shopping I found my navy ponte and a superb navy and burgundy geometric wool jacquard. Isn't that always the way. Oh, and of course I found my leftover navy ponte in the stash was just enough after all. Oops.


Anyway, while I hated the feel of the fabric (you need to file your nails and wear a lot of handcream before you touch a polyester as nasty as this), I did like the colour and the design. At least I did until I tried cutting the pattern and realised the whole thing was skewed and warped. To get my woven rectangles straight on the pattern tissue I had to pull and twist the fabric and that's probably why none of the hems sit as straight and precisely as they should.

All to say that I will want to revisit this pattern with the lovely wool jacquard, because I love the pattern. I was sewing this version up thinking I could do a redux with the good fabric, but then I noticed just how many pattern pieces and steps were involved. Time got away from me and I wore my muslin version out to dinner in the end.


The whole thing consists of an under dress with a jacket type overlay. The under-dress has a front with gathering under the bust, a waist yoke and then these back panels with a centre invisible zip. The overlay is also lined, except for the sleeves, and then the whole dress has a complete lining as well. So the top half is four layers of fabric. Given that I wasn't going to get my dry skin caught on the polyester, I was really very warm and comfy in my bedspread!

The challenge, as always for me was in fitting. I made a straight size 14 but then took it in at the centre back seam with the zipper by increasing the seam allowance form 5/8 to 7/8". I would have liked to have had the waist section even more fitted but without a continuous side seam there was nowhere to make last minute further adjustments. I think I could have sized down by one size overall.


For my lining fabric I used a tricot mesh knit. The lightness of that worked well although there's a mismatch of stretchiness with the outer fabric. I understitched the neckline as per the instructions but then also handstitched the shoulder seams to keep that more stretchy lining from peeking out.

Which brings me to those zips (new earworm - "I've got big zips and I cannot lie...")


They're purely decorative but are a really fun aspect of the pattern - part of what gives it the retro airline hostess vibe. The pattern says 3" to 5" zips but I suspect no matter what size you make a 4" zip is what you need. I couldn't find chunky enough zips in such a short length so I bought some jacket zips and attacked them with the pliers.


It's the back and side views of this pattern that I really like. The skirt is a lovely shape too and if I can get the waistline fitted properly I think the under dress on it's own could be really nice.


The pattern gets two thumbs up. It's a lot of pieces and a lot of steps but there are no hard bits and the instructions are perfectly adequate. I didn't quite follow the hemming instructions to the letter. It suggested enclosing the raw hem edge with the bias binding but I thought that was too bulky. I stitched my bias to the hem edge, pressed it up and then blindstitched the opposite folded edge of the bias to the dress to finish the hem.


I was delighted to find these cute little turquoise, rectangular metal earrings. Perfect match!


The dinner was excellent. Just a dozen of us in a lovely restaurant that was so close to home I could stagger down and back in my heels. Everyone looked smashing of course and it was nice to see familiar faces and chat and meet a new sewing friend or two. Thanks to the Handmaker's team!

Details: 
Pattern: Vogue 1512
Size: 14 -with extra taken out at centre back seam
Fabric: is it "vintage" or is it just a nasty polyester bedspread?.... navy ponte and navy tricot mesh lining
Notions: invisible zip, chunky decorative shoulder zips

Monday, 21 August 2017

The (almost) Impossible Jacket

That quilted laminate fleecy stuff that P wanted me to carpet the entire house in... Well it was intended for a coat for A. She spied it when we were at The Fabric Store together and it was on sale, and it was winter, and the girl can always use a new coat. Needless to say it found it's way into our bag.


Obviously, this was going to be the perfect fabric for an unlined coat, as the fleece-y inner surface was it's own, ideal lining.

In my Japanese pattern books I have lots of nice coat options for unlined coats, and as she's in danger of outgrowing quite a few of those very books, that was were I headed in search of a pattern.


This book, known in English variably as Girls Lovely Clothes, Or Girls Clothes Craft Book had the perfect coat: pattern "t".

After making P's vest I had decided that the only way to finish this coat would be to sew flat felled seams everywhere, so I traced off the size 130cm and added a 5/8th seam allowance wherever there would normally only be a 1cm seam allowance.

And then the nightmare began...


Firstly, the laminate, plasticky nature of the "fabric" (I use the term loosely) resisted pinning and was as tacky as all get out for the pressure foot.

I used my walking foot and taped things in place with washi tape. Of course I couldn't iron this stuff either for fear of a melted, gooey plastic mess. The pockets were turned using the Oliver + S trick of  finger pressing with a basting stitch at the fold line and a gathering stitch within any curved seam allowance.


Tiny, curved pockets checked off I moved on to constructing the garment. As all of the seams were sewn wrong sides together first, I would end up with sticky plastic surfaces both top and bottom. I used crepe streamers (all I had) underneath and Washi tape on top to try and keep things sliding along. Oh, and clips to hold it together.


Then I would trim one side of the seam allowance...


Then unpick all the quilting from the untrimmed seam allowance...


And then wrap that over the seam allowances and stitch it down to get my flat felled seam...


Not so difficult when you're sewing nice short seam like shoulder seams. Inserting the sleeves flat wasn't so hard either. Neither was sewing the body part of the side seams. But the sleeve seams?... OMFG, what a task I had set for myself.

 Let's have another photo that shows I did get there in the end, while I take a few more deep breaths...


I flat felled up the body side seam and as far as I could possibly go down into the sleeve. I was sewing about three stitches at a time, pushing, cajoling and shoving the sticky fabric under the pressure foot in order to sew just another two stitches. More rearranging, more pushing, another two stitches. The sewing machine was being forced across the table and the plastic fabric was bunching dangerously close to the heat of the sewing machine's light globe - which was not, of course, helping to illuminate the tiny dark hole into which I was trying to sew. Another two stitches and there was no chance of going any further.

No fear, I thought, I'll simply start from the cuff end and sew up to where I stopped.

The whole process of push, swear, stitch, repeat was continued in the opposite direction until it was plainly clear I could proceed no further in that direction either.

Yet a three to four inch gap of un-flat felled seam allowance remained. Faaark.


More deep breaths.

I reached for extra Washi tape and some strong liquor at this point. Taping up the whole tacky surface of the seam I switched back to the normal presser foot. Less forward movement but much less bulk and I was able to continue the push, shove, few stitches pattern of glacial sewing until I'd breached that three inch gap.

And then I had to repeat the whole process with the second side seam and sleeve seam.

Finally though, the insides were looking as good as they should. There really was no other way this coat could have been made.




By now I was ready for a breather, so I took a day trip (oh why did they have to leave the city) out to Buttonmania.


It's never a wasted journey though, and of course I found the perfect buttons. An affordable, shiny, navy, plastic button with just enough blingy gold to make it fancy.

With renewed vigor, I sewed the collar (simply using the fabric the other way out), added the facing (also inside out to keep the insides all fleecy), threw on a cotton tape label and hanging loop and it was nearly done.


Pleasingly, the buttonhole foot on my machine has it's own little teflon-esque "slippers" and so it found the tacky surface easy going. The buttonholes were added, buttons sewn on and hems completed. Just in time for a freezing cold visit to the country to see my folks.


For all that work, I was flying by the seat of my pants and there was no muslin or checking of fit. You can imagine my delight when it turned out to be just right, and of course when it was received with utter delight from the girl whose favourable opinion is never guaranteed.

And I'm very happy to say that after carefully cutting the jacket and vest from the 1.5m I bought, there are NO leftovers. That's an expletively-laden good thing as there is no way in hell I'd be going back for another round of that.


Details:
Pattern: Coat "t" from Girls Lovely Clothes by Yuki Araki (ISBN-10: 4529045269)
Size: 130cm
Mods: Increased seam allowance to flat fell seams. Made up my own button spacing/number. Pattern had 7 or maybe 8 tightly spaced buttons on this size coat.
Fabric: fleece backed, quilted, plastic laminate from The Fabric Store 
Notions: buttons from Buttonmania, rolls and rolls of Washi Tape, Clover wonder clips, crepe paper, sweat and alcohol (no tears, I was laughing too much at my ambitious foolhardiness to cry)
Verdict: there's a reason coats like this cost a fortune.  Hand-me-down requests will be taken in order of application :)