Pauline Trigere Dress-McCalls 8894 – from stash and upcycled zip

I finished this dress a few weeks ago and love it.  I didn’t post it till today, as I was trying to get the others finished before as it would be too tempting to leave them as they were (red dress).  

pauline trigere - mc calls 8894

I was a bit frustrated after none of my three dresses turned out to be ready for Christmas day I ended up wearing the sweater dress I didn’t want to wear, and I ended up pulling at it all day (it never sits right)!, so a dig into stash was in order to get a dress made for my ‘Second Christmas’ (which is the few days I spend with my sister in Dublin after the 25th but before the 6th January) and hope I could stretch this  double knit to a Pauline Trigere Dress (I did and there is even a piece left over).  I had been looking to adapt this pattern for an upcycle a while back and it was a bit complex looking so it went back into envelope.

It was probably just as well I didn’t think too deeply on it, and just cut it out and sewed, as it was a tricky one.  The first one was putting on the facing, and then applying collar (the facing is put on, and basted in place, the collar is sewn on the front and the stitching line is about 2 inches down from the neckline underneath) – everything seemed to be foreign territory but I kept going and luckily choosing double knit, meant there were no seam finishes to worry about.  When it came to putting it all together in the end, I made up the lining first, and figured it out from that.  The sewing of the dress itself is a bit rushed but I am very pleased with the dress and if I had to do it again, it would be far easier – and I would probably sew it a lot neater!  One or two steps of easing, could have been skipped due to my using double knit, but I didn’t take the chance, and I should have done the gusset ‘my way’ as I seemed not to ‘get’ the instruction sheet.  I made the dress shorter than the pattern.  I did make it to pattern to see what it was like, and it was very (incredibly) dowdy, so I shortened it by 8 inches or so, to an two inches above knee.  I used an 8inch zip from my zip collection (all zips put into a box when I take upcycles apart) and its a grey colour but not too noticable.  I could not find a zip to match fabric so this concealed zip will do fine.

pauline trigere - mc calls 8894

I love the dress – and even though the sewing is shamelessly rushed, I am quite happy to overlook that.  The pockets are a bonus, and the dress in incredibly comfortable and personally I think flattering.  I did have to take about an inch from the back seam as it the fit of this pattern was very generous – and if I ever see the right fabric, I would try this dress again.  The turtle neck is lovely but I have to be careful when I wear a cardigan (we have a cold house) over it as the back collar sticks up, so its a case of making sure the cardigan is not pulled over.  It works well with a favourite patterned baselayer that hasn’t been worn in a while and it works well with my boots – should have made this dress first!

McCalls 7520 – pauline trigere coat – remake a coat to a coat

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat

When I saw this coat – I was so pleased as there is a lot of fabric, so I probably overlooked both the fabric quality and a few stains (the trims of leather in it seemed to have put the original owner of cleaning it!)  The original coat  very much of its time, with lapels and different fastenings, the lining was anchored, as opposed to bagged (it was curious to see all the hidden bits of sewing and detail).  I took the coat apart and brushed it well, and steamed the pieces heavily with the iron and laundered the lining (I had decided to reuse it, as it wasn’t too bad and I couldn’t find a shade like it easily).

When the pattern was laid out, as usual there was compromise, the front of the coat was nearly on the straight so I lost a bit of space there, as the button detail tab on top used up extra fabric space.  The full sleeve would not fit, so I would have to take a chance with a cuff.  I was sure everything would fit, but I completely forgot about the underarm section. This just about fitted, but then the pocket seam would be tight.  I had thought if there was enough fabric that I could make it the original length which is mid calf, but the more I thought about it, the less I liked it especially as there is only one button, so I decided on a finished length of 90cm/36″, as this length is good with trousers.  In the illustration, the coat looks shorter than it is, the actual length of the coat is about 30cm/12″ longer – mid-calf. In the end, I had to put a cuff on the sleeve to get the length, a small inset for the pocket recess, and shorten the coat overall.  

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remakea coat to a coat

I interfaced all the sections, in the original coat, the fabric was supposed to drape so only the front was interfaced and the back interlined.   This coat is a wool cashmere mix (45% cashmere!) I don’t think it was best quality cashmere and for that matter, wool, and also the patch pockets had left marks on the front, so i was also wondering if it would clean up sufficiently for a public outing!

The sleeve heads were very uncooperative this time around (as opposed to the jacket), and I was progressively getting more and more suspicious of the ‘less than lovely’ quality of this fabric, to the point of I didn’t know who was having the attitude over ease, me or the fabric.  it was only when the coat was at the lining stage, I decided to try and match them once more and curved the point (the design element) on the rhs so it matched the other.  I don’t know how noticeable the difference is, but I suppose if I can see it, then it will always bug me.

It was only when the coat was finished I realised I could have and should have inserted the sleeves  in on the flat, and then sewn the sleeve seam and shoulder seam as one.  I wore the coat out to lunch to ‘road test’ it.  Its a nice warm coat and worked well with a black polo and jeans.   I am also considering taking the sleeve off and re-doing if it is going to get out more, and will wait till the marks on the front (where the pockets were) become less noticeable (or see if they will).  

McCalls 7520 - pauline trigere coat - remake coat to a coat

There was only one real issue and that was when we left the cafe, some big droplets of rain fell from the awning outside on to the coat and it soaked immediately and made the coat look very stained, the marks dried and disappeared off in 20 minutes but looked so so grubby when it was wet – and as it rains a lot here, I was wondering on the practicalities.  The coat was fine when it drizzled so I don’t know if somehow this coat was washed with detergent of some sort to make it so absorbent? or if this can happen anyway with camel shades …… coat is now resting in my wardrobe for a few weeks and I will steam it again to see if the pile lifts up from where the pockets were, if it does, then I think I will consider re-setting sleeves………..

McCalls 7530 – Pauline Trigere Jacket, coat to jacket

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket

About 6 months ago, I  was in a charity shop and spotted a coat for 2euro. now this particular coat was – a dated cut(huge shoulders), dated colour (green), and dated buttons (they were everywhere), but it was also wool cashmere and that started me on thinking about the challenge of refashioning these coats – the quality of the fabric was brilliant, and wool is a nice obliging fabric to sew – (having said that, if I was asked 10 years ago to recut a coat or suit, I would have run a mile) Now,  when I say these coats, I do mean plural, it became a slight digression (obsession)  for a few weeks and I ended up with 6 coats, 1 black, 2 navy, 1 bottle green, 1 fawn, 1 camel.  At this point I was also thinking I should start sewing or draw a halt, so I took one coat apart, got a bit overwhelmed, and thought I would work up some smaller projects, and then revisit the idea, which as it happens is how this blog evolved – these coats. 

And then I spotted this Pauline Trigere pattern on etsy,how could I not?

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket

When I  took apart the black coat, there was a lot less fabric that i thought.  the extreme shoulder shaping was helped in part by inconvenient (to me) darts.  I got the jacket cut from it though, and only was compromised by back facing which was cut across, but then wool is so obliging!  

Sewing it was relatively straight forward.  the original coat  was interfaced in most parts and I managed to keep the interfaced pieces to the back and front, but part of the back sleeve had some at the seam, so I added some to the other sleeve to balance it – I should have interfaced whole piece, it makes little difference but if i was doing it again, this I would do (and now that I have typed it, I am wondering why I didn’t) .  The nice curve detail in the sleeves worked out beautifully, they were set in and sit at the shoulder and the neckline is wide, it feels a bit like a wearing a cape, and not unlike the matching dress, the cut of dress and jacket seem to ensure correct posture when you wear them.   I was able to flat construct the lining sleeves, as the sleeve head would be hand stitched to the facings.  

I probably got a bit too confident and also wanted to have it finished that evening so I went straight in to the buttonhole – the only buttonhole – and even while I was doing it, something felt amiss……. I tried it on after, and there it was, the buttonhole was on the left, and then for some really really odd reason, I thought I could fix that later, and I would put the button hole in the other side – which I did, crooked and out too far – so I left it for a few days……

McCalls 7530 - Pauline Trigere Jacket, upcycle coat to jacket

I decided that poppers were the best alternative, and made a bow to cover one buttonhole and put a strip over the inside one.  All in all, it looks fine, and I would love to say this is the one and only time I have gotten left, right, wrong side, right side mixed up but I will get to do it all again when I get to make the coat version!

McCalls 7530 – Pauline Trigere Dress skirt to dress

This is the most expensive pattern I have ever bought! ….. and I am beginning to be a fan of Pauline Trigere.  I also love coats so thought at least this was a 3 for 1 pattern.  I also thought I would do the dress first as it was probably easier than jacket/coat.(not so famous last words)

The bodice takes up a little bit more fabric than you would think (or I would think), so getting the right fabric, with right amount from a secondhand piece of clothing was the next hurdle (as in the pile of stuff on the chair beside mannequin).  I did have an orange wrap skirt 100% viscose which I did first and then a blue silk wrap skirt as the next one.

I made the pattern to the envelope size, even though I am size or two larger on hips (classic pear).  The skirt fits me – but just about.  I thought if I made it to the envelope size it would give a truer indication of design, and then either i could finish for someone else to wear or use the fabric for something else.  

The orange dress has the perfect weight for the dress, and ultimately the only issue I had were the facings – I used interfacing on autopilot where I shouldn’t have, and they did not fit as well (I cheated and used a seam on centre back and front).  Straps are still pinned on as the facings will be redone.

Pauline Trigere Dress, McCalls 7530, remake a skirt to dress

The dress is flat-lined which is something I have never done before (strangely enough), and it gave good weight and form  to the bodice, which is a simple but a very effective cut.  The fit of the bodice is great especially when you consider there are only 2 darts used.  There is a short underskirt underneath, and a waist stay.   The skirt has a small amount of gathers so I thought up-sizing would be little issue and if anything should be easier as there would be more fabric to gather in larger size.

mccalls 7530 pauline trigere refashion skirt to dress

The blue dress is a light silk (so I starched it plenty before I started!).  The interfacing went on easily by stretching the bodice, and I decided I would also add the pockets for this dress (so handy).   I am still undecided about the blue dress as the silk is so light I now think I could have used a heavier lining fabric, whereas the weight of the orange dress is perfect.  I am unsure also about the extra gathers and wonder if soft pleats could work better…………………..  so I didn’t hem this one yet either!