It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

My Asian/Cowboy/Betzina Duster

I admit it.   When I first saw Sandra Betzina's duster pattern (Vogue 1356) I didn't get it.   At all.  It was immediately filed in my "No Way!" category, until shams performed her magic on it.  The minute I saw her Geisha Faces Duster I converted from "No Way" to "I Want!" faster than I've ever done before.   I snapped up the pattern at the earliest sale, and immediately shifted my plans for a trio of linens I had from Plan A to Plan Duster.

I started working on it pre-robbery, and had a number of construction notes and pics in the computer, but they were in the (rather large...sigh....) pile of photos that never got backed up (yes, I DO have an external hard drive now, and yes, I AM using it regularly!)

So we'll just have to jump straight to the finished product, while I dig through my brain & try to remember the adjustments I made.
I used some of my Marcy Tilton Asian-esque silk screens on the coat, but it holds this Western sort of essence to it in my mind - you know, the craggy-faced cowboy with the rough & ready duster flowing in the dust as he strides towards his horse....   Anyway, I keep finding that I want to wear my jeans & cowboy boots (shit-kickers, where I hail from....see how this thing is affecting me???) and to date that's all I've worn it with.   I know it has a lot more versatility than that, though!

I must have nearly a dozen Betzina patterns, but for some reason, I've simply never managed to move one to the top of the queue until now, so this is my first.   I must say, I'm impressed!   She includes a lot of construction details and helpful hints (even though I don't agree with some of them), and her fit is designed for a more mature, "real" woman's body - narrower shoulders and wider hips, for instance.  And she's managed to get Vogue to do it her way!   She writes her own instructions (apparently most Vogue patterns do NOT use the designer's construction methods, which is likely where a lot of confusion comes from by the time it reaches the home sewer).   Go Sandra!

Pattern Notes:

  • The coat is described as "very loose fitting", usually a warning that screams "BAGGY" when it comes to Vogue, but with the cut and the darts (fish eye darts in the back, plus bust darts), it actually skims the body.
  • The sleeves are two-piece and cut on the bias - a very nice shape!   But I found them to be VERY skinny, surprising coming from Ms. B., since she's usually very conscious of designing sleeves for *ahem* 'mature' arms.   The sleeves are also VERY long!   I shortened mine by several inches (maybe 3"?)
  • The pockets are simple, but unique.  There are two pockets on each side of the front, one nested inside the other.   I didn't use her pockets - no particular reason other than the fact that I tested my silk screen on a bit of fabric and decided to use that as a pocket, so I stitched it down to another piece of contrast fabric and called it done.   :-)   (NOTE:   I usually silk screen my finished piece, but I test the screening on the fabric I'm using, then lay the test pieces on my finished piece before I start the actual painting on the garment.   Yes, it has caused issues, but I've always managed to turn them into a "Design Element" lol!)
POCKET:
  • The facing pieces are very large - this I liked, especially since the coat is unlined.  The facing construction instructions, however, were odd to me.   They call for sewing the interfacing to the RIGHT side of the facing pieces, then turning them right side out before sewing it all in to the coat (thus ending up with finished edges where the facing & interfacing are sewn together.   It sounded awkward to me.   I think I ended up doing essentially the same thing shams did, and fused interfacing to the wrong side of the facings, sewed them in to the coat, then finished the edges (fray-prone linen!) with folded over bias strips. 
Finished Back with bias strip edged facings, and Hong Kong finishes on the sleeve seams.
(And paint bits showing  post silk-screening)
  • Another oddity is that the placket used for the front closure is supposed to be cut on the bias.  This makes NO sense to me, unless you're using a fabric that has stripes, or some other design element that you want to showcase with a bias cut, but even then wouldn't you have to interface the stuffing out of the thing to get it to hold its shape?   I just cut mine on grain.
Alterations:

  • I cut a Size B at the very top, and narrowed the shoulders by about 1"
  • I expanded to a size C at the waist
  • I changed the armscye shaping to suit me a bit better
  • Did a full upper arm adjustment (easy to do with the two-piece sleeve)
  • Shortened the sleeves by about 3", still leaving a very deep hem so that I have the option of turning the cuffs up
  • Shortened the coat by 4"
  • Lengthened the side slits by....something or other.
Oh, I also added a contrast yoke at the back.   This was one of those "Design Elements" required by having a shortage of fabric.  For some reason this ended up causing me a fair amount of angst, I think because the bottom of the yoke ended up right where the lower armscye meets the side seam - not good planning!   But, as I say, I was working with what I had, fabric-wise, so it goes into the category of "it is what it is".

I ended up using plastic "invisible" snaps for closure at the placket - I intended to use snaps and buttons, but I didn't plan out my silk screen placement all that well, so I eliminated the visible button or snap option and used the invisibles.   I'm not sure if I used too much thread, adding some depth to the snaps, but I find that they need a bit more pressure to snap shut than I thought they might - anyone else have experience with these?


Back View, Inside Out:

Front View, Inside Out:


The Wearing of the Duster:

The tough Cowgirl look (yeah, right....)


The Bottom Line:

Thumbs up on this pattern!   It's perfect for a three-season Bay Area evening in linen, and would work well in a cotton, a light wool, or any number of blends.   I can definitely see making this one again, although it may be awhile, since I think I'm on another coat & jacket binge, and have a slew of patterns I want to check out :)


36 comments:

  1. Jillian, as you know, I LOVE LOVE your duster!!! It is perfection! The pictures are great, but it's even better in person. I am so glad to see you have been able to hit the sewing room, because you are knocking it out of the park!!

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    1. Thanks shams! You know where my inspiration came from.... ;-)

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  2. Jillian, you do know how I feel about all of your sewing projects... They are just wonderful!!

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  3. Very cool -- inside and out! And I, um, need to do that external hard drive thing, too. Just not quite sure how to go about it.

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    1. Angela I thought the external hard drive thing was some big convoluted difficulty - it couldn't be easier! At least, on my Mac....

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  4. How you managed to un-baggy a duster and make is so cool...a miracle! Love the inside and plastic snaps are evil! Once snapped shut they can refuse to release as well...ha ha. Sandra's directions do make for fun reading even though we may choose to ignore them and go with prettier techniques like binding the edges of facings.
    Enjoy your new coat, pardner!

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    1. Thanks pardner! You're so right about Sandra's instructions - I have more of her designs moved closer to the top of the queue now :)

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  5. Wow, Jillian, way cool! Love the fabrics and the screen printing, they really work well together. And your inside finish work is just gorgeous! Shouldn't everyone have a good pair of shit-kickers?

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  6. I am so glad you are "back" and inspiring us with your creations!

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    1. You're too sweet; thank you Bunny! :)

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  7. Ok, Ok, now I must get that pattern. Yours is just the so pulling me in. Love your inside finishing and thank you for the heads up about narrow sleeves. And I agree that SB usually has generous sleeve width.?

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    1. Oh I hope you do make something from this - would LOVE to see your interpretation!

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  8. Even more cool in person, a great look on you. More blue !!! or blue accents :) I think you should make this again in the spring for a whole different look. beautiful details.

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    1. lol yes ma'am, blue it is! (I did buy some navy knit for the Betzina pants!)

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  9. I don't know what is wrong with Vogue. Sandra had the very same duster that Vogue photographed for the pattern envelope at PR Weekend, and it was fabulous.

    Yours is more fabulous. I'm sorry that I won't be seeing it this weekend.

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  10. It's gorgeous, Jilly and so you - loaded with creativity. Congratulations!

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    1. Thank you - you're definitely an inspiration to me :)

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  11. Your duster and the way that you styled it is soo cool.

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  12. Don't know if I can add anything but I do have to gush over this wonderful artful piece. Way to go!

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    1. Thanks Martha - I would love to see what you might do with this pattern..... (hinthint)

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  13. Once again you have taken a pattern that looked so 'no way' in the pattern book and turned it into a fabulous, wearable piece of art. I'm sure it's even more fabulous in person. And I too have a pair of 'shit-kickers' that I tromp around downtown Chicago wearing. Love them and the feeling they give me when I wear them!

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  14. Wow...it's beautiful...I love the perfectly placed screen printing, especially the pockets! You are way too inspirational...I have a light gray linen duster that's been cut out for too long to admit to...it won't be as pretty as yours...no silk screening on it either, but now I have the "want to" to make it. Thanks!!!

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  15. As always, excellent sewing and embellishment on this Asian cowboy themed coat. It looks great on you! I really like the contrast blue for the back. It livens the entire look. Cool!

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  16. Your Asian cowboy look really works for you. What a wonderful garment! So inspirational.

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  17. Fabulous duster - so unique. You really are very productive and creative too.

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  18. Looks great in the photos but even better in person!

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  19. What a fabulous duster! Great job, and it looks such fun to wear!

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