If you browse my according pinterest board you will find a picture of a fashionista wearing a cute patchwork dress. This was surely one inspiration of course. I admit that I first thought of a dress indeed. But I cannot refer the moment when I decided to take my cashmere sweaters instead of some “bought” fabrics.
Apparitionally I must have thought about it for some times because when I returned from that exhibition of Rembrandt and Selfies I remember that I suddenly was very clear and definite about it. As I told you before, this exhibition motivated me in many diverse ways. I realized that I rather was more like a performance artist than a fashion blogger what allows much more flexibility in what I do. This encouraged me to try something really mad and extraordinary…
After my high intense work before Christmas (just take a look at my DIYs list...) my closet almost exploded due to all those new garments. So I separated my old convenient clothes from my new DIYs. In order to that a bundle of all my cashmere and merino sweaters piled up at the bottom of my wardrobe – just waiting for me in the mood of insanity and madness to grab them and cut them into pieces… 😉
Then I started to prepare myself for the first cut -! The reason why I took so many pictures during the process was more to get confident of what I did than to protocol my work. Indeed I started with the older sweaters and struggled quite a lot before I also cut the new ones. This pink one for example – I guess I just wore it twice or so – made of extremely high quality and super soft cashmere ~~~
In case you intend to sew such a thing yourself as well someday – you can also buy knit fabrics instead of cutting all your sweaters and pullovers into pieces – for sure!
First I thought about how to prepare the arising fabric. Should I cut the pattern and then try to follow its shape while sewing knit piece on knit piece or should I sew the needed amount of fabric and cut it like usually? To have more control on the mix of all the different knit qualities and colors and to “gain” time for thinking, I decided to sew a “fabric”. In order to that I prepared a kind of a mosaic pattern which the whole fabric should be composed with. Therefore I took a piece of carton (DIN A4) and cut it into irregular-
regular pieces. I wasn’t sure how this would look finally though hoping I could shift it into the desired direction. I always completed one mosaic pattern before I cut the next to be sure that I would have enough pieces of each version.
– The cutting cost so much more time than I expected -!! One day for separating the sweaters – back, front, sleeves.
Two days for the cutting of those little pieces to set the mosaics. One day to sew the mosaics – I needed about 130(!!!) (every single one composed of 5 smaller pieces!). One day to mix the mosaics in a way that the fabric looked regularly irregularly… To achieve this I rather separated some stripes I already attached before, to mix it more effectively and avoid a result being to regularly. Finally I ended up with a large knit fabric of 155*320cm! I decided to save a little bit of the mosaics for a scarf and cut the downer collar in one large piece and the pockets as well – this spared me 30 to 40cm.
The best idea before starting to cut the coat was to iron a lightweight gluing fleece at the back of the fabric – ideally to protect the seams of all those knit pieces but also to minimize the flexibility and stretching effects of the knit fabric.(When I sewed the scarf later, without having ironed such a fleece on it I realized that I would never have succeeded so well if i would not have done it – ufff! Good luck!)
This little protection allowed to still stretch the fabric a little bit but most of all to stay in the cut form! Otherwise I would not have been able to sew the coat really properly.
So, after 5 days of preparation I could finally start to cut the coat! What a feeling! The pattern is a very ordinary one of Burda style (This was also quite a long research until I found the perfect one… – By the way, this was the reason why I bought all those vintage magazines though I didn’t take a pattern of them – at least not for this coat. They are great inspirations anyhow…).
When I had closed the first seams I tried the coat the first time and at that moment I realized that it would become brilliant – after uncountable hours of work!
The sewing was quite normal and went more or less without problems except the almost last step of the slit at the back. I forgot to compare the length of the lining with the length of the outer fabric and so I needed to separate everything again. The lining was stretched and the outer fabric didn’t fall properly -. This is why I needed a break – after 12 hours of sewing I definitely wasn’t able to concentrate enough – and couldn’t show you the coat on Saturday 🙁
In order to that I took my time to revise it and finish it properly. (Always thinking of my future granddaughter being so happy to inherit this coat someday…)
Finally I can say it was totally worth spending all the effort and time in doing such a crazy project though the pressure was really very high due to the high value of the material (16 sweaters of cashmere and merino = much more than 1000€) plus this incredibly much work and consistence without being sure how the result would look like. Pure madness!
Today when I shot the pictures with my red dress and my coat my neighbor came out of her door screaming “Indra, what kind of a cool coat do you wear today! It is amazing!!” 🙂
And when I paid my groceries at the cash desk of the supermarket the woman said “you are wearing such a gorgeous coat! I am sure you get a lot of compliments for it!” 🙂