Thursday, November 18, 2010

A Slippery Sloper

Well, I'm back and I seem to have some mojo, at least more than I had on Tuesday!  Yesterday I had some errands to run and was at Target and saw the cutest little dog coat.  Now my little dog, Indy, (shown above) is only about 12 lbs and he gets cold a lot.  During the cold weather he wears a light sweater around the house and a warmer coat outside.

We're expecting a cold front to come through very soon, and I've been wanting to make him a patchwork coat.  He already has a patchwork halter, and it's always a hit, so I thought, why not make him a little coat?

My problem has been finding a pattern for one.  I refuse to pay $10 for patterns but whenever they're on sale, the dog coat patterns are all sold out.  Bummer!

Oh well, I may not be motivated, but if I'm anything, it's creative!

So, when I saw this cute coat I thought, "Hmmmmm, maybe I can use my clothing construction skills to make my own pattern."  Bingo!  So, I bought the cute little coat below.  Now, Indy is a boy and I have to say that if they'd had this little coat in a color other than pink I probably would have just bought it for him and that would have been the end of that, (hint, lack of motivation).  But, curses!  They only had pink!

I love this because it's so simple and will be easy to make a "sloper" from.  Now, for those of you who haven't been through the rigors of tailoring and pattern making classes, you might not know what that is.  Essentially it's a very basic pattern that gives you a good fit.   Most of the time tailors make them for their clients so they can easily adapt them into just about anything.  Once you get the basic fit right, then it's easier to add fashion.  We made them in pattern drafting and they ended up looking like a very simple sheath top and skirt, something Jackie Kennedy would have worn.

Slopers usually don't have seam allowances, but in this case I made it easy on myself and added them on.  Here's how you do it if you have a finished garment and you want to recreate it.  Keep in mind that this usually only works with very simple designs.  Most designers would have an accurate sloper and then make the adjustments to the pattern pieces for more complicated designs.

To make the pattern I lay the garment out on a piece of thin cardstock, (poster board from the Dollar Store works great).  Since this is a pattern that I will probably use over and over again, I want the pattern to be sturdy since I'll be storing it. When I did pattern drafting we used to punch holes in our slopers, put the pieces onto a binder ring and hung them on the wall. 

In this case I decided that I wanted my curves to be consistent on both sides, (very hard to do when tracing), so I'm only making a half pattern.  I lay the garment out as flat as possible, then using a pencil trace around the seam lines, making sure to note things like where pieces are joined, where the collar ends, etc.  I will also mark the buttonhole where the halter ring will come through.  I make construction notes like places where there's binding and no seam allowance, and "center line."  Just think about what you'll need to know about constructing this garment if you go back to make another one months or years from now.  There's no such thing as too much information. 

In this case the pattern piece is so small I can keep it steady with my hand, large pieces may need something to weigh them down so you can get a good trace.  Since this is a dog's coat and the fit is adjustable I'm not overly concerned about small differences between the original and the final.  It won't make much difference, (it's not like I'm on "Puppy Project Runway"!).

Here's the finished pattern, showing the main coat along with the flaps and the collar, (which I will cut on the bias).  It's not the greatest photo but I think you get the general idea.

Now the fun part!  Selecting the fabrics!  Since Indy is such a cute little black and white dog, (so fashionable, and looks good in everything...), I decided to do the coat in black, white, red, and brown, (with a smattering of orange because I love it so much).  I bought the fleece at Joann's for $3.99 a yard, and raided my stash for the rest....Stashbusters!!!

The plan is to do strip piecing to make 1.5" squares.  The smaller squares will allow me to get more color onto the coat, and hopefully they'll be enough left over to make myself a tote bag so we can coordinate.  (This is beginning to get a little bit strange.....)

Here are my selections:
That's it for now!  I have some mojo coursing through my veins so I have to get this going before it's gone.  Hopefully I'll have more to show you tomorrow.  Besides, I want to take the coat back to the store for a refund, (I'm such a bad girl but....note to Target...carry boy colors!!!).

Happy Stitching!


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