In the (Aubergine) Trenches

Have you ever had a sewing project which started out as an enjoyable exercise, but rapidly progressed into serious obsession? Exhibit A: my aubergine trench coat.

I needed a lightweight, hip-length jacket for my autumn jaunt to Melbourne, and this “Project Runway” mix-and-match-your-pieces/decorative details pattern seemed to fit the bill perfectly. Whilst this was my very first fully lined garment, I blithely imagined that the assembly would be a proverbial piece-of-cake. And actually, the stitching and assembly portion wasn’t all that bad—it’s just that I failed to calculate that adding a full lining meant TWICE as much stitching/joining/seaming/finishing!

At least I had the wisdom to construct a basic muslin of the bodice, which helped immensely with tailoring the length and fit of the garment. In hindsight, however, I did NOT need to make a muslin of the lining pieces as well! My outer fabric is a lightweight aubergine/plum denim with a hint of spandex, and the lining fabric is a stretchy charmeuse satin. Both were extreme bargains from Sp***L***t, less than $5.00 per meter, since this was my maiden voyage into Lined Garment Land.  If/when I make this again, I will use something with a bit more body and interesting texture. Perhaps in magenta? scarlet? aquamarine?

In the end, this jacket wasn’t finished when I boarded the plane to Melbourne. But it WAS finished when we landed! The lady sitting beside me never said a word, but I wonder what she thought about all the pinning, basting, seam ripping, and button attaching that was going on in my lap.

My favourite bit is the lining, which makes me smile every time that I see it. I also used a contrasting red thread for the topstitching, and might switch the quickie/cheapo lavendar buttons out for some crimson specimens. And better buckles—does anyone have a great resource for retr0-looking buckles? The wrist straps and belt both need to be significantly shortened, so might as well change these too.

Lastly, here’s an action shot from Mount Buffalo with requisite waterfall background:


6 responses to “In the (Aubergine) Trenches

  1. Your coat is lovely! I’m impressed with your sewing on the plane, especially given the usual plane seat squishedness. I made something that needed a buckle a while ago and discovered Perth is a buckle desert. I ordered some from overseas in the end – I’ll bring them tomorrow just in case you like any, although not sure that the colours would be useful. There is an Aus online shop called Button Bower which has lovely real retro buckles for not too much.

  2. Oh snap! I am halfway through a trench in almost the same colour 🙂 I put it down at the end of Winter 2010 and I’m just about to pick it up again. You’re looks fab and I love a good SP***L****t bargain story 😉

    • Quel coincidence, Melissa! Be sure to share your trenchy pics upon completion. And I adore your tales of the unique Wellington fabric resources, although they usually also make me VERY jealous! What is the Spotlight/Textile Traders equivalent there? And how are the Op Shops?

      • No Textiles Traders but we have Spotlight here and they are about equal to the Australian version. Op shopping is pretty huge in Cuba Quarter but I’m really looking forward to Novembers Fabric-a-brac. They collect donations throughout the year then 2 or 3 times a year have a huge not-to-be-missed fabric yard sale in Newtown and all money goes to charity so win-win 🙂

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