Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat : A Makers Diary – Days 2 and 3

Hello there!

Thank you for joining me again in my quest to sew the Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat (if you want to catch up on Day 1, you can read it here). Today I’m covering pattern alterations, cutting out and clueing up on bound buttonholes!

Whilst waiting impatiently for the fabric and supplies I’ve ordered from Minerva Crafts to arrive, I use the time to consider what, if any, alterations I want to make to my traced out pattern pieces. I feel pretty sure that the basic Deer & Doe block fits me well; they design for a fuller bust (C/D cup) so I wasn’t concerned that I’d need to do an FBA. However, I was a bit unsure as to the sleeve length on this pattern. I consider myself petite in height (I’m 5.3″) but sewing their Melilot shirt revealed that, surprisingly, I didn’t need to take anything out of the length of that sleeve. Looking at the Luzerne sleeve pattern piece though, it looks way too long for me. Mmmm. What to do … Cue some dithering. I check the hem allowance (1.5″ after binding the cuff) and decide to take out a conservative 1″, figuring if I do need to shorten further I can just take a bit extra off the cuff.

Or, by some weird sewing alchemy, taking out that conservative inch results in them being too short. We’ll see.

Next, I considered whether to alter the width of the shoulders. This is sooo much harder to gauge. The Melilot has a drop shoulder so I can’t use the experience of sewing that to ascertain. Normally I take out up to 0.5″. At this point I reason, this is a Coat, it needs to be worn over other pieces of clothing. I’d rather it be a tad too wide than risk making it restrictive, so I decide to leave the pieces as ‘is’. Plus I’m tired. I didn’t sleep great last night; I rarely do. Thinking about it for five minutes just left me shrugging my -narrow- shoulders and taking an ‘oh whatever‘ stance.

My less than scientific approach!

The last thing I consider is the overall length of the coat, both skirt and bodice pieces. Looking at versions made by others, I figure to leave the length alone too. Deer & Doe draft for a height of 5.6″ but, perhaps unscientifically, holding the pieces against myself, I decide the bodice length is fine and I want the skirt the length as is (i.e not to shorten it to account for my comparable lack of height). I’m sure I’ve read elsewhere that others have mentioned maybe finding Deer & Does’ pattern block a tad short waisted? And the lovely (petite) Lynne (ozzyblackbeard) left me a comment on yesterdays’ post, saying she thinks it is too, as their block fits her fine.

So all that said, looking at the top right pic of the side bodice piece makes me laugh! I know it looks weeny, but looking in the mirror when I’m not contorting and stretching my arm out of the way, it sizes a lot better than this pic suggests…I’m fairly/reasonably/(unjustifiably?) confident it’ll fit.

Anyway, again I take the path of least resistance and adjust nothing but the sleeve; let’s see just how that works out, haha!

I thread my overlocker. Having read through the pattern booklet, I think the only serging to be done, given the amount of seam binding involved, is in constructing the two piece sleeves. I switch my serger to navy thread.

And then start pacing around the house. I want to crack on and sew! But I put my impatient energy to use and do housework instead. Given that I’ve had all the windows open, I end up running around the house like a loon, brandishing a fly swat (which I can’t help but call a Fly Squat… “Take that, Fly!”). Once my murderous stint is over, I prep the evening meal.

All the while, I’m thinking about sewing the coat. Do you get like this!? My brain is going over the bound buttonholes on a cycle, like an irritating fly that won’t go away and since it’s the very first thing you tackle in constructing the coat, I know it’s bothering me.

So to shut my brain up, later that night once the kids are asleep, I turn to YouTube and the internet.

Deer & Doe themselves have published a very useful blog post covering this element which is an helpful addition to the instructions in the pattern booklet. But I also watch several YouTube videos showing the process and found a few that were helpful including this one by Professor Pincushion.

The videos I watched demonstrated the method using two separate binding pieces whereas the Luzerne uses a postbox shaped square piece, but they gave me a much clearer understanding of the general process and after this bit of research I’m left wondering why I thought them so mysterious and complex! There, Brain, will that shut you up!?

It does. And I sleep.

And the next morning, my lovely Postman delivers the goods! It’s another scorching day, so again having thrown open all the windows in the house (c’mon flies, I double-dare ya!), I put my coat fabric straight in for a pre-wash. I’m pleased with it, it’s exactly the shade of blue I wanted; it looks great paired with the spotty dotty binding and all feels well with the world! I figure I can wash it, hang it out to dry and cut it out today.

And that’s exactly what I do. All the gazillion pieces. I ‘true’ the fabric but it seems to have been cut straight, thankfully. Iron it, fold it in half width wise and place it on the extended length of my dining table using wonderclips down the selvage edge to stop it shifting, although it’s pretty stable stuff.

The only note I make is that you only need two of the belt loop piece (No. 19) although from the layplan you’d be forgiven for thinking you need four. And that I found it, surprisingly, easier to use ballpoint pins to pin the pattern pieces to the fabric.

It’s pretty clear which is the right side and wrong side of the fabric but I label all my pieces on the wrong side anyway with masking tape. Once done, I place the cut out pile (sooooo many pieces!), lovingly, next to my sewing machine ready for tomorrow when I’m going to eventually start sewing the darn thing!

And that night, despite the heat, I go to bed with a hot water bottle wedged against my lower back lamenting to my husband the lack of a designated, height appropriate, cutting table (my exact words were “I’m getting too decrepit for this crap!”) I fall asleep with his words “one day babe, you’ll have one”.

If wishes were fishes…

Will you join me me tomorrow, for some actual sewing!?! I’ll stick the kettle on, you bring the biscuits.

My Instagram link x

25 thoughts on “Deer & Doe Luzerne Trench Coat : A Makers Diary – Days 2 and 3

  1. Scrap testing is fab isn’t it…and I 100% agree with you…cutting out is my least favourite step too…I just want to sew already!! Hot water bottles at the ready for our poor aching lower backs eh. And thank you Val xx


  2. Thanks Mags! Oh, I think lining is a terrific idea but, honestly, I wouldn’t know how to go about drafting and sewing my own lining…do you have a particular method you follow? I’d love to know! Xx


  3. Yes!!! Rachel I went to the store to check it out…oh it’d be perfect…but yeah, where to put it!? I figure I want two butted up against side by side…the only spare space large enough is in the garage…boo!! X


  4. Thanks for taking the time to leave such a useful comment Lynne love! I’ve messaged Karen so hopefully I’ll be drawing from her tips soon! And no I didn’t use all the fabric!!! I reckon I had a good 0.5 to 0.75 m left…which was fortuitous since I had to recut one bodice piece…are you planning to shorten yours? It might be a squeeze out of 3 but maybe not impossible!? Ah I know what you mean about losing belts but the back belt tab looks lovely! Xxxx


  5. Thank you darling!!!! Do you attach the facing first then mark where to machine the holes? I’ll definitely consider that next time! As for the narrow shoulder, you’re absolutely right…if it doesn’t work I guess I can just trim them back later…I’ve got to get more confident altering things as I go…

    Let’s hope the custom, height adjustable cutting table faeries are listening…we deserve one don’t we!!!

    Ooooh what Trench Pattern you going for?!



  6. I agree with Lynne; binding style buttonholes and just make machine holes in the facing.

    Also, with the shoulder, if you find it is too wide you can remove width after it;s assembled. Best if it’s before the sleeve is added. Just mark the width you need to remove at the top of the shoulder point and taper to nothing front and back. Ideally, adjustments are made on the flat pattern but we do what we have to do! And as a narrow shouldered person; I’ve done this plenty.

    On table height, I cannot wait to have a custom cutting table. I’m a little under 5’6″ and the 36″ height is technically too short for me (“long” legs for my height).

    The fabric is gorgeous and I have a trench in the plan for fall…can’t wait to see yours!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve done the two separate binding pieces buttonholes, and also the patch buttonholes – and the binding ones win hands down. I found it really difficult to get the two rectangles to be even on the on the patch method. (Hope that makes sense!) Also, Karen from “Did You Make That” has a brilliant e-book on how to make the binding buttonholes.

    And I have a total cheats way to do the buttonhole opening in the facing. I just do a machined buttonhole, and hand sew it to the back of the bound buttonhole – copied that off a jacket I got in New Look!

    Did you find that you used all 4 metres of your fabric please? I have vague plans to try and squeeze it out of 3 metres by cutting the pockets and inside back facing from another fabric, and also I’ll have to shorten the sleeves. Oh, and I’m not doing the belt because I’d lose it in about 2 seconds… Thanks!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Really enjoyed this Sarah…thinking about the project is the important bit and making changes well beforehand. See you tomorrow….and shall we say homemade cookies? xx

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Ikea have a table top and trestle that can be raised to the right height. Total cost £75 if you get the cheapest version. Just need to find a place to put it!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Definitely sympathise with brain whirring about some future step in the sewing process, still mine my practising on scrap. Cutting out is my least favourite step and at 5 10″ I find I can’t straighten up afterwards! Looking forward to your future updates, have a Vogue trench pattern in my stash which is on my 2018 to do list.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I know exactly what you mean about cutting table height I’m five foot eight. Went to a sewing course and the teacher had a lovely table custom made for her. Husband has promised me one when the kids move out. Is it wrong to keep looking for rental flats for them!

    Liked by 1 person

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