Monday, June 16, 2014

Now for details on Althea's Popsicle Safari Coat. (and some dog-walking fun)
For starters, it is huge, but that is ok. Better large then small right? I rounded up on her measurements and also I did NOT forget the seam allowance on this one and it turned out that this coat is actually bigger than the one I made for Fern. But I had each girl so specifically in my head when I made each jacket that I couldn't bear to just swap them at the end. This one remains Althea's popsicle safari coat and the fancy trench is Fern's. End of story. Unless they decide to swap and borrow from each other. Which they do already. Althea is tall and sturdy and their wardrobes are virtually interchangeable right now (ages 2.5 and 4.5). 
The fabric is of course from the home dec fabric at JoAnn's again - I just can't get over the prints!! Look at this popsicle print! It can't get much cuter than this. I love the bright colors too. The lining is the anti-static poly liner from JoAnn's, same as Fern's, just a different color.
This coat follows the Melange pattern from Ottobre 6/2013 exactly in terms of shape of the garment. They use a stretchy wool knit, but I think the pattern worked great for a woven fabric. I did add an elastic waistband encased between the outer and inner fabric layers stretching across the back. 

I also used a different layout for all the pockets I wanted to include. There are four patch pockets on the front: an upper and lower pocket on each side with the upper pockets having flaps to close them. I did not have very large pieces of material left over from which to choose my pocket pieces, but look at the amazing luck I had with lining up the fabric pattern:
 It meant that I placed the lower pockets farther out to the side and the upper pockets closer to the center, but it is symmetrical and to get those lower pockets that spot on, I was thrilled. I like how the upper pockets didn't match exactly, but they make their own kind of sense anyways. And if you look for a second you can find the blue surf board created on each side. 
There are also flannel heart side-seam hand-warming pockets (as with Fern's), bringing the grand total up to six pockets. Althea is pocket crazy and she has filled every single one with treasures on a walk. 

I used a fun bright orange sport zipper to close it, along with a cute cupcake button that Althea chose. 

I learned a lesson in zippers here. First of all, I didn't even realize that there were two types of zippers out there, ie. closed bottom zippers vs. separating. Then, I finally got my hands on the right one and needed to adjust the size. Well, I do know that on a close-bottomed zipper I can adjust the size by creating a new stop at the bottom by sewing a few zig zag stitches with the stitch length set to zero. But I obviously couldn't do that on a separating zipper. So I needed to cut some length off the top. And the zipper had a distinct stopper at the top, but I figured that I had to cut that part off, and hey, when the zipper gets to the top it will stop, right? I talked about this briefly with the lady at JoAnn's and she agreed with me, but apparently she isn't a seamstress. The zipper does NOT stop at the top. It continues on until the zipper is in your hand, not on your coat. At which point you can manually unzip the coat and thread the zipper back on and down to the bottom and start over, trying not to pull the zipper up all the way this time (and try to convince your two year old not to pull the zipper off, or at least to give it to you not throw it on the ground and continue on if she does). I ended up trying to sew the stopper part of the zipper onto the top of my zipper, but since they are not completely attached still, the zipper sometimes goes around it. I am going to try to glue the stopper to the end of the zipper and see if that makes the difference. 
The proper way to adjust the size of a separating zipper is described here. I haven't tried this myself yet, but it makes a lot of sense and may save me some grief in the future.
Aside from my zipper woes though, I love this little coat. This pattern is great. I think my favorite part about it is the hood. I want to make every hood I do in this style now. The bottom of the hood wraps around to the front of the coat and closes securely with a button. This really keeps this hood in place. Again, I did not add any elastic or drawstring / pull cord to this hood and it doesn't need it at all. It just stays put. Love it. (I promise to come back with a good picture of the hood and the button)
And I love my little dog walker in it as well. 
Can you tell our secret to successful toddler dog walking?

I am holding the double leash attached to both dogs. She is holding a longer single leash attached to one dog so that she can feel like she is walking a dog just like mom. But they are never able to pull her because I keep my leash tighter than she does. Both girls love this. They feel like important helpers and I like how it is almost like having a leash on the child as well because it keeps them close. Fern will usually hold my hand with her free hand at the same time. It is sweet. For the first ten minutes. Then it turns into some sort of feat of balance and patience as I try to manage both dogs and a girl on piggyback, or two dogs and a straying toddler that lost interest. Poor old dogs get a little jipped in the walk department lately. I think I am going to have to slip in a selfie I took while trying to take both kids and both dogs on a walk to the park a month or so ago. At least I brought a Boba baby back pack. No stroller though. We were out walking. I figured at least one of them would want to walk anyway. But alas......
.....we walked home close to a mile like this. With me holding the double leash attached to two sixty plus pound dogs. My plan was to just drop the leash if they decided to lunge towards a squirrel or something but fortunately they didn't make me put my plan into action. The furry boys are getting older and a shorter walk tires them out like it never did before. And those girls are getting heavier.

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