I have neglected my little blog recently haven’t I? I have been sewing, it’s just that it’s mostly been stuff that I can’t really show on here (yet) like pattern tests and presents for people who may read my blog!
It feels good to get this project up on the blog though. This has taken me pretty much the whole of October to get sewn up and I’ve really enjoyed making it.
Back in July, I won an Indie Pattern Month challenge on the Monthly Stitch where I could choose a PDF pattern from How to do Fashion. I’ve made one thing already from this pattern company (here) and was quite excited to try something else from them. I thought it was about time that I improved my sewing skills by sewing a coat and, as there was a relatively easy one on the site, I chose the No. 4 London Coat – one of the few patterns they have that is easy to spell!
The pattern has three versions. Version 1 is a long coat with a big collar, patch pockets, button closure and is fully lined. Version 2 is a shorter, hip length coat with no collar, in seam pockets and a belt to keep it closed. Version 3 is shorter still, has a strange tie collar, lined sleeves and a couple of welt pockets. I got the pattern thinking that I would make the easiest version of all – version 2. What I ended up doing though is making a strange mishmash of all three versions! More on that in a bit…
The fabric I used has been in my stash for ages. Pretty much three years! I bought 3 metres of this wool (woolmix?) from the Knitting and Stitching Show in Harrogate but I forget the stall where it came from. It was only £8 a metre which I didn’t think was too bad. It did sew up nicely too and I used the lot of it!
I bought this fabric with the intention of making a skirt suit out of it. I thought a little jacket and pencil skirt would look great made out of it but then I remembered that it would look a bit strange if I suddenly started dressing smartly for work (I would have no other occasion to wear a skirt suit!) so that didn’t get made up. Then I pondered making the Cascade Duffle coat by Grainline Studios but I never got round to buying the pattern even. However, the sewalong for the Cascade Duffle coat has been a very useful resource when making this coat.
My first thought was to make version 2. I liked the length of it. I’m not a ‘big collar’ person so I didn’t want that, and I also liked how the coat looked with the belt. Before I even cut into my fabric though I decided I wanted it lining. The wool would have been itchy against any bare skin. I made a risky online purchase and bought this champagne luxury lining from Sewisfaction. This cost the same amount as my main fabric – £8 a metre, which I thought was quite expensive for lining fabric. I’m glad I made the splurge though. Being viscose, the fabric feels much nicer than the standard acetate lining which is all you can get round here. It is also such a pretty colour and it matched my stripes perfectly!
As already mentioned, the coat I went for was a mix of all three coats. It’s fully lined (like version 1), it’s hip-length, has no collar and no closures (like version 2) and it has welt pockets (like version 3). Here it is…
The online instructions are fairly minimal, although they are easy to follow. The actual coat really is a cinch to sew up. However, I am very easily influenced and there have been many people making their winter coats and showing the construction shots on Instagram. It made me want to delve a little deeper into coat making so a little research was in order. As with any new project, I wanted to see how other people made this coat but I really couldn’t find much at all. There is this post on Annotations of Jenny which pointed me in the direction of a few sites. She also made a bit of mix of all three coats but with slightly different elements taken from each.
So, after a fair bit of Googling and You-Tubing (the real reason this project took all month!) I added the following steps:
- Added a lining. I actually included a pleat in my back lining – something new I learned! I followed a mixture of this tutorial and this one to bag out the lining using the sewing machine. I wasn’t sure I had done this correctly at all but it worked! I also attached the lining to the shell at the underarm points by making a thread chain which joined the two together
- Made sleeve heads. I never even knew they were a thing but this was where my research rabbit warren led me. I read somewhere (I can’t remember where to link it) that you could make these from rectangles of fleece so that is exactly what I did. There was a handy video on the HTDF website showing how to add sleeve heads and shoulder pads which I found useful. My sleeve heads looked nothing like the ones in the video!
- Added shoulder pads. Just small ones – I didn’t want to look like some power dresser from the 80s.
- Added facings for the hem and sleeve hems.
- I decided, further into the project than I should have, to have the welt pockets rather than the in-seam pockets that version 2 came with. I followed this video for this. Because I did this at a later stage than I should have these were not the neatest. Thank goodness for hand stitching!
Before attaching the lining I added the label that came with my last HTDF project. As the coat pattern was a pdf it obviously didn’t come with a label. I stitched my name on to it by hand. I also added a hanging loop to make it a bit more professional looking, although it’s a little too long.
I’m pretty pleased with my first attempt at a coat. I learned so much whilst sewing it, and although it’s far from perfect (I think I may have used to much interfacing to start) it has got me thinking of what coat I can make next. I was given a trenchcoat pattern earlier in the month for my birthday so I’ll start there, but next year I’m going to make a proper tailored coat and I’m quite excited about it!