One season of House of Cards later, I think I’m finally ready to attempt to write about my coat making experience – whew! And yes, there will be a million photos.
First off, I have to admit – this was not as difficult an undertaking as I had thought it would be! In fact, the most difficult part, in my opinion, was tracing and cutting a bajillion pattern pieces. Of course, there were certainly some tricky bits in the construction process, and you need some sewing experience under your belt before attempting it, but this is definitely a great “first coat” pattern for those thinking of diving in.
Before I dive into the sewing details, I wanted to take a moment to discuss sourcing my materials. My fabric was purchased from Fabric Outlet in San Francisco during a flurry of moving-induced retail therapy. For my lining, I went with flannel-back satin, otherwise known as Kasha, which, interestingly enough, I found at Amazon (via Vogue Fabrics). I also sourced my medium-weight knit interfacing from Amazon/Vogue, and have been happy with both so far. My toggles were purchased from Pacific Trimming via Etsy. I’m a bit concerned about their durability – they’re already starting to show some wear, so I may end up needing to replace them down the line. Fingers crossed! Now to the fun part…
After basting the pieces together, as discussed in my last post, I took all the pieces apart and began sewing the coat “for real.” I followed Jen’s excellent Cascade Sew-Along in addition to consulting the instruction booklet, which helped ensure that I didn’t miss any steps. There were a few construction points that were covered more thoroughly in the instructions, while others were dealt with more in the sewalong posts, so if this is your first coat rodeo, I would recommend referencing both.
I did add a few extra steps by hand
just to make life harder to help ensure the coat’s longevity. First of all, I catch-stitched the coat and sleeve seam allowances to the coat body, since I didn’t want “runaway seam allowances” sandwiched inside my coat lining. My hope is that by securing the SAs down, it will avoid unnecessary rubbing inside the coat, and perhaps prevent the fabric from breaking down due to friction.
I also sewed the toggles on by hand. I was too scared to put those suckers under my machine, especially since I didn’t have any extras to play with, so I went the safer, if more time consuming route. To do this, I first poked holes around each toggle with a needle to make sure that my spacing was even as I sewed around them. I then used topstitching thread with a backstitch to secure them to the coat. So far, they seem to be staying put just fine!
The last “extra bit” I did by hand was to catch-stitch the hem facing to the coat body after bagging the lining but before sewing the sleeve opening shut. I did this after several weeks of wearing the coat around (true story: I wore this coat for three weeks before I actually finished it :P), when I discovered my hem facing “drooping” down past the actual hem placement. I believe this was because my lining was extra thick/heavy, which may have been weighing the hem down more than usual. A bit of hand sewing quickly fixed the problem. Yes, it took a little longer, bit I think it was worth it in the end!
And now the bit you’ve all been waiting for: PHOTOS! Feast your eyes:
Here we get to play “find the lower back seam” – I’m rather proud of that plaid matching!
And I am REALLY loving that hood – so warm!
Toggle detail – gotta show off that hand sewing!
I still can’t believe that I actually made a freakin’ winter coat, but there’s the proof! I’ve worn it SO many times. Believe it or not, I actually didn’t have a winter coat before I made this one. My last one died sometime before I got married, and I never replaced it, so my Boston winter two years ago was NOT FUN. Thank goodness I got this one done in time!