Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Turning your Maya into a coat!

So, this post is back tracking slightly to my recent Maya coat and explaining a few things that are going on with my pattern development right now!

The sleeves on this coat modification are far from perfect as there are drag lines on the top sleeve seams and the more I looked at it, the more I wanted to correct it and turn this into an actual coat pattern. I have had such great feedback on this garment, so it seems like a natural progression to take, but at the same time I am also mindful of the fact that some of you may own the Maya pattern and want to make these same modifications still. Sooo, it is only fair that I run through how I got from a dress pattern to a coat!

Here's a few things you should know!
  • Additional to the main fabric, I also used iron on interfacing (medium weight) and bias binding
  • From the original pattern I used the dress front piece at the longest length with button placket, the dress back piece (same length), the button front neck facing and I made a front facing from the dress front. To do this I marked a line approx 15cm away from the centre front all the way down and cut it away from the pattern. I did this after cutting my coat fronts from the fabric, so I wouldn't be needing this pattern piece again (I sellotaped it back afterwards)
  • The centre front of the front pattern piece is still going to be the centre front of the coat, so snip into the edge of the fabric to mark where this should be. The overlap will be large enough to accomodate coat buttons.
  • Construction wise I sewed together all the pieces with plain seam 
I adapted the pattern to have sleeves using this guide I put together for the jacket. Mark a straight line from the shoulder down to create your desired top sleeve length. Square this line off and draw down for desired sleeve width (remember to include your seam allowance on both sides). Square this line off again and return back to the bodice blending into the side seam and creating a new underarm. Make sure to mirror the sleeve on both front and back pattern piece. Include enough of an allowance at the end of the sleeve to create a hem. I generally aim for a 3cm hem. The measurements on the below diagram were what I used for the jacket, so don't follow these exactly unless you want really short sleeves!

Once you've cut out your fabric from all of the pattern pieces listed above, iron on approx 5cm deep strips of interfacing to your bottom hems and sleeve hems. Interface the front facings and neck facing also at this stage. Do this before you sew (unlike me...). Do as I say not as I do!!!!

Machine stitch your top sleeve seams and press.
Machine stitch your side seams and underarm seams and press, but make sure to snip the underarm curve. You need to do this to release the taughtness. For pressing tips go back to the original post here.

You will want to bind your seams at this point. I do this after joining everything together so that I can catch those snipped bits between the binding. It is probably easier to use shop bought binding, but I used self-made binding in the exact same way as I am about to show you for the facings.

I bound everything with self-made binding, which is relatively simple to do. For the neckline facing I cut strips of fabric on the bias grain approx 4cm wide and sewed it to the outer edge of my piece right sides together.

I then pressed the seam flat and  turned it towards the back of the facing piece.

I then secured it all down by topstitching from the front for a really neat stitch.

This is how it looked front and back...

 I repeated this process for the long inside edge of the new coat front facing and then started attaching them to the coat. All seams were sewn with a 1.5cm seam allowance.

Lay the front facing on first, right sides together, and pin down the length of the coat followed by the neck facing on top. Line up the centre front notches (as per the original instructions) and machine stitch in place from the bottom hem, up, around the neck and back down the other side.

 Snip off corners and into curves on the neck edge.

 Bind the sleeve hem edges in a similar way to the facings, but start with a folded edge.

When you come back round to the folded edge overlap this with the binding and when you turn it back round the folded edge will be the join.

Like this...

Continue to press the seam, fold over and topstich in place as done previously on the neck facing.

I machined a few key areas down like the join of the front facing and neck facing. I have made use of existing pattern pieces as much as possible rather than create a traditional type of facing that would have combined the neck and front facing in all one piece, so I have machined the joints for added structure. I lay the coat flat, pinned where they overlapped and machined it down (only stitching through these pieces and not through to the front of the coat).

I also did this for the hem/front facing overlap.

I machine stitched the back neckline facing down too from shoulder seam to shoulder seam. I didn't continue to machine stitch the facing down on the front, but instead opted to hand stitch it down for a nicer finish. I wanted the strength on the back to support the hanging loop I had sewn on.

The only thing left is to press and hand sew the front facings/hem down and add buttons and buttonholes. Button placement and quantity is obviously down to personal preference, but just make sure that the buttons are sewn on the centre front line.


As previously mentioned, I am also working on this as a pattern. It's not far from being finished and although born from this idea is alot more refined and features a drafted lining, seperate sleeves, pockets and an optional collar, so if you don't want to make these mods and would like a proper pattern to follow then you won't have to wait too long!

Anyway, the rules I have applied to my pattern mods can be used for any dress pattern really if it has enough ease to be worn over clothes, so go and have a look at your pattern stash and see if they can become coats too!