Sunday, 19 October 2014

My uh...Maya coat!

One word...Coat!

Warning, this a coat of extreme awsomeness! Not only does it create yet another use for my Maya pattern, but it is also the most 'actually' wearable coat I have ever made and the cheapest. Oh, and it's 99.9% completely sustainable too.

Past coats include this black, hooded number and my Albion, both of which are completely wearable, but the black thick wool coat is just a bit too chunky and warm for actually wearing sometimes, so often gets passed up. I walk everywhere as I don't drive and find it a faff to carry this and push a buggy if I get too hot! The Albion is another perfectly servicable coat, which I have worn, but it is not quite me. I've got a really nice Navy Petit Bateau jacket of a similar shape, so that one wins every time I'm afraid! Here's some more pictures of coat, before I start going on!

Could have pressed the back a bit first!

Although I had planned this coat in my head before starting, alot of things kind of fell into place along the way.

I used a vintage bedspread for my main fabric, which was picked up at a car boot sale for £1. It's one of two (£2 for the pair), so I've still got the other in the airing cupboard. I was planning on lining it (and did line it) with some of my market stall haul, but close to the point of finishing decided it looked too cheap and cut the whole thing out. The problem with this kind of bold design, I've found, is that it can start to look a bit 'dressing up box' if you add too much colour into the mix. Taking out the lining did affect how I was going to finish the inside of the coat though (obviously). Originally the seams were unfinished, but I ended up binding them all whilst the coat was assembled with some self made binding. A bit of a nuisance doing it this way, but not impossible!

Ooh, look at my hanging loop! It's made of leather and is from Merchant and Mills (my current favourite sewing shop). I ordered two, so still have another one to use, but feel I need a whole lot more!

Finding buttons was a big decision. I didn't want to use anything that wasn't already in my stash, but alot of my vintage buttons that were in the green/blue colour group seemed a bit too vintage looking. The ones I went for seem quite subtle to me and have a nice worn, scratchy surface. Also, there were 4 of them and that's what I wanted, so realistically that's what swung it! I contemplated bound buttonholes and handsewn buttonholes, but decided to use my machine. I'm more than happy with them, as the stitches really sink into the fabric. I was worried they make look a bit naff, but they are nice and stable, which I like. Can you see how I positioned the buttons with a motif? Nice!

 Another after thought was to add inseam pockets. I literally did this just before taking photos, as the thought of a coat without pockets just didn't seem right. The fabric was too chunky for patch pockets (I did try) or welt pockets, so I opted for inseam, made from the same brown voile I used for the binding. By using this thinner fabric I hoped to reduce the bulk on my hips and I only use them to put my hands in anyway. I rarely carry more than a tissue in my pockets.

Yes, I did sneak a little label onto the facing!

I love the vintage shape to this coat, which is formed by the loose a-line shape and the wide neck. This neckline may not be for everyone, but I always wear scarves in the winter, so won't let the chill in.

Sorry if I sound like I'm patting myself on the back a bit too much, but this is the most exciting thing I've made for ages (or since last week).

Now, I haven't done a tutorial as such for this, as I wasn't sure if there was much point, but if you have the pattern and would like instructions/pattern add-ons for turning it into a coat, then let me know and I'll pull together some seperate (free) instructions. I have several tips from this process I would like to share with you though.

First of all is the pressing of the seams. Thicker fabrics can bounce back on the seams when you press them, which is what a clapper is for. Basically you pump steam over the seam and then press the clapper straight onto it to force the steam out quickly leaving a really nice, flat seam. I don't have a clapper, but recently learnt that you can do this just as simply with a piece of card. Do exactly the same and blast the seam with steam and quickly cover the area with the card to push the steam out. Honestly, this is such a neat trick and you'll have amazingly well pressed seams.

 Next tip is to snip the underarm curve if you're adding kimono sleeves. It will pull awkwardly and not look right if you don't do this. I just made snips and pressed it and look how much they've stretched out!

Next up is how I added my self made binding. I don't know if this is what other people do, but this is how I did it for the facing.

I placed my 4cm wide strip edge to edge with the outer edge of the facing piece and stitched a 1cm seam allowance.

Next I pressed the seam flat from the top...

 and folded it back under the facing piece. I didn't press it again after this!

I just took it over to the machine and topstitched it down from the front. So stitched in the ditch???

So, it's nice and neat from the top and the raw edge on the back will eventually be hidden.

Ta dah!

I did handstitch the neckline facing, the front facings, hem and sleeve hems down so they wouldn't flap about, but decided to machine stitch the neckline facing down on the back of the coat only. I was just concerned that if I hung it up with the coat loop that it would pull on the fabric too much.

So there you have it! If you do want more information about turning a dress pattern into a coat then let me know in the comments and I'll rethink things!