Wednesday, 14 September 2016

A winter coat in the making!

I am definitely thinking about my winter wardrobe now, but I guess we all are! The thing I have started with is the thing that's probably the biggest investment in terms of time and materials. A winter coat! I am using a vintage pattern, Vogue 9939, and it's one I've made up before (pre-blog), so know what the fit is like.

I am also using fabric from my stash that I had set aside last year, but never got around to sewing. The fabric I am using a boiled wool from textile centre. They currently only have a small amount of brown left, but I have seen this type of fabric around in a lot of fabric shops. It is admittedly a lot more fluid than I imagined so not quite right as it stands for this particular pattern. I still haven't finished said coat, but I thought I would just post some progress pics of what I have done so far!

To start off I underlined all the main coat pieces with a surplus shirting cotton from my stash. I cut the main fabric first and simply overlaid it onto the shirting with wrong sides together and cut the underling very roughly with an extra 1" or so extra around the edge. I then neatened and smoothed everything and lined up straight edges where they were present before hand basting the edges. You can see the basting stitches left in on the below picture. The idea of the underlining is to add some structure and body to better suit this voluminous coat. It isn't a quick process, but it is absolutely worth it and really transforms the fabric.

The coat pattern is very plain, but has some good quality details that I wanted to highlight. The pattern calls for topstitching on all the seams, but I chose instead to topstitch the darts only and really make a feature of them. How gorgeous are these darts? The stitches sink beautifully into this squishy fabric. The darts are topstitched in the instructions, but as open darts rather than this way.

If you happen to have and are thinking of making this pattern then the length of the coat as drafted is loooong! I cut a good 10cm off the bottom and sewed a 4cm hem. I did not remember this fact from the last time I made it, so merrily cut out as per the pattern, but look!

The length is totally not in proportion with the sleeves if you were thinking that this may have been meant for a tall person. The sleeves have worked out perfectly without shortening, so the body length makes no sense, but this is an easy fix! By the way, don't judge a coat part way through making it. The coat looks nothing like this now...

To resolve the issue of no top stitching on the collar I under stitched the seam allowance to the under collar by hand.

Note - this photo shows the true colour of the wool I think!

 What else did I do differently? Well, the pockets are bagged out with the lining in the instructions, which would have meant the lining would have peered out from some angles. I bagged the top edge only and folded the rest of the edges in over the lining neatening the corners and hand basting everything before machine topstitching in place.

Next up I catch stitched all the seam allowances to the underlining. I have not used an iron or steam on any part of this coat as I was worried about bruising or crushing the fabrics texture. The only bit I did go near was the bottom of the centre back seam as it was looking a bit rippled, but that was it!

So here it is from the inside! Everything is stitched down and from the outside it looks finished.

 A sneak at the outside!

I am so enjoying this project that I am eeking it out quite a bit. I don't want it to end and am loving all the hand stitching.

I shall hand sew the lining in and maybe add a sneaky inside pocket to the facing seam. I have an issue with bagged out linings I must admit. I am not keen on machine stitched hems on the main fabric and it's easier to make sure that the lining isn't going to pull the coat up when you insert it by hand. Each to their own though and sometimes these projects are restricted by time or the fact that you really don't care for hand stitching, which I totally get. I wouldn't say that I sew incredibly beautiful stitches by hand (I really don't), but I do love doing it!