My coat’s finished! Just in time for autumn, by the looks of the impromptu photoshoot I took with my sister in the park this lovely afternoon. A bit lumpy, bumpy and imperfect it might be, but it turned out perfectly wearable – even a bit cute – so I’m calling it a win.
To recap, I started out with Burda’s Retro Short Coat pattern, but made a bunch of alterations. Briefly: I took all of the gathering out of the front yoke and some out of the back; shortened it; removed the lapels and collar; added a hood; added fastenings; and constructed the facings and linings totally differently. Thanks to my toile-ing the final sew went pretty smoothly; the only thing that didn’t go to plan is the bottom hem because I tried to do this jump hem technique without practicing first. It wound up too short and kind of bulky, although steaming and pressing helped a lot and it pretty much looks OK right? I wonder if topstitching would help it lie even flatter – might give it a go.
I’m pleased with how neat the welt pockets turned out (I invented a genius construction method involving chalk and sticky tape, which I’ll write up if anyone’s interested), less pleased how they ended up awkwardly close to the bottom due to aforementioned hemming woes. I shortened the pocket bags so at least they fit, but they’re stupidly small now. Wah.
Mmm, details. I like the buckles and magnetic hood snap a lot; as well as being practical additions I think they go a long way to making the coat look more professional. The buckles come with holes pre-punched so it was an easy task handsewing them on, though it took nearly a whole episode of Project Runway. The snaps just have prongs which push through the fabric and secure at the back.
I almost like the inside the best, especially the little hang loop and snazzy diagonal plaid across the yoke. I even pattern-matched the checks horizontally across the inner seams, how’s that for attention to detail? I mostly used Jen Grainline’s bagging tutorial to insert the lining but had to alter the process a bit to accommodate the hood. There’s just a few inches handsewn at the back neck, all the other seams were machine sewn from the inside.
I decided to tot up the costs (like Karen did for her coat) – here’s the breakdown:
That’s probably more than I’d usually spend on a RTW coat because I’m a cheapskate, but in terms of a learning experience and getting a totally unique (albeit slightly wobbly) coat, I am happy with the investment.
I think this coat might mark a turning point in my sewing, actually. Up until now I’ve considered myself in ‘training mode’: buying mostly cheap fabrics and rushing through constructions, not paying much attention to the overall finish and details in favour of fast gratification. For this coat I really took my time and enjoyed the process for what it was: a learning experience, a wealth of new techniques to master, an investment in time and materials. Certainly it showed I still have a long way to go, but it proved to myself that I am able to be patient and methodical and see how it pays off.
Phew, essay over. Anyone else making a coat this year? I feel like this may not be my last.