Coat Progress, Barely

Hey, everyone! Happy Monday! What, it’s not Monday? I’m kidding, I know what day it is. Did you miss me yesterday? Sorry I didn’t get a post up! It was a busy weekend here at Sewaholic Patterns headquarters and while I didn’t run out of time, I ran out of energy. Hard to believe, I know! It’s like Tilly said in the comments of ‘How Do You Make Time To Sew?‘ – it’s less about time management and more about energy management. What a great way of putting it! Energy management. I like that. Maybe you do have a spare hour or two to sew in the evening after dinner and dishes, but lack the energy to start anything. In that case it’s better to relax, and wait until the energy comes back to start sewing again!

I was hoping to devote some of my energy to my fabulous coat but other urgent, important things took priority. So my coat and Monday’s post didn’t get done.

But yesterday, I did a little work on the coat!

I cut out the massive patch pockets – look how big they are compared to my hand, and I think my hands are average sized!

I cut out the front and pinned it to the dress form.

And then I ran out of muslin. If this is a prediction of my progress on this project, it’ll be Spring by the time I finish this coat! (Time to start sewing Spring projects instead, perhaps?)

I liked your suggestions to use fleece or flannel as muslin fabric for a coat, to get a better idea of the thickness and bulk. That’s a great idea! So why didn’t I do it? Well, I had muslin on hand (enough to cut the coat, I thought!) And once I cut a few pieces in muslin, I wanted to keep using muslin for consistency. This coat has only a few pattern pieces but they’re very large and angled, so a lot of fabric is wasted. (Also because I’m not muslin-ing any of the small pieces, just the main ones for fit.)

I bet you think the patch pockets are too big for someone with wide hips! You may be right. I’m still going to try them on the muslin and see! I think they’ll blend in better on the real fabric – there’s a lot of texture and colour to distract and hide the pocket outline. Maybe the collar will balance them out? Especially if I have a fabulous faux-fur one, for more volume? There’s just something I like about the patch pockets so I want to give them a fair chance!

This is what the weather in Vancouver looks like these days – definitely a reason to own a fabulous and cosy coat! That’s some serious rain. Wouldn’t everything seem better if I could snuggle into a warm, wooly coat? (Although, think how heavy the coat would get if it were soaking wet. Maybe a light trench would be better for rainy days!)

That’s my coat update – not a lot of progress yet, but plenty of potential. I can’t wait to start the actual construction of this coat!

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27 Responses to Coat Progress, Barely

  1. jadestar September 27, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    Love how the colour is looking. I like big pockets too, but having wide hips I haven’t personally has great experience with them :( ON the up side I am thinking of following your great example and having a go at coat making. We shall see. I’ve been searching for a new winter coat since last year, but nothing fits right. Maybe coat making is the name of the game!

  2. jadestar September 27, 2011 at 6:50 am #

    I meant coat, not colour. Have been looking at lovely yarn on ebay, and my head is clearly elsewhere :)

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:35 pm #

      @jadestar: Ah, I understand! I loooove walking into the yarn store, all of the colour is overwhelming but awesome!
      Have a go at coat-making! I agree, fit is so important to making coats. If you choose a less-fitted pattern, or a simple-to-fit pattern it will be easier and less intimidating.

  3. Ruth September 27, 2011 at 7:02 am #

    The wider your hips, the bigger the pockets should be. If you hang a small picture on a big wall, it makes the wall look vast! A good size picture shrinks it down relatively speaking. People look at the picture and not the expanse of wall. Or in this case, they think “Wow, what big pockets!” and NOT ” just look at those hips!”

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:37 pm #

      @Ruth: Ahh good point! That’s how I feel about back-pockets on jeans. The bigger the pocket, the smaller the butt looks! :) Nothing worse than teeny back pockets on a big butt.
      We’ll see if your theory works for my wrap coat soon! Thanks!

  4. Rhonda Buss September 27, 2011 at 7:21 am #

    Love the coat. I think you may be on your way to an entire wardrobe of coats. When I moved to Chicago from the coast of Texas, I couldn’t believe how cold I was. No more, I have a coat for every occassion. It’s wonderful. The fabric and style you chose for this coat will make it a favorite, I’m sure.

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:38 pm #

      @Rhonda Buss: Oh man, I’d LOVE a whole wardrobe of coats. Here it rains a lot, and we’ve started to get colder and colder winters it feels like! I have a good feeling about this one, I bet you’re right and it will be a favourite!

  5. Tanit-Isis September 27, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    Hmm, apparently my general aversion to patch pockets is a bad idea, since my hips are usually what I’m trying to emphasize…

    I like using old flannel sheets for coat-muslining, partly for the heavier fabric, partly because once I get the fit right I can use those pieces for under/interlining. But I would also probably use what I have on hand, first.

    That collar is going to be so fabulous…

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:39 pm #

      @Tanit-Isis: Ah, that’s a great idea! Old flannel sheets – brilliant! I love the collar as well, it’s so dramatic and fun.

  6. Seraphinalina September 27, 2011 at 7:47 am #

    It’s a great start. It’s going to be a great dramatic collar.
    I had a night like that, at home, have time to sew, but the energy just wasn’t quite there.

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:41 pm #

      @Seraphinalina: Happens to me too! With knitting, because my sewing stuff is all here at the office. Best to come back when we’re feeling more inspired!

  7. Rachel September 27, 2011 at 8:04 am #

    I was inspired by your own coat and took the first step and bought a cape pattern I fell in love with. Now I just need to get the courage to start making it…

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:43 pm #

      @Rachel: Oh fun! Capes are easier than coats (no sleeves!) and make great, dramatic outerwear. Some of the posts I have planned on my coat-making will probably help with cape-making too!

  8. Melissa M. September 27, 2011 at 8:08 am #

    It’s coming along lovely.
    Energy management.. I like that, will have to remember that one and post it to my sewing inspiration board.
    I currently have this quote taped to my sewing machine:
    “Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, just surrounded by a**holes.” ~ William Gibson

    What do you do with your muslin scraps? I think that would be an interesting post, what do you do with your scraps from fabric and muslin. I’m curious because sometimes i’m not sure what to do with them. Sometimes there is to much to throw out but really not enough for much else.

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

      @Melissa M.: That’s a great idea for a post! I usually cut them up into smaller muslin pieces and use them for future muslins. In desperate times, I’ll patch them together to make bigger muslin pieces. I’d love to hear what everyone else does too!

  9. Amy September 27, 2011 at 9:06 am #

    I can’t imagine a coat without pockets, so I hope you’ll focus more of perfecting the fit to flatter than omitting the pockets to flatter. My idea coat would have tens of pockets!

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      @Amy: You know what hooked me? Everyone talking about how they needed places to stash their gloves. Much better than carrying a huge purse! I’ll find a way to make them work, I’m sure!

  10. Nethwen September 27, 2011 at 9:15 am #

    I agree that the size of the pockets is as important as the placement.

    Other thoughts are that you have freedom to move the pockets around: higher near the waistline, on the chest, or on the inside of the coat?

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 2:47 pm #

      @Nethwen: Good point! That’s the good thing about patch pockets, they can go anywhere. Even after the coat is constructed! (Mostly constructed, I mean – with sideseams and shoulder seams..)

  11. Casey September 27, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Ah… energy management! :p Something I have been battling lately (although I have been making stabs at sewing… Finally! lol.); mostly because we’ve had a bunch of big stuff come up in life that is pretty much eating my time and emotional energy at the moment. Or I feel guilty for sewing and not working on something that needs to be done in conjunction with the other stuff going on… Although the times I have had to sew it’s been incredibly relaxing–especially with some nice, down-tempo music and a glass of wine! ;)

    This coat is totally reminding me of a 70s coat I thrifted ages ago and wore to death. It was in the most fantastic lavender/grey tweed. ;) Although it didn’t have huge patch pockets, it did have an enormous collar–I adored it!

    Having worked with large patch pockets, you’re right that the placement and scale will be important. My first instinct is that they need to be scaled down just a tad, but sewing them on the muslin will tell the full story. Be sure to pay attention to how they might hang over the hips on the skirt of the coat, as well as in the case of when they have thigns stashed in them. My biggest pet peeve with patch pockets is that they sometimes sag (even on heavier/firm material) that pulls the whole line of the garment off. Just my two cents though! ;)

    • Lucy September 27, 2011 at 1:37 pm #

      @Casey: sewing with a glass of wine? I’m impressed. The last time I tried that I ended up making a horrendous mistake that resulted in the whole next sewing session being about two hours of unpicking. Probably doesn’t help that I don’t drink much these days so it doesn’t take a lot of wine to make me, um, happy, and I usually want it when I’m tired anyway.

      My new motto: don’t drink and sew ;-)

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 3:00 pm #

      @Casey: Excellent point about trying to put things in the pockets and see what happens! I’ll have to do that. I checked the instructions and they’re interfaced and lined, which should help with the sagging a little!

      Lavender-grey tweed sounds just lovely! Sounds like an awesome thrifting find.

      And I’m definitely using your tip on pocket templates, too! I remember it from a long time ago, it’ll come in handy for the rounded edges!

  12. Tasha September 27, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    A coat is so beyond me, but I’m enjoying following along with you! I do see a raincoat in your future, too. ;)

    • Tasia September 27, 2011 at 3:04 pm #

      @Tasha: Oh definitely! There will be a raincoat in my future, for sure. I’m glad you’re enjoying following along, maybe after watching it come together it won’t seem as far beyond as it does now. :)

  13. Sally September 28, 2011 at 12:11 pm #

    So inspiring Tasia, keep us posted! Your posts are so helpful to those of us who want to know what its like to sew complicated items! Suddenly it is not as scary anymore!

  14. cassandra September 29, 2011 at 2:48 pm #

    Hi Tasia, I’m also having a personal energy-crisis with making my fall coat. Luckily it hasn’t been too chilly here in New England, but I am anxious to get it done! (It also doesn’t help that I’m narcoleptic, and my body thinks any free time I have is sleeping time! My brain says ‘sleep’ but my heart says ‘sew!’)

    I’m a relatively new, self-taught sewist. I’ve never sewn wool before and I obviously have to make a lining. I haven’t actually lined anything before, either. If you could give us any tips on lining a coat, it would be really appreciated.

    Love your site, and sewing enthusiasm! I wish I could just make clothes all day, every day.
    You make the prettiest, coolest outfits!

  15. novemberfoxtrot September 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm #

    shoot! I was in Vancouver for the Sounders/Whitecaps game and didn’t think to ask you about fabric stores. Next time that’s totally on my to do list.