On Coats, Pattern Pieces, and A Sewalong of Sorts

This is all I did on the coat project yesterday:

I pinned the pattern pieces to the dress form to get an idea of what the coat might look like. (Love that huge, dramatic collar!) There’s a couple more urgent things I’m working on, but I did take a break and play with the pattern a little. Sewing this coat will be a slow process! But you can be sure I’ll be thinking a lot about this project even while I work on other things.

I’ve pinned up the hem to show you where View B ends – and posed my rain boots next to the coat to give you an idea what it would look like with chunky rubber boots. That’s supposedly the red coat in the cover illustration, but it looks longer than that to me! I want it to be long, but according to the fabric requirements I only have enough for Views A and B. So we’ll see!

Note: Strangely, the coat pieces seem longer in real life, but look shorter in photographs! Looking at these photos is really helpful to step back and see it from a distance. Something to think about for your own projects – photos can help you look at things more objectively.

Thanks for all the feedback yesterday on pockets vs. no pockets! And I’m loving all the seventies love for the pattern. It is the kind of coat you want to snuggle into – what a great way of putting it! It’s been pouring rain all week, so a cosy, snuggly coat sounds just about perfect right now.

I did peek at the instructions and they talk about padstitching!

The faux-fur collar is not really detachable, either. That’s kind of a lie! They have you make the collar, then slipstitch it to the coat collar. So it’s removable, but it takes work to put it back on. I think I’ll find a way to make it detachable for real – I’ve seen coats that use loops and buttons to attach fur collars. Most of the time, I’ll want to wear the faux-fur but I like the idea of having options.

A muslin is a must! Amanda S. made a great comment about bulk around the waist for this coat style, which does concern me a little. I’m pretty sure this is the pattern I want to use, but there’s always a chance that I’ll change my mind after seeing the muslin. And that’s perfectly fine! That’s why we make muslins. Before investing a month’s worth of sewing time (or more!) into a coat project, we want to be absolutely certain it’s the right fit. Caroline‘s comment that muslin isn’t the same as our actual fabric is something to consider when making a coat muslin. A bit of extra bulk in muslin fabric could equal too much bulk in a heavy coating fabric!  So we’ll consider that as well when fitting the muslin. And not over-fit! So much to think about but I’ll go through it all slowly, in detail. We’ll be able to see if the patch pockets look good or if it would be better to swap them out for welt or inseam pockets. Patch pockets are easier to sew, and nice and roomy! I’m leaning towards patch pockets as long as they aren’t too obvious.

Annabelle and Vicki Kate asked if I could write about my coat project, sew-along style, with details on the construction and tips. I can do that! While it won’t be a typical sew-along, I’ll talk about some of the sewing steps and tips for making your own coats. You’ll get to see the inner workings of my coat, I’ll explain why I’m doing certain things – and show you how!  So look for coat tutorials over the fall as I make slow progress on this lovely coat.

Have a lovely weekend and happy sewing! I hope you’re finding ways to sneak sewing into your busy lives. I’ll try to sneak in some coat-sewing this weekend!

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16 Responses to On Coats, Pattern Pieces, and A Sewalong of Sorts

  1. kelli September 23, 2011 at 6:43 am #

    I am excited to watch your process. I am also attempting a wool coat right now – my first one. I am using Simplicity’s PR2057. I am also in the muslin stage, but decided to use a cheap felt for my muslin in hopes that it will give me a better idea of the bulkiness of the wool for fit.

  2. Lynne September 23, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    As far as making a muslin of a coat like this goes, try making your muslin up in a flannel, or other fabric with a bit more loft. It will show an approximation of bulk better than muslin or gingham fabric, and it can always be used as an interlining for extra warmth later!

  3. Naomi~ September 23, 2011 at 7:41 am #

    I’m really looking forward to reading updates about your coat progress! I find I learn a lot in reading about how you approach garment construction, even if it isn’t a full sew along.

    I’m trying to gather up the guts to tackle a coat project myself. I have two winter coats that are now too large for me, that I wanted to refashion slightly….and a long wrap woolen skirt in tiny houndstooth pattern that I was thinking of maybe refashioning into a 50’s style cropped jacket….but I have to admit, I’m a little nervous about all of them! I just need to pick one and go with it!

  4. Claire (aka Seemane) September 23, 2011 at 8:14 am #

    I think your coat will be v. snuggly and warm from the looks of the pattern illustration!

    Re: making the faux fur collar detatchable / removable here’s 2 tutorials I bookmarked ages ago – youmight be able to adapt them to your needs?

    (1) Casey’s: ‘vintage flair: make a (faux) fur collar’, and
    (2) Coletterie: ‘Removable Custom Faux Fur Collar for Your Coat’

  5. Erika September 23, 2011 at 8:19 am #

    So excited to see the beginning of your coat! It looks like a perfect lenght on the dummy, but it might be that belt and closet fitting makes it a bit shorter in the end.

    I love this pattern, and I had the same problem as you when I started looking for coat-patterns. Never thought about 70s patterns, that could have spared me quite a bit of hunting… I was lucky to come by this on swedish ebay: http://vintagepatterns.wikia.com/wiki/Vogue_7594, in a size 32 bust.

    If in the end you feel comfortable with the wrap-coat, I’d be happy to loan the 50s pattern to you. I love it a bit too much to part completly with it… =) I’m sure the wrap-coat will be super-comfy though!

    Have a great weekend!

  6. Vicki Kate September 23, 2011 at 8:34 am #

    I’ve got a coat with the buttons and removeable fur collar system, so if you want a load of photos then I’m happy to take some and email them over for you. I’m so glad you’re going to be able to share how you construct your coat, and the whys! I keep looking at my Lady Grey pattern and plotting fabric and colour combinations. I may well bite the bullet and sew it over 2012 ready for next fall…

  7. Donna September 23, 2011 at 8:35 am #

    There’s no way I’m brave enough to attempt a coat yet, but I’m going to watch your process with interest. I love the fabric that you’ll be using.

  8. Vicki Kate September 23, 2011 at 8:37 am #

    Oh, and just a thought that might help with the whole fabric around the waist issue. Can you compare this pattern to your Lady Grey and also compare the fabrics? Both tie around the waist so this might help you envisage the finished coat more easily and how much oompf there’ll be around the waist. I hope that makes some sort of sense and you get what I’m on about!

  9. Catholic Bibliophagist September 23, 2011 at 8:48 am #

    I will really enjoy reading about your coat construction. I have a very simple wrap coat pattern which I bought in the ’70s. Who knows, maybe I’ll get inspired to finally make it.

  10. Ellen September 23, 2011 at 8:53 am #

    Last year when I made my muslin for my lady grey, I used fleece, which seemed to have the right amount of bulk.

  11. Lizzy September 23, 2011 at 9:58 am #

    I really want to see the process, I want to make a coat, I tryed to trace the pattern my self but I am not very sure about it, so I decied to do Mc Calls 5525, it is atrench coat BUT I’m gonna do it in some kind of wool I bought because I wanted to do the Lady Grey coat but I did it in other fabric.

    I want to do all those tailoring stuff , so please, post about EVERYTHING!!!

  12. Melissa M. September 23, 2011 at 10:07 am #

    Yeah! I can’t wait to read about your progress on this coat. I do believe it will be fantastic. I’ve made a couple of coats, fleece coats. I made one for my daughter that was a pull over with a hood and a large front pocket and then I made myself one with seperating zipper about 10yrs ago. I still have my coat but my baby grew out of hers and I passed it on to a neice. I did notice last year that some of the stitching on my coat is coming undone but after 10yrs of wear, i’m really proud of it lasting so long. I thought about making another coat but I wanted a different style just not sure what yet also living in Texas, we don’t have much of a winter.

  13. Caroline September 23, 2011 at 12:32 pm #

    Hmm, that will be fun and instructive to read your posts as a coat (or lighter jacket) is definitely something I want to attempt at some point.

  14. ms. modiste September 23, 2011 at 1:06 pm #

    I love this pattern! I want to have the little red version, so great! Can’t wait to see how yours turns out.

  15. Ashlee September 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm #

    Can’t wait to read about your progress with this coat! I’ve got a lovely 40’s inspired Butterick coat pattern that I’ve been itching to cut into, but I’ve never sewn a coat before so it makes me nervous. Reading your sew-along(ish) posts will hopefully give me the push I need to give coat sewing a whirl before the season is through! :)

  16. Melissa Alexandar September 23, 2011 at 11:41 pm #

    Oh man I really love the seventies too!! I had already gotten a pattern for a peplum jacket, but its short and i really LOVE the idea of keeping my legs warm with a longer coat. Do you know if there is any way to keep the peplum style but make the coat longer? Just curious. and if any one has any suggestions i’d be so glad to hear them. Thanks ;) http://singinsweetbird.blogspot.com/