September 16, 2014

Contain yourself ladies, it’s coat season!


Much as I like summer fun, my inner (OK, not very inner) geek is mostly excited about back-to-school season. What can I say, I grew up in rural northern Scotland and there was only so muchΒ Ceefax you could read in a day, so I just desperately wanted to go back to school by mid August.

Luckily, there’s no need to deny myself these pleasures despite my advanced years (technically I was a student until very recently, but I just finished grad school! Huzzah!). Β At this time of year I always indulge in new tights (these are the only ones that matter in the world), a duvet cover and a new pair of knee high boots (three sets are winging their way to me from Clarks now for consideration).

But now, thanks to sewing I have an altogether more satisfying early autumn pursuit: coat making!

This year’s make was inspired by this gorgeous emerald green number from Marks & Spencer (purveyor of fine tights):

Coat making | Cashmerette

Be still, my heart. As my best friend from Scotland has pointed out many times, I should wear more green. It goes with my hair and whatnot. So this coat was clearly made for me – until I realized that the largest size was a good 3 inches too small for my bust, and as I can’t try it on in a store I wouldn’t be able to check the ease. Plus, there’s no discernible waist shaping. (On a side note: GBP 120 for a cashmere blend coat? It must be made by small children).

I swear it took me a few hours before it occurred to me to MAKE THE DAMN THING. But make it I shall!

So, on my recent trip to NYC I trawled around the garment district looking for coating in just the right colour. Not an easy feat! Twice I found perfect specimens only to find that they only had 2 yards, which is definitely not enough for a coat for a size 22. Finally, nestling in a corner of upstairs at Mood I found the cashmere section… and an amazing bright emerald 100% cashmere. It took a bit of cajoling and mental arithmetic from the ladies (Lauren Lladybird: “but you have to factor in the entertainment value to the cost!”) but I took the plunge. Here it is about to be cut – it’s a little brighter in reality than it appears here.

For the lining, I’m going to be using this crazily awesome flamingo poly crepe de chine I picked up at EmmaOneSock, which is currently working its way around the interwebs. I was excited when this arrived at the office. Can you tell?

As for the pattern, I’m going to use good old Simplicity 1759 again because I really loved my coat from last year, and it is already adjusted to me (swayback and FBA) so it seems silly not to. This time though I’m going to go with front view B which is a fairly slim classic lapel, which is meant to stick up but which I may fold down, because I’m a rebel like that. Although will that be a problem as it doesn’t have a collar stand? Hmm. Confusing myself. I must also confess that I am a little hesitant about the size of the collar – I’m not sure if it might make my bust larger. What do you reckon? Or I could somehow hack something between the B and C views but working for single breasted… The tyranny of choice and the ability to alter patterns, I tell you.

I’ll be going back to my original coat-making tips post, too, because I’ve sort of forgotten it all and it’ll be blissful not to have to do all that research again.

A bright green cashmere coat will be mine. Will I look like Kermit? Only time will tell.

So a question for you, lovelies. Would you like to see in-progress photos of coat-making? I’m never sure how much people are interested in the guts vs. the end product. And, any top coat making tips for me? I’m going to go the fusible tailoring route again because I loved the results last time and figure I won’t mess with (limited) success.

54 thoughts on “Contain yourself ladies, it’s coat season!

  1. Pricklypear says:

    Guts! show us the guts in progress! I want to make a coat this fall too, such a great time of the year, coats and opaque tights. πŸ™‚

    1. Jenny says:

      The readers have spoken! It shall be done!

  2. Michelle says:

    Oh yes, please show your in-progress pics! I never needed a winter coat in SoCal, except for maybe 2-3 cold nights/year. My winter coat is from 2005 and looks like it’s straight out of 2005, so I’m sewing myself a new coat this year, too. (This is going to be my first “real” coat–wish me luck!)

    1. Jenny says:

      Coat making is THE BEST! I’m making this one a bit lighter than last year’s – it will be more of a Fall/Spring coat. No thinsulate this time! Which pattern are you going to use?

    2. Michelle says:

      I’ll be using thinsulate (for the first time) for my final coat. Current game plan is to muslin this pattern and see if it looks okay or if I need to go a Plan B route with more shaping: http://www.hotpatterns.com/hp-1147-deco-vibe-retro-fabulous-coat-jacket/ I really liked the retro-styled coats like these that I saw around town last winter.

    3. Jenny says:

      Cute! But I see what you mean about the lack of shaping. One tip for thinsulate – don’t go anywhere near it with an iron, not even pressing on the reverse of the lining. It disintegrates on contact…

  3. Gah! Green! This is going to be FABULOUS! So, my two cents is that if you want to wear the collar folded down, it probably makes more sense to sew view C and just scale down the collar. If you decide to do view B and try to wear it folded down, you’ll probably need to reverse your understitching on the facing (since you’ll be seeing the “wrong” side)… I always get confused trying to make changes like that! πŸ™‚ Personally I think you’d look nice with either collar option, and this color really is a winner for your complexion. Can’t wait to see it! I’d like to see in-progress posts, if you have time for them!

    1. Jenny says:

      I think you’re probably right… I’m going to fiddle around with collars tonight! Only thing is, I already rough cut the fabric (ready for block interfacing) and I don’t have much over so it might be a wee squeeze….. harum!

  4. Elizabeth says:

    I do love seeing the middle steps – it normalises the process and maybe just maybe I’ll have enough confidence to sew my own coat!

    1. Jenny says:

      You can do it, Elizabeth! As I finally realized last year: if you don’t give it a go, you’ll never learn how to πŸ™‚ My coat last year was my first and it turned out great – just go slowly and do lots of research.

  5. Jenny, I’m so excited for you! Please post pics as you go along.

    I’m loving the color. I wish that I had a silk charmeuse like that for a blouse.

    1. Jenny says:

      Thanks! It is very lovely and strokable..

  6. Faye Lewis says:

    OMGoodness! That is going to be a gorgeous coat! Your one from last year was wonderful. That green will be fab!

  7. First of all, this is awesome! I have this coat pattern and have been wanting to make a coat. And here you are inspiring me do get out my raspberry coat fabric and start cutting! I would love to see progress photos of your coat.

    1. Jenny says:

      Woo hoo I love the idea of green and raspberry coats coming into the world together!

  8. Can. Not. Wait.

    This color is going to be amazing on you!

    1. Jenny says:

      Merci, my dear!

  9. whoFilets says:

    I love all guts posts all the time!

    1. Jenny says:

      Then they shall be yours!

  10. yes to inprogress pics! i love following the progress, and this will be an amazing coat!!!

    1. Jenny says:

      I hope so Joelle!

  11. Kely Sews says:

    oh i love this color and the coat from last year, look forward to progress pictures, I can never find me a nice winter coat, I pretty big arms wide shoulders and it seems like the coats even the plus size have small arm holes…

    1. Jenny says:

      The grading of plus size patterns can indeed be weird! I didn’t have any issues iwth the armholes the first time I made 1759 though, so you might want to try it

  12. Wow – a cashmere coat! It’ll look amazing! Another vote for in progress pics here. I’m also making a coat and expect there will be in progress pics from me too.

    1. Jenny says:

      That’ll be fun – a virtual coat sewalong!

  13. Birgit says:

    I’m crazy about the lining you are going to use! And I would like to see in-progress pictures if you are willing to share πŸ™‚ It might convince me to take on a coat project as well!

    1. Jenny says:

      Yes I lurve the flamingos! I think I’ll probably go around flashing everyone when I’m wearing it πŸ™‚

  14. Gail says:

    This is going to be gorgeous! I was on a green kick a couple years ago, and the color is surprisingly difficult to find, or at least it was then.

    Count me in as one who is interested in the in-progress shots!

    1. Jenny says:

      It is! I was wandering round the garment district for ages trying to find something that was bright rather than forest green… Hopefully I don’t look *too* kermitty with it on though πŸ™‚

  15. Yes! Show progress pics! I would love to dive into making a coat for myself and get lots of inspiration (and tips) from other people’s coat-making adventures. And I LOVE green and can’t wait to see your progress/finished coat!

    1. Jenny says:

      Then it shall be so! Only thing I get a bit scared of is that I’m hardly an expert at this and I’m probably doing stuff wrong… but you guys can laugh along with me πŸ™‚

  16. I think a bright coat is just the thing for a gray city like Boston in the winter. I’m in the Back Bay, so I’ll be on the lookout for you!

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh, I didn’t know that! You should come to our Crafty Foxes sewing club at Grey’s Fabric in the South End! Wednesday nights 6 – 8pm!

  17. dottiedoodle says:

    Lovely! Yes please to every tiny detail, as I’m planning a coat too.

    1. Jenny says:

      I’ll try my hardest!

  18. tanyamaile says:

    This is going to be such an amazingly fabulous coat and I can’t wait to see it!!

  19. Andie L. says:

    Since I will be making a coat for the first time ever, I would love to see the progress photos! I neeeeeeeds it! Also, I love that lining! And am reallllllly jealous of your emerald cashmere. I am glad you got rubber armed into buying it, because cashmerette shouldn’t have anything less!

    1. Jenny says:

      Yeah I’m pretty psyched about the materials! Hopefully I don’t duff it up now…

  20. Marjie says:

    I have made 3 lightweight, autumn and/or spring coats, but never a winter coat. I think emerald green will be wonderful! I’m sure we’d all love to see your progress, even if we aren’t making a coat of our own at this time.

    1. Jenny says:

      Wow, a whole coat wardrobe! I have a funny feeling I may be making one a year from now on…

  21. joen says:

    I would love to see the guts! I have some great tweed fabric in hopes of making a new coat – so any sewing tips would be greatly appreciated!

    1. Jenny says:

      Oh I would LOVE a tweed coat! Go for it!

  22. Paige P says:

    That coat is to die for! I’m strangely scared of sewing outwear though.

    1. Jenny says:

      I was too, Paige, but you know what – it’s exactly the same as making a dress (and almost identical to a shirt dress). Just a bodice, a “skirt” of a sort, and sleeves. That’s about it! You can do lots of tailoring but you can also do none… Give it a go!

  23. Madalynne says:

    Oh yes! I want the full details on this coat! I’m in the same headspace as you – I’m currently working on Simplicity 1505 (it’s a vintage pattern).

    1. Jenny says:

      Can’t wait to see it Maddie!

  24. Lady I’m here to learn, so post away. Look forward to it!

    1. Jenny says:

      Why then I shall attempt to teach!

      (eek)

  25. I cannot wait to see this done. It’s going to be absolutely stunning in that green. If I ever see you wearing it in person, be warned, I think I might have to pet you!

    1. Jenny says:

      You can pet me any time, darling.

      (Did that sound too weird? It probably did. Oh well)

  26. Katy Patzel says:

    Yes, please share all the gory details! I started a coat last year that is still unfinished and I need your posts to get back at it.

  27. In case my last comment didn’t go through- THANK YOU for the great tights recommendation. Also, M&S has a selection of sixty-two bras in my size, where I have never seen a single one for retail in the US. I am forever in your debt for that…

Let me know what you think!