Then, cutting and interfacing. It definitely takes a while, but again something worth doing accurately. I did it in short sessions to try to not get tired, and then I did a second push a few days later to cut and fuse all the interfacing (mind that the front and back armhole pieces are labeled incorrectly – just swap them!).
You know what they say: coat patterns are like buses – you wait years for one, and then two come along at once.
Or is that men?
Anyhoosles I was riding high on the Leanne Marshall mini excitement-wave, but starting to come down slightly after a not-so-great muslin when up pops Jen’s Cascade Duffle coat. The coat that was made for me. Even if Jen didn’t realise that’s what she was doing.
I have long waxed nostalgic over a cream twill duffle coat (with cream fur trim, natch!) that I got in the Laura Ashley sale when I was about 18. Of course, me being me, it was only cream for a season and ended up getting chucked, but ever since then I’ve nursed the idea of a proper duffle in navy wool with brown leather and white cord toggles.
You know what I’m talking about.
It had to be done!
I haven’t made an unshaped coat before so I whipped up a muslin to check and it looks pretty acceptable. The arm is all wonky but that’s because I put it in backwards. Yep. Top quality sewing there. The good news is: the 18 fits across my chest (taking up most of the drafted ease, but that’s OK) and there are no majorly weird bust-draping issues.
I’m making the coat from a gorgeous double-faced navy wool from Mood (still available here) – it’s really, really nice. I’m making the zipper tape and internal piping from plaid from Grey’s Fabrics, the lining is Ambiance Bemberg (here), and the body of the lining will be interlined with Thinsulate. I’ve ordered toggles from MyGann on Etsy, but now I have two decisions to make.
First decision: what colour leather to use for the toggles. I’m making my own, and Ashley kindly donated two leather samples for consideration. Do I go for the warmer chocolatey leather or the more bronzed, orangey colour? I’m torn!
Second decision: I ordered two cords from Pacific Trimming. The upper one is more white and rope-like, the lower one is natural colour and is waxed (so probably more hard wearing). What do you think?
So, on to the rather long process of getting it ready to actually start sewing. I think most non-sewists would be astonished at how long it takes us to work on a coat before we even approach a sewing machine! I must admit that I find it a challenge to be patient and accurate during all these prep stages, even though I know it makes a big difference to the end result. Blogging doesn’t help matters – it definitely gives you a (false) sense of urgency. So I’m trying to get around these impulses by doing tasks bit by bit rather than in huge chunks of time.
First up, I got on with pre-treating the wool. Perhaps the dullest thing known to woman. I know some folks throw wool in the dryer with a damp towel but I’ve tried that twice, and both times I’ve ended up with damaged, slightly felted wool. So it was the old fashioned approach for me: a heavy steam. Luckily I have a gravity feed iron which makes it a touch easier.
Next up I need to cut the lining and Thinsulate and baste them together (I think I’m going to do it by hand this time), and then, I think, construction can begin.
So, which leather and cord do you think I should make? And also, should I self-line the hood so it’s all in the navy wool, or should I use the lining? I’m on the fence!