Thursday, February 28, 2013

COAT!!!!

I finished my coat yesterday!!  Happy dance!  Guys, I love it SOOOOO much!  How much?  I've already ordered fabric to make a second one, this time in a solid color.

The coat has been mostly finished since Sunday, when I inserted the lining and did the final hemming.  All that remained was to make the buttonholes and buy some buttons, but I needed a little time to think about it first.  All along, I'd had the idea that I wanted to use fairly large buttons, 1.5 - 2 inches.  But when I sat down to learn how to use the buttonholer on my new Janome, I was a little dismayed to discover that the largest it can make is 1 inch.  At that point, I started wishing I'd opted to make bound buttonholes, but of course it was too late. 

Finally, I decided to make a couple samples of the largest keyhole buttonhole I could make and hold them up to the coat.  That convinced me that a larger button would probably have ended up looking a little clownish, so I went ahead and marked and made the buttonholes.  But not without some trepidation!  Despite my many trials (all of which worked out fine), I was really nervous that I might ruin my coat at this very last step - so nervous that my palms were sweating!  But everything came out fine.


Cutting the buttonholes open was not scary at all, thanks to the buttonhole cutting set my mom gave me for my birthday!  Thanks, Mom!


Here is a close-up of the buttons I got, which are just over an inch:


And here is the coat on its hanger:


Here are a couple pictures of the lining, which is a solid colored cotton voile:




I'm glad I took the time to finish that edge where the front facing folds back - it looks so neat.  The lining was one of the things that scared me about making a coat, but it really wasn't that hard!

Altogether, this coat took me almost exactly three weeks to make, but I kept track of my work and I really only spent about 20 hours total.  And my total cost was $76.67, which doesn't include materials I had on hand, like interfacing.  A little more than I'd planned to spend, but totally worth it. 

A year ago, I would have said that making a coat was beyond my capabilities, and maybe it was at that time.  But this project was a real confidence-booster.  I know I've said it before, but I think this pattern is a really great pick for a first coat.  In case any of you are interested in this pattern, I wanted to give a little run-down of why I like it so much:

     * separate pattern pieces for the lining
     * many options:  long or three quarter sleeves, long or shorter body, patch or in-seam pockets, collar or collarless
     * easing at bust for the three smallest sizes, and bust darts for the other sizes
     * the top sleeve piece is cut on the bias for ease of movement
     * drafted-in ease pleats in the lining back
     * clear and well-written instructions - they don't hold your hand, but if you've been doing some sewing you'll understand them
     * seam allowances are included, and even the hem allowances are marked

There were also a couple things I found confusing:
    * the side body panel is slightly lower at the front than at the back, so it does make a difference which way you put this in.  Unfortunately, the markings for this aren't very clear, and I did end up putting in one of them in backwards - and not realizing it until the seam was already clipped.  Since my lining was so lightweight, it didn't really affect how my coat hangs, but I was pretty disappointed about it because I spent SO much time and care constructing this garment that I wanted every last bit to be perfect.
     * the notches for the sleeve seem to be on the front, rather on the back like they are with American patterns, which means you have to pay a little closer attention

Overall, this pattern is a winner for me.  I'm sort of wishing I'd traced it onto my precious Swedish Tracing Paper, because I can see myself making this one again and again!

Have I teased you long enough?  OK, here are some pictures of it on me:


It feels so great on - just the right fit and weight.  Although my body measurements put me in a size 38 European, I chose to go down a size to 36.  I think a drop-shouldered, a-line shape like this can easily be overwhelming on a short, small-framed girl like me.

Love the pockets!

Back view.  Room enough without being overwhelming.

Buttoned up.

And finally, here's the whole ensemble:

I need to go someplace fancy!

I apologize for the rather drab Grey Wall photos.  I was so excited to get this up!  Never fear - I will take some more pictures when I wear it out into the world.  And this baby will be going out into the world a lot this spring!

68 comments:

  1. OMG, that's absolutely gorgeous. Really beautiful work!

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  2. I was afraid you were going to make us wait until Friday to see you model it! It is so, so elegant and pretty! Your whole outfit looks very classic. I'm glad you still have some time to get some use out of it before it gets too warm!

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    1. LOL, no - I'm stuck at home today so it was a good day to do it! Thank you so much!

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  3. Glorious...absolutely lovely. Bravo!

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    1. Thank you, Evie! I feel pretty smug!

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    1. Aaaaack! Not on my new coat! LOL!

      Thank you!

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    2. No, not on your coat (that would be sacrilege) it's all over my keyboard!

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  5. Lovely! I hope it will be warm enough for you to wear it to our Chicago meet-up next month!

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  6. Seriously fancy coat Lady! Looks great, well done you! x

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  7. Gail it really came out AMAZING! I love it with the hat, too. It's totally making me itch for spring. It's so nice to see you're so happy with the final results with your first coat since I'll be going through mine soon. Definitely gives me confidence too! :)

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    1. Thank you, Tasha! I think your coat is going to be great - honestly, it wasn't that hard! I will say though, that the book I bought recently on linings did help me get a grip on the process - highly recommended. Sewing Linings by Connie Long.

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    2. Would you believe I bought it the other day and it's already on the way to me? Glad to hear it helps! :)

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    3. It really does - I'm glad to know you got one!

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  8. Oh, it's gorgeous! It's obvious how much time and effort you put in.

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  9. Amazing!! I would so SO proud if I made this. You must be feeling great! :) And totally make another one in a solid colour, it's adorable!

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    1. I am pretty darn proud! Can't wait to show you guys my new fabric when it comes - it's CORAL!!

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  10. GET OUT!! it looks fantastic!! well worth the effort. i hope you did many happy dances, i love it!

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    1. Wow, thank you! That's quite a compliment, coming from the Queen of Coats! I started to feel like I could even tackle a blazer, like yours!

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    2. most definitely you could do a blazer. i for one am dying to make a cordova...

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  11. Gail fantastic coat! Oh and I love love the little hat that goes with it. I am so impressed... your button holes look amazing!!! I hope you wear that out asap!

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    1. Thanks, Kirsty! I honestly can't take any credit for the buttonholes - my new machine does them automatically! I will, however, take credit for pressing "start!"

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  12. Your coat is so beautifully done! The finishing looks amazing.

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    1. Thank you, Morgan! I did a lot of hand stitching so that the finish would be what I wanted it to be. And that way I can pretend I'm a couturier!

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  13. It looks nice on the hanger... but it's absolutely fantastic on you! Congratulations!!

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  14. I love the details! The floral print is so perfect after these dreary winter months. This jacket is a winner. And P.S. I read your 'about me' section here on your blog... so funny... I think I could steal nearly 2/3 of it and use it to describe me if I had a more detailed 'about me' section on my blog. Maybe I should write a bio, I always enjoy reading other folks'.

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    1. Thanks, Kathy! You know I love a nice floral ;-)

      Heh - it took me a year to write that "about me" page! I only did it because I felt so bad eagerly reading everybody else's and not having one myself! But now you HAVE to write one - you have me so curious what the similarities are between us - aside from the sewing and taste in patterns!

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  15. oh it's so, so pretty!! LOVE it!!

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  16. Gail it's gorgeous! And I can't believe you would have said this project was beyond your abilities. You are such a talent.

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    1. Thank you! I've definitely learned a lot over the last year or so, so while I probably could have made something like this a year ago, it probably wouldn't have been as neat and well-finished. Having fancy new tools helps too ;-)

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  17. Adorable! Was great to watch the progress :)

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    1. Thank you! I was a little worried the construction posts might be boring, but I love reading those on other blogs, so I put them in!

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  18. You did such a great job on that coat! Very Spring, and it feels kinda retro in a fun way too!

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    1. Thanks, Andrea! I agree - it really has a retro feel!

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  19. Wow, fantastic work! It's so beautifully finished. I can't believe that it only took 20 hours. I know that's a lot, but I'm just comparing to how long it takes me to knit a cardigan or lace shawl and it makes sewing a coat seem a whole lot more manageable than I thought it would be.

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    1. Thanks, Lauren! Yes, once I added it up, 20 hours didn't seem like much at all. It could have been even less, if I had my sewing machine and my iron on the same floor of the house, LOL! Every time I want to press a seam, I have to climb a set of stairs!

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  20. Wow I love this coat so much! The shape is so perfect combined with the stunning print. Perfectly done too! Amazing Xx

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  21. That is AMAZING! The fit, the style, the print, the sewn details, everything works and looks lovely. You did a fabulous job and should be damn proud. Now, how about a hot pink/cerise skirt or dress to complete the ensemble? Or perhaps pink Clovers?

    I must get going on my duster jacket now while I have your example to prod me on. Again, great job.

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    1. Thank you, Lisa! I am damn proud. Amazing the results you can achieve when you SLOW DOWN and take your time!! (Note to self!)

      OK - you next! Where's your duster?

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  22. OK, hand that over, right now! You definitely have no need of that coat - you should give it to me ;)
    No?
    Damn.
    P.S. It's lovely! Clever stitcher!!

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    1. Hehehe - thank you! I don't think it's warm enough for Scotland, LOL! I happen to know that you're a very good seamstress though - you should make one!

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  23. A big BRAVO! That coat is gorgeous and the fit is perfect! And only 20 hours for a coat - that's amazingly fast!

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    1. Thank you, Carmela! I agree - I was really surprised it all only added up to 20 hours!

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  24. AHHHHHHHH!!!!! This looks BEAUTIFUL! Well done! Your fabric choice really is perfect, and the fit is great!

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    1. Thank you! Now neither of us is a coat virgin! Yay!

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  25. Oh my gosh it came out so great -- adorable! I am very impressed. Love the fabric you used; it's an awesome application for that large print. And the insides are just a pretty! Seriously, nice job. :)

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  26. I LOVE how it turned out. I am so making myself one of these :)

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    1. Do it! It's such a fantastic pattern!

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  27. Did you hear that? I just found this post, saw your coat and launched a squeal that broke a glass! Love it!!!

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    1. Is that what that was?! You woke me up, lady! LOL!

      Thank you so much, from one print-lover to another!

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  28. Oh my! It's just amazing. Exactly you, and a perfect fit. Beautiful work!

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  29. Yippee and hooray! This coat is super awesome. Sewing gadgets are so neat. You are chic in it all.

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  30. I found a beautiful Jones NY sateen on vacation- white with big black roses- very much like your print here. I snatched it up, along with some lining and Burda 7072, and as soon as I get up the courage to cut the fabric I'm totally going to make myself one! I just hope it looks half as amazing as yours does!

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    1. Oooooh, that's going to be beautiful! Can't wait to see it!

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