I have really enjoyed listening to the “Love to Sew” Podcast. In a recent episode there was some discussion regarding “how do you know when you have progressed past being a beginner/intermediate sewer?” and "when are you ready for advanced?" Helen and Caroline gave the opinion that if you don’t give it a try you will never know.
So, I finally silenced the little voice in my head that was telling me that I wasn’t experienced enough to make a coat, I must say that it’s the best thing that I ever did! (Thank you Helen and Caroline).
I trawled the internet looking at coat patterns, I had a style in mind which was a coat with lapels and a collar, with a boyish fit. The pattern that caught my eye the most was The Named Clothing Yona Wrap Coat.
I saw that the Yona pattern was labelled as an advanced level which made me a little anxious, so I researched further and read blog posts within the sewing community. Several of them referenced how amazing the coat is, but also that they struggled with some of the instructions, so that little voice started to nag at me again "If these amazing sewers struggled, you will never be able to do it!" but I ignored it!
I purchased the PDF version of the pattern and found that straight away there were differences to other PDF’s that I have used, this is because once taped, the pattern pieces still needed to be traced as the pieces overlay each other. This was a positive from the point of view that it meant less taping, but a negative from the point of view that I had to spend further time tracing, and of course you would need to have pattern paper to trace onto.
The pattern had a sheet for the main shell, and a separate pattern sheet for the lining (each sheet was 20 pages each), this is because the lining is drafted so that it perfectly attaches to the facings, it is also shorter at the hem and sleeves to give that professional coat finish.
Also, when taping the PDF pattern together, it is not the usual method of having numbers or notches to match the pages together, you just follow the diagram in the instructions to see how they are joined together, this totally confused me at first, it really was a head wobble moment, but once I’d got my head around it, it was fine and the pages fitted together perfectly, they just follow in order so there really was no need for the head wobble.
My main fabric is some kind of wool/wool blend, it was from the remnant basket at Abakhan fabrics so I’m not certain of the fabric type, but it’s warm and cozy and only cost £16 for 3m.
I did not risk washing it, but I pre shrunk it using the steam iron method.
For the lining, I had some patterned polyester in my stash, the pattern is skulls, which are not normally my thing (I’m normally a floral type of gal), but it worked out quite nicely.
Once I got the patterns traced, I started by cutting out the main fabric and facings, and then the interfacing.
There was so much interfacing, more than I’d ever used in a project, and it did cross my mind the skip it in places, but I didn’t, and I’m so pleased that I didn’t as it really adds the structure that the coat needs. I even stuck to the rules of interfacing the hems (bottom of the coat and the sleeves) and I can’t tell you what a difference it makes to the structure of the coat, so my advice is to not skip any of the interfacing. The picture below shows the main shell inside out to give you an idea, the facings are interfaced too.
The main coat and the lining came together really quickly and easily, it’s a raglan sleeve which I love, its so much easier than setting in sleeves. The Collar was also quite easy to construct, but I may have struggled if I’d not had my recent experience of Sewing blouse collars on my Wear Lemonade Simona blouses.
What was a struggle was the bulk, at one point I was sewing layers and layers together but my machine ploughed on with the job in hand. This was because I used a walking foot, if you don’t have a walking foot definitely add it to your Christmas list, I use mine A LOT and I couldn’t have sewn this coat without one.
I actually got my walking foot for my main machine from a lovely lady on Instagram, she saw in one of my pictures that I had the Janome 9000 and hers had sadly died, so she asked if I wanted some bits and bobs which included the walking foot, so I no longer have to swap to my “spare machine” when needing the foot that walks! How lovely is that!
Now its the point where I started to get confused, the next step was to attach the facing to the coat, the instructions said to sew the facing and the bottom of the coat together, then the next step after that was to sew all the way around the perimeter of the facing, but the facing was a good couple of inches shorter than the coat so I couldn’t work it out in my head at all! I’d also read that others had become stuck at this point when sewing the coat and there were some reports of a drafting fault.
I messaged a couple of bloggers to see if they had experienced it, and also emailed Named Clothing to query this with them. I was amazed when Named replied within a couple of hours and they were so helpful, it is not a drafting fault, the facing is supposed to be shorter, this helps to give a clean finish.
Named explained to me what I needed to do, sew the facing and coat together at the bottom as instructed, then fold the hem of the coat up towards the right side at the hem notches, then the facing and coat will be the same length which allows you to sew around the perimeter as per the next instruction step. It seems so obvious now, but I just couldn’t picture it at the time, the images below hopefully show you what I mean.
Then it was time to move onto the lining. I didn’t follow the instructions for this as they were not detailed enough for me. A really useful Angela Kane YouTube video had been recommended within another blog, you can see it here, I used this guidance to help me to connect the lining and facings together, it was very easy to follow, the image below shows you how I attached the lining ready for sewing, hopefully you can see that the coat and lining are right side to right side, and I have pinned the lining to the edge of the facing, right sides together.
I also found the Closet Case Patterns Clare Coat Sew Along super useful in regards to sewing the sleeves to the lining. It was actually very easy to do once I’d got my head around it. I do intend on sewing the coat again and I will add a video to show what I did as its so difficult to explain or show in photos.
I love how the coat turned out, I decided not to add the belt and belt loops as I wanted the boyish shape not a fitted shape, but I don’t know yet whether I will add a button, what do you think?
I’m so pleased that I silenced the "little voice of doubt" as I managed to sew this lovely coat within a few days (probably about 10 hours all in all) and it turned out very professional looking and I really do love it!
Now that I have sewn my very wearable toile, I plan to get myself some quality wool in my favourite mustard colour and make it again whilst it is all fresh in my mind! UPDATE: I decided on a baby pink version instead, see it here.
So, please, please, please do not let your self doubt stop you from giving something go, with time, determination and patience it is possible, regardless of what difficultly rating it has, I learnt so much from making this coat.
I've also recorded a short video on my YouTube Channel if you want to see it in action! Don't forget to subscribe to my channel to keep up to date with my makes and tutorials.
Have you made a coat? If so whats your favourite pattern? If not, are you going to give one a go?