Hooray for fall! And of course fall means that we all have to drop what we are doing and make coats. I was looking at several coat patterns when I started my "Fall Wardrobe" series, and I ended up making muslins for two of them. I can't seem to stop looking at coat patterns, however, and someday I am going to make a coat like this, from Japanese designer Atelier Boz:
Since I need a coat right now, though, this is not the coat I will be making. So, I whipped out my trusty pattern books and came up with two patterns to test as muslins.
The first one is this coat, from the Daily Sewing book:
It's a relaxed cover-all type of jacket, unlined, with a hood and patch pockets. One of our canvases or twills would look fantastic - either a solid or one of the prints, sophisticated like Nani Iro's Painting Muji or fun like Echino's London! Sometimes it's nice to dream of all the jackets you could make...
I usually just make the largest size available when using a Japanese book, but you can see from the following muslin that this is too tight for a coat. It pulls across the chest, and even though I really like the two part sleeves they are not roomy enough for wearing over clothes. When making a muslin, I usually don't make something full length - either in the body or the sleeves - the fit above the waist is the most important thing. It's at least hip length though, so I can see that there is enough room. Also, there's some funky necline stuff going on in the back...
To fix this jacket, I would have to grade it up to a larger size - and that's a whole other post. So we'll leave this one for now and see what's up with the second try!
The second coat is from the Natural Sewing book - it's a lined coat and it's meant to be made with a heavier fabric like a wool flannel. It has very interesting set-in raglan sleeves - which will certainly give me enough room for wearing over clothes.
Oh no! This one is really too big. Too big is easier to fix than too small, however - and in making the muslins I decided that this is the more interesting coat for me. You can see here how it's too big under the arms, and in the second picture it's too big across the back.
A little judicious pinning to bring the back in - and I added the collar stand to see how that would affect the fit - voila! I love it. You can see how that small change affects the fit in both the front and back:
I transferred the changes to my pattern, then chose my favorite fabric that we have right now to made my coat out of. I decided to line it last minute - it is getting colder, and a lining prolongs the life of a coat while making it easier to slide on and off. I adore our cotton / bamboo poplin (Panda by Robert Kaufman) for linings, it's smooth and strong and not made out of plastic like most lining materials. The original pattern has welt pockets - which I also adore - but due to time issues I decided on side seam pockets instead.
Here is my finished coat! It features a collar stand with a curved collar, a center back pleat and BIG RED BUTTONS that you don't see in this picture cause I hadn't sewn them on yet. Coat love!
My post wouldn't be complete without a mini tutorial - here's a great way to sew the sleeve lining to the sleeve so you have a little ease and it doesn't pull or rip when you are out running around. I find that the instructions for sewing in a lining are pretty straightforward for most of it, but the sleeve part has always seemed needlessly confusing. Here we go...
I cut my coat sleeve with a 1 1/4" seam allowance, then I cut the lining so it was 1" shorter - you can just fold the coat pattern piece up 1" and use the same one for the sleeve lining. First - on the outer coat sleeves - pin and press your hem allowance to the wrong side. Just a single fold will do, then sew it with a hemstitch or a blind hemstitch, your choice. If your fabric is very ravelly, you may want to do a narrow edge finish as well, before the hemming.
With the coat inside out and the lining on the outside, baste a 3/8" pleat into the lining a few inches above the raw edge of the lining - you can just fold it up and guesstimate it :
Push the outer fabric sleeve out of the way and press a 1/4" fold to the wrong side of the lining.
Pull out the outer fabric and overlap the lining so the raw edges of the lining hem and the outer fabric hem match up. Pin in place.
Use a slipstitch to sew the lining to the coat, then take the basting stitches out of your sleeve lining. The lining will bag and give you room to move around! Hooray for comfort!