Coat Progress

1 McCalls 5766 Half Done1 Front pleats and pattern matchingDuring the last couple of weeks, the shops have filled with light garments and accessories in the colours of bright skies, blue-tinged grass and lemon mousse.  In every palette is a reminder that Easter is on the way.

And here’s me sewing my woolly winter coat.  Oh well, it’ll be finished by next winter 🙂

This is half of the sewing finished and most of the hard thinking over.  I wanted to show you pictures of the half-decent job I’ve done, in case it’s all doom and gloom later.

The bodice is interfaced throughout even though the instructions didn’t ask for it: very light fusible interfacing on the side bodice front and light calico at the back.  There’s a risk that this might make the finished garment a bit formal and stiff-looking.1 back view inside out

1 Trimming interfacing to slim down the seam allowances before catchstitchingAnother deviation from the instructions: I cut away the interfacing or calico from the seam allowances to reduce bulk then pressed the waist seam open (rather than up, as told) with a herringbone stitch locking the seams back.  So far all the seams have been finished like this using a grey silk thread which was a joy to discover – so light and never visible on right side of garment.  And I’ve developed a fetish for the herringbone, in fact: it’s rather good-looking for a hand stitch and I like going left to right for a change.1 Herrinbone stitch

Oh look, the roll line tape!  1 tape on roll line

I suspect it isn’t doing anything functional but it sounds good.

Remember how when I introduced you to this fabric and pattern (in Shrek), some of you wisely warned that I was heading for pattern-matching hell if I chose to go ahead with a check.  It did take a long time to decide, before cutting, where to position the squares and the lines in relation to the garment edges and stitching lines but to tell the truth, I enjoyed it in – much the same way I loved this 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle my kids got last Christmas 🙂   1Check coats

The hardest decision was where to place pattern piece 1: the front bodice (with the lovely lapel) which was the first cut.  Horizontally there were options but the vertical placement was harder so while shopping, I looked at RTW coats and those worn in the street to see if there’s a convention as to where to place the vertical edges (typically button closure  fastening or zip).  If you look at the coats above, this line never seems to be on a box edge, but somewhere in the middle.  Only when I’m finished will I know if I did ok.1 McCalls 5766 Techncal Drawing

I’ve had to compromise in matching the pleats to the check design. I could make a match by folding in slightly more fabric on the front  but doing this to the back just never added up (you did warm…)  so I had to drop a pleat with now just two at the back instead of four (see techie drawing).  Let’s hope none one notices.

1 McCalls 5766 minus a back pleat

A tailor once told me that with wool being so expensive, if ever a cutting apprentice made a mistake and wasted any, he or she would be shamed and the cost would be deducted from the wages (is it any wonder they all want to work in graphic design and IT now!?).  Through a lack of concentration I did waste a couple of smaller bodice pieces which at £12 a meter I could laugh off but this better not happen when I come to cut the sleeves as the man from Bromley market has reached the end of his last bolt!  There’s plenty left of his other wools which are interesting but the colours are duller and more wintery, whereas mine looks like it loves the early spring sun.1 daffs

I might need a blouse in daffodil yellow next!

1 McCalls 5766 Finished Pocket

1 Marking checks on pattern piece

24 thoughts on “Coat Progress

  1. Really really cute! Your doing a fabulous job. Just finish it and it will seem new next fall. Love the pocket lining it adds a secret pizazz.

    • Yes, the lining (cupro, John Lewis, £12 a metre) was a great find though I was a bit shocked when I got to the till and saw the price. Worth it for the glimpses of the colour.

  2. I am always so impressed by the meticulousness and determination required to cut out plaids–even more so for this coat, since it has so many bodice pieces and a whole bunch of pleats! It looks like you’ve hit it spot-on so far. But my favorite piece of plaid-matching on this coat is definitely the button loop 🙂 I love how you can see all the different stripes of colors going through it–so cute! I can’t wait to see the finished coat!

  3. Thank you for showing us this coat, inside and out. At first I thought you had made a pinafore skirt with straps – then realised it was the very neat insides of the coat. Lovely fabric colours – winter or spring. It is crying out for pastel accessories or a nice cashmere jumper.

    I often leave darts and pleats until the garment is more constructed, especially with checks or stripes, so that I can get them in the right place visually, so I really like the way you did the back pleats. Classy. The herringbone stitch is very accomplished and the roll line taping – you are making great progress.

  4. Perfect matching. It’s a lovely fabric with spring colours in there too. All your hard work and attention to detail have paid off. Looking forward to seeing the finished coat.

  5. It’s looking good so far! I”m about to embark on the questionable task of sewing a winter coat in early spring – long story but I suspect that it will never get done if I don’t do it now. And it’s expensive fabric I bought on a whim. Looking forward to seeing the final coat – your pattern matching seems to be working well so far!

    • Ah, well remembered.

      I did some research by looking at lots of images online but found what I wanted on a coat worn by a fellow mum walking round Greenwich in the (wet) half-term holidays; it’s actually a longer version of View B, i.e. a 3/4 sleeve with a pleated cuff.

  6. The colours in the fabric are beautifully unexpected for a winter weight wool. You’ll gave a great time expressing yourself with those. You’re doing such a lovely job. It’s about this time in a project I dream of elves doing the rest!

  7. The colours in your wool check are lovely, what a super find! Maybe toile those sleeves before cutting? and draw where the checks come on the bodice onto your toile fabric sleeves to get the best possible placing from what fabric you have left?

  8. Ooh the coat is coming along fabulously! I definitely like the wool you chose, it is quite summery (somehow) for a wintery fabric 🙂

  9. Lovely lovely spring colours and meticulous work! I always think that wool is nice even in cool summer weather, but then I live in a rather cool climate. Can’t wait to see the finished coat!

    • Thanks, Stephanie. Summer here can be cool too, especially August. From what I remember, there’s always at least one day in August when we have to put the heating on! I like the idea of wearing this coat opened, with light (and bright) clothes underneath.

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