Trench coat wrapped

Sewing coats and jackets are my fav. It was a simple choice to make Simple Sew’s Trench Coat this month to welcome our warmer weather.

I love strong colours so I zeroed into the strongest Liberty colour-way print (MILLINERB) from White Tree Fabrics UK as the basis of this trench.

Granted, this lawn wouldn’t be a coat choice fabric. It’s true to say an Australian Spring can be quite hot so I only needed a light layer and this fabric works.

Oh. The print doesn’t readily show creasing and that’s the other reason I chose this fabric. 


I really should have read the suitable fabrics list, but now this coat is finished, I’m glad I didn’t (Breathable waterproof fabrics, heavyweight cotton, suiting, tweed, taffeta, denim,boiled wool).

Planning:

Coats are an over layer and they often get thrown around – with respect of course. 
With that in mind, the two aspects I kept in mind was to ensure the:
  • inside finishes would show and
  • need for interfacing and reinforced seams were a must.
Nice inside finishes = binding the facings and pockets
Reinforces seaming = fake machine felled seams
Interfacing for the facings, pocket opening and the belt.

Remember, if you don’t want to do this type of work, this coat is simple to sew by using a medium-weight fabric with overlocked seams.

Sewing planning:
There’s only 24 hours in a day and with work and family commitments this trench coat was sewn. In the wee hours of the morning before work I sewed up the initial pieces of the coat.
I kept the front coat pleating for when there were no family interruption. MrV was at the gym for the night so I had more time to work out the pleating.

Because the fabric is cotton, I ironed the front pleats from the waist to the hem. The skirt of this coat now sits better on me and is more balanced for my height.

The coat facings are interfaced.

The pocket openings are also interfaced because I use coat pockets a lot, so I felt it worth the effort to reinforce them.
I used bias binding to finish the pocket seams, facings and the waist join.

As the coat came together I kept thinking this trench coat could be a fab wrap dress. Is that crazy? The front bodice has bust darts and all you’d need are a couple of snaps at the waistline and ‘bam‘, there’s your wrap dress.

Construction:
1. Mark and sew in bust darts in front bodice pieces.

2. Sew in a know and thread at end of dart, do not back stitch. Press dart downwards.

3. Right sides together, join back bodice pieces together. Press seam open. I used fake machine felled seams to reinforce this fabric.

4. Join and sew front and back bodice together at the shoulders. Press seams open or finish using fake machine felled finish. Join and sew front and back side seams. Press seams open and finish them.
5. Join back skirt pieces together and sew at the centre back seam.
6. Press open. I finished this seam with fake machine felled finish.
7. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings should be. I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.

My pattern didn’t have the pocket markings on the back skirt pattern so I traced off this marking from the front skirt pocket markings. Claire knows about this issue and the pocket markings will be on the next print run of this pattern.
8. Moving onto the from skirt pieces and mark in your pleats along the skirt waist. Hand tack or pin them in place. Claire recommends hand tacking and pressing them in. 

My fabric was a cotton so I was able to simply use pins and the iron. The fabric is great to work with.
8a. On the right side of the fabric, machine stitch the pleats in place and press them.
I pressed my pleats from the waist to the hem.

9. Take two pocket pieces and with right sides together sew them where the pocket markings are. Make sure these pockets align with the bottom pocket piece.
I finished the pocket seams with fake machine felling.
10. Pin your front skirt in place on top of the back skirt with right sides together. Match up the opening of the pockets.
11. Stitch from the top of waist to the start of the pocket opening. Back stitch and cut thread. Start stitching again from the bottom of the pocket opening all the way down to the hem. Press the seam open. Now stitch all the way around the curve of the pocket. You can overlock or zigzag stitch the pocket curves. I used bias binding for a neater look. 

12. Your coat skirt will look like a wrap skirt.


13. With right sides together, join and sew the skirt and bodice together, aligning the side seams. Press open. I finished the seams with bias binding.


14. With right sides together, join back neck facing to front facing. Press seams open. I finished the seams with bias binding.


15. With right sides together, pin the facing onto the coat and stitch it in place all the way around from one hem to the other. The seam allowance here is 1cm.
Press seams open. Snip around the neckline curves. Then turn facing inside the coat and press flat.


16. With right sides together, attach and sew under-sleeve to top-sleeve. Press sleeve seam open. I finished the seams with fake machine felling. Attach remaining side of the under-sleeve to the remaining side of the top-sleeve. I did a french seam here. Turn up the sleeve hem, press and stitch in place.


17. Fit sleeve head into armhole right sides together and ease sleeve in to fit. The seam allowance here is 1cm. Stitch in place. Press.

 I finished the seams with bias binding.

18. Right sides together, join belt pieces together. Start sewing from one side and sew all the way around, leaving a turning opening along one side. Turn through to right sides, press and the slip-stitch the opening closed. I machine finished this opening.

Fold the edges of the belt loops flat, top stitch the edges down carefully and then machine stitch the first side onto your coat right side together where marked on the pattern.

19. Turn up the hem all the way around, press flat and stitch in place.

While I like fitted styles, this wrap trench has a great shape to it.

Cheers and thanks Claire and White Tree Fabrics Uk for this coat.

Coating for winter

This cozy Winter jacket uses many remnants using McCalls 6292.

 I made this style in pleather three years ago. 

 Even the lining is from someone else’s stash that I bought at Pitt Trading.

 After visiting the War Memorial in Canberra recently I added the blue tape to the sleeve.

The zipper is one of the bunch of designer zippers I bought at Pitt Trading too. Yes I do frequent Pitt Trading on weekends. The nearby cafe is very tempting too.

I tend to steer away from short jacket, when they’re a bit boxy, but a contrasting sleeve can add length to the look of it. 

 Especially if styled with pants or skirts in the same colour as the sleeves.

The coating fabric really feels like Winter armor but is quite soft so I’m keeping this little jacket while it’s cold.

PS: I think disqus works again. For some reason I was able to edit it into the blogger template #ihavenoideawhy. Could I replicate doing this again…#idon’tthinkso.

On ‘blogger’ comments: there’s a ‘Notify me’ tick box when you make a comment. Most people can miss this when they’re commenting. While this is a nice feature, if you tick this box, you’ll end up getting every comment and reply posted on that particular post. It is a two-way conversation with every other comment made.

Staying warm

It’s cold. My feet are cold, so this impromptu overlayer using Butterick 6062 came about.

This isn’t the way the pattern is drafted. 

I used View A as my basic block; adding a wide collar; used the full sleeve length; lengthening the jacket to cover me up but kept the big pockets.

The main fabric was a remnant I bought at Addicted 2 Fabric. The contrasting sleeves are also a wool remnant from my fabric stash. The day I bought this fabric, I was freezing in Canberra and I was really close to using this fabric as a blanket.

This coat is a warm layer and it’s not too unstructured. There are darts in the pattern and I’ve not use them.

 I had enough fabric to make the collar but not the under collar.

 So I used the sleeve fabric for the under collar.

We had a wee bit of fog yesterday morning, hence these photos, although I’m not feeling cold anymore.

Croc denim & furniture spray

At least five years ago I bought this croc-resin stretch woven denim locally with a zipper jacket in mind. And here it is.

Whoops. 
Before I show you the fabric, let me show you my sewing tools of choice. 
I used lots of furniture spray, a teflon foot, a denim needle and wonderclips to sew the fabric.

You can see the teflon foot and wonder clips used on the collar.
You can’t smell the ‘Mr Sheen‘ used to help the fabric flow and be sewn easily.

My fingers ached trying to pin this fabric together, so wonderclips made sewing easier.

McCalls 4596 jacket. I first made this pattern up in 2008.
Here’s a close up view of the collar and lining. The fabric has some stretch which was both good and bad. The slight fabric stretch is basically good once it’s made up and you wear it.

However I did use pins to get the sleeve in so the puckers at the shoulder line look like small even pleats. I trimmed the seam allowances everywhere I could for better shaping.

I used the denim fabric on the pocket at the jacket seam.
Here’s the side view so you can see the final close up.

The back shaping is nothing to look at on the hanger. When I saw this photo I realised the lining in the right sleeve was too short, so I unpicked it and handsewed the sleeve lining in place, and the sleeve now hangs ‘naturally’.


Why did I make this jacket now?

I wanted a wild-looking jacket to go with my highland inspired dress but it was so cold on the day, I ended up wearing a coat instead.

The back shoulder width gives me room to move and it’s a good layering piece.

I can safely say this jacket is great for travel.

This was my go-to jacket in Canberra this weekend for CBR Frocktails. Fab weekend ladies!

It worked:) #phew

Creating clothes is what I do. Altering RTW is not, especially if it’s a formal mens jacket. But I’ve done it #phew.

As the eternal pushover, I said yes to extending the sleeves on a formal jacket for my ‘little brother’. I could not have completed this alteration without the style and sewing advice of those very able sewing men: Joost of make my pattern and Thomas sewingdude. Thank you both for all your advice last week. 

First attempt: moved the top button down.

On the left is the original sleeve. The right is the first attempt at adjusting the sleeve. 

Joost advised me to move the top button down after lengthening the sleeve. When I took this pic, I then decided to move another button down so the button placement matched/was closer to the new sleeve length.

What I discovered

The buttonholes are sewn and not cut, making moving the buttons easy. 

Here’s the original insides showing the buttons stitching.

This jacket had a layer of armoweft under the buttonhole stitching.

A piece of fusing is used to keep the lining and sleeve seams together.


Here’s the stitching for the entry point on the sleeve lining. The lining pocket inside the jacket is really cute.

Both sleeve linings had an entry point. The stitching was in a contrast colour and easy to undo. So I was able to unpick the sleeve without affecting the sleeve seams.

The sleeve corner had a row of handstitching so I made sure I did a row of hand stitching to keep the sleeve looking RTW.

Reattaching the lining to the jacket sleeve

Stash benefit

I didn’t have exactly the same fabric at home, but I did have a similar dark grey piece to use on the inside of the sleeve. There is a 1/2cm fold on the inside where I joined the stash fabric to the jacket fabric. 

Finished sleeves; to be professionally pressed.

The verdict
My little brother wore his jacket last night to a formal event. He was really pleased the sleeves were at the right length for him. He didn’t feel at all self conscious wearing his re-engineered jacket and had a great night with the ‘missus’ while we babysat the kids. They both beat us at Xbox and ‘Game of life’ in a big way.

Jacket fav: Vogue 8931

Finally. I found a jacket style I like and a pattern I have already fitted (Vogue 8931) for this month’s Minerva Crafts project. This French crepe and buttons worked together well. The fabric is soft, resilient and was a confidence builder. 

These buttons in two different sizes take this jacket from ordinary to being ‘just a bit different’. My idea was to take ‘ordinary’ navy to a more interesting look.


My wardrobe plan is to have a work jacket for this dress too.

The purple jacket gets worn regularly in the office and the shape has held up really well. I’ve worn this jacket for over a year so I know the fit works. This time I’ve made the 3-button version with the buttons ‘on show’ and adding ‘real’ pockets. I went for a riding jacket style.

The jacket


So here’s the new jacket with my highland inspired dress looking ‘highland-like’. Ok, I’ll stop smiling now.


Here’s how the new jacket looks up close and I’ve blued up the colour so you can see the contrasts.

I still can’t believe my piping worked. It really did.

I always get my jackets and coats professionally pressed once they’re made.

Here are the main areas where a deep breath and a calm atmosphere helped me along the way.

Pockets

I used the pocket pieces from Vogue 8732, because that’s what I had available to me. The welts were made thinner.

I’ve used a contrasting thread to guide my sewing.

Here’s the underside that I have to contend with.

Below is the corner pocket stitching that keeps the pocket square.

I call these two happy smiling pockets.

Facing detailing

This is something I enjoy doing as my signature detailing.
I also felt I needed to use the navy ribbon I had order for the highland dress but didn’t use.

Collar notches

Now this isn’t the collar technique I used. I followed the instructions and below is my checking to make sure they matched.

Sleeves

I don’t usually handstitch along the sleeve stitching line but this time I did to make sure the sleeve was puckerless. This crepe is beautiful and very pliable.

Buttonholes

These are the markings I made to make sure the buttonholes all started and finished in the same place.


I love these buttons.

So you could say I love this jacket style and it goes with a few pieces I already have in my wardrobe. I could use this jacket as a riding jacket, and I’ll show you what I mean in July.

Thanks again to Minerva Crafts for supplying everything to make this riding jacket.

Now this jacket is a work staple.
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Quart Coat: Autumn

Finally Autumn has arrived and I’ve jumped into coat making – Paulinealice Quart coat.

I hope you’ve already read Sewmanju’s Quart Coat review. Or maybe Claire’s review. There are a bunch of great Quart Coats around now. Beth’s reviews have lots of good.


Paulinealice Quart Coat is certainly distinctive and requires good sewing skills to achieve but she’s done the leg work with her pattern pieces (separate lining pieces with wiggle room) and since the Quart Coat was launched last year, Pauline has developed a few more distinct styles from this pattern.


Did you see her biker jacket version? She’s such a helpful designer that Pauline has posted a ‘how to‘ so you can create your own biker jacket version.


Pitt Trading

The first Autumn fabric haul at Pitt Trading was too good to ignore and coats are something I adore making because of the work that goes into them. Each coat extends my sewing skills – or at least that’s what motivates me to keep making coats and jackets. Thank you again Pitt Trading for these fabrics and notions.

If you’re looking at planning posts, Sewmanju, Claire and Beth have great posts to learn from.


Dualling coats

I did test this pattern on some navy wool fabric I purchased in New York two years ago. Let me clarify this. I wanted to test and practice bound buttonholes, the pleats, check the centre back seam and following the sleeve zipper instructions correctly on the real version. 

The test navy coat

I do make a lot of mistakes and my handy unpicker saved me on a number of occasions as I wanted to get the stitching right. Having a test coat prepped at the same time as the real coat let me relax a bit when I started working on the ‘real’ fabric. So I was sewing ‘in parallel’.

Once I had constructed the sleeves and bound buttonholes I got stuck into the real coat. The real fabric from Pitt Trading was much easier to work with. There are lines in the weave so I used this as an additional sewing guide.


Bound buttonholes
The technique Pauline suggests is easy to follow. You can make this coat without bound buttonholes but I decided to include these. After practising on the navy test version, my bound buttonholes became more accurate. Both fabrics had varying thicknesses and movement so when I sewed machine buttonholes on the epaulets, they were a welcome relief. Making bound buttonholes means I have to be accurate (#anxiety) and hand stitch them closed (#sorefingers). 


Swayback adjustment

On the pattern, the centre back is cut on the fold. To cater for my sway back, I’ve created a centre back seam to follow my curve ie no fabric pooling. Yay.

Epaulets

I love epaulets. I added a longer epaulet to the centre back waist as an additional military feature. Pauline suggests using the lining as the underside of the epaulets. I did this on the grey version but I used a lighter weight dark purple for the navy version.


Pleating

On the test version, the pleats threw me. They have to point to the back so by the time I made them with the real fabric, they worked out.
The ironing press made these pleats a whole lot sharper. I’ll be using the old ironing press again for a future pleated project #hint.
As Beth did, I initially sewed the lining onto the pleats and then I took them off.


Petite change

The only change was to make the pocket bag shallower, but still keeping the bag part, if that makes sense. 
I left the coat length, sleeve length and collar width as is. When is frightfully cold, this coat style is going to come into it’s own. 

The main part I focused on was getting the shoulder positioning and kept the lengths as is.

Excuse my ‘zipper in sleeve’ joy.

Zippers
Any jacket with zippers on the sleeves has me at ‘hello’. 
I collect unusual zippers and buckles because they can be difficult to get when you actually need them. These zips were just what I needed for the navy version.
Pitt Trading provided me with their zippers for the grey version.

Navy coat lining.

Lining and trims
Let’s just say, great colours under a dark cover keeps me motivated.


The fabric used for the grey version wasn’t lining fabric but when I saw it on the shop floor at Pitt Trading both Sylvia and I loved it as lining.


Hems

Pauline suggests interfacing the hems and this gives a much sharper finish. I know a good press at the dry cleaner will make this coat look less home made. 

Thank you Pitt Trading for providing the fabrics and notions for my grey coat. Their new website is being filled with fabric every week.
Pauline’s done it again with a lovely and unique coat pattern.