"" the girl who makes things: More about the coat... and some better photos

Sunday, 24 November 2013

More about the coat... and some better photos

Hello blog world, I hope you've had a good week! Mine's been pretty excellent. Yesterday I went to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching show and got all inspired by the exhibitors. I was lucky enough to join a workshop called 'Fine Tune Your Dressmaking' and learnt some ridiculously useful techniques, such as an easy way to insert sleeves and how to make bound button holes. I think I'm going to have to dedicate a blog post to it. I also bought a shiny new red sewing machine and some vintage patterns and fabric. I've got so many projects in mind, I feel like my brains are boiling over. I wish I could just slip into a parallel universe for a bit and do everything I want to do without having to go to work.

This was the first week of wearing my new coat too. I said that I'd write a bit more about how I made and designed the coat, so this is a whole post dedicated to the topic - strap yourselves in!

I'd been thinking for a while about making a coat, but didn't really have a firm idea in my head about what I wanted. I always think it's a good idea, before you start sewing to actually try on some RTW pieces, especially when it comes to making a staple item of clothing. So many times I've thought 'Oo, that pattern looks good, I'll make that!' and then I've made it and it doesn't suit me. It's even more heartbreaking than buying something RTW because you've put all that effort in. So yes, trying coats on was crucial.

From trying on coats I got a really good idea of what I felt comfortable in. I discovered that, I don't like tailored coats. I like the boxy, sixties style coats - mid thigh length with a cute, round collar. Never realised that before! So a Pinterest board started. I looked at colours, shapes and styles. A couple of designs called out to me, but I particular liked the colour blocking for this coat, so I knew it was something I'd have to incorporate:

Next, I was on to pattern hunting. Yet another Pinterest board happened. I short listed a couple of patterns, the following made the grade:

B7020Pink coat

I loved Burda Style 7072 so much, but Burda Young 7020 just pipped it. I bought the pattern from this amazing shop in Bradford called Bombay Stores. If you're ever in the North of England, GO. It's eye bogglingly beautiful.

I toyed with the idea of buying pink coating fabric, it's very Autumn/Winter 2013 trendy, but I don't wear pink. Especially baby pink. Classic colours work for me. Boring but true. I bought navy blue and camel coloured coating from the wonderful B&M fabrics in Leeds Market.

Construction time! I made a toile, I think this was definitely essential as I identified few fitting problems - mainly that the arm holes were too small. I made these alterations to the pattern and then I was good to go.

Then I committed the cardinal sin of slicing up my pattern pieces. Yep, I cut off the bottom half of the outer layers. There's two versions of this pattern - a short one and a long one. I cut along the line for the short one and used this for the navy blue fabric. The bottom pattern piece I cut out in camel. Then I stitched the pieces together so they were whole again.

Assemblage was ok. The collar was the tricky part, but I actually found this tutorial by Four Square walls quite useful, even though it's not about coats. Squeezing in all that thick coating fabric was a challenge though.

I decided on square patch pockets instead of invisible because I love them. The plan wasn't to have the pockets overlap the navy and the camel coating fabric, but I actually quite like it as a design feature. As one of my friends pointed out, it breaks the colour block up.

The lining fabric is silky smooth leopard print. Again this wasn't planned, I just walked in to the shop, couldn't find what I was looking for, saw it and thought 'that'll do' and used it. Now it's one of my favorite things about the coat.

So pattern review, what was good and what was bad:

The pattern pieces were pretty good. There were separate pieces for the lining and there were lots of markings to tell you where which bit needed to go. Everything came together nicely.

The instructions were TERRIBLE. There wasn't even a size table on the envelope so I had to look up my measurements on the Burda website. For such a complicated construction there was hardly any guidance and I had to look up quite a lot online. For example I had no idea what to do with collar.

Overall though I'm happy with the design and so proud of my achievement. I might even make another coat!


  1. I think this is gorgeous and it really suits you. I love the classic colours but I also love the colour blocking detail too, it really makes the coat something special! I am making my first ever coat just now. I started it last year, then gave up, but am forcing myself to finish it this year. I suspect though that it will be spring before it's finished!

    1. Thank you Helen! Oh dear, I'm you'll get it finished. You just need a long weekend to power through it :)

  2. I hate burda instructions. They're so frustrating to use! Well done for battling through.

  3. I hate it when the pattern instructions are so confusing. Thank goodness for the internet!

  4. Oooh, I absolutely love this coat! Congratulations on such a gorgeous (and functional) project! : ) I really like how the pockets overlap the color blocking, and the 60s style really does look great on you. Yay for new coats!