So we’re a week into the most depressing month of the year. We’ve been harshly thrown back into the hell-pit that is commuting and working life, with our waistbands feeling just a smidge tighter than they did before the break. The bank balance is crying and payday feels like a distant light at the end of a very long tunnel. (Is that really the light though? What If it’s another train?) But hey, on the flip side – the days are slowly but surely getting longer, and we can legitimately start thinking about getting some natural vitamin D again. Annnnd there’s a whole new year’s worth of sewing to think about. Did you choose a #MakeNine for 2018?
In case you missed it last week, here’s mine!
For more deets on these amazeballs patterns and what I plan to do with them, head on over to last week’s post.
So I’m kicking off my 2018 with a double whammy of handmade things for the husbeast – I sewed his jacket *and* knitted the hat. Aren’t I a good wifey 🙂 The hat is the Cambridge Watchcap by Hannah Breetz, knitted up in Berocco Ultra Alpaca – Redwood Mix. I made this hat a few years ago but it’s still going strong! I do love knitting, but it’s not something I manage to find a lot of time for… Maybe once I’m retired I’ll be able to knit up everything I’ve got queued!
I really love how the photos of this jacket came out – usually it’s me in front of the camera and not behind it, so I don’t get a lot of practice in at taking the shots. I scouted this location when we were walking the dogs one weekend and was keeping my fingers crossed that the beautiful orange leaves wouldn’t have disappeared by the time we could get back to take the photos. They hadn’t – yay! (Though when we got back from the shoot, the dogs sniffed us and gave us that I KNOW YOUVE BEEN TO THE PARK WITHOUT US I CAN SMELL IT ON YOU HOW DARE YOU look.
The brown wool fabric I’ve used for this V8940 jacket came from Abraham Moon, it’s their Lambswool Twill in Spice Brown. It’s the same fabric that I used for his purple coat, just in a different colour. It’s really good quality and lovely to sew with, so I would definitely recommend it if you’re thinking of making outerwear. The lining is from Minerva Crafts, and it comes in loads of different colours – I’m slowly working my way through all of them, using the pink version on a coat for me that I’m now finishing. It’s just that little bit more interesting than a boring plain satin – and you know I do neither plain nor boring.
This pattern is classed as ‘advanced’ on the pattern envelope, and I’ll warn you – there’s a LOT of pieces to trace, cut, and interface for this jacket before you even start sewing it together. And there’s also like 80+ steps to follow on the instructions. It’s a commitment – believe me – in time, money and sanity. It took me many hours to trace, cut and prep all the pieces and baste the sew-in interfacing to all of the pieces, and that was before I’d even reached step 1 of the instructions. I made the jacket slowly over a few weeks, doing a little bit at a time. When I made the coat version earlier on in the year, I was using my old machine that didn’t have a basting stitch – so I literally hand basted all the interfacing to each piece. It was LONG. Now I actually have a machine with a basting stitch though so the whole process is a lot quicker – I just whizz round all the edges, stitching just inside the seam allowance. Interfacing on the top, fabric on the bottom – this seems to work better than the other way around, as the pieces don’t stretch out of shape as much. If I’m feeling particularly good, I’ll then go round and trim off the interfacing from the seam allowance – this helps reduce bulk once the jacket is sewn together.
As I’d made the coat version first, some of the pattern pieces could be re used for the jacket version – like the sleeves, and the collar. Yay – less cutting! However when I was in the early stages of piecing the jacket together, I attached the sides to the back pieces and immediately realised something was very wrong – I’d only gone and cut the back for the COAT rather than the jacket. Bugger. Thankfully they are exactly the same apart from the length so I was able to just lop off the excess and carry on – just as well, because I didn’t have any more fabric to cut another back from.
If you’re a topstitching nerd like I am – and there is totally nothing to be ashamed of about that – you’re gonna geek out over this coat. There’s a LOT of topstitching going on – and you’re gonna need to buy extra thread. It’s the perfect garment to practice sewing in a straight line on though, and it can be quite meditative once you get going (so long as your bobbin thread doesn’t run out – in which case it’s zero to hulk-rage in five seconds).
The buttons, which are solid metal and collectively heavier than the whole entire jacket, came from MacCulloch and Wallis in London – I gave the husband free rein to choose whichever buttons he wanted and of course he picked the ones that were four billion pounds per button… ok so that might be a *slight* exaggeration but I’m not joking when I say that they were somewhere between £2 and £3 per button – I can’t remember the exact price (I think I’ve blocked it from my memory for self-preservation reasons) but – they do look bloody good, he chose well, so I guess they were worth it. I do wish I’d done bound buttonholes though… next time. Fo sho.
This is the first time that I have actually sewn in a hanging chain into a coat – wooo! The husband requested one, as the coat I made him previously doesn’t have one and apparently this causes issues with the coat rack at the office. It looks proper profesh, though I’m not actually sure whether I’ve done it right – I wasn’t sure whether I sew it on after the construction, or whether I’m somehow meant to sew it within a seam and then close the seams by hand around it? Any pro tips would be gratefully received 🙂 In the end I just went with sewing it onto the finished collar stand… I managed to catch the interfacing in the stitching as well to give it a bit more strength as I was worried that the weight of the jacket (and those solid metal buttons) would put too much strain on it and tear it out of the fabric.
There’s a few little details in the pattern that I left out of the finished coat – I didn’t put the tabs on the pockets (they wouldn’t ever be used, so would just flap about aimlessly – also I wasn’t buying YET MORE of those bloody expensive buttons), I didn’t do the internal button closure (I was told there were enough buttons as it is and he didn’t want to spend half hour just buttoning and unbuttoning his coat) and I also omitted the buttonhole on the lapel because that seemed utterly pointless and would clutter up what is otherwise a nice clean design.
The bottom button on each side goes right over the pocket bag, so that when you sew the buttons on it blocks off a little bit on the very top of the pocket. Why, Vogue Patterns, WHY. This is an uber-fail that I’ve seen on a lot of patterns. I could move the pocket bag out of the way to sew the button, but then it’s all bunchy underneath the outer layer and doesn’t sit flat. And this bothers me. I don’t want to just sew the button to the outer layer and not through the facing as well, because heavy buttons on this fabric is just going to end badly. I wanted the support of both layers of fabric, plus the interfacing. So the pocket had to be sacrificed. One thing I always forget to do is to overlock the pocket bags before I start to stitch them to the coat – I end up doing a zig zag stitch around the already-attached pocket as best I can to stop the fray-carnage… which looks rubbish, as you can imagine. Note to self: OVERLOCK POCKETS BEFORE YOU EVEN START SEWING THE COAT. NO EXCEPTIONS.
As I always tend to do now, I sewed plastic buttons on the back side of the metal shank buttons so that it doesn’t pull on the fabric. This is proper fiddly (and often results in a very battered fingertip) but is absolutely worth it and hopefully means that even with repeated undoings and doings-up the fabric won’t get worn. I didn’t have a matching set though… so I settled for a ‘coordinating’ set of reclaimed buttons instead. And by coordinating, I mean that they are all the same size and have four holes. I’m sure it made these buttons very happy to be attached to something once again and not just sat in a tin. Probably.
I’ve since bought a massive tin of buttons off ebay, especially for times like these, and it’s proved to be very handy so far – I’ve delved into it for a few projects and come out winning. I’ve sorted them all roughly by size, but still need to go through and group them into matching pairs/sets. It’s turning out to be way more labour intensive than I anticipated so I’m kind of putting it off if I’m honest… maybe I won’t actually bother. That’s time I could spend sewing or browsing fabric instead.
I had a bash at putting in a strip of flat piping along the facing/lining seam – in hindsight, I wish I had made proper piping – you know, the sort with the string through it – “fat piping”? – as I think it would have given a neater finish. I don’t really like the look of the flat piping. Since I made this jacket, I’ve tried the other option of the fat piping on another coat, and I can definitely confirm that this looks 100% better, so will go with this in future and scrap the flat stuff. I also copied my own RTW coat and put a little running stitch along the lining… turns out their hand stitching is neater than mine (as is everyone else’s on the planet, probably) but it’s acceptable. Any tips on how to get an even running stitch?
I think I’m getting better at the jacket-and-coat-making business, now that I’ve made a few. It seems strange to me that I think nothing of making a complicated coat, but still can’t get the courage to tackle a pair or trousers. I need to man up. I’ve put the Safrans on my #2018MakeNine so there’s no getting out of it now. To progress my coat-making I’d like to learn all about jacket tailoring methods and all the hand stitching… but let’s be real, I need there to be 48 hours in one day for that to happen anytime soon.
Do any of you guys plan to make a coat this year? If so let me know which ones – I love looking at coat patterns, which probably explains why four of my #MakeNine are coats… 🙈
I’ll leave you with some pics of the husbeast doing his best ‘smouldering male model’ poses in his new threads 🤣
Coming up next week on the Wanderstitch blog… a shirt in the most coolest print! 😍 Subscribe below to make sure you don’t miss out!
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