The Importance of Being Warm

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.

V8940 Purple Double Breasted Mens CoatThis 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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26 Comments

  1. Janey Millar
    January 7, 2018 / 8:11 am

    Serrussly – just wow! This looks amazing! The lining is gorgeous and I love the added touch of the metal hanging loop.

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:43 pm

      Thank you Janey I’m really pleased with how this one turned out. I’m hoping that the hanging loop holds up to use, I’m not totally sure I put it in correctly… 🙂

  2. January 7, 2018 / 8:14 am

    Very nice! Hand stitching is best with short short needles and shortish lengths of thread. [Length of your forearm is the max.] You just get better control and it all settles down nicely. Waxing the thread is a must. Tip- I like to harvest those clear plastic buttons from old duvet covers to use for reinforcing on coats…

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:44 pm

      Ah, now I used a short needle, but short thread I did not. I was trying not to start/finish off too many times – rookie mistake! And that is a fab idea about the duvet cover buttons! I bought a massive tin off eBay for a few ££ and I’m pretty sure it’ll do me for many a year to come 🙂

  3. January 7, 2018 / 9:44 am

    At work, for the back neck hanger (chain you used) we attach it before we insert the lining and bar tack it through all plys. You can see the bar tacking from under the collar. Enjoyed reading about your hubbys coat and am drooling over your perfect top stitching 😊

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:46 pm

      Ahh thank you! And thanks for the tip on the neck hanger – I’ve now just realised that had I gone through all the layers, the collar actually would have covered it up so that’s clearly the best way to do it. It didn’t occur to me at the time! Do you have a sewing-related job? Very jealous if you do! 🙂

  4. January 7, 2018 / 9:57 am

    Very nice jacket in a gorgeous colour. You’ve done a lovely job.

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:47 pm

      Thank you! I’m really happy with how it’s turned out. I feel like I could make one in every colour! 🙂

  5. Sara A.
    January 7, 2018 / 1:04 pm

    It’s hard to get an even running stitch if you stab one stitch at a time. If you slurp up multiple stitches on the needle and then pull through, it’s more even. The needle keeps the line straight, and since you’re never stabbing blind from the back, you can judge how even the stitches are from the folds of fabric.

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:48 pm

      Aha – yes that’s a genius technique! And I was stabbing one stitch at a time, as you can probably tell 😉 I’ll defo try your way next time, thanks for the tip! 🙂

  6. themclemon
    January 7, 2018 / 3:43 pm

    Gorgeous!! I’ve been reading your blog for a few months now and this is one of my favourites so far – I love the colour of the jacket and the photos look great with the backdrop! 🙂

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:49 pm

      Ahh I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog! 🙂 It was nice to be behind the camera for once rather than in front of it, and I can’t resist an autumn scene – it’s my favourite season!

  7. January 7, 2018 / 4:50 pm

    Wowsers!! This coat is amazing, and the fabric is gorgeous. And off I go to click on the link…

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Ahh thank you Lynne! I’m sure he will be asking me to make more… I actually quite enjoyed making this though! I definitely do recommend Moons if you’re looking for that sort of fabric, I’ve made a few things now with their fabrics and they’re really lovely to work with.

  8. January 7, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    I’m just so so impressed by your coat. All the details make it look so expensive (and I get that it is!). Wow. WOW.

    • Sarah
      January 7, 2018 / 8:51 pm

      Thank you Rox! It was actually really enjoyable to work on such a large, complicated project – it’s really satisfying!

  9. January 8, 2018 / 9:57 am

    You think you’re getting better at coat making!? Sarah, this is fabulous!! I’d say you’ve gotten INCREDIBLY GOOD at Coat making. The details are all delicious, from the lining you used, that inner pocket opening, the buttons on the reverse, perfect toostitching. Just all utterly brilliant. Xx

    • Sarah
      January 9, 2018 / 8:52 pm

      Ahh thank you lovely 🙂 This is only my… fourth? coat/jacket, there’s just something I really love about making coats! Probably to do with the fact that I’m always cold lol. I just love the challenge of a long project! xx

  10. January 8, 2018 / 3:27 pm

    You’re husband is one lucky guy! This coat looks great and really suits him. I have this pattern stashed for my husband too–do you have any notes about the overall fit or comfort of the jacket? I really like the idea of making coats but, like you said, it’s so much preparation that I always put it off. And maybe it’s just me, but it’s difficult to find fabric that is interesting, but still “masculine.” You nailed it though, and the final outcome of yours is a great motivation!

    • Sarah
      January 9, 2018 / 8:59 pm

      Ahh thank you! I’m really pleased with how it turned out. My husband is 5’5, so I shortened the arms a bit (no change to the jacket length, though). If I was to make changes to the next one, it would be to the armscye – it’s a teeny bit too low and he can’t raise his arms too well. Though he does have slim arms, so there’s a fair bit of room I’ve got to play with. Also I’d like to tailor it more around the small of the back – it fits well at the shoulders and over the bum but I feel like theres a bit too much fabric round the back in the middle. Other than that it fits him pretty well! I really struggle to find good fabrics, too – but with patterns like this jacket, I find the ‘boring’ plain fabrics allow the details to shine best. What I do with big projects like these, is break it up into two – the prep and the actual sewing. I cut all the pieces, and all the interfacing, and baste them together. Then I leave it for a bit, sew another couple of projects or whatever, and then when it’s finally time to sew it, the pieces are all prepped ready so I can get straight on and sew. Sometimes I prep all coat pieces in the summer, then when autumn/winter rolls around I get the pieces back out and start sewing. If I do the whole thing as one long process, it’s too daunting and feels too long. So glad you’re motivated – go for it! I’d love to see it when it’s finished 🙂

  11. January 8, 2018 / 11:03 pm

    Fantastic looking coat – you’ve done a great job. And if you can do that you can definitely do jeans easy!
    I have to say, coats are really satisfying to make, I’ve done a couple and loved them. Can’t wait to see more of them!

    • Sarah
      January 9, 2018 / 9:01 pm

      Thanks Jenny! I really REALLY need to get into the jeans thing… I don’t know why I keep putting it off!! Coats really are satisfying, aren’t they! Do you have any really good patterns that you’ve sewn? Or even ones that are not so good and I should stay away from… 🙂

  12. Kimberly
    January 9, 2018 / 1:12 am

    This coat is beautiful! I’m a sucker for burnt orange and I love all the details – especially the topstitching 😍 Did you use an interlining? Or just the twill and lining? I’ve recently felt really inspired to try to make my first coat, I’m considering the Colette Lady Grey, bc of the cinched waist and oversized collar, and a Gertie sewalong. Have you found any good coat making resources you’d recommend?

    • Sarah
      January 9, 2018 / 9:04 pm

      Thanks Kimberly! I am a total topstitching geek, and this coat makes me happy 🙂 All the body pieces (apart from the back, I think) are interfaced with a medium weight sew in interfacing. Ooh that Lady Grey pattern is lovely! I have this book and it’s a really useful and easy to understand guide to tailoring jackets – but all these techniques are applicable to coats, too. It gives you so many more details than the instructions for the pattern do, especially if welt pockets are involved. Other than that, my advice is to practice and practice some more! Go for it – I can’t wait to see what you make!

  13. January 12, 2018 / 11:48 pm

    Thanks Sarah! I like your suggestion to work in a few simple projects to break up a larger one. It had never ocurred to me, maybe because I have a totally irrational fear of UFO’s 😂

  14. Sarah
    January 13, 2018 / 9:20 pm

    Haha! I’m totally impressed if you have no UFOs! I have a couple of projects lurking around that I’m not sure I’ll finish… ones where I’ve got halfway and realised that actually, they’re not quite really my style, or the fabric doesn’t suit me as well as I thought it would. But I do usually have two or three things on the go at once so that I can pick and choose what I work on 🙂 (But really, I just get overexcited and can’t stop myself from starting the latest project I’ve thought of with some cool fabric…)

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