In my part of the world, it’s winter now, and that means COATS. ALL THE COATS. I’m slowly unpacking all the coats that I lovingly stored away when it got warmer a few months back (and by ‘lovingly’, I mean that they were put into a clear zip bag thing shoved in the bottom of the wardrobe 😂) and they are now coming back into rotation. Hats, too, along with the mittens that I picked up from a Kilo Store in Paris which are the only things I’ve found that actually stop my fingers from going numb from like, November to March.
I must have really bad circulation or something because I genuinely do feel pretty cold a lot of the time – it’s not unusual to find me in several layers plus my dressing gown at home at the weekends. Stylish, huh. 💁🏻♀️ Yeah, I’m not ashamed to admit it. But when the doorbell goes for a delivery I jump up in a panic to take it off before answering the door, to avoid confirming to the outside world that I am indeed a slob and have been wearing my dressing gown all day 👀
And that’s why you don’t see a lot of pictures of me actually sewing anything during the winter – because behind the camera I actually look like a many-layered sloth and there’s no way I’m publishing that on t’internet 😂
I made a thing. For the husbeast. Like a good wifey 👌🏻
One of the first jackets I made for the husbeast – back in the day when I started sewing – was the Vogue 8940 pattern.
In fact, this pattern was the first-ever coat I made for him as well because I made view B (the coat) before I made the jacket (view A):
(this was a very old make on the blog, and I’m glad to see that our photography has since improved! 👀)
For the jacket, I used some fancy wool fabric and got a lovely finish to the garment – but the fit is a bit meh. There are issues with the armhole coming down too low (something I seem to find with ALL patterns from the big pattern houses – is it just me?) and I think we were a bit ambitious on the sizing because the jacket is tres small. Certainly not the type of coat you can bundle over your thick jumper when it’s proper cold, and they are the types of coat that I like the best. So yeah, that jacket doesn’t get worn too much, which is a shame 🤷🏻♀️
So the quest for a new, better fitting one began.
I’ve been on a bit of a Thread Theory roll lately for the husbeast, having made a few pairs of their Comox Trunks (totally recommended, btw) and their Quadra Jeans as well (on the blog soooon!) – I find the fit of their patterns to be good, and the designs modern. Their Goldstream Peacoat looked to be a suitable potential alternative to the Vogue pattern.
You get a few design options in the envelope – slimming darts, epaulettes, a hood and also cuff-strap things which I can’t remember the proper name for 😂 (you know the thing I mean, though. Right?!)
We considered each option in turn and decided on not sewing the darts (in case we ended up with another too-small coat) and the cuff detail wasn’t wanted either – but I thought the epaulettes on the shoulder would be a nice touch. A hood would also be good, but we’re saving that for next time.
The husbeast measured 38 inches across the chest, which falls smack bang in between the small (36-38) and the medium (38-40). I tried to do some internet lurking of others that have made it, to gauge an idea of the size and swung backwards and forwards between making the small and medium before eventually settling on the small. SewAndrew made the medium and commented that it was a little large on his shoulders – the husbeast doesn’t have particularly wide shoulders so I thought I’d play it safe and go with the small.
For a small jacket, it was a pretty immense cut-pile 😱
I used an olive green coating fabric from Minerva, which looked online like it was a smooth boiled wool type fabric, but when it arrived I saw it was a… rustic fabric with loose white ‘hairs’ on it. That’s a really poor description on my part, so let me better explain it with a comparison of the online vs real life pictures:
I mean, I’m okay with the real-life fabric, but it is quite a difference. I don’t know whether stock photos from the manufacturer were used or whether Minerva took their own photos (or even if I was maybe sent the wrong fabric?!) or what, and I know that colours may differ from monitor to monitor (how sick are we of reading that lol) but the green colour isn’t quite the same either. Because I was just after an ‘olive green’ wool coating fabric – and that’s what I got – I wasn’t bothered, but if you’re looking for something v particular I’d perhaps order a sample first. Which is *probably* good practice anyway, but I only do that very rarely myself 🤷🏻♀️
Now that we’ve discussed the inevitable pitfalls of online shopping, let’s move on to the coat and the Handsome Husbeast 😍
I paired my green-not-green wool fabric with some black(ish) and gold lining that I’d used previously on my Deer and Doe coat – I pulled out a small scrap from the stash and confirmed that it was a good match, colour-wise, with the fabric, so I bought another couple of metres. In the light, the black actually looks kind of olive green, so it’s a pretty good pairing.
Because I’m always so seasonally organised (NOT, lol 😂), I was cutting this wool coat out on a particularly warm day in summer. Like, one of those savage heatwave days where it reaches what feels like four hundred degrees and you’re skin is going to melt off. Sweating while I was cutting, because it was so damn hot. At least doing it this way, the jacket would be ready for him by the time winter rolls around, so I guess there is logic in the madness 🤪
When it came to installing the epaulettes, I realised I hadn’t bought enough buttons – I counted the buttons down the front of the coat and placed my order for that amount – ooooops. Oh well. Guess he wasn’t getting the fancy shoulders after all then 🤦🏻♀️
I shortened the body pieces by three inches, to give a better fit on the 5’5 husbeast but this gives me extra grief in having to remark ALL the pocket and button placements. I shortened the sleeves by two inches, but as a side note (and sort of a reminder to myself as well, because when I eventually get round to making the second version many months will probably have passed), the husbeast said that this made the sleeves too short – a problem we never have ever. So yeah, need to put an inch back on those babies for next time.
For the interfacing I used Vilene G740 – described as ‘slightly brushed interlining’… but I’ve used it as interfacing – same thing, right?! (Probably not exactly, but in this case, yeah pretty much). I bought mine from Empress Mills, who I’ve discovered sell a pretty impressive range of interfacing at good prices.
I cut the pocket linings from my trusty piece of black cotton flannel which now gets used for ALL THE POCKETS. I’m fed up of using the lining fabric for the pocket bags and having the seams fray on me – the pocket bags in my nice DP Studio coat that I spent so long binding the edges of just wore through at the bottom after not much use, which wasn’t pleasing in the slightest. I just don’t know why all patterns tell you to cut the pocket bags from the (usually unsuitable) lining fabric?! I mean, would it be so hard to say ‘oh hai guys, we know it’s super simple to tell you just to buy outer fabric and lining fabric, but FYI you’ll get a much better and longer-lasting result if you use something a bit more sturdy than a slippery thin fabric for your pocket bags’) 🤦🏻♀️ Why should it take me having to make ten coats for this to dawn on me, when a pattern could have just told me that? Anyway. It’s just one of those little annoyances… I feel like pattern instructions should be written to help you get the best finish possible – and to be fair, Thread Theory actually do this. I really love the instructions for this pattern – they are super thorough, and they actually remind you of helpful little things like ‘install a hanging hook now’ or give you little ideas to make your back neck facing look good. This is the first time, EVER, that I’ve mounted my label onto a little square of lining fabric and OH MY GOD WHY HAVE I NOT DONE THIS BEFORE. It looks fabulous 💁🏻♀️👌🏻 So professional.
This coat features a good amount of topstitching – which always makes me happy ☺️ I did briefly consider using a contrasting topstitching thread, but after looking in my thread box the only real option was gold and it looked a bit crap against the fabric. I wanted a matching green colour, but I didn’t have that either (and I didn’t want to wait for some to be delivered) so black it was 🤷🏻♀️
I mean, it sinks into the fabric anyways so it probably doesn’t actually matter what colour you choose 🤷🏻♀️
I added the patch pockets with the flap – my pockets aren’t totally square (or level either, probably) but they’re fine. I lined the pocket (and also the flap) with flannel so that the wool isn’t scratchy on your hand as you put it in the pocket. There’s a neat little way of sewing the flap on with no raw edges showing – first you sew it on the coat body upside down (right sides together), then trim the seam allowance, then fold it back down to the ‘correct’ (final) position and topstitch to enclose the raw edge. Love it! The husband loves it too – he says he much prefers these deeper, larger pockets to in-seam ones because they comfortably hold his phone, wallet, power pack and any other bits without feeling like they’re gonna bust a seam.
The sleeves are in two pieces, and go together without drama, as does the back. There’s no vent in the back of the jacket, and I remember reading SewAndrew’s blog post of the version he made where he said he wished he had put in a vent – so I thought I’d try it first without, and then if it seemed a vent was needed, I’d alter it for the next one. Such a cop-out, I know (😂) but it paid off because it turned out that a vent was not needed! 🙌🏻
A clapper was definitely needed with this wool – those seams need to be pressed quite heavily! With such a thick fabric, there were times that I wasn’t sure I’d get the coat through my machine, as there were so many layers. I managed, but only just. Wonder Clips are your friend with thick fabrics – don’t even bother with pins!!
I overlocked the edges of the lining pieces before sewing them together – which I know sounds a bit extra, but fabrics like that fray like a bastard and I’d really rather not have to replace the lining due to fraying at the seams because I couldn’t be bothered to overlock them. It might never happen, but I’m not gonna tempt fate 😨
I made my own piping for the coat from plain black satin bias tape (1″ wide) and some 2mm piping cord – honestly, I can’t say it enough: MAKE YOUR OWN PIPING. I used to buy it pre-made, and then whinge about how I couldn’t quite get the colour that I wanted. And then I decided to take the plunge and have a bash at making my own – and haven’t looked back since (and obvs it’s expensive to buy it pre-made, too 🤑). Same with making your own bias tape – you can have any print you like (well, any print that you can buy the fabric in) and aren’t limited to what the shop stocks. The freedom is like a drug 🤪
The Goldstream has been a good success – definitely more wearable than the Vogue, and you can easily fit a jumper underneath. It doesn’t seem to have the same armpit-issues as the Vogue either, which is a big win 🙌🏻 I’d say it’s more of a casual fit than a super-smart fit – it’s quite roomy. Though I guess you could tweak this with fit adjustments, and perhaps sewing the ‘slimming darts’ that they include in the pattern. I bet this would make a really good winter jacket if you lined it with flannel (and maybe underlined it, too), or even fleece. The hood would be a good shout as well, to keep the icy wind out.
It’s a winner in my book, and if there’s ever a need for another jacket I will bring the pattern back out for sure. Thread Theory is fast becoming one of my fave menswear patterns and I’ve got their Strathcona Henley, Fairfield Button-up and Eastwood Pyjamas on my list to make next ✂️
(when I say ‘next’, I mean at some point in my lifetime 😂)
Do you have any favourite menswear patterns? I’m always on the lookout for new things to make for the husbeast, so hit me up in the comments if you have any recommendations!
I still haven’t sewn much for myself over the past six weeks. In between our ‘proper’ jobs, the Etsy store and the markets we’re doing, there ain’t a lot of free time. I’m looking forward to winding down for a nice break over Christmas… I want to get some selfish sewing done, as well as have the option to sit there and do naff all for an entire day (or multiple days in a row) if I choose. In my dressing gown. The busy-ness isn’t going to let up until right before Christmas either – our final market is the 22nd December 😨 Plus I’ve also had some job changes going on, which I’ll fill y’all in on in over the new year break when I have time to breathe 😎
Happy Sunday guys ✌🏻
*full disclosure* – Minerva provided me with a couple of metres of the olive green wool free of charge, and I bought the lining fabric, the buttons and the sewing pattern myself ✂️
Next week on the blog – my first Linden sweatshirt (I’m now hooked on these and have another two planned already, btw) which has been embellished with the help of my Cricut Explore Air 2! 👀 Subscribe below to have the post drop straight into your inbox! 🙌🏻