I FINISHED MY FIRST COAT!!!
Jacket. Coat. Outwear. What-have-you.
I bought this pattern FIVE mofoing years ago, and it finally has taken form… my very own Sewaholic Minoru.
But this story is not rainbows and unicorns, it’s also shitty Parisian polyester. And now, it shall begin…
Gonna start out by mentioning in advance that yes, that is lipstick on my teeth, and Vain Jess considered taking all of these photos again, but Lazy Jess won out. Also, you’ll notice Emo Jess apparently came out to play. So, here we are…
I traced this pattern years ago and it hung in my closet, waiting for love. Why did I hang it? Dunno. Didn’t want to iron it later?
After seeing a few wondering Minorus at last year’s PR Weekend in Chicago, I decided it was time to finally DO THIS THING and in time to wear this Spring. And I did! For once.
Anywho, I’d prepped a size 8 and added a 1″ FBA, which would have worked pretty well for five years ago me. This is why you follow through, people, you waste less time. This year me decided a 10 with a 1″ FBA (each side, so 2″ extra) was appropriate for my shoulders/bust/chest, moving down for a 6 at the hip (since I am not a pear). With a 37.5-38″ bust, seemed perfect.
It is not perfect.
Mistake #1: I did not make a muslin, because I was feeling feisty.
But we’ll delve deeply into my missteps in a minute; I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s talk about fabric, design changes, and some notes on notions and fit.
The main body is Robert Kaufman Modern Canvas, which I bought during Craftsy’s big clearance sale in December. It’s just like it’s described: a light weight canvas feel. When I got it, I thought it would wrinkle too much to be practical for a jacket, but it’s turned out to be just fine.
The lining is a super awesome and funky polyester I got from a “coupon” shop in Paris on our honeymoon. There is a lot of love and hate associated with this fabric in my mind at this moment.
Regardless of my lining angst, I really do love the pop of color peeking out from the pockets and in the hood.
The only pocket in this jacket is an inside chest pocket. For serious? This is OUTERWEAR. I added some zippered welt pockets, really guessing on placement and size, and am so happy with how they came out. Here’s what the pocket placement looks like from the inside; the top edge of the welt opening is about 2″ down from the elastic casing (if it were to continue) and about 2″ from the (finished) side seam of the jacket:
I used 7″ zippers for the 6″ welts, and will definitely put the pockets in the same exact place again if I make this coat again.
The other design change I made was to line the hood. Why? I couldn’t imagine not having a sloppy looking underside after topstitching over a curved area, such as the center of the hood. Plus, pretty fabric.
Speaking of hoods, here’s a neato gif of the transition from collar to hood. Probably my favorite part of this jacket!
I had the worst time with zippers on this damn thing. I ordered what was directed on the back of the pattern envelope for the collar and front, and neither worked as shown in the line drawing. UGH.
With the FBA, the front of the jacket lengthened about 1″. I forgot to lengthen the center front panels (and thus ended up hemming my jacket an inch shorter than intended, which is fine) so that is not the issue when it comes to this too-short zipper. The pattern calls for 30″ for sizes 10+, but based on the pattern envelope line drawings, it really should be 32″.
As for the zipper in the back of the collar, I ordered a 22″ zipper (which definitely measured 22″) but after sewing it was about an inch short. WHYYY?! That zipper matched my center front zip, both ordered from Wawak. I did not want to order and pay to ship a single zipper, so I went to JoAnn and found a weakass replacement.
For topstitching, I used the 3x stitch on my machine (or whatever the hell it’s called). It therefore took me 3 times as long to do every bit of topstitching, but it was worth it to have the exact matching thread color (and to avoid the hellish Gutermann topstitching thread: I still have flashbacks)
Besides the FBA, the only big changes made were to the sleeves. Just holding them up to my arm I could see they were waaay too long. I shortened them 2″ and am happy with the length. I don’t consider myself especially, uh, short armed, so take heed.
The cuffs were also way too big for my wrists using the size 10 on the elastic elastic chart. They’re still pretty roomy, but way better looking, after cutting a couple of inches off. So, ya know, measure your wrists and compare.
Most of the construction of this coat was pretty smooth going; it was just a time consuming process. That said, notable areas of frustration include:
- Sewing the slippery lining
- Nicely stitching in the ditch at the base of the collar (it looks bad on the inside; don’t look too closely)
- Sewing on the cuffs as directed
- My poor attempt to “bag a lining” which ended in much seam ripping. This one’s on me, though. The pattern doesn’t call for it.
To make lining up the waist elastic casing easier, I sewed a machine basting stitch over the lines I marked while cutting. I figured the coat would be handled a lot and my markings would fade, and then I’d be frustrated. Happy with this move.
And then, one day, I was DONE with my coat. I happily wore it home from the sewing gathering I’d attended. First thing I noticed when I put it on was the back was a bit tight. Uh oh. But, I made a size that should have been plenty big enough! Well, it’ll probably be OK, right? RIGHT?
After wearing it a few times a week for the last few weeks, I also determined that in addition to the need for a broad shoulder adjustment, the armscye was awfully high. So high it was uncomfortable. Not unlike my experience with the Sewaholic Renfrew.
Mistake #2: Not learning from previous patterns designed by the same company. I should have realized that this would be drafted similarly. Also, see Mistake #1.
If I make another, I will definitely be lowering the armscye (and underarm of the sleeve) by at least 1″. I will also probably be making a size 12 and/or adding a broad back adjustment.
But then it happened last week; my finger poked something while I was putting the coat on…WTF is going on?
I look down and…
Is there any way to fix (or quell the spread of this scourge) this without taking the whole damn thing, complete with 3x stitching, apart?
Mistake #3: Used slippery, fray-when-you-look-at-it fabric and did not finish my seams. Thought it wouldn’t matter because they were on the INSIDE of the garment. Noooo. Sad face.
What I learned, or was reminded of, based on these mistakes:
- #1: Just make a damn muslin. You’re gonna be sorry if you don’t.
- #2: If an aspect of a garment pattern by the same designer previously used didn’t work for you then, it’s probably not going to magically work correctly for your body now.
- #3: If you’re putting a lot of time into something already, put a little more time in to do it right.
So here I am, in my jacket I was so proud of that is just a little fucked up in fit and finish. But hey, I did it. I MADE A COAT!