08 maart 2014

Anyway here's Wonderwall.

So... It's been a bit quiet around here. I was both busy doing things that aren't sewing and working on a long-term project, The Albion coat by Colette Patterns! I've always had a bit of a soft spot for duffle coats, but sewing one myself seemed a bit daunting. However, Colette launched a sewalong with some very clear instructions (and a contest!) so I managed to get the thing together without too many hiccups along the way.

Look at that face. That's a smug face.
I had this bright red coating in my stash for a while, and thought it would be perfect for a casual coat like this. It's a beautiful colour but a pain to photograph! In real life it's a deep cardinal red, and absolutely lovely. I only used about half of the yardage so I can make another jacket sometime. One can never have enough bright red outerwear, right?

The Albion is a unisex jacket, but I do like my coats to be a little more feminine, so I made a few pattern adjustments. I started from a size small and nipped in the waist by quite a bit. The sleeves were fine (they are even quite narrow, especially at the wrists!) But I did take a bit of width out of the shoulder. I could have taken our a wee bit more but it doesn't really bother me all that much.

Gratuitous butt shot. Oh yeah.
I saved the biggest surprise for the back! Ages ago I saw a red duffle coat somewhere with a pleated bit in the back to give the silhouette a tad more femininity and something inside me yelped 'want!'. This alteration was incredibly easy: I cut the back pattern piece in half at the waistline and slashed and spread the bottom half to create three pleats. I basted them together and pressed the hell out of the wool, and anchored the pleats at the hem with a few small stitches.

Another adjustment I made was a simple one: instead of making all the corners on the pockets, flaps and tabs square I used a coin to make them rounded. Topstitching them was a bit of a bitch (even though my blind hem foot proved to be an unexpected substitute for an edgestitching foot!) but I do like how they look. The first time I sewed the flaps they ended up a tiny bit too small and it looked messy with the corners of the pockets poking out, so I did them again. I also lined the patch pockets in flannel, slip-stitched them on and then topstitched them in place.

The coat is lined in a cotton flannel, nothing interesting. It's way too warm for the weather we're having so unless it suddenly gets cold again I'll have to wait a while before I can wear it!

Apart from the pocket flaps, the entire construction went along without any problems. Until I got to the toggles. The post about toggles in the sewalong provides tons of information on how to mark and place them, and this went fine, but when it came to actually stitching them down I encountered a small problem: there was no way the bulk of the coat was able to move around underneath the machine well enough to stitch the leather tabs down in a satisfactory way. Even my boyfriend noticed the stitching was uneven! I ended up ripping the ruined (holes in the leather!) toggles off my coat and went to bed in a truly foul mood.

 The next day I gathered my wits and went out to find a solution. I bought toggle buttons, cording and two leather elbow patches. These three things were actually cheaper than buying premade toggles, so that's sort of a win, right? I used the tabs on my ruined toggles as a pattern piece and cut new ones, which I then handsewed onto the coat. This took ages, I became bffs with my thimble and leather needles and still managed to hurt all my fingers but it turned out pretty well. At least they look like something crafted by fairies who aren't very good at sewing did a pretty decent job.

Ruined fingers and all, I'm still very happy with the coat I won't wear until the next winter. It was a definite challenge that dragged me out of my comfort zone, and I'm really proud of the result. It looks like a rtw coat (if you don't look too closely) and it feels like something way more expensive. I'll just imagine myself strolling around in it for now! Here's a final thing the boyfriend and me threw together, just to show how happy I was:

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