30 november 2018

The Velvet Dreamcoat

I had this idea in my head for about a year or two. You might have noticed over the years that I love me a good coat, and part of me really wanted an ankle-length velvet trench coat. But good quality velvet can be expensive, and I really couldn't justify spending that much on something as frivolous and impractical.

Enter Ikea, and the Sew Frosting challenge hosted by True Bias and Closet Case Patterns.

Me and Hanne took a trip to Ikea a while ago, and after finding our responsible and needed items (and lunch) we took a look at the sales corner before leaving. I stumbled upon a velvet curtain panel, in a gorgeous shade of green. I assumed it was going to be something gross and synthetic, but the label said 100% cotton. It was about 3 meters, and 20 euros.

The Named Isla Trench Coat has been on my list for a while, but I was waiting for the perfect fabric (since this is a bit of a fabric hog). And now I suddenly had an entire curtain!

I wasn't planning on entering the Sew Frosting Challenge when it was announced, since I had plans for some practical garments that I actually need, and none of them fit the bill. And then I got a brand new sewing machine, and this fabric!

I was going to try and get the full length version of this coat out of my 3 meters, but was willing to shorten it a bit if necessary. Using velvet meant that I had to place every piece in the same direction, which can useeven more fabric. I did find a few bits of black velvet in my stash that I used for the collar, pocket welts and sleeve strap details. This and a bit of pattern tetris meant I actually had enough!

Tracing the pattern and cutting all the pieces took ages, but sewing was very straightforward, apart from the 'working with velvet' part. I only used fusible interfacing to reinforce the pocket area, but basted a lightweight black cotton to all other pieces instead. My new machine (more on that later!) handles velvet pretty well but I did baste the longer seams before sewing to avoid shifting.

I wanted to take my time and finish this well, and since I was going for silver buttons I decided to include silver piping between the lining and the facing. The kind we sold in the shop was too silvery, bulky and scratchy for my liking, but I had a piece of lightweight silver fabric so I made my own. To make matters easier I changed the order of construction a bit, attaching the lining to the facing first and thenvsewing that to the rest of the coat. I also opted to finish the hem by hand. The instructions for the vent finish were completely ignored as well, because my brain just couldn't make sense of them anymore.

As I said before, I got a new sewing machine. My old one was almost ten years old, and still the mechanical beginner's model that started me sewing. I never had any problems with it until last year, when it ran smoothly again after some tlc. However, the same problem came back not even a year later, and I just had to face that it just wasn't good enough anymore for the amount of sewing I do. So I used the profits from my freelance work and invested in a major upgrade. Which also means: ten different kinds of automatic buttonholes! I actually had fun sewing all the buttonholes on this coat, which means a LOT.

In the end I'm really happy with the contrasting fabric. It started as a necessity, but it also gives the coat a bit more interest. That, and I feel like I walked out of Hogwarts, which is a bit of a style goal.

I did decide to go for single rows of topstitching instead of double, since velvet and topstitching don't always match. It doesn't look too bad on these fabrics because the pile is pretty short, but I didn't feel like the coat needed any more of it.

I didn't make a muslin (Named patterns fit me pretty well in the past) and the fit on this is pretty spot on! I made shoulder pads and sleeve heads out of cotton batting, and they give just the right amount of structure to this not-too-structured coat.

Did I need this coat? Not really. Is it going to make me feel like I'll be pulling a wand out of my pocket any second? Hell yeah. So definitely worth it.

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