I really thought this was going to be a project that would never see the light of day. This project has followed me through a new job, a long commute and a move.
Overall: Love the vibrant color and silhouette that makes me feel curvy and feminine. As much as I love the belted version on others, I think it looks more flattering on my frame beltless. The topstitching and lining makes it a really special project.
Gertie's sew-along ended, oh months ago, but it obviously took me a bit longer and I didn't do all the special tailoring bits that I'm sure was well worth the time. It was an unexpected, harried, transition period for me so I opted to just make the pattern as the instructions directed. I don't have internets, so some of the common problems—pockets peeking, too-short lining—were out of my preventative reach. Sigh.
And though I could always do it over again (next year) the "right way" making a coat feels a bit like the way folks describe childbirth -- you won't do it again until you've forgotten what it was like the first time.
Lizajane used the same fabric as me and hers turned out beautifully. Check it out here. Taran's on the fast track to finishing her (fantastically fitting) red Lady Grey too.
What I'm glad I did
- Made a muslin: First muslin! I used an old sheet so it wasn't ideal, but it alerted me to major pattern adjustments
- Altered the front and back pattern: As my muslin attested, there was major gaping in both the lapels and roominess in the back. I ended up taking a four inch dart in the front piece and a two inch dart in the back. I also did my usual square shoulder adjustment and lengthened the armscye.
- Added a little coat hook: I love this on my other coats, so I just sewed in a few inches of bias tap at the neckline to easily hang on hooks
- Not take an inch tuck to shorten the waist: This was a suggested fix for roominess in the upper back (and not a swayback adjustment). Given the major alterations I made this seemed unnecessary in hindsight.
- Make another muslin OR use my muslin pieces as my pattern: My pattern alterations helped fix the front, but it drastically changed the length of the coat even though I didn't touch the side seam length at all. Really, the coat should be about four inches longer and the lining is much, much shorter. Also, it affected the way the pieces came together at the hem which mirrored more of a scallop than a semi-circle.
- Choose different fabric: As Lizajane says, this wool flannel twill is possibly the most difficult wool to use with this coat. It's very very lightweight and loosely woven.
- Not serged the edges of the lining: I just couldn't get the tension right and I felt the fabric kept tightening at the edges. Just an overall pain.
- Use a heavier interfacing: I used a lightweight interfacing, but seeing how others' collars and lapels lay (like the wind couldn't bother 'em) makes me wish I used a heavier interfacing since my fabric was so lightweight.
To be frank, I know this'll need a bit more work. First order of business: lengthening the lining so it doesn't expose my ugly hem in the rare event someone's inspecting the inside of my coat.
But I'm trying to just be grateful that it's done and that it fits fairly well, especially given my host of torso fitting problems: rectangular frame, square shoulders, swayback, small bust, scoliosis. Still I can't ignore that the back leaves something to be desired. In the side photo, the back hem seems a tad long and the gorgeous waist flare just isn't happening correctly, even more obvious in the back photo. I'm hoping if I wear it enough, I'll begin to appreciate it as is, as I haven't a clue how to fix the flare issue. I imagine it begins with the pattern piece I altered forever ago.
Anyhoo, 'nuff complaining. :0 It's an eye-catching coat that I've already received compliments on and it'll be a perfect topper to my green knit dress -- me-made-Christmas!
Wishing you all gorgeous coats and warmth and lovely holidays. :)