After 12 days of holiday meaning 12 days of daily coat wear, here comes a long and detailed pattern review. I learned a lot, cried a bit, was amazed when ‘birthing’ the coats and absolutely proud of myself. Both coats kept us warm. In particular my green coat meant, no-one would ever loose me and I felt great being the pop of colour in a crowd of grey days and jackets.
If you know my pattern reviews, I share the general pattern first, following my fabric choices and continue judging the instructions. I will finish this review with my challenges, changes and what I would do differently.
The pattern comes as paper and PDF pattern from Colette Patterns. I purchased the paper pattern earlier this year in Ray Stitch in London. But since I wanted to make two coats of the same pattern, I was two lazy to trace all the pattern pieces. So I cut myself the PDF version too. I printed it once and cut the paper pattern. The pattern comes in two different versions.
Version 1 is a classic duffle coat designed for a heavy fabric such as wool coating. A simple flannel lining keeps this coat ultra cozy. The mid-thigh length and large patch pockets will keep you warm and looking well-tailored.
Version 2 is an unlined jacket, lighter weight and slightly shorter than the Version 1 coat. It features in-seam pockets that do double duty as interior pockets. Make it in canvas or cotton twill, and finish the seams with a complimentary bias tape for an awesome fall layering piece.
For both coats, I made version 1. Both coats are made from wool which I purchased at Goldhawk Road in London. The charcoal wool has much cheaper than the green one, so I assumed the charcoal fabric was a blend. Only a fabric burn test will give the answer here. I only manage this after we returned from holiday, so here it comes:
The charcoal wool burned slow and when removing the flame, it pretty much went out. The smell of hair wasn't strong at all and the residue was fairly hard which isn't normal for 100% wool, so there is a small polyester content in it. But there is something else in their which we aren't sure about because of the weak smell of burning hair. For the green wool it burned with an orange flame but caused more bubbles but the smell of burning hair was much more pronounced. The residue was harder than the charcoal wool. So I reckon the polyester content is higher than in the charcoal wool.
This pattern comes in sizes XS - 2XL. I made a size XL for him and size M for me. The measurements are based on the collar size for the XL version. The coat fits well at the chest and arms but can be taken in towards the hip. When he initially tried it on without the toggles and in shorts there was a lot of excess fabric. I was shocked and disappointed. So I asked him to put on jeans to mimic what he would actually be wearing. I also pin him into the coat to see how the coat moves and luckily the excess fabric disappeared.
For the green coat, I didn’t make a toile due to running out of time. I did my usual 3’’ shortening of the bodice front and back as well as the facing. I measured from the shoulder seam to sleeve hem, excluding seam allowance, on the pattern piece and compared it to the length of my arm. The sleeve is quite long on me, so I shortened it my 1’’. And it worked out perfect. When my arms are down, the sleeves reach to my knuckles and when I move my arms forward, the sleeves reach just passed my wrist.
The pattern levels for intermediate and I definitely agree with that. The instructions are somewhat straight forward and provide illustrations, rather than pictures. Not to be picky but some steps are not fully explained, for instance, when attaching the facing to the front it only describes to do so once, it doesn't stat to repeat the same with the other facing like it does for the sleeves. It is a small thing but something to keep in mind not to get confused.
I noticed that the hood on the green coat isn't lining up with the start of the facing, like the charcoal one. I literally just checked the pattern piece, ensuring I cut the right size, and I did. So it seems that is the pattern piece because everything else lined up perfectly. I am not sure, it doesn't bother me and my big shawl is covering my neck anyway.
The construction of the garment is not too difficult. The sheer volume of fabric is the challenging part. Make sure you have plenty of space behind and to the left of your sewing machine. The one step I struggled with, was of course joining the sleeve lining to the sleeve shell. The illustration in the instruction wasn’t enough. I had a look online and found a sew-a-long on the pattern company’s website but the picture they took looked exactly the same (so were the instructions). I was a bit disappointed that the pattern instructions and the sew-a-long are the same which in my personal opinion I don’t find helpful. Luckily, Sarah (from
SewSarahSmith) posted a picture on Instagram and it immediately clicked. The angle she took the picture of made so much more sense to visualize this important step.
Some other changes I did, not necessarily for both coats but overall which I would do again. I increased the seam allowance when attaching the hood. The seam allowance is only 3/8’’ but I sewed it on as ½’’. I wasn’t quite convinced that 3/8’’ was enough. You’ll have to repeat this when attaching the lining to the shell.
I also cut the patch pocket flap on fold to reduce bulk while sewing. Keep in mind to remove the seam allowance on the long side otherwise the patch pocket flap will be bigger.
I also omitted the hood tab just because we both didn’t think we would use it.
I decided to try a new skill and do corded buttonholes. I am very pleased with the result and it just looks and feels a bit sturdier.
I also increased the width of each toggle of the charcoal coat, otherwise my partner would have had a draft on his belly.
Other than the joining of lining and shell fabric at the sleeves, the two big challenges are fabric bulk and sewing on the toggles. It is just so much fabric you have to deal with and the thickness doesn’t help. I changed my tension of course and increased the stitch length of 3mm. Four of the 8 toggles on the green coat are sewn with the machine. Honestly this was the scariest part of this garment. The leather toggles didn’t leave me any room for mistakes. And of course, it had to happen that I had skipped stitches and the machine didn’t want to do like I wanted. I had a huge moment of frustration and took a break. After this break, I decided to continue hand-sewing all the toggles. One toggle took about 45 minutes. The charcoal coat I finished 15 minutes before we arrived in Germany. I must say hand-sewing all of the toggles on the flight was incredible relaxing. I never had such a relaxed and pleasant flight and will definitely bring some hand-sewing when on the plane in the future.
Having worn the coats now for almost two weeks, I definitely will add some snaps between the toggles just to help keep the coat better closed. We weren’t cold at any time but I think the charcoal fabric may have stretch ever so slightly while wearing.
Things I would do different if I would make it again or would have known before:
move patch pockets by at least ½’’ if not even a bit more to be able to reposition the toggles
double the width of the facing because when the coat is slightly open, you can see my (some-what terrible) hand-sewing on the inside or the horrible stitching my sewing machine did when attaching the toggles.
Hand-sew the toggles from the beginning
Place centre notch on the upper sleeve of lining and shell fabric to make it easier to line up the correct sleeve parts.
Change spacing and add an additional toggle.
Things I am thinking to add now having worn the coat for the entire holidays:
add belt and create a bit of a waist definition
snaps in the inside of the facing, between the toggles to create additional closure.
Additional button & buttonhole on the patch pocket flap in cut on hold (without taking of seam allowance). The flap looks a bit big and a button will break up that area
If I would make it again, I would plan more time. I messed up my schedule. Although I didn’t feel I rushed or made any mistakes but having a bit more time is always better. I think the total time spent per coat was about 16 hours (plus/minus).
If I was in the market for another coat, I would make it again but with the above changes and perhaps add a zipper closure and define the waist for myself.
This pattern was also part of my #makeninesewing for this year and I am very happy that I finally took the plunge into sewing coats. What a great garment to finish 2018.
Which coat pattern did you tackle this year?
Thanks for hanging out with me.