Happy New Year!! How was your holidays? I had planned on keeping the blog going through my trip back to the UK but in the end I had a long break from posting, even to the extent of taking a virtual social media holiday. I think that was a good thing though. It meant I was more present while I was with my family and when you can only see your family every 24-18 months that’s very important. I had an amazing time and as you can see from the photo above (taken at Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park) it was freezing back home.
So, back to the sewing! I decided to break this post into two; in the first post I’ll talk about making the Ingrid coat and the second I’m going to say a little bit about how it functioned and what I’d do differently next time. I loved this pattern from the moment it was released. It is very chic and minimalist and perfect for the pink winter coat trend that hit last year. Finding the pink wool coating was trickier. I had stalked the local and online fabric shops for just the right shade for ages before finding this wool/cashmere blend in the Cleggs sale. I was stoked! The lining fabric is a poly-satin from Spotlight that I fell in love with as soon as I saw it. I’m not sure it is sturdy enough for a lining but I figured as long as I had the pattern lying around, it wouldn’t be too bad if I had to whip up another one at the end of winter 2015.
Style Arc Patterns come in a single size readily printed on sturdy paper. Despite this I still traced off the pattern as I knew I would be messing about with the fit and I wanted to have a hard copy incase things went wrong. I wanted this coat to fit a bit like an oversized tuxedo jacket (according to the size chart I fall between the size 8 and 10) so I lumped for the 10 to give the oversize shape. Before making my first muslin I did my usual 1 cm forward shoulder alterations. the first test version fit well with the idea I had in my head. It was massively long on me though and I ended up taking 13cm off the length and 5cm from the sleeves. In order to keep the design lines in proportion I split this reduction into three taking it from the waist, across the pockets and from the hem.
The length alterations worked well in the second muslin so I tested the collar and I’m glad I did as the revers in the pattern are different to the revers in the pattern illustration!! The illustration as you can see above has a notched lapel, where the pattern is actually peaked. I wrote to Chloe at Style Arc who confirmed that this was an error in the illustration and that she preferred the revers in the drawing so would alter the pattern to match, so you might want to check that out if you have a go at this yourself.
Knocking up the coat was pretty straightforward using the construction method I learnt at college. I tried on the shell once I had finished putting the shoulder pads in and I was struck by how weird the armholes looked at the back. After playing with it a bit it turned out to be an easy fix: the side panels have some ease in them compared to the centre back panel just below the armholes. Removing that ease eliminated a lot of the wrinkling I was seeing in the back. I also scooped out some more of the lower back quadrant of the armhole by about a cm and found that this eliminated a fold of fabric that I was seeing behind the sleeve. I’ve already mentioned my shoulders are a little weird so don’t let all this put you off the trying the pattern yourself ;).
Here you can see the fixed shoulder on the left versus the original on the right (excuse the blurriness of the picture, there was poor light that day):
From the side you can also see that fold of fabric I was talking about:
I also ended up taking a 4 cm tapered wedge out of the back seam as I had a bit more room in the lower back than I needed. All in all nothing too hard to handle in the alteration department. The rest came together with very few problems until I got to the buttonholes! I got some fabric covered buttons made at Jimmy Buttons that I was very happy with until I realised my buttonhole foot was too small for the job.
Thankfully after taking some advice from the lovely Stitcher and Gatherer and some phoning around I found somewhere (Melbourne Tailoring) that would do them for me professionally at $5 a buttonhole. I also got a good lesson in how you are supposed to fasten a double breasted garment. As a tailor with over 70 years experience he wasn’t too impressed with my lack of knowledge on the subject, but very patiently explained that you have a buttonhole on each side of the coat fronts and sew a double shank button onto your coat that has a button for show at the front but fastens the coat at the back. Well lessons gladly learned.