Pink Sheep Coat

Hi!

The world has changed since my last post. Or maybe I just thought it had changed a long time ago but it actually hadn´t and what we are witnessing is proof of inability to change, to learn from the past? Nevertheless, utterly saddening, frightening and exfuriating times that I as many others never believed to be happening again.

As for many others, sewing is my therapy and I am working on one or another project all the time. Just did not feel like blogging about anything for some time. Maybe I will catch up, maybe not. Maybe the time for blogs is over anyway? This just reminded me that next month it will be the 10-year anniversary of this space!

Anyway, as it happens, I made another coat. But this time a super quick one, not like the last that required batting, quilting and what not. However, the road to this super quick coat was a long one as everything started from a feverish search for a not-too-sporty and not-too-complicated coat pattern that would be suitable for softshell. I actually wanted to make a softshell coat and I still do. But I made one in boucle, apparently… after having bought some boiled wool that showed up in completely wrong color and after finally settling with a cheaper and less warm fabric but in the perfect shade of pink!

As I was in search for a perfect pattern for softshell, one of my sewing buddies showed me this gorgeous Sew La Di Da Vintage pattern, the Rock Steady Coat:

I instantly wanted to look at least somewhat as cool as this woman (on the website there is a black version of the coat too) and I ordered some faux leather and boiled wool. As I mentioned earlier, the wool arrived in a completely unexpected shade of pink that just did not work for my complexion and did not match the faux leather I already had. So a small online fabric shop Kangahaldjas helped me out and the owner specifically looked up and ordered a boucle fabric in the perfect shade that also could be left with raw edges as per this style.

And I did it again – make a coat without ever having tried the pattern brand before and just crossing fingers that it would work out, which it did! There are minor issues with the instructions – like what to do with sleeve hems – the pattern markings seem to suggest they will be turned back, but the length of the sleeves would be too short in that case and also the instructions don´t mention anything about it. So I just left them raw as the rest of the edges.

The coat is unlined and maybe this the only bugging detail. While I like the raw edges on the outside, I would prefer the inside, especially around the neck, to look a bit more professional. But still, I honestly enjoy every minute I wear it. As my other sewing buddy, who jokingly called the coat Shaun the Sheep (she was not wrong), pointed out, one of the biggest Estonian newspapers wrote that a pink coat should be prescribed by doctors this spring. I can support this idea by saying that if you wear something you feel good in, it definitely helps a ton with dealing with the world, and in my case it happens to be this pink coat!

As you may noticed, I added the belt and belt loops to my version, but it looks equally cool when worn as intended, loose. I made the smallest size S/M and I love how it fits, not oversized as most of the stuff we see these days, but relaxed at the same time.

I also wore my coat in Stockholm about two weeks ago for a conference and following my traditions, managed to squeeze in a quick hop to downtown to a fabric shop.

As their website declares, Sidencarlson should be one of the oldest fabric stores in Stockholm. The small shop has a well-curated selection of fabrics, lots of them high quality wools and silks with respective price tags, but they also offer a range of simpler things and I grabbed some blue-white bengaline for a pair of stretch jeans one day.

The conference was a success as well, our poster was awarded as the best poster of the conference! And that was the creme de la creme of Scandinavian spinal cord rehabilitation experts!

Until soon!

Villanelle, tres belle!

Hi!

Does it seem like a good idea to try out a new-to-you pattern brand with a coat pattern involving single welt pockets that you have never made before and quilting with Thinsulate for the first time? A sound advice would be “no!” but I did all that and ended up with my third coat and finally one that can actually be worn in our climate too. You know, these classy wool coats are nice but only as long as you live someplace warmer, not here in Estonia.

So yes, taking all of the abovementioned risks, I tried out Vikisews patterns and their Villanelle coat and it was absolutely worth it!

I had been wanting to make some serious outerwear for a long time but it always seemed too complicated and honestly there aren´t so many patterns out there that involve padding etc. But thanks to Instagram I stumbled upon Vikisews patterns and was encouraged by several sewists who mentioned that their instructions are really thorough. So, after finding the right fabric ( I got so lucky at our local store, the fabric is water repellent which is a must in Estonian winter, in my beloved color of khaki green and cost less that 5 euros/m!) and Thinsulate 150 for insulation, I just dove in right before Christmas. By the way, I hope I will not have a chance to test it, but Thinsulate 150 is claimed to keep you warm in up to minus 30C*!! The truth is that no wind gets through it and if I am dressed like you see in the photos- long shaft boots and the coat with a scarf and gloves, it is super toasty!

If you remember my last post, I mentioned that the dress there was just a side project of a bigger one. At some point I did feel overwhelmed, it is true. The instructions are about 30 pages long complete with photos but because of the quilting, there are so many extra steps that you just need to keep it cool and keep going. But the Insta-sewists were not lying, the instructions really do take you through every step very carefully, with only some minor inaccuracies regarding the photo content.

I made the coat in size 40 after a long debate and I got a bit worried at some point that it might be too big, but eventually I love the slightly oversized look of it. The sleeves were really wide though, so I narrowed them by 4 cm!

If you noticed, the quilting does not match on the side seams because the pieces are quilted separately and then sewn together. I had imagined that the quilting would run smoothly on the sides too and was a bit turned off when I realized this wasn´t the case. But then I eyeballed everyone in the supermarket wearing quilted coats and didn´t see a single one without that issue and calmed down. I do think that there shuld be a clever way of achieving a smooth look though!

Interestingly the fabric looks so dull when photographed indoors, but here are some close-ups:

It was my first time making single welt pockets (or any welt pockets) and I was extra careful and looked up extra information on the process as this was a step were the photo material of the instructions was a bit confusing. The pockets are not perfect, but considering these are my first and sewn with insulation, I am ok with them. The pocket flaps seem to be too narrow, at least I did not take the risk of sewing them on and just cut new and slightly wider ones.

If you decide to try this pattern, I really recommend not leaving the snaps off. Since I hurried to wear my coat last weekend already, I did so before I attached them. You can wear the coat without any problems, but the look is more fitted when the snaps are closed and it is much better.

With the completion of this coat I fulfilled a long time dream of being able to wear me-mades regardless of the weather. And although it was a big project and took many hours of work, it kind of opened up a new horizon and I have been eyeing some other padded coat/jacket options for the future. Honestly, you just have to try it to understand the satisfaction of a real self made warm winter coat!

Until soon!

The Coat

Ok, this really is one huge achievement for me! I made a coat. A coat. THE coat 😀

I don´t know how it is for others but for me this has been a huge goal and a dream for many years. A dream that took so long to come true because I never had an opportunity to go and actually learn how to make a coat.

I have two failed attempts of coats still in my wardrobe – both unfinished because I got stuck on the way but I find it extremely difficult, actually impossible, to just dump a project. However, these two might be headed to the dumpster because I know now that saving them would be a huge load of work and maybe even not possible.

So before I continue, I have to say big thanks to my teacher Margit whose class I attended once a week from October to November, seven meetings altogether. She basically held my hand when it came to pockets and this curved hem. I am also thankful to the small group of ladies who also participated and whose company I enjoyed very much.

Each class was 3 hours long, but since I live 100 km away from the capital of Estonia, Tallinn, for me and my family it was a whole journey each time. My husband left work two hours earlier each Wednesday and we packed little Liisa-Mai with all of her equipment into the car and drove to Tallinn. Each Wednesday they spent the 3 hours together either strolling in the shops or visiting friends so that I could make that coat. The participation in this course was actually a birthday present from my husband, but as you can see, it was much more than just paying for the course!

Anyway, even with the seven meetings the coat was not yet finished. I had to attach the lining of the left sleeve and as it very often happens – these little things in the end take most of the time and effort. So I actually finished sewing the coat in January and then had to take it to a tailor´s shop to have the buttonholes made. At least this is what the teacher suggested – trying to sew them with a regular home sewing machine would not give a satisfactory result.

The ladies at the first tailor´s shop immediately told me that they did not offer such service anymore and that bound buttonholes would actually show real craftmanship. Yes, agreed, but I just made my first coat! I can keep something for the next one, I believe?? 🙂 Anyway, I finally found a place that accepted the work and… the coat was finished!

The pattern is from a Patrones magazine a few years ago. I actually got the magazine exactly because of this pattern, I was drawn by the unique curved hem and the general tailcoat style. The wool fabric is also from a few years back and also bought exatly for this pattern. I remember a lady buying it and I told her that I thought it was really beautiful and asked her what she would make out of it. She was snappy when she responded so I waited for some time until she left the shop and then asked for the same fabric 😀

But what was it about those two earlier attempts that I wasn´t able to finish them, or more precisely, lost interest in finishing them because I could see that the result would not be satsifactory? For me, it is the lack of instructions in the sewing magazines. I have not seen one coat or even jacket pattern that would advise using as much fusible interfacing as you ACTUALLY need for making a proper jacket or a coat. Or what about sleeve heads? Extra layer of windstopper material? I really tried following the patterns word by word and always ended up with a mess. It makes me sad, because I believe I am not the only one and some people could really get discouraged by this.

So my coat has windstopper inside the back piece (I could really feel the difference today while taking the photos, since I did not add any to the sleeves, for example), self-drafted sleeve heads (so simple, who would have thought!) and lots of fusible interfacing (I had figured that out with a help from a local seamstress already earlier). I used the Spanish size 42 without any adjustments even after measuring the pattern and myself (this is a new thing I learned at the course!) apart from setting the sleeves a little deeper.

It also has this curved hem that actually made things quite difficult – adding the lining and making it fall smoothly was a lot of work and I know that it is not perfect, but I am happy with it anyway, since it is my very first!

As you can see, I skipped most of the buttons on the front. The truth is only one of them was meant to have a buttonhole anyway so after I sewed on the first one it seemed quite enough for me. However, there is a smaller button on the inside to secure the fronts nicely as they overlap.

The fabric is a beautiful striped greyish-pink with a very soft pile. Some of the photos show the fabric more grey than it is. I used pink piping on the lining attatchment seam.

In conclusion, I am beyond happy – happy about the coat and happy about the skills and encouragement I got from the course!