This coat has been a long time in the making. I bought the wool for it last October while in France. And since then I’ve put it off and put it off until I finally took a stab at it and made a muslin (you can read about it here). It’s the Goldstream Peacoat from Thread Theory.
I concluded the muslin was too small. The question was, did I need to cut a size bigger or should I just adjust the shoulder width…? In the end, I decided to size up and cut out a straight size M.
I’ve made a few jackets before, a Rain Jacket, a ‘smart’ jacket and more recently my Tweedy Bomber. I made a coat for AuntieE (but it was only 5 pieces and unlined). So this felt like a big step – It’s quite a commitment, making a coat. But I shouldn’t have put it off so long. As is so often true in cases like these, it wasn’t anywhere near as much of a trial as I anticipated. In fact, of course, I really enjoyed making it.
- Pattern Alterations.
I only changed the pockets. Instead of patch pockets, I added piping to the flaps and used the patch pocket piece to cut interior linings. I also added side welt pockets. To position these, I overlaid the pattern from my recent Bomber Jacket and used that for placement.
- Prepare Pattern & Fabric.
I prepped my wool using (what I have recently learnt is called) the ‘London’ method… in the tumble dryer with a damp towel. I was given the lining fabric by my Mother in Law, I’m not sure what it is but it feels really luscious, thick and silky. It feels like quality. I’ve underlined the wool with a brushed cotton from my stash.
The main things to remember are that as it’s so much bigger than a shirt or a pair of trousers, everything takes longer. Right from the start, it took a couple of hours to trace all the pattern pieces. Then another hour cutting it all out. Then still another two or three hours to cut the lining, the underlining, interfacing and the main fabric pieces. I was surprised to see how late it was.
Here is where I own up to taking the shorter route of construction. I wish I had the time to dedicate to hand tailoring a coat, and I bow my head to those who do. But I fear that even if it ever did get finished, it would probably look a mess! So I plan on hand sewing as little as possible on this make. I chose a medium weight, soft touch, iron on, woven interfacing from Minerva Crafts and really took my time fusing all the pieces, giving them plenty of time to cool down too.
- Front facing.
- Upper and under collar.
- Neck facing.
- Pocket openings.
- Welt flaps.
For extra warmth, I cut out the fronts, back and sleeves from brushed cotton and basted this to the back of the main fabric pieces. I used a long stitch length and a 1cm seam allowance to keep the stitching hidden.
So once I finally had everything ready, I couldn’t find the instruction book anywhere! PANIC!!! I checked online, but the internet version is the hand-sewing version. So rather than take that as a sign, I thought I’d take a chance and message Thread Theory via instagram to ask if there was a digital version available… thank you Jaymee for getting back to me so quickly!
Jaymee emailed the file to me the next day… In the meantime I figured I’d make a start on the pockets as I was doing those differently from the pattern anyhow.
Slash Welt Pockets:
- Mark the welt opening.
- Sew the welt with the raw edges lined to the middle of the opening.
- Sew fleece pocket lining on top of welt.
- Sew main fabric pocket lining on top of mark.
- Cut through centre and into corners.
- Position welt, fold coat fronts out of the way and secure the triangles.
- Sew up the pocket bag.
Piped Flap Pockets:
- Make the pocket flaps.
- Make a strip of piping for each flap.
- Sew the piping to the flap and trim the cord back to within the seam allowance.
- Sew the flap to the pocket marks with the flap pointing up and the piping against the front of the coat.
- Sew the main fabric pocket lining over the same line of stitching.
- Sew the front-pocket-lining piece underneath the flap. Start and stop 1/2 cm inside the original stitching line.
- Cut through the centre and to the corners, push everything through and sew down the triangles as before.
- Sew up the pocket bags.
The instructions didn’t arrive until the next day, and I was really getting in the mood now, so I thought I’d start assembling the lining.
- Lining and Interior Pocket.
I sewed the facings to the fronts, then before finishing the side seams I put in an internal breast pocket. This is a patch pocket in the pattern, but I decided on another welt.
This one was much less fiddly; I used the interior pocket pattern piece for the width, but cut the piece twice as long, and a bit extra. So I have a long rectangular piece.
I mark the box for the opening a couple of centimetres down on the lining piece. Sew this in place, all the way around the box, to the right side of the facing.
Cut through the centre and to the corners. Push everything through the hole. Fold the lower (longer) piece into the welt and stitch in the ditch to hold in place.
Fold up the facing and sew the triangles.
Sew the bottom of the pocket to the top, then sew up the sides.
Seeing as I’d got this far, I thought I may as well sew up the sides and shoulders. First, I had to get the neck facing piece into the back. It’s two big opposing curves. There’s probably a trick for it in the instructions, but of course I don’t have those yet, so I pin it carefully, sew it slowly and it all goes together pretty smoothly in the end.
As soon as I started pressing the wool seams, all those blog posts I’d read where people are waxing lyrical about their seam clappers, suddenly made sense! I found a baton of wood (which came in the packaging for the new oven a while ago… I knew it would come in handy one day…!) and pressed it down firmly onto my freshly steamed seams… it made a remarkable difference and they laid much flatter.
So now I’ve got a front shell, lining and pockets. Initial fittings are looking positive. I know there’s still a lot to do, but, right now I’m on a sewing high and it feels like I’ve just got the sleeves to go! Anyway, I’ve definitely broken the back of it and I can’t wait to get it finished.
Notes to self;
- Hope I haven’t mucked up the order before the instructions arrive…
- Take more time over my welts, they need to be sharper.
- Maybe invest in a clapper, although my bit of packing wood did a pretty good job.
- Oh, and I made the hood!