As you may know, I live in London, UK and our weather can be… changeable… I used to be able to choose whether I went out in the rain or not… but now I have a dog, the choice is mostly out of my hands! When it comes to wet weather wear, I’ve made a few lightweight options before, but wanted to produce something more substantial this time; something both warm and waterproof.
I started off with the duffel coat pattern, ‘Harry’, from a 2018 UK edition of La Maison Victor magazine. From there, I chose my fabrics. I bought them all online, and I’ll admit to being a little surprised by the colours: but that’s what you get when you buy fabric online (without getting swatches). The quilted orange (which you’ll see in a later post!) is actually a waterproof outerwear, I’m using it as my lining – it is also quilted with a layer of wading, so it doubles up as the warm layer too. It’s brighter than I anticipated, but I’m happy to go with it. The orange ripstop to line the sleeves (will also be revealed later and) is a totally different colour, but being hidden in the sleeves means that it doesn’t really matter either – it’s quite usual for a jacket to have a different lining on the sleeve to the body… The main fabric turned up greener than I thought (I did however know that it had paw prints on it – At least that wasn’t a surprise..!) Online it looked like Khaki Green, in real life it is fully Tent Green – it also feels like it’s rubber backed, so not too far off with the tent vibe. It’s going to be fantastically waterproof though, so I can’t wait to start wearing it… I also got some green jersey to tuck inside the cuffs, this really is khaki, and the colours look terrible together so I’m switching it out for black. So, all in all, a bit of a pot-luck fabric-haul: the idea was to echo the khaki-and-orange of the classic bomber jacket, I fear I may end up a bit more tent-poles-and-hi-viz, but I’m going with it nonetheless!
Albeit a perfectly good pattern, there are a few modifications I need to make to the Harry for it to be my perfect dog walking coat. Great big pockets are just the start! I also realised today that if I wait until I’ve finished this coat and blog it all at the end, it’s going to make one heck of a hefty blog post! So – today…
How I upgraded the pockets from ‘regular-patch‘ to ‘3D, Flapped Pockets with Magnetic Closures!’
Riding high off the success of all the pockets on my last boiler suit, I had big plans for this project… First, I needed to adapt the pattern…
Drafting the pattern
If you can use the original pattern piece as a starting point, there’s not an awful lot of drafting to do. These pockets are rounded, but the principle is the same if they were square or cornered. If you are not comfortable drafting a pocket piece to your own measurements, use the pattern piece from another pattern that you are happy with.
Draw the stitching line onto your pattern piece (if it isn’t already marked) – now measure the stitching line – this is the length of your gusset piece. The depth is up to you. I have a ruler that is 5cm wide, so I like to use that to measure strips like this. Using 1cm seams on one side and a 5mm seam on the other will give me a finished pocket-gusset of 3.5cm. That’s perfectly acceptable for me.
While you have the pattern pieces handy, cut out a pocket template (the actual size of the finished pocket, no seam allowances) and you can use this to mark the pocket placement later on.
Cut out the pockets, gussets and of course, whatever you’re sewing them onto (in my case, the coat fronts). The fabric I’m using doesn’t need interfacing, it’s sturdy enough by it’s self.
Start sewing the gusset to the pocket edge, right sides together. Have the pocket facing up and the gusset (face down) on top of it. Start in the top right corner, where the clip is in the photo below…
As I get down to the curve, I make snips into the seam allowance, just about halfway in, to help ease around the bend. I sew really slowly, positioning and repositioning the gusset as I go, shaping it around the curves.
With the gusset sewn on, next I mark the top of the pocket edge.
Turn the hem (I have left the inside edge raw as my fabric won’t unravel) and clip it in place…
Stitch it from the right side, catching the fold underneath.
Defining the gusset!
To help it fold in place and provide a nice crisp edge, it’s a good idea to stitch around the pocket/gusset edge. This is much easier if you can press your fabric, but I am finger pressing the seams and holding it with sewing clips…
When I sew this, I do it with the gusset facing up, like it is in the photo above. This means the bobbin thread will be showing on the outside, it also means you’ll have more control avoiding-puckers on the gusset. Again, take it slowly, repositioning the gusset to lay flat as you go around.
Attaching the pocket
If your fabric frays, finish the inside seam of the gusset first. Then fold a small seam allowance and clip/ pin it in place…
Take your pocket template and mark it’s position…
Start pinning the gusset edge to the marked pocket line. Pin the top corners first, then the bottom…
Finish by pinning the bottom corners or curves. You’ll notice I’m breaking all the rules of sewing with waterproof fabrics – by sticking pins into it! The main reason for not pinning these types of fabrics is that it often leaves marks. The other reason is to do with compromising the water resistance by making holes: the first doesn’t concern me as the marks aren’t showing on this fabric, and if it’s so wet outside that the rain is getting in through pin holes in my pockets… well then, I’ll stay indoors!
When it’s pinned in place ( you could use glue or tape if you want to avoid pins altogether) sew carefully around the edge, I’m going about 3mm from the edge. With a bit of luck, it should turn out something like this…
Making the flap…
Your original pocket pattern may have come with flaps, in which case use those! Mine didn’t so I’ve drafted my own.
It’s drafted 1cm wider than the pocket opening and 6cm deep, with 1cm seam allowance all around. At 2cm in from the corner I’ve marked the placement for the magnet closure.
Cut out two pockets and two lining pieces, stitch them together (right sides facing) – trim the corners and turn right side around. Now, gather up your hardware…!
These magnets aren’t pretty from the outside, so it’s necessary to hide them within the pocket flap and it’s lining. Use the pattern piece to mark the centre of the magnet on the pocket flap lining. Use the washer to mark the slashes…
Rather than interfacing, I’m using an off-cut of washable paper behind the closures for strength, so I’ve marked that with the washer too. Next, I snip through both the lining and the paper.
So the paper goes inside the flap. The pins of the closure go through the lining and the paper. The washer goes over the pins, on the inside, on top of the paper. Then fold the pins hard to the outside.
With the magnets in place on the pocket flaps, they’re ready to sew on. I start by sewing a basting line 1cm from the raw flap edge, along the stitching line. Position the flap using the outline you drew during the pocket placement. I pin it so that the stitching line on the flap is 1.5cm from the marking line of the top of the pocket.
Stitch along the basting line, then trim back the seams. Fold the pocket flap down into position. Carefully pin it and sew it down 1cm from the fold, sealing the raw edge inside. This should keep it 0.5cm from the top of the pocket.
Once that’s on it’s time to attach the other side of the closures.
Attach these in the same way as before – make sure you’re using the corresponding pieces so that they close correctly.
And they’re done – nicely lined up on the inside… invisible on the outside…!
I’m really pleased with how this jacket is coming along already! It’s going to take me a while to finish, but I’m sure it’ll still be raining by then! I’ve got a few more modifications planned so will be sure to report how I get on.
Until then, happy sewing!
Notes to self:
- Buy swatches to check the colour of online fabrics.
- Make the flap a bit bigger than you would for a regular patch pocket, about 1cm wider and 2cm deeper – to accommodate the extra volume.
- If you can, press & steam the heck out of it to keep it nice and crisp.
- Use lots of interfacing around the magnet closures, especially with thinner fabrics.
- Practice sewing around curves, I’m really bad at it!