This week I finally went out in the coat I have been working on, very sporadically, for a good year or so. The wool cloth is from Marton Mills, which is 15 minutes down the road from where I live, and is lovely to handle. I have been guided through the main processes by the great Ann Ladbury, who is also delighted that she doesn't have to see it again in class!
It started out as the pattern pictured below though I merged all of the front and back into single pieces and added welt pockets. When I was considering the pocket size and placement Ann Ladbury pointed out that the look and cloth I had chosen was sporty and countrified, so ideally they should be large enough to fit a dead rabbit in! Who knew?
Another top tip was to cut the welt flaps on the cross and avoid trying to match non-square checks. I still had to repeat one to get the symmetry right but in the end I was happy. In fact pattern matching was a challenge all round and I am very pleased with how it all came together, especially my centre back seam. I tacked before machine sewing and also used my walking foot which I found stopped the wool sliding as I stitched.
I also learnt how to sew bound buttonholes and used a green corduroy to contrast, as otherwise the design of the coat is very simple. They are far from perfect but I no longer have that dreaded fear of the unknown technique. I also much prefer hand sewing buttonholes and having more control than when using the sewing machine. I sourced the buttons as my final job and found them in my local haberdashery Duttons for Buttons.
The lining fabric is also from Marton Mills and is a nice weight to compliment the wool. I vastly improved my felling stitches by sewing all of it in place by hand.
I added my train ticket pocket on the inside using one of my favourite Liberty prints, The Strawberry Thief. I made this like a patch pocket, interfaced and bound with lining fabric, then fell stitched it into the perfect position.
I like the cocoon style of this coat and chose it because I can wear it on top of big cosy jumpers in the winter without feeling that my movement is restricted. I have a shorter cape but that doesn't keep me warm enough up here in the north.
The downside is that it is made from wool and it rains a lot in the Wharfe valley. It will have to be reserved for the perfect dry day when I am not on the school run, or getting mucked up by my toddler, and can stroll leisurely through town to Betty's Tearoom. Needless to say it might not get as much wear as I would hope in the near future. But at least is it finished at long last!!