A Very Small Jacket

In the spirit of “How much more shit can I possibly cram in,” I made a baby jacket.

Let’s back up a bit. Last winter my bestie, Ada, recipient of the gift Ruby Slip, had a baby girl. In the spring, Ada and her husband came back to Saskabush to spend six months of their parental leave around family. YAY! And I spent most of the last six months thinking that really I ought to make something for this adorable baby who is lucky enough to have one of the most wonderful people in the entire world for a mother. Of course, in my typical procrastinaty way, I didn’t make anything. I even missed my window of opportunity to make this pattern last summer:

Simplicity 3243 – Opportunity Lost

I know, pretty unforgivable. I had fabric picked out and everything.

Alas, like all good things, this idyll must come to an end. Ada and family are headed back to the balmy west coast, and I probably won’t see baby Q (and her delicious pudgy rolls) until after she’s walking. Maybe talking. Stupid distance.

Style 2170

So I got it into my head, a week ago, to finally make up Style 2170, the un-numbered coat version. I traced it out, which would’ve been incredibly easy except for some reason the envelope designers didn’t give that view a number, and while the individual pieces were marked “Coat,” the pattern overview really wasn’t very clear about which pieces were which. I ransacked the stash a bit for coating (something I am well supplied with), Kasha lining (mmmm, Kasha), and finally settled on a flannel I could sacrifice for underlining. Although it has pink teddy bears. We’ll come back to that.



Did you notice this pattern, too, is for a six month old? Yeah, real bright, Tanit. Q is nine months. She’s not exactly a wispy, waifly nine-month-old, either (see above about the rolls.) So I have a sinking feeling that this coat will probably fit for about a minute and a half. Ah, well. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Don’t answer that.

Collar. Perfect button.

Collar. Perfect button.

I had hoped for two buttons for the closure (as per the drawing) but couldn’t find any pairs in stash that worked as well as this one perfect purple button. You can see I made no adjustments for turn of cloth when stitching the collar. I only had one afternoon to construct the whole thing, I wasn’t really thinking about fine tailoring.

Fold-over facings

Fold-over facings

The front and front yoke both have fold-over, cut on facings; this made for some nifty construction I don’t think I can explain without long diagrams, but was a pain in the butt when it came to adding the lining, since the original pattern wasn’t lined and when I went to sew in the sleeves, well, the front and back yoke were all sewn to each other. There was some seam-ripping and pouting. I wound up stitching the lining sleeve to the lining body by hand; technically it could’ve been done by machine, but the space was so small and fiddly. Baby clothes are pretty annoying that way, aren’t they? There was a fair bit of ease in the sleeve cap, as you can see; I didn’t really notice with the shell fabric, which eased gloriously.

Quilting for Q

Quilting for Q

I got it into my head, during the gap between cutting and actually sewing it up on Sunday, that I should quilt the back yoke. The thought process actually went: I want flannel interlining. Interlining is sometimes quilted to the linings. Think of those gorgeous quilted petticoats you like so much. I could totally do something like that! I should quilt a “Q” onto the back yoke! Then I tried to add a bunch of curly, floral bits. I’m not good at either quilting or embroidery, so I don’t think my results are terribly legible or lovely but, well, there is a Q there if you look closely. There are also some pink smudges, because when I washed the piece to get the little purple tracing-paper dots off, it appears the pink bears on the backing flannel bled. Aargh.

2013-10-27 19.07.00

Lining and facings

I used featherstitch topstitching to attach the facing to the front lining.

Hem and seam (un)finishing

The guts.

Here you can see those darn pink bears. This flannel had been pre-washed at lest twice, and it still bled. WTF? I cut the flannel 2 cm shorter than the lining, and then sewed the hems together (which took a lot of easing on a flared coat like this) and managed to sort-of get it to lie nicely once it was turned around. My coating fabric was really fray-prone, so I blockfused it to a knit interfacing , which made it lovely to work with, but I probably still should’ve serged the raw edges. I was assuming this was a poly coating, but maybe there’s some rayon or even wool in there; it sure pressed and eased beautifully. I love coating. I found a lavender lace hem tape in stash to cover my hem, though I picked a darker purple thread to sew it on, which doesn’t look terribly nice. It’s very tidy, though, at least.

that bit

that bit

I backed the purple button on the outside with this clear, boring button on the inside. I was looking for a cute purple one, but couldn’t find one that was small and flat enough.

Back view. Very boring.

Back view. Very boring.

I kind of wish I would’ve piped the lower yoke seam, as it’s a pretty feature and hardly shows. Or maybe I should’ve done the back yoke on the bias. Ah, well. What’s done is done.

Bonnet. Fail.

Bonnet. Fail.

As you may have noticed, the pattern included an adorable bonnet. I was pretty excited about this, until I got it to this point, and looked at it, and realized that it was highly unlikely to actually fit, or cover anything enough to keep it warm if it did. So it went to the bottom of the queue and didn’t get finished. It would’ve been lovely, though.

Bonnet insides.

Bonnet insides.

Don’t you love my featherstitch understitching?

I have to say, much as I don’t love making baby clothes (they have such funny squooshy bodies, regular clothes really don’t make much sense, and they grow too quickly), I sure do love making coats. I love working with the heavy fabrics, I love the way they ease and press and even the fiddly things like turn of cloth. This was a pleasure to make just for how the fabrics handled, and it was so much quicker than a full-sized coat would’ve been.

Edited to add:

It fits! It fits it fits it fits! I added an inch to the sleeves when I made it, and they are a little long, and the shoulders are still a little wide as well. Silly over-sized baby clothes. The sleeves aren’t particularly wide, especially for chubby baby arms, but she’ll be able to wear it for a bit, anyway (and she’ll get a lot more wear out of it in warm Vancouver than she would here, that’s for sure.)

Also, Ada has promised pictures of the jacket being worn in its natural habitat. πŸ™‚

Also, I’m apparently going to a baby shower on Sunday. Which means I may have to make more baby clothes. /sigh.



Filed under Sewing

42 responses to “A Very Small Jacket

  1. Amy

    That is SO cute. It makes my ovaries hurt! I love the Simplicity too! I hope you get another opportunity to sew t.

  2. This is one gorgeous baby coat! Love all the details.

  3. What a sweet little coat! Such a wonderful gift! So glad it ended up fitting after all of that – and even if she only wears it for a season, it’s something she and her mom will surely treasure in years to come.

    Isn’t easing sleeves out of coating fabric fun?! It just magically does whatever you want it to do. And I’m right there with you on the frustrations of sewing tiny things by machine.

    Can’t wait to see pictures of her wearing it!

    • Yeah, it’s so lovely to work with a good and giving fabric!

      It’s funny, I started my sewing on Barbie clothes, and I don’t ever remember getting frustrated, but now that I’m used to big things, it’s sure hard to go back…

  4. sewingonpins

    Awww, this is the most adorable baby jacket (and possibly jacket of all ages) that I have ever seen! I love when people don’t use ‘traditional’ baby colours on babies, because there’s only so much pink one can handle and THIS IS SOOO CUTE! Will you make me one jsut like it? Just… alot bigger! πŸ˜€ I wouldn’t even mind bleeding bears! lol

    On that note though, I don’t think the bleed is that bad on the quilting. I thought it was deliberate at first, a touch of colour in the quilting. But I’m a ‘silver-lining’ kind of gal, so it could just be me. I saw the Q right away, too.

    • Yeah, pink overload is definitely a thing. I’m not sure how well the colours came through in the photos, the coat is a very definite light purple, with threads of dark, almost eggplant. So still pretty baby-ish, but a little more grown-up, I guess.

      Glad you could see the Q, anyway! πŸ™‚

  5. that is twelve kinds of adorable

  6. That is the most adorable baby coat I have EVER seen… I am kinda sad my girls aren’t little and cute anymore (they are just cute now πŸ˜‰ )… Just love the colors, the lining… it looks like a mini version of an adult coat. Love it! ~Laurie

    • Yeah, mine are pretty big (like stealing my clothes big)… but still cute. I didn’t sew much when they were little, so it’s nice to do the odd thing for special friends.

  7. OMGoodness how CUTE is this!!!!!!!!!! I started cutting out some “very small clothes” to sew for fun, but cos I don’t have kids there’s no motivating to continue so they remain UFOs!

  8. Beautiful! It may not fit for long, but I’m sure she’ll keep it forever.

  9. Super cute! I just made a dress with very similar lines and almost an identical button at the neck. I agree that baby clothes are super fiddly and not my favorite thing to sew and I’ve also been guilty of waiting too long and missing my opportunity (just ask my gigantor 2-year old nephew). I’m so glad your coat fits Q. It would be a shame to go to all that work making such a sweet coat and then it not being worn. And yes… I also love your feather stitching πŸ˜‰

    • Ooo, can’t wait to see that! Yeah, the window is so small with kids, isn’t it? There’s a ton of patterns I wanted to make even my own kids that I haven’t gotten to in time.

  10. Rosie

    This a gorgeous little jacket.

  11. Joy

    Wow, that is beautiful! She will be one well-dressed baby!

  12. Beautiful!! I love coating too… I’m forever wishing it was more readily available in nice fibers here πŸ™‚ I’m making up for it by making my up and coming coat out of medium weight wool underlined with flannelette. It was cool to see you had the same idea… only mine doesn’t have pink bears on it… pity LOL.

    • Yeah, this one is a mystery fibre that I’m sure is nothing special (although it pressed so nicely I’m thinking it’s not entirely poly.)

      I’ve underlined quite a few coats in flannel, it adds a really satisfying weight and warmth. πŸ™‚

  13. Helen

    This is absolutely adorable! Just gorgeous! What a fantastic job, it’s perfect. I am so pleased it fit after all that work. I bet she looks beautiful in it.

  14. This is so adorably squee worthy! It’s his B’s one if the cutest little person coats I have ever seen, you’ve did an excellent job. The little purple button is perfect.

  15. LinB

    I think you’re seeing more faults in this delightful little garment than would 95% of the rest of the world. I’d go ahead and finish the delicious little bonnet, too, were I you.
    Most babies look good in grey, royal purple, and navy. Make up some sample little garments in those colors, and it will matter not which gender gets them as an eventual gift. Stick to pop-over tops and coats, and you won’t ever have to face the horror that is snap tape, or snaps in general. I’d rather make 11 handworked buttonholes than insert a zipper; I’d rather install zippers for 10 days straight than sew in or hammer in snaps. But that’s just me … .
    Now that you’ve slaved over this tiny coat, you can have a better feel for why rtw children’s clothing is so (relatively) expensive. It takes just as much labor to construct them as it does adult garments, even though (because?) it takes so much less fabric.

    • Hehe. So far, I have avoided snap-tape (snaps don’t seem as popular for baby clothes as I remember… maybe because they’re such a pain all around.)

      Yeah, it’s definitely not *easier* to sew than an adult coat—although the hand-work definitely went more quickly. πŸ˜‰

  16. This is beautiful! I love your fabric choice and the quilted yoke is the perfect touch. So pretty. So glad it fits with room to spare. So lucky little Q!

    • Thanks! Yeah, I was so relieved when it actually fit. I always remember babies as being bigger than they are, I suppose.

      • LinB

        They sort of assume mammoth proportions overnight. I would dream about the huge responsibility of caring for my little darling, dreams in which she loomed as large as a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving parade. Then, each morning, I was amazed to see the tiny, tiny person in the crib, reaching up for me to lift out to begin the new day.

  17. adorable! Coco Channel would be happy to see that you are inspiring the wee ones. We’ll done my friend


  18. Q loves her gorgeous coat from her favourite Auntie T!!!

  19. Pingback: Small and purple coats | Tanit-Isis Sews

  20. Leann

    Hi there. Yes, baby clothes can be challenging to make at times but so rewarding in the end. I was wondering if you might be interested in selling the pattern above that you didn’t get a chance to try. Simplicity 3243? I’d love to give it a try for my daughter. Thank you so much, I look for we to hearing from you.

  21. Pingback: The Purple Mystery Coat | Tanit-Isis Sews

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