So there’s a bit of a gap in my coat collection, in that the Springy Coat is pretty lightweight, and my winter coat is fairly heavy, and I don’t have much in between. Technically my Lady Grey coat should be in the middle, but, um, much as I love the Lady Grey, that thing’s got short sleeves. -10 for practicality, Madam. Especially when made up in a hefty boiled wool.
So something in between would be pretty sweet, and it’s been a pretty long time since I made a coat that wasn’t for a tiny person.
McCall’s has some pretty cute coat patterns; I find them hard to resist, even though they aren’t terribly well drafted. (And by this I mean they use shortcuts, like having you use the same pattern pieces for the shell and the lining, not that the pieces don’t line up or anything like that.) It can take a fair bit of RTW Tailoring to get the pattern to a point I’m willing to go at it. McCall’s 7442 was better than some—at least it has a proper front facing piece and a front bodice lining piece to go with it—but I’d still recommend going over that sewalong or some other lining-drafting info before tackling it.
My first thought was a version of view C with the hood, but after trying out the little flounce at the waist I decided to skip it. It’s cute in theory but a little too much ruffle right at the waist for my liking.
The fabric is a “wool blend” lightweight coating (or possibly a heavy flannel) that’s only 10% wool—eyeroll—but I sure do like the look. Plus the colour scheme will work really well (if boringly) with lots and lots of the other things that I have made. To make it a bit warmer, I underlined with some heavy flannel from stash, the same stuff that I used for the flannel petticoat an age or so ago. This has made it full-on coat-like, although definitely not Canadian Winter Coat Grade. Also, underlined coating is the sweetest stuff in the world to work with. My machine blind-hem is COMPLETELY invisible because not a single stitch penetrated the outer fabric… but that’s getting ahead of myself.
Running with the inspiration of the lace-bedecked original, I also got as much of this black cotton cluny lace as I could fit in the project budget.
And I had just enough to go to town, covering not only the front and back yokes, but getting bands at the hem, waist, and sleeve hems as well. With only the tiniest sliver to spare!
You might find this a bit unbelievable, but this is the only coat I have with a hood. It’s not quite big enough, from my point of view, to look good up, but it’s just right for wearing down. And I’m sure if I wear this far enough into the fall (assuming I can wear it, when the chips are down) I’ll test it out for warmth. At a certain point in the Canadian winter you give up on caring about what things look like.
I did, however, screw the pooch pretty big time on this one. I mean, it’ll pass for what it needs to do—it’s a work project, and it’ll hang and look decent on a mannequin for a month, but whether I’ll actually be able to wear it? Grum.
Basically, I botched the plaid matching. Since it’s such a simple check, I guess I thought I could kinda wing it and, ah, no. Not a good idea. I should have spent much more time reviewing/researching. Or just thinking. Gah. All the different seam-lines (yoke, waist) didn’t help either.
Anyway, despite way more effort than it deserves, I totally failed at the most crucial of match-points—vertical lines right down the centre front. WTF, Tanit? HEADDESK.
And I stretched and eased and fudged and tweaked and made it work, kinda, but, there was a price, which was that I had to trim off some of the centre front bodice. And that I lost what had been a vertical stripe match from left side to right side, in order to match bodice and skirt. Maybe not the right call in hindsight, especially since this meant I also lost inches, where you don’t really want to lose inches in a fitted coat that I was already making down a size. Which means the whole damn thing is tight, bordering on way too tight. Not what I wanted in a brand new coat. And you can see the awkward pulling across the front, especially above the bust, where there just isn’t as much fabric as there should be.
Otherwise, I was pretty happy with my fit alterations. I started with a size 10 in the shoulders & bust, grading to a 12 at the waist, and squaring the shoulder down to the size 6 height. I did a petite through the armscye (but then forgot to take anything out of the sleeve cap, which led to a bit too much ease there, oops. My fabric was forgiving enough to accommodate it, but I wish I’d remembered in time to just trim it off. I’m glad I didn’t go with the straight 12 though as the shoulders are still a little boxy. I should have lowered the dart point a little bit, but the pulling above the bust bothers me a LOT more than the high dart.
I do like the two piece sleeve, although I did need to taper it in a couple of inches at the wrist—the bicep width is great, though. After comparing it with the sleeve for my Springy Coat, I added only 3cm of length, but then I lost about half of that trying to get the stripes to match up between my under and over-sleeve, and it’s still long enough. Which means that’s a very long sleeve to begin with, since it’s not unusual for me to add 3″ of length, not 3 cm. I wish I’d been able to keep the full 3cm, though—somehow with turn of cloth and everything it wound up about the same exact length as the Springy Coat sleeves, which are just a little shorter than I’d like. (Keeping in mind that I am obsessed with overly-long sleeves. Probably the length would be perfect for a normal person.)
Oh, yeah. It comes with pockets! They are obscenely tiny. Make them bigger. BIGGER.
I do enjoy my lace, even though it adds to the business of my busy fabric. I used two rows to cover the yoke parts, and just had to piece in a tiny bit right along the shoulder-line.
I think that’s it. I like the pictures. I love how it looks on the hanger. It just remains to be seen if tight is actually TOO TIGHT.
The hood looks perfect when it’s down. Just the right amount of fabric to sit nicely.
Oh, I almost forgot the buttonholes! I did them on the Rocketeer using my vintage buttonholer. I was terrified because of the thickness of the fabric, and it OWNED. Not a hesitation, not a bunching, nothing. Even on the sections that were covered with lace. Perfect. I went around three times to get the coverage nice.
All in all, I think I will be happy once the plaid-related trauma fades…