In a way, this is the garment that started it all. More than a year ago, now, I was facing down another Canadian winter realizing, sadly, that my erstwhile-winter-coat (really more of a fall weight) was not going to get me through more than one more brutal season. And the kinds of winter coats I like—long and elegant and warm—are hard to find, dastardly expensive, and never have long enough sleeves.
So a kernel was planted in my brain.
It took a long time to germinate. I had candidacy exams last fall, which constitutes the most intensive and brutal academic hazing I’ve yet encountered. I couldn’t really contemplate anything that fall; I woke up, got the kids off to school, and sat in bed and read, researched, and wrote. All day. For months. Finally in early December the final (oral) part of the exams was finished, and I had just enough time to inhale, explain to my kids’ teachers why they were both acting out in school (can we say stress at home?), and get ready for Christmas.
Around the same time as the coat-kernel was planted, the idea of making the girls some coats had also been sown, as I had some burlap-weight curtain material that I couldn’t imagine actually wearing myself. So after Christmas, I took myself off to Fabricland, in search of little girls’ coat patterns, and found this one. Keeping in mind at this point, the only lined garment I’d ever made was a vest.
The girls’ coats became the ones blogged here and here and I moved on to other things, but the dream of a winter coat percolated ever in the background. I was absolutely delighted when Elizabeth decided to revive the Trench Coat Sew-Along in a more relaxed format. Just what I needed, I thought.
I won’t bore you with too much more blathering. It’s pretty much all documented here already, probably in triplicate, right up to my button crisis the other week. And there’s the trials of the flipping-out-facings, which haven’t been totally tamed, as I’m sure you can see.
Anyway, last night I finally tackled the dreaded buttonholes of doom. Er, tackled might be a little too strong a word. At present they are hand-finished, but the thread I had (buttonhole thread, but not hand-buttonhole thread) didn’t give good coverage; I may try just zig-zagging over the cut edges. All my sewing incompetence comes roaring to the fore in the face of buttonholes (at least buttonholes I can’t accomplish with my buttonhole function on my sewing machine, anyway. Which is pretty much anything that isn’t a light blouse). Probably I should’ve gone for bound buttonholes, but the chances of me getting (eight! of) them even and matching… well, anyway. I didn’t.
But here it is. Perfect? Not hardly. Well fitting? Well, the sleeves are long enough and it creates
the illusion that I have a curvaceous figure, which is exciting in a coat. How warm it is remains to be seen—it’s certainly more than adequate for a crisp fall morning like today, but will it get me through -30, -40, -50? There isn’t much ease for stuffing extra sweater layers underneath it (the idea was to render those 2 or 3 extra layers unnecessary, of course. I’m still not sure I’m absolutely in love with the stand collar, especially in grey—not a great colour for me—but it’s interesting and different. Maybe I’ll try the regular lapel version sometime. I like it best with the red accessories—I have a red winter hat, too, that goes well with the scarf, but I couldn’t find it just rooting around this morning.
And here’s a link to the slideshow on Flickr with a few more photos.
Whew! That was exhausting!