Look, Ma, I made a coat!

Yep. I made a coat – the white one shown on the Simplicity 2508 pattern packet (sorry about the bad picture, I took it just now in really bad lighting so I could show y’all). Isn’t it adorable? Before I found S2508, I’d been looking at Vogue patterns and was pretty set on a standard peacoat pattern. But the asymmetrical collar on this coat! The sleeve bands! The buttons, oh my! I really love button details. Just in case you couldn’t tell. :P

I know it seems pretty crazy to sew a coat as my.. what, fifth sewing project? I can barely sew in a straight line! But when I was looking at my momma’s fabric stash, she had this lovely houndstooth wool – perfect for a coat. And I like wearing coats. I was a bit hesitant at first, not wanting to mess up this lovely wool, but my momma, who has more faith in me than I do, said, “Go for it!” So I did. (Thanks, momma!)

From the beginning, this project was a tough challenge. I learned so much from the process of making this coat, important stuff like… it’s really hard to cut patterns with a cat around.

Lesson 1: Crinkly tissue paper = instant toy for cats. Apparently.

Eventually, Isabelle and I came to a compromise.. sort of. She would help me keep the pattern grounded. Just in case it started floating, of course. It’s important that the pattern stay still and all.

I would tell her to move. She would ignore me and nonchalantly start grooming herself.

Yeah, I know. She’s so good at helping me with my crafting. I don’t know what I’d do without her. :P

Lesson 2: Cats like wool, even if it’s not yarn.. and even if there are pins all over the fabric.

When I started pinning and cutting out the pieces, Isabelle was very courageous in helping me keep the fabric grounded, even risking the possibility of being poked with pins. Once the actual sewing commenced, she lost interest. I think the sewing machine noise both fascinates and scares her a little. It definitely freaks Cheetah out, but he scares really easily. Oh, he helped me with the project too (no pictures, sorry) – mostly by knocking things off my cutting table so I could pick them up later.

So.. I kind of really love this coat. It’s warm! It’s cute! Though, I will admit there are many, MANY mistakes. Among the things I learned, probably the most important lesson is to cut carefully. I wasn’t careful enough when cutting the pieces out, so some pieces were kind of uneven, and this made it hard to sew.

Also… I really need to learn to sew straight. :)

This back tab is one of my favorite details, but you can really see where my top stitching went awry. :P

The process of making this coat taught me a lot of different techniques. I hand-basted a LOT, and I can see how basting makes the seams so much more even and accurate than pinning does! When I was doing the hem, I learned to slip stitch. Through googling information on tailoring, I learned that I should include a back stay to help support the back and shoulder area. I also learned how to use fusible interfacing to stabilize the hem of the coat. So much information – I honestly never knew there were so many details in tailoring,  and I know I haven’t even delved into it very much! I can’t wait to start another coat soon and try out some more techniques.

There were two really frustrating moments for me while making this coat. The first was trying to figure out how to make buttonholes on the sewing machine. I found the buttonhole foot, googled how to make automatic buttonholes on a Babylock machine. I tried for soooo many hours and still could not get it right, to the point where I was about to give up and try making handsewn buttonholes (yes I was that desperate). My mom came home and offered to help me, but she couldn’t remember how to do it either. Finally though, she managed to find a website that explains really clearly how to do it! Once I figured it out with the help of that website, it was SO easy! And fun, even.

The other frustrating moment was sewing on the buttons. There are 21 buttons on this coat… that’s a lot of buttons. Now, I really love the look of buttons on clothes; I’m really attracted to making cardigans when I knit. But I hate (hate!) sewing on buttons. I’m really bad at it. I used to not sew them on sturdily enough, so they’d fall out. I also have a really hard time sewing them evenly. And! I get lazy so I try to use a really long piece of thread, but often the whole thing just tangles and… yeah. Okay. That last one is probably my fault. :p

In any case, it took me two or three tries to get all the buttons sewn on my coat, especially on the front since the two columns have to match or else they just look.. wonky. Sloppy. But now that they’re on, I LOVE them! Check out my sleeve band!

And my pocket!

Originally I wanted to make welt pockets, because I tend to think they’re easier to use… but these flap pockets are so cute, especially when buttoned. Kind of makes it a pain to slip my hand into the pockets, but it’s okay. :P

I found these buttons at Stonemountain & Daughter, this awesome fabric store in Berkeley. Oh man, I was so overwhelmed when I went there! Walls and walls of fabric, most of which I have no idea what they are. And! A whole wall of buttons. Amazing! It took me awhile to pick these black ones out. I wanted something that wasn’t plain, but also not too busy. I think the ones I ended up with are perfect, solid black with a little texture for interest. :)

I decided to include a really bad picture of me wearing the coat so you  could see the collar. :P I tried to take a picture of it flat, but it didn’t look right. No picture of the coat in its entirety though, sorry – it’s really hard taking pictures of myself. I think I took like 10 just to get a semi-okay one of the collar..

Cheetah was rather confused by the whole process. Intrigued, though – he watched me instead of looking out the window! Haha. Oh, and sorry about the weird face (mine, not his).

All in all, I enjoyed the process of sewing this coat. I’m proud of myself for finishing it relatively successfully! I know I’ll get a lot of wear out of it this winter, which makes me ridiculously happy. :)

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2 Responses to Look, Ma, I made a coat!

  1. Beverly says:

    that is so totally awesome, priscilla! i still can’t believe you only started sewing recently. very impressed! i ought to be as brave, or perhaps rather, less fearful of finishing my own projects. =P

    good luck with that job app, btw. i really hope they don’t call me.

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