A Sewing Challenge
This year I thought it was about time I challenged myself to sew with different fabrics and to sew different kinds of garments. I do love a novelty-print cotton dress, but I also need to consider other types of clothing and be a little more practical. Then I chose some patterns for #VintagePledge which will definitely push me into making different garments, including a coat pattern for myself.
I was hoping to get the fabric for my coat when I went to Goldhawk Road, but that didn't happen (am I the only person to ever come away empty-handed?!). This coat has been on my mind for a few weeks now, so I decided to pop into Birmingham and go to Barry's. I really do need to get a coat sewn soon; the weather is showing no signs of getting any warmer and I keep on seeing people in the exact same coat as me. When I bought it I went with the green, thinking it was a bit different and obviously everyone else thought the same too, haha!
It was nice to nip into town whilst the girls were at nursery/school, Andy came with me and we even had breakfast in Selfridges. Even though we’re not far from the city centre at all, it’s not something we ever do on our own.
Barry’s didn’t disappoint, there was plenty of choice of fabrics for coat-making. Now, although I really do want to sew my vintage coat pattern, it occurred to me whilst in Barry’s that I haven’t sewn anything remotely similar before. I wondered whether I could potentially end up wasting a lot of fabric (the pattern calls for almost 4m) if something goes wrong. I thought it might be a good idea to try out something similar first so I could have a practise at using a different kind of fabric than I’m used to.
Sewing a jacket
I remembered that I already have a very simple jacket pattern (Simple Sews Jackie O Jacket) that was free with a back issue of Love Sewing magazine ( I have an app I use to catalogue my sewing patterns so I can find them when I’m out and about) so I bought 2m of a lovely soft fabric that isn’t wool but is a very good substitution. I didn’t want wool, I’d be itching like mad.
This was one of those sewing projects that pushes its way in front of everything that’s been waiting patiently in a queue. I ended up sewing the majority of it on the same evening. Turns out, I needn’t have worried about sewing this fabric, it was no problem at all. You’ve got to love the industrial bones of a Juki.
Let’s talk about the pattern itself for a moment though. Oh dear. I know that Simple Sews patterns have had a bit of an overhaul since Amy has been editing Love Sewing, and they certainly needed it. This pattern is awful. The sizing is fine, and the pieces obviously all fit together but it has issues nonetheless.
Firstly, the line drawings and illustration do not show a pocket at all, and yet there is a piece for one, with barely any instruction as to what to do with it. Why on earth would you add a patch pocket to a cropped jacket? Needless to say, I didn’t even cut one out.
Secondly, there is no facing piece for the back of the jacket. This seems really silly to me, if there is facing all around the collar and the front opening, surely it makes sense to continue that around the back for neatness? I drafted one. If you didn’t draft one, but followed the (poor) instructions, you’d be hemming the back of the jacket after you’d already sewn on the other facings. This makes no sense to me, and you’d have a line of stitching along your back that just wouldn’t look right. I also ignored the instruction about hemming the sleeves and I did it by hand so it’s practically invisible. I hate hand sewing, but I didn’t want to ruin the jacket.
Not For Beginners!
This patterns say it’s for an “adventurous beginner”. And yes, it absolutely would be if the instructions were better. There’s no collar, no fastenings and only two darts. Nothing difficult at all. I think though, with the things I’ve already mentioned and the fact that the instructions are the most basic I’ve ever seen, that if I were a beginner I’d probably get frustrated as hell with this jacket, probably cry a bit and feel like a moron. I’d be thinking “but this is for a beginner, I’m obviously the problem”. Not exactly a nice sewing experience. Yet with a bit of tweaking this would be a great pattern for a beginner!
Not All Bad!
I’m really pleased with the inside of the jacket! I used some navy bias binding to tidy up the raw edges of the facings and I did a bit of hand stitching to tack the facing in place too. I also added a pretty cool label – it’s my cross stitch from Stitches. Check it out here.
I wore my jacket all day on Sunday with the Secret Garden dress and I’m really happy with it. It’s lovely and soft, not itchy and fairly warm. Plus it’s bolstered my confidence enough to tackle my coat, hurrah. Here it is in all its glory: