My biggest sewing project in December is finally complete – I made a coat! Not just any coat either, but a coat that is fully insulated and lined, which is a really big deal considering it was my first attempt at coatmaking.
I’ve always felt that whatever your hobby, there’s always that one special ‘skill’ project. Usually it’s a highly intricate and involved project and its main purpose is to show mastery of a technique – which is why I call it a skill project. In sewing, there are several of these projects. Jeans would be one and bra-making seems to be another sewist dream. I feel coatmaking is part of the group too, because this was a really big project.
Big project or not, it was completely worth it! This coat checks nearly all my must haves.
- It is fully lined and insulated – so it’s warm.
- It’s insulated using Thinsulate – so it isn’t too bulky.
- The fabric is windproof and water-resistant, plus it is very washable.
- There isn’t a speck of velcro on it so it won’t ruin any hand knit scarves I might want to wear.
Usually when I go looking for a ready to wear coat I have to choose between practical & warm or stylish. Generally if it’s stylish it isn’t warm and it’s never practical. I need a coat I can throw in the washing machine and this one is exactly that. Still with all that, I didn’t set out this fall to make myself a coat, it just kind of happened.
I came across the red soft shell fabric sometime in the fall for a bargain price of $6 per metre. That’s when I started planning to make a coat. I found the lining fabric about a month later, but didn’t get my Thinsulate until November 19th when Fabricland had a 55% of sale for Sewciety members. Considering the regular price for Thinuslate is nearly $30 per metre, it was worth it to wait for the sale.
I used Vogue pattern 8884, view C. I left off the belt and the sleeve doo-hickeys. Not that I’m opposed to taking the extra time to sew details, but I knew that after the first wash those extras would be living in the bottom of my laundry basket, never to see their belt-loops again. I also shortened it by 4″ to the same length as view A. For size, I went with a 16 graded to 18 at the waist, but if I were to make it as an insulated coat again I would go with a straight 18.
I did cut a second set of sleeves, the first set were too snug. In all honesty the second set aren’t as roomy as I would like either, with the Thinsulate they could use another inch of ease at the bicep.
Cutting the pattern was nerve-wracking. There are a lot of pieces for this coat and tissue patterns are not my favorite. Keeping them safe from my cat meant a lot of extra vigilance. As an extra challenge, pins are a bit of a no-no with softshell fabric, they leave noticeable holes. This made transferring pattern marks a bit of a challenge, but I made it work. There were other challenges too with both the fabric and the Thinsulate, I talk more about that here – Coat making with Softshell and Thinsulate.
How do you fill your time in the winter?