Marshmallow Coat

Hi team! I’m having a bit of a sewing hiatus at the moment, aside from finishing a few bits off. I really need to put my head down and get some solid work done on my research project, I need to hand it in next month! I’ve finished the data collection phase, and I’ll hopefully be done with my data analysis this weekend…then I just need to finish writing the damn thing. I’m really looking forward to mid October! But in the meantime I have a few new things to post to keep things ticking over here.

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This is what I’m affectionately calling my marshmallow coat, which I’m sure doesn’t need explaining! It’s the Papercut Patterns Sapporo Coat, a pattern which I had admired on Instagram (where there are some amazing versions!), but had never really felt the need to make. I was sure it would look too oversized and daft on me, and the fact that it has no front closures made me think it would have limited wear-ability in Wellington. Then I got the opportunity to try on the beautiful grey wool version made by Gabrielle, and I flat out fell in love with it! It is huge and oversized, but in a dramatic and elegant way, and I had bought the pattern and was cutting it out before I knew it.

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Look at those beautiful swooshing seams! I had a lot of fun sewing this coat up. It’s a big but pretty simple project, as far as coats go. The sewing is all simple, with it’s dropped sleeves and grown-on facings and pocket bags, but each seam seems to go on forever! I made a couple of simple alterations, based on what Gabrielle had done with hers. I made the smallest size, and took an inch off the top of the sleeve and from the armscye, to shorten the sleeve by 2 inches total. I wanted the bracelet length sleeves from the sample photo, and they would have covered my wrists as drafted. I also opted to line the sleeves with my lining fabric rather than the wool I used for the outer, which cut down on bulk and made the coat feel lighter overall. Finally, I ran some seam tape along the diagonal front seam, which will hopefully help the pockets retain their shape.

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I used a blush pink wool/cashmere blend which I’ve had in my stash for over a year, it originally came from The Fabric Warehouse. I really love the colour, but I struggled a bit to match it to a pattern. I was seriously planning to use it to make a Gerard Coat from Republique du Chiffon, but in the end I’m glad I went with Sapporo! The wool behaved beautifully, of course, it sews and presses like a dream. It does crease a bit, as you can see in these pictures after a day of wear, but I can live with that!

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I lined it with another stash fabric, a Liberty Tana Lawn from The Fabric Store. It’s so smooth and lovely! I’m glad I finally used it for something, and I think it looks really pretty with this pink. And how nice are those mitered corners? This really is a lovely pattern to sew. Because I was having such a nice time sewing this I decided to pull out all of the stops and use one of the beautiful “HANDMADE” labels that I bought from Arrow Mountain to finish it off. It’s subtle, but I love it!

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I’m not going to lie, when I finished it and put it on for the first time I was worried that I just looked like a big pink lump. But after wearing it for a day (and getting a few complements from strangers on it!) I decided I really loved it. Funny how that happens sometimes! I’ve only managed to wear it out a few times since I finished it a couple of weeks age, the weather has been less than ideal recently, but I think it’ll be perfect for Spring and for Summer mornings. I’m looking forward to getting out and about in it!

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WIP begone!

You know how last week I was all “sewing so good, yay dresses, lalala, go me!”? Well, this week is going to be something of a rebuttal to that…

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I finally finished my Malu coat. Which I am pleased about, because it has been sitting in my sewing corner staring reproachfully at me for about two months now. I just had so many issues with it! Everything started out with a hiss and a roar, my fabric was (and still is) awesome, I found lining fabric in exactly the shade of yellow I wanted, everything cut out neatly, the shell went together easily…then I tried it on, and felt completely swamped by it. Initially I thought this was because the collar was too wide, and came up to my nose when it was zipped up the top! I took it off, and shortened the width of it by about 3″. This definitely helped, but it was really just quite big all over. So I lopped about 5″ off the bottom, and decided against putting the bands around the hem. Again, this improved things, but I still wanted help! I took some pictures and stuck them up here, and helpful people offered awesome suggestions about ways to make it better. I love the internet!

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The general consensus was that it needed some waist definition, so I took a suggestion from Frederike, and added a drawstring to the waist. This was simple enough to do in theory, I just sewed a strip of ready made bias tape around the inside of the waist to house the cord, and whacked a couple of eyelets in the front over the pockets to pop the drawstring through. Unfortunately, I whacked one of the eyelets a bit too enthusiastically, and punched it nearly completely through my fabric. I wanted to cry! Instead I just tossed it back into the corner, and ignored it for another few days. I managed to pry the eyelet out without doing any more damage to the fabric, happily, and with the addition of some heavy duty iron on patching to the reverse of the fabric the eyelet went in ok the second time. I should have reinforced the fabric before trying to put such a big eyelet in it, obviously, but its easy to say that in hindsight…

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At this point, it looked pretty much nothing like the pattern envelope! I decided to just carry on, and see what I ended up with. I got a bit stuck with the cuffs, as the sleeves were miles too long, but I ended up just folding the cuff in half and attaching what has been the top edge to the lining and top stitching it down. I ended up doing quite a lot of topstitiching, because my coated cotton outer just doesn’t press well and I struggled to keep things flat. I also had to stitch along the zipper through the facing and the front of the coat, because otherwise the flap just pulled open and exposed the zipper, which was annoying. I added a pocket to the inner facing for my phone/ipod, but I wish I had sewn the zipper through the facing and jacket outer on that side too.

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I feel like this post is a bit rambling, so I’m going to make a pros and cons list so that I can be sure I’ve said what i wanted to say!

Pros:
-I really like the Malu patten, I think its cool and fashionable, and i love that it comes with so many options (hood and two collars, zipper or buttons, long or short)
-I really like my fabrics. The outer is a coated cotton by Orla Keely from the Fabric Store, the lining is a silk/cotton from the Fabric Warehouse. The zipper is also cool, its hard to find a metal toothed, coat length separating zipper in Wellington! This one is from Made on Marion.
-The welt pockets went in really easily, given the thickness of all those layers of fabric
-The drawstring looks really cool, I think
-The hood is a great size and shape, and feels secure on my head. I haven’t tried it out in a howling Wellington southerly yet, but I feel like it’ll stay put!

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Cons:
-While the fabric and the pattern are both great, they probably aren’t so great together. The coated cotton is a bit stiff for the exaggerated silhouette of the Malu, it would be much better in a nice wool or something softer
-I don’t really like that the zipper tape is just sewn onto the front of the coat. Its a bit messy! And the way the outer coat kept pulling away from the zip really annoyed me. If I had thought about it, I would have figured out a way to encase the zipper tape and secure the outer to the facing at the same time.
-I’m not totally convinced about the shape of the back/sleeves. Thats just a personal preference, because I’ve seen them look awesome on other people!

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So all in all, not a perfect success, but much better than I thought it would be for most of the construction period! I guess I can’t win them all. I’ve also decided to toss this into the #coatalong being run by Lindsay and Bella, because seeing their progress shots on instagram gave me the kick in the arse I needed to get it finally finished!