It’s finally full-on winter here in Boston and this month on Sew Wrong is going to be all about one of my favorite types of garments to sew – coats! I’m a bit of a coat addict, but I think you have to be when you live in a cold climate where winter seems to never end. If you’ve never sewn a coat before, or are thinking about making one for the first time, I’m sharing plenty of information this month to get you off and running with making your first coat.
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One of the first, most-obvious decisions when starting to make a coat is: what coat pattern should you choose?
Keep It Simple, Sistah
The easiest type of coat pattern to start out with is a pattern without a lot of seamlines and pattern pieces. The more seamlines, the more fitted the coat will be, which can be challenging for a first-timer. Think about it – a coat goes over the bust, waist, and hips, plus you have to worry about the sleeves and shoulders fitting correctly. The more pattern pieces there are, the more time it will take to get it fit right, not something you necessarily want to deal with when working with new techniques for the first time. Think back to the types of patterns you made when you first started sewing: simple garments with a few pieces that didn’t require a lot of fitting. It’s pretty much the same principle here: a coat that’s a little more on the looser fitting side will be easier to make for learning tailoring techniques. Once you’re comfortable with the basics, then a more fitted and tailored coat will be easier to tackle. Fortunately, this type of coat silhouette is trending! If a loose fitting coat isn’t your style, you can always look for a pattern with a belt to cinch in the waist.
The more pattern pieces there are, the more time it will take to get your coat to fit right, not something you necessarily want to deal with when working with new techniques for the first time.
Linings Are Your Friends
Beware of coat patterns that don’t have a lining – yes, they may be easier to sew in theory because there’s less steps involved, and lining may seem intimidating at first to insert, but lining a coat is essential to making it easier to wear and helps the coat last longer – who doesn’t want that? The lining serves the purpose of protecting your coat seams from the wear and tear with taking it on and off – think about all of the different activities you do while wearing a coat and all of the different types of clothing layers that make contact with your coat over its lifetime . Coats take a beating! Linings make it easy to slide on over your clothes, and if you choose a specialty lining, it can also help to keep you warmer.
The lining serves the purpose of protecting your coat seams from the wear and tear of taking it on and off – think about all of the activities you do while wearing a coat and the different types of clothing layers that make contact with your coat over its lifetime
Keep An Eye Out For The Details
What kind of pockets are there (if any)? Is there a notched collar or a really wide lapel? What about the closure? Some of these types of details are going to be harder to sew than others; my first coat was actually the first time I ever made welt pockets and I botched it up, causing my coat to pull and look a little funny at the sides. I also didn’t factor in the thickness of my fabric and how difficult it would be to sew one my buttons so close to the edge, and needed to get creative with how to close up my coat. These little anecdotes aren’t meant to scare you, but they’re things to keep in mind!
Here are some current patterns that could be good options for sewing your first coat:
– this pattern is actually on my list of coats to make! This would be very easy for a beginner to complete since the sleeves are part of the front and backs. There is minimal seaming, and the collar is easy to attach – it would just need to be interfaced properly to give it the proper drape and support. Add some snaps and you’re done!
Vogue 9137 – just like V9156, the sleeves are also cut-in-one with the front and back and features a center front button closure or asymmetrical snap closure.
Vogue 8960 – this coat could easily be a wardrobe staple with its classic styling. This pattern is unlined, but it’s easy to draft a lining for a garment based off of the main pattern pieces.
McCall’s 7058 – I this may be the next coat I’m going to make. It’s a classic coat with princess seams, which does add more of an element of fitting, but I personally find princess seams to be one of the easier types of garment constructions to fit. I like that you can get multiple looks from this pattern – standard collar, hood, jacket, or long coat. There’s also an elbow dart to shape the sleeve.
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