Well, limping to the finish line, a bit battered and bloodied (from needle and pin pricks no doubt) I have finally finished my jacket. Even my hubby started saying “aren’t you done yet?” after the umpteenth hour watching me handstitch something or other.
Now, I made many mistakes on this jacket. It was a huge learning curve and a huge experience for me and now that it is done it feels like a huge accomplishment, like I have done the sewing equivalent of a marathon. Despite its many imperfections (mostly invisible or only obvious to another seamstress/sewist/sewer – I hope), it is extremely comfortable to wear and very very warm. I fully intend to wear this for the rest of winter (and many winters to come) as my “daily wear” coat, so that lessens the pain of the uncountable hours I have spent on it.
I am a bit disappointed with myself that despite the many hours I still managed to stuff certain elements up but I console myself with the words of Kenneth D King who said “Expect to destroy several acres of fabric before you get good. Perfectionism is a disease.” The knowledge that the next time I make a coat I won’t repeat the same mistakes is a huge comfort.
So licking of wounds aside here is what went RIGHT with the jacket:
I got the fit pretty good. Its a little boxy in the back but I wore this to do the grocery shopping and it was comfortable and there was no pulling or tugging or tightness in any of the wrong places.
Its my first for bound buttonholes, welt pockets and full jacket lining. Lots of things learnt. I really loved doing the welt pockets. They were fun and look great.
I splurged on $6/ea italian handpainted buttons for my coat. The buttons cost me more than the fabric but I love them.
And finally, but probably the most important thing: I FINISHED it and its wearable. The crowd in my head cheers.
And here is what went WRONG cough. Less Right.
The wool melton is heavyweight and extremely difficult to work with. I had a number of problems relating to this, including the huge turn of cloth that threw things out a tad.
I ditched both the underlining and the interfacing as it was SOOOO stiff. Later on in the process I realised that I really needed some kind of interfacing but I ignored that little voice and so the front of the jacket does not sit as well as it could. I don’t know why I didn’t just swap out the too-stiff interfacing for a lighter and more flexible option, but I didn’t. Blame it on sewing too late at night and pressing on when I should have just stopped for a day or so. As a result the front does not sit as well as it should.
I recut/redid the front buttonhole side twice, the facings twice (the first time my buttonhole facings DID NOT LINE UP after the turn of cloth thing was taken into account). I also reset the sleeves twice as the first time I realised I had inserted size 4 sleeves in a size 0 armhole and the underarms were way too tight, and the sleeve cap was too gathered.
Due to not using underlining my heming is slightly visible in the form of a ridge along the stitching line even though my stitches do not show and I catch-stitched very loosely.
I added a hem facing as I realised that the jacket would end up a bit short.
And everyone needs to go and look at Leith’s fuscia pink Anise here. Its so beautiful and gives me something to aspire to. Leith sums up the processs perfectly when she noted “Nothing in this jacket is particularly difficult, it simply takes a long time.” and also comments about NOT sewing while tired or distracted. All my “mistakes” were a result of being tired and sick whilst sewing so I guess I learnt my lesson the hard way.
And now for some shots of the guts of the jacket:
In terms of the pattern: its great, the instructions are detailed and designed for a less experienced seamstress. With that in mind, they get you to hand sew LOTS rather than bag the lining (great tutorial here). After reading a few tutorials about how to do this I was really frustrated by the hand sewing process but I understand why Colette Patterns did it the other way.
My next coat I plan to sew is The Sewing Space’s Jackie Jacket. The instructions provide full details on how to bag the lining professionally, including extra tips and tutorials on the website. After the Anise I am looking forward to making something the “other” way, which I feel will give a neater result. I’m a glutton for punishment though – two winter coats practically back to back, although I think I will make myself a Lady Skater Dress in the meantime just to make something easy and recalibrate my sewing mojo.