On Wednesday I covered the construction of a collarless, open coat (what could be easier?) for my daughter Esme. The post drew lots of positive comments – thank you! It is interesting how yellow seems to be a colour that many home sewers avoid. I think it maybe because many people worry about finding a yellow that suits them. Anyway I met someone very interesting yesterday who made a yellow coat on TV (Great British Sewing Bee, series 2)! Her name is Tamara and here is her yellow coat. Tamara told me that she was given all her Mum’s old 1960s and 1970s patterns and this coat pattern was one her Mum had made and worn in the 60s. What a lovely woman, and what a lovely coat.
Back to my coat which should be a quick job as it doesn’t have buttons or a collar. I am pledged to finish this by Saturday (part of my Made Up pledge) so i need to get on with it.
After checking for size and fit I completed the pockets, stitched up the body pieces (six panels with some shaping in the back seam) and underlined the facings with cotton organdie. I felt this was just the right fabric for giving some body and crispness without overwhelming the coat. I made up the sleeves and basted one of them into the coat, ready for the second fitting.
The good news was that the shoulder was great. This is an area that often needs altering, but so far the fit has been perfect. Phew! The sleeve went in easily (how I love easing in a sleeve) and, other than being about 4″ too long, they were perfect too. However Esme was dismayed by the “stiffness” of the coat and said it should have been made without any interfacing. You can see on the picture (above left) how the lapels curl outwards. Of course they could be pressed flat, but you can see they have quite a lot of body and livliness. Personally this is one of the things I love about a hand made coat. I said:
“Esme, all coats and jackets have interfacing”,
and explained I had chosen something suitably light. She examined the organdie and pronounced it very “crisp”, which is absolutely true. She produced the original Zara coat and we pulled it around and found that, as she had thought, it lacked interfacing. There was seam binding only, plus a little bit of sleeve head roll. That surprised me, but then it is a coat that feels like a cardigan. And there is always so much to learn from RTW. But, in my view, not having any support means the coat will start to look crumpled and droopy after a few wears.
“Please take it out!”,
So, against my better judgement, but knowing that she knew what she liked about the old coat, I removed the interfacing. Luckily I prefer to sew in my interfacing rather than use an iron on product. The second picture (above right) shows what a difference it makes. At the second fitting I checked the length of the coat. I made the coat as long as I could given the shortage of fabric and the marks on the remnant. The hem now encloses the end of the bolt marks. I could have cut it off but I wanted to hide a little bit of its history in the hem. I did use a strip of bias cut organdie in the hem as I usually do, but left it out of the sleeve hems to give them the softness that Esme requires. In fact I cut 7cms of the hems of the sleeves – they were really long, or perhaps we are short-armed women?
All I have to do now is make a lining and finish it by Saturday. I had considered buying some yellow silk, but this has been vetoed. Esme has other ideas. Here is the inspiration.
To be continued.