It took a village to make this coat. Yeah well not exactly… but I did have some help from my friends. The fabric was a gift. The pattern was a loan. The inspiration was a workmate getting about in a lovely camel coloured coat. No village helped with the sewing part – I did that alone.
I wasn’t planning a coat, but then Kate dropped over after a Kuwaii remnant sale, triumphant with a few metres of lush camel coating. A beautiful fabric that she would never dream of wearing. She can’t ‘do’ brown you see… I think she probably can but shhh don’t tell because I love the deliveries. The fabric is a wool viscose with a very fine weave and a velvety drape. I get why people say some fabrics fall like water – just like a quality linen it was a dream to sew.
The pattern is from this Japanese book I borrowed from a friend to make pants – I made two pairs – which led to the coat calling to me on the next page (I was also eyeing off few other patterns but loan guilt got to me!) Speaking of guilt, I have a tower of Japanese pattern books and have sworn not to buy anymore. But if someone else were to buy just one, I would say this particular book is a beauty. It’s title is vaguely translated to ‘Wear a big clothes, Wear a small clothes’ and many of the patterns are winners.
Like all Japanese pattern books, this one has the multi-layered pattern sheet situation – man I find it so irritating to isolate and trace those pattern pieces. Luckily the coat pattern only comes in one size and because it’s so roomy, I didn’t bother adding seam allowance. Unlike a few other Japanese pattern books I own, this one includes really great and easy to follow diagrams – which meant my project came together quite smoothly. The trickiest step was the neatly folded zip on the front – it’s actually simply done but it takes a quiet moment to understand. My only alteration was to open up and relax the neckline a little. It was such a snug fit on my neck that zipped up I looked kinda uptight and choked.
The jacket is unlined as is often the case with Japanese patterns. It makes the process quicker but the inside looks raw, so keep your finishing neat and choose beautiful pocket lining (because you will flash them!). There are also a couple of metres of invisible stitching needed to secure the facing. I thought I kept my stitching invisible but a friend complimented my stitching detail. So… I guess I’ll just embrace my visible invisible stitch?
Apart from the boxy cut and the neat zip the only other feature is the sleeve: elasticised sleeves! It felt risky on a coat but I rather like them – I think they look bomber jacket’ish. Initially I used a wider elastic that looked awkward and bad, so a session of unpicking followed and I settled on this narrower version. I also REALLY wanted to put some big deep pockets on the front but I held back. I’m glad of it now – although I do long for them a little.
It is a minimal coat – part of the charm I guess – and I’m still a little surprised I made a coat that’s not black. Buttery burnt caramel brown! As is my habit, I’ve made a winter coat just in time for spring. At least I have something to look forward to wearing next winter 🙂