Friday, 19 June 2015

Blanket coat

When I found the plans for this coat, I was quite excited. Apparently, it is one of the oldest known designs of coat, with records back to medieval times (although a quick bit of online research didn't divulge anything older than the 1800's!).

More impressively, it is literally made from a blanket (or any equally large rectangle of fabric), and involves only three cuts! Or that's what the pattern said.
Being fair, that is fundamentally true - as long as you don't add any extras such as a collar or pockets (which I did), and provided your original measurements give enough fabric to make full length sleeves (which mine didn't). Overall, this coat has proved to be far more complicated and time-consuming than I ever planned for. However, please don't be put off from giving it a try. Those complications were all of my own doing.

For example, apart from the addition of collar and pockets (seen strategically placed in these pictures), I decided to complicate my piece by lining it. I thought that by flat-lining it, I would be keeping this simple. Having the lining stitched with the main fabric as one whole piece would require some additional tacking, but that was all. Those are the stitches you can see in yellow - later to be removed rather than a funky design feature!

Fabric-wise I opted for a rather beautiful piece of purple wool that has been in the stash for so long I'm not quite sure where it came from. I'm going to attribute it to "granny's stash", but it might have been a hand-down from my Mum.
For the lining I thought I would try a bit of colour-blocking, going bold with piece of turquoise satin that had originally been bought (and used) as a prop for a show. Oh what a mistake! The colour is beautiful, and just right, but the fabric frays every time I so much as look at it.
With the nature of the cutting and stitching, it seemed a bit too complicated to overlock everything. I resolved to stitch each seam with a rather decorative series of two straight seams and a zig-zag seam to try and compensate. Time-consuming, fiddly, and ultimately only partially successful. Very pretty though.

Then I had a slight hiccup with the length of the sleeves. When I measured (which I did by myself!), I did so with straight, outstretched arms. I'm sure most of you are screaming at your computers right now, but I did not realise my mistake until I had sewn on the collar and folded over the top panel to form the sleeves. Having carefully completed my decorative seams, I tried on the coat to find that the sleeves only came half way down my arms. The air was thick with expletives that day! Note to self: always measure arms/shoulders with arms bent and hanging - this allows the extra fabric required for movement.

To solve this self-made complication, I added extended cuffs with the satin outer-most. I used the technique I had gained when examining the turn-ups on the trousers I adapted ("From flares to "with flare" "). I'm quite proud that I managed to use the technique again so soon, and the resulting cuffs give an interesting kimono-type feature to the coat. Phew! Problem solved.

I un-stitched the tacking along the hem so that I could attach the pockets. This meant they are stitched only onto the outer fabric, and not through the lining as well. That's one of those unseen details that gives me quiet satisfaction.

 And finally, it was just a case of adding the fastenings. I found two large green-ish buttons and two small turquoise buttons in my button box. I opted to have the large buttons as external fastenings, and the smaller ones inside to help the coat hold it's shape.

I'm quite pleased with the finished result. As is common for me, I have manged to finish it just in time for the warm weather to arrive! Sad to say I'll probably have to hide it in the back of the wardrobe until the seasons change - but then again, this is England, and anything could happen!

1 comment:

  1. Wow, using a pattern that is well over two hundred years old is sew cool!! Great adaptations too x


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