My Handmade Coat !

Last autumn I decided I needed a new winter coat … I bought a snuggly rust orange puffa coat which I have lived in ever since. However there have been a few occasions when I really needed a smarter coat that is still warm but just looks that bit classier. So I tried on a few long length woollen coats in the shops and was surprised to find they actually did suit me … but the fit was a real issue with the majority of them!
I’m 5ft 2 – so many were too long. I’m normally around a size 10 but when I tried them on they swamped me, and if I tried on a smaller size they were too restrictive. At the same time many of the more fitted shapes were huge on my narrow shoulders.
So I started considering making my own … arghh scary !

I had seen the Cocoon Coat by Sew Over It before and really liked it. It has quite a relaxed fit which definitely appealed to me as a first coat project. I also really loved the shape of the collar and the fact that it had pockets! It’s only available as a PDF so I bought it – and very helpfully Sew Over It had a 20% off discount code at the time!

Then I needed to find fabric … this was tricky as I didn’t want to spend loads, mainly because I didn’t know how well it was going to go. So I started scouring the online fabric shops to try and find the perfect fabric … and as so often happens Holm Sown came up trumps !! Rachel had a range of Herringbone wool mixes which were reduced to just £5 a metre (£1.25 per 1/4 metre) and I fell in love with the burgundy/red colour way (there’s also a black and a brown version). So I ordered 3m which only came to a bargain £15 – the pattern requires 2.5m but I think I was a bit worried about messing parts up or not having enough fabric so bought a bit extra! And I’ve actually got about 1.2 metres left so considering making a cute skirt or pinafore with the remaining …
For the lining I was a bit stuck, I didn’t want to use lots of polyester style lining as I wanted it to still be breathable. Tamlyn from Sewn on the Tyne recommended contacting 1st for Fabrics and they were so helpful! I explained my situation and Kayleigh sent through photos of potential options, she then sent me a few samples so that I could hold them against the coat fabric. We decided on a black and white spotty viscose for the bodice, with a deep red coat lining for the arms. I love clashing prints and these two went really well!

Cutting out the pattern was simple – although I opted for scissors to cut the wool and my hand was dying by the time I finished !! There aren’t too many pieces so it didn’t take ages (much quicker than assembling the PDF pattern!!). I did have to be careful with the wool fabric as it’s quite a loose weave and the edges did fray if messed with too much.

In general I found the whole process really quite simple … the pockets were probably the trickiest part as I had never tried making welt pockets! But I worked through it, watched a few videos and once I got my head around how it worked it wasn’t too bad … and the end result looks really good!

I really struggled with what size to make and mid way through making the coat I did have a mini panic that it was massive! I made a size 12 as it was a bit bigger than my actual measurements and I knew I would want to layer underneath it …

However when I put the sleeves in and tried it on they were huge – I removed them and tried taking in the shoulders but it didn’t work. At that point I then looked at other peoples versions and realised that the pattern actually had dropped shoulders … so I reattached the sleeves and gave them a good press to flatten them and it was much better.

There was also quite a bit of excess fabric on the back under my arms … I considered taking in the side seams however the pockets were quite near the side seam so I didn’t want to take too much out! So I decided to add two darts to the back to try and minimise the bulk. It did work and ended up looking quite neat after pressing! I wonder whether if I made another one I would make a size smaller … or even grade down to a 10 on the body and hips, keeping the top at a 12.

Attaching the lining was pretty simple too … the instructions are really clear and guide through each stage. I had a few issues pinning and sewing the hem but that was mainly because I wanted to shorten the coat a bit. I only shortened it by around 5cm but it threw off the measurements so I had to wing it a bit!

I tried to finish all the edges with my overlocker as the edges did fray quite a bit as I mentioned. I didn’t want any seams to unravel when worn! Another finishing touch I added was a Kylie and The Machine label and ribbon hook to hang it by. I have recently got quite the selection of labels so it was tricky to work out which to choose – I went with one from the limited edition pack which says Made With Love in pretty pink metallic thread.

I’m so happy with this make and super proud that I managed it without any major issues ! I can’t wait to wear it out and about – I think it may well make an appearance when I visit the Stitch Festival ! I’d definitely recommend it as a great entry level coat pattern as it is straightforward, no tricky fastenings, an easy to attach lining and it would look different in different fabrics.


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