For this months project I decided to make a coat for Spring. Having had a coat failure early in the New Year I was slightly daunted, but I suffered none of those trials and tribulations on this project I'm pleased to say.
I chose the pattern before the fabric, and went with the Style Arc Stella coat. I really love the simple, classic lines of this design, a pared down version of a traditional trench coat. I knew I wanted to make it in a neutral fabric to give it even more of that classic look.
Vicki from Minerva kindly sent me samples of fabrics she thought would be suitable, and she very generously let me order 3 metres of this Camel/Brown Tweed 100% wool suiting. It is seriously one of the nicest fabrics I've had the pleasure to work with. It cut beautifully with hardly any fraying, it stayed still while I sewed it and it pressed like a dream. It's not the cheapest fabric around, but in my opinion worth every penny.
For the lining I used some stash fabric, 2 metres of beige brocade I picked up in a local charity shop. I think it's actually a furnishing fabric, but it was the perfect colour and weight for this project. I sometimes find standard dress linings too lightweight for coats.
I took a bit of a risk with this project and didn't make a muslin first. I would normally make a muslin for at least part of a new pattern to check fit and in the case of a coat would normally make the whole thing up before cutting into my good fabric. Unfortunately I didn't really have time on this occasion. Instead I spent a bit of time measuring various parts of the pattern and decided that the fit would be close enough for me to just make small alterations as I went along if I needed to.
As it turned out, I didn't make a single alteration. The pattern is a Style Arc size 12, and I think it fits me pretty much perfectly. I was lucky on this occasion, but I wouldn't normally advise making such a large project without testing the pattern first.
Style Arc patterns do not come with detailed instructions, they provide the basics, but do assume quite a bit of prior knowledge. For example, the instructions suggest you bag the lining, but don't tell you how to do this. I've never bagged a lining before but decided that on this occasion I would give it a try.
There are various tutorials online for bagging linings. The one I used was from Grainline Studio's recent Cascade coat sew-a-long.
I have to say I was worried. When you've got the coat and lining both inside out and sewn completely together it really does not look like you're ever going to end up with a "right side out" garment that's wearable, but it works! To me it was like magic, turning the coat right side out through a gap left in a sleeve lining seam. It's one of those techniques I was scared of, but having used it once I would definitely do so again - probably not without referring to the instructions again though!
I'm super pleased with this coat, I think it's one of the best, most professional garments I've made myself. I've worn it a few times already and have received a number of compliments, with several people being amazed when they found out I made it myself.
Thank you to those who commented on my last post to suggest what I should make with the chambray fabric. The shirt dress was the clear winner, so a shirt dress I will make. It won't be the one I mentioned in that post, I've found one I like better.