Today I want to share my first finished sewing project of the year, my coatigan! Coatigan is a great word, non? The pattern is the Cotton and Chalk Waterfall Jacket that came free with Simply Sewing Magazine.
I took issue with this pattern straight away because it wasn’t obvious from the photos that its designed for stretch knit fabrics. It recommended fleece or sweatshirt knits. Fleece is really not my bag, and I wanted it to look like a coat, not a posh hoodie, so sweatshirt knits were a no-go. I nearly gave up on it.
I was browsing Fabworks for something else and noticed this boiled wool jersey. It has a brushed back which is very soft and cosy, but the right side looks like wool coating. It was perfect for this pattern and really reasonable at £7/m.
It wasn’t until I’d cut everything out and started working through the instructions that I realised all the seams were lapped, and therefore visible on the outside. I’m really not a fan of exposed seams, contrast topstitching and the like. I can appreciate it in other peoples projects, but it just isn’t my style. As it happens, I managed to sew very close to the raw edge so that it was completely bound by the zig zag stitch which kept it very neat and discreet.
My next problem was the pockets. They were really loose and gapey. I thought it was because I hadn’t stay stitched around the curve (which isn’t in the instructions, by the way. I didn’t skip a step!). When I assembled the cuffs I realised what the problem was. The pattern said to sew with a tiny ¼” seam allowance, but running the very edge of the jersey under the foot made the fabric splay out and the stitches then held the distorted edge in place. I wish I’d noticed this early on so I could have rectified it on the pockets but in the end I hand stitched a couple of pleats in each one to pull it in a bit. I’m not a big fan of how it looks, but it’s much better than before.
I used a larger seam on the cuffs, then trimmed it back, which helped but didn’t completely eradicate the issue. I had to hand sew the cuffs to the sleeves to keep them in place, which doesn’t look fantastic, but it’s pretty unlikely that anyone will be taking a keen interest in my coat cuffs!
As I first tried it on, I was unsure if I liked it. It was way too big and looked a bit like a dressing gown! I chose the option with a hood, because I wanted to look more coat than cardi, but that just added to the dressing gown vibe. I was peeved. By the time I’d taken in the sleeves and side seams it was looking better but I still wasn’t certain. I decided to wear it the next day, knowing that if I hung it in the wardrobe it may never see the light of day.
I think that sometimes, when you make something, you’re so close to the process that you fail to see the merits of the finished product. I spent a lot of time in front of the mirror trying to make it work, and was unhappy with whatever I tried. Then I threw it on in a rush, went to work and got loads of compliments! When I put it on and just let it fall the way it wanted to, it looked much better.
This has all sounded rather negative so you may be surprised to know that I’m quite pleased with my make and I’ve grown to love it. Despite the hiccups, I enjoyed sewing it and it was a nice, gentle introduction to coat making.
Would I make it again? Probably not, but only because I now know that a waterfall style jacket isn’t the best shape on me. We live and learn.