I’m slightly embarrassed to say that I began working on this coat roughly two years ago when Fancy Tiger Crafts did the Fancy Sew-Along, coat edition. When I started working on it, I had loads of motivation and was excited to take my sewing skills to the next level with this project. I spent the time to cut out all of the pattern pieces ahead of time, all 40 of them, which I think helped in forcing myself to just keep sewing and get it done. At the time, I had just two hours at a time to work on it, which wasn’t nearly enough to get into a groove and I stalled out when the weather started to change and get nicer. I put the project down and vowed to pick it up in the fall.
Well, fall rolled around and with still only two hours at a time to work on it and other projects like making my daughter custom Christmas dresses and knitting hats and mittens, it got pushed to the side again. Living that mom/crafter life was definitely to blame, but this beauty was never very far from my mind. Finally, this last fall I found another surge of motivation to finish my coat and an impending trip to Washington DC in the dead of winter helped push me even more.
Pattern: Cascade Duffle Coat by Grainline Studio
Materials: Pendleton Wool Shirting
I chose a gorgeous Pendleton wool for my coat in one of my all-time favorite colors and a fun, totally loud print for the lining which was so out of my comfort zone and I loved that. The large window pane print helped me with matching, but I can still see places that I could have put more thought into cutting for a better match. Eh, c'est la vie! I freakin’ love this coat, even with the imperfections. Mostly because I know it was the most challenging garment I’ve sewn to date and with all of the hard work I put into it, how could I not?
I learned so much while working on it and pushed myself to try things I would have never otherwise tried. I was excited to make my own toggles, as I had seen my coworkers make their own and what’s the fun in buying them already made, right? I chose these amazing horn toggle buttons that add character and style and paired them with this gorgeous black leather. They had to be sewn on by hand because the leather was much too thick to sew them on with the machine, and I‘m glad I did because I had to start over a few times to get the positioning just right.
I had also never tried sewing a hidden zipper band but found it to be easier than I thought and so satisfying when it lined up so well in the end. I think I had the biggest challenge sewing the lining into the coat because I let myself get confused reading the instructions a million times, but once I got out of my head about it and just followed the instruction step by step, it all started to make more sense. The instructions call to seam rip an opening in one of the sleeve seams for turning, but this coat is super thick and it seemed silly to me to pull all of that bulk thought such a tiny sleeve opening. When discussing my dilemma with my fellow tigers that had made the coat, I decided to leave the opening at the bottom of the lining, as it gave me more space to turn it right side out and I could hand sew it up with a blind stitch. Just make sure if you try this, that you hang your coat on a hanger so you sew the opening shut at the right spot or it will pucker at the bottom of the coat and not lay right, which is what happened to me the first time I stitched the opening shut.
I polished my coat off with the most appropriate tag I could find, the “This Took Forever” tag was the most perfect tag for the most perfect coat that I’ve been loving during these last few months of winter.