How many coats is too many? I have added three to my handmade wardrobe during the last few months. Having got through a rather mild winter in 2016/17 with my Clare Coat, I decided it was time to invest some time in warmer attire this year, which turned out well as it has been much colder (warm to a Canadian, no doubt, but cold for us!). I started with the wonderfully simple Cocoon Coat – great for days when you want to look like Cookie Monster, but not the warmest – then worked up to the more challenging Chloe Coat and then saw the new and stunning design – Rumana – from By Hand London. What to do? Once I learned that it would be included in #sewmystyle2018 there was no question. It had to be made!
I chose not to wait for the discount code to be released in late January as I knew I had some work coming up and wanted to make the most of the time available, so I bought the pattern and went fabric shopping as soon as I’d decided. For the first time, I also chose not to print the pattern at home but to use an online printing service (highly recommended and well worth the investment!). The pattern arrived, neatly folded, within a couple of days.
Rather than cut out the pattern, I traced my size (12) on greaseproof baking paper. Until now I have generally used Burda Style tissue tracing paper, so it was interesting to try something new and was generally successful. Having a large island unit in our kitchen certainly made tracing easier! I then organised the pattern pieces in two envelopes – one for the wool fabric and one for lining and interfacing – with the layplans stuck to each one. This made cutting out much more manageable, most of which was done on the (clean, for once) floor due to the large amount of fabric involved.
Most of the construction was relatively straightforward, so the shell of the coat came together fairly quickly. Constructing the collar was the first major challenge, as the curve on the stand and collar/ under collar pieces look as if they will never match up. After a lot of pinning, some foot stamping and painstaking study of images of other makers’ versions, I worked out that I was matching the right curves and that they could be encouraged to match up.
The instructions for the vent and lining were good, although combining the two was the |next big challenge. I stitched the opposite side from the one recommended on my machine, which actually worked quite well as it was easier to slip stitch the one I had left unsewn (twice, as the first time the vent just would not hang straight!).
I added ice wool in the sleeve heads – a trick I had learned when making the Chloe Coat – which I stitched by hand, but otherwise kept largely to the methods recommended in the instructions.
As a closure – after testing the coat out and about on a snowy, windy day – I chose a clasp from Vogue Star. It allows me to wear a sweater (or two) under the coat but keeps it neatly closed on windy days! The press fastener was too big for the overlap so will be kept for another project.
It has been a joy to sew this coat – with a few minor exceptions – and I love the design lines. It feels elegant and grown-up, with a vintage flair, and I feel really special when I wear it.
Wool coating from B&M Fabrics, Leeds; sleeve linings from John Lewis (bought in 2006 and left over from making my bridesmaids’ dresses!); main lining (poly satin) from a fabric swap early last year.
Clasp from Samuel Taylor, Leeds
Review posted on The Fold Line