Julie of Our Chez Nous has lined up some great sponsors for Boy Sewing Week and there are fabric and pattern giveaways. Check it out now, enter the giveaways and then come back 'cause I've got a lot of photos and ramblings about my sewing experience to share...
As luck would have it, it was the boy kid who was next on the list for some sewing. He needs some long pants or jeans, he just got his new birthday t-shirt (which has been worn and washed so many times already I can't pin him down for a photoshoot in it!), but most of all he needed a winter coat.
For the last 4 winters he's been wearing a succession of Oliver + S School Days Coats (seen here).
I figured it was time for a new pattern, and I had this wool stashed away but wasn't sure there'd be enough there to make that pattern with its hood.
A coat pattern without a hood (yes mine has one, I'll explain soon) that I fell hard for is the Lars coat by Zonen09. Instant PDF purchase and print out and I was underway. Word is that Zonen09 may be producing their English translated patterns as paper versions too, which I would love as tracing all the pattern pieces for a jacket takes forever. Here's hoping they add the seam allowances too - what is it with wacky europeans leaving off seam allowances? :)
Anyway, this was a very easy pattern to print (no paper size issues) and assemble. The pattern is quite detailed and I did get out the red texta to highlight the pattern lines I needed to trace.
The pattern comes in two size ranges, both covering 2 years up to 9 years. There is a standard size and then a slim/small size - perfect for the taller, skinny kid.
I measured up P and found he was as tall as the size 134 (9yrs) but his chest, waist and hip measurements were all close to, or just under the size small128 (8yrs). I chose the slim128 and added 1 inch body length and 1 inch sleeve length. I got the body length right, but again I underestimated the length of monkey boy's arms, another inch would have been perfect.
I 'm pretty happy to say that everything except the zipper and hood toggles came from my fabric stash! The wool melton had been hoarded away about two years ago, the lining fabric is some of the marvellous Maille Merveilleuse (free tautology for the bilingual readers!) from Mamzelle Fourmi that I'd bought a while ago (seen here, here and here). I had just enough navy brushed moleskin for the pocket and collar highlights and my ribbing stash volunteered up some perfect navy ribbing for the cuffs. Darn close to a free coat!
I was delighted that my pattern pieces all fit easily on the 1.5m cut of wool. So much so that I busily downlaoded the free hood pattern (Dutch only, but a hood is a hood, right?) and then cut that out too. Of course that's when I noticed I'd cut the front pattern pieces on the fold as if they were the back and only cut one back piece (that's the back side without the pocket?!). Quite what the fabric requirements would be if I'd got it right I don't know. But, I'm happy to say one can just cut a lengthened size 128, with additional hood, out of 1.5m wide wool accounting for various fuck ups along the way. Phew.
If I hadn't made numerous other small muck ups, and been under a self imposed deadline to get the coat finished before the kids went out to the country (freeeezing cold) to stay with my folks, it would be have been a perfectly pleasurable sewing experience.
The pattern is great. It's a computer view only one, as the photos that illustrate the steps wouldn't print too well on grayscale, but it's well illustrated and explained. There are plenty of neat moments when leaving a little bit unsewn until the next step allows some magical turning and I had that nice experience of suspending all anticipation of how it might work and just doing as I was told. And it did work out.
At least until he went to put it on in the morning and we discovered I'd somehow rotated one of the sleeve linings a full 360degrees. There's no way his arm could push through that twisty lining vortex, even with an overtired mum urging him just to try harder! of course once I realised what I'd done I could see there was nothing for it but to seam rip the armhole of the lining and stitch as much as possible with the machine then finish with a slip stitch. Sorted.
Various other cock ups included me forgetting I'd cut the plackets the same length as the coat as I was unsure about the cutting lines - turns out they were the obviously shorter ones marked "cut here for placket". Although in my defense some of the pattern sheet markings were still in Dutch, but now I know what Knippen means!
And I was keen to use my snap press instead of velcro for the closure. Of course that means way more precision is required to line up the zipper and the snaps and thus a few more zipper inserts and rip outs and re-inserts than I'm used to ;). As it happens the snaps could be added AFTER the zipper is sewn. That would be awkward to do with velcro as per the pattern but not too hard with magnetic or set in snaps. I think that's the complete list of unpicking....
The other thing I had in my stash was 2m of navy piping which I'd bought recently from Maaidesign with no particular idea in mind as to how I'd use it. Turned out to be the exact length for the sleeve piping and the placket piping with only 2cm leftover!
This coat also got the "I'm good enough tot warrant a label" tick of approval, so in went one of the labels that have come with Maaidesign fabric purchases. Until I can work out how to reconcile a very long blog name and a very complex logo with a quality label that's not enormous, I'll use whichever little tags look good and suit the garment. So thanks Maiike!
The hood instructions suggested that the hood be attached to the finished coat on the inside, by means of buttonholes in the hood and buttons sewn to the inner collar. I wanted my hood to look more like a duffel coat hood, and I knew it wouldn't get worn all that much so I chose to have it on the outside. The construction was the same, but I added snaps inside the hood before stitching it all closed and then marked and applied snaps to the outer collar before closing the jacket.
I hit up Jimmy's buttons for the elastic cord and toggles and he had the same coloured brassy eyelets, so I bought a few of his. I mentioned what beastly things they are to insert and he offered to do them then and there, but of course I hadn't thought to bring the hood with me. The man is a treasure and I must remember to take advantage of him more often!
After a few practice runs I think the four that I inserted aren't too bad, but the kid is under strict instructions not to play with them too much for fear they rip out. Repeat after me: this is a decorative feature only.
Oh, and the navy separating zipper of exactly the specified length with a nice brassy puller was also at Jimmy's. Treasure trove I tell you!
While the pattern tracing and cutting is time consuming, then actual sewing of a lined coat is really very rewarding and quite fun. There's no finishing of fabrics to worry about. The wool coating doesn't fray and is nice to sew and press. Just stitch, press and topstitch then repeat. I used a walking foot for nearly every seam, only changing to the regular presser foot in order to use a zipper foot attachment.
My final verdict? I love the pattern but I wish I'd gone up a size, as while it fits ok now, it's slim and won't go beyond this winter. Guess that means I get to do it again next year! I might go up to the standard 132 and still add more sleeve length and then it will last a second winter no doubt.
And P's verdict?
He loves it too. That lining was bound to win him over, it's divine, squishy soft stuff. But the boy who likes to slouch around with his hands in his pocket is a little thrown by the one sided utility pocket. To which I say "ha! take that!"
Have you sewn anything for a boy this week? There's still a couple of days left in the week, and there's still time to enter the giveaways over at Our Chez Nous. I got a sneaky suspicion it might be a Zonen09 giveaway today!! Good luck!
Pattern: Zonen09 Lars coat
Size: S128 with 1cm extra body and sleeve lnegth
Fabric: Exterior main: Wool Melton from The Fabric Store
Exterior contrast: Navy moleskin from Rathdown Fabrics
Lining: Maille merveilleuse from Mamzelle Fourmi - Note: pattern advises a slippery liningn for the sleeves. Good advice which I ignored.
Notions: 2m navy piping, 50cm separating zipper, elastic cord, eyelets, toggles, ribbing for cuffs, snaps or velcro