Sunday, 10 May 2015


It's the month after April and before June, which means that So, Zo. . . What do you know is again hosting Me-Made-May; a chance to celebrate handmade clothing in all its glory.

Pretty much all of my work wardrobe is now me-made, so I considered what other areas of my life could benefit from a little me-made-ness, and decided to make a coat. Specifically, this coat.

I've had this pattern for so long that it's now out of print! I love it, but I suspect that the complete lack of fastening means that this is not the most practical garment for keeping you warm. Ideal then for late spring, or the chillier days of a British summer.

In my local fabric shop I found a red/black remnant in a large check, which seemed perfect for the 1950s look. Along one selvedge it had some large stitches in yellow thread, which I assumed were holding a tear together. However when I turned it over, I found that it was actually this.

Stitched information

I've no idea what it means, but it's fascinating!

The collar and cuffs are to be plain black - another remnant. I decided that for the lining I would really like something other than standard lining fabric, but wasn't sure what. Then on yet another visit to the fabric shop (it's the first shop I come to when I walk into town, I always walk when I go into town, and I rarely get past there without just 'popping in for a look'), I found this.

Both sides of my 'lining' fabric

I wasn't sure which way round to use it, but eventually decided that the darker side - at the bottom of the picture, and I think the wrong side - would look better.

So I cut everything out, and got started. I made up the main part of the coat, and I made up the lining and facing. Then I noticed a couple of things, and they were not good things.

Bad Thing number one:

I had carefully cut out all the coat pieces from a single layer of fabric, so that I could match the pattern. The centre back seam matched nicely, . . .

. . . one side seam matched nicely, . . .

. . . and one shoulder seam matched nicely.

Shoulder seam and sleeve head

What the heck I was thinking when I cut the fronts out, I have no idea! The pattern matches horizontally, but not vertically. Look at the the sleeve seams and the darts, and it's obvious.


I have a plan of sorts. I'll cut a strip off the right front, tapering up to the neck. It means that one side will be slightly wider than the other, but because the coat is so full, I'm hoping it won't be obvious. That way the fronts will be symmetrical most of the way down, and hopefully the black facing will cover most of the mismatch at the top.

Bad Thing number two:

The check fabric is very loosely woven; so much so that in places the lining is visible through it, and the coat doesn't hold its shape at all well. I really should have noticed this before I started, and underlined the pieces. So now I'm considering whether retrospective flatlining is desirable/feasible/ going to drive me insane. However, as I've got a couple of commissions to do, and May's Historical Sew Monthly project, this consideration may go on for some time!

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