Musings, Work In Progress
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The Making of a Great Coat: Part 2

This is part 2 in my journey to make a swing coat. To read about the research that went into my swing coat head over to part 1. 

If you read part 1 you may be curious which pattern I chose. I narrowed it down to Vintage Simplicity 8591,Vintage McCall’s 9859 and Vintage McCall’s 3766. The decision was not one I took lightly! In the end I based my decision off of two main factors. Would I need to grade the pattern (and if so by how much) and how much fabric was required. All of the swatches I had ordered were for fabric that was 57″ or wider so the following yardage is based on that width.

McCall’s 9895 would need to be graded by quite a bit. The only copy of the pattern I could find was for a 32 inch bust and I am currently measuring in at 41.5 inches. I am guessing on fabric here, but I think I would have needed 4.5 yards at least.

McCall’s 3766 I found in my size for $90! That is too much for a pattern, vintage or not. I found it in a bust of 34 inches for $25 so another one I would have to grade. This is another one where I am guessing on fabric because the size chart didn’t go up to my bust size so around 4.5 yards again.

Simplicity 8591 did not need to be graded and would require 3.5 yards of fabrics. It was my favorite choice from when I first started planning and it honestly looked the most wearable. The swing factor was light, but that made it more wearable for a modern girl. This coat is also fully lined so I could add hidden shoulder stabilization to the sleeves before adding the lining.

Can you guess what I picked?

Simplicity 8591 of course!

With my pattern in hand I got to work on my muslin. I would have liked to use a fabric closer in weight to wool, but that would have been a very expensive muslin. I went with good ol’ “$3.99 a yard at Joann’s plus I had a coupon” unbleached muslin for my muslin! I bought 4 yards and it wasn’t enough though so I also used some random white quilting cotton I had gotten on sale and planned to make quilt blocks with. My muslin is still a work in progress, but so far it’s coming together nicely and I haven’t hit any major road blocks. I think I want to use bound buttonholes which I’ve never made before so I’m going to practice on the muslin and see how I do.

Now that my test of the exterior is coming together I’ve started thinking about the insides of my coat. When it comes to coat making the interfacing can make a really big difference. I tend to place fast and loose with interfacing facings, but with my coat I know that it plays a key role in the coat keeping its shape. Thanks to Rachel, I was introduced to sew-in hair canvas and it seemed to fit the bill for my end goal of a soft drapey coat. I ordered enough for my coat from Hart’s.

Now I’m trying to decide if I should use shoulder pads too. From what I’ve read the sew-in hair canvas seems to be pretty sturdy and the pattern doesn’t call for shoulder pads so maybe I should leave them out. I still have some time to contemplate while I finish my muslin and possibly make adjustments.

I had a really hard time choosing which fabric to use. I was 99% sure I wanted to use a blue so I even ordered a polyester crepe from Blackbird to use for the lining (same print, different color way), but then Britex sent me a swatch of a purple they thought I’d like and it was pretty awesome. Even with its higher price per yard, it’s was the leading wool for my coat.

My favorite of the blues was a navy boiled wool from Mood. The price is right, the width is large, but it’s very similar to the color of my Milano cape. Do I need two pieces of outter wear in nearly identical shades of navy? More swatches needed to be ordered before I decided!

I ordered two more from Emma One Sock in lighter shades of blue and I ended up ordering yardage of one of them! The picture online doesn’t do the color justice so I took this one and used an Instagram filter to make it look as close to it’s real life color as possible.

photo (67)

I read about Emma One Sock in a Sewaholic blog post from 2011 and am so glad I have an additional fabric source to add to my list of favorites! Although I was leaning towards the purple, I was trying to base this decision not on color, but on the quality of fabric. The one I chose is a virgin wool and cashmere blend and if that didn’t make it luxurious enough, it’s from Italy! It’s a lovely shade of teal so I won’t have yet another piece of navy outwear and it’s a very close match for the color of my lining fabric. The swatch is also so soft and drapey. When my 3.5 yards arrive I might find myself wrapping up in it instead of cutting it for my coat!

While I wait for my wool to arrive I’m going to continue working on my muslin. Come back soon to hear all about it!


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