Sunday, 16 September 2012

Finished: Abbey Coat


Yippee!  My Abbey coat is finished in perfect time for the start of autumn and I'm just delighted with the final result, even if I say so myself.
Delighted!
I made view B from Jamie Christina's Abbey Coat pattern (without flounce). Jamie Christina has a straight forward, clear way of explaining steps in a pattern that really appeals to me.  There are plenty of explanatory diagrams and at the end of the process I felt like I understood the mechanics of making a coat.  The pattern doesn't contain any specific tailoring techniques, but is an excellent base from which to add your own if you're feeling brave. The only additional technique I used was to make bound buttonholes. 

Perhaps it's another lucky fluke but the cut of this coat just happens to be a perfect match for my shape. I cut out a size 10 and didn't make one single change to the pattern. There isn't one measurement on this coat that doesn't fit me perfectly. Yes, I'm sure some of it is luck, but I also think it's a very well cut and designed pattern. Can you tell I love it yet?!

As a side note, I'm quite aware that with the shorter, jacket style, this coat looks very similar to my first attempt at a jacket from last year. The similarities are only skin deep though - the Abbey coat is a much more superior coat in so many different ways. For starters, I worked from a proper coat pattern this time, rather than trying to teach myself from a book, and this made a world of difference. The book I originally used - Built by Wendy Coats and Jackets - is a useful guide, but you do flounder in the dark a bit by comparison. For instance for last year's attempt, the lining was cut from the same pattern pieces as the jacket. There was no extra ease built in for stretching and actually getting the thing on and off. Consequently, the couple of times I wore it, it rode up at the back, making me look like a hunchback. This time round, there was a pleat built into the back lining piece and one along the bottom edge to allow for wearing ease. It makes all the difference!

Admire my lining
As for the construction, it started swimmingly then went a bit downhill towards the end. I did all the boring, preparation work over the summer: making a muslin, cutting out the coat and lining pieces, interfacing everything, overlocking the lining pieces and making the bound buttonholes. Because of this, the bare bones of the coat only actually took me about a day to sew together. A couple of the final stages were VERY time consuming though - such as opening up the back of the bound buttonholes. I found it a much more nerve wracking stage than actually making the buttonholes, and even with reading glasses on, I found it very difficult to see what I was doing. The final straw was when I realised I'd completely buggered up on the maths when measuring my buttonholes, which meant my chosen buttons wouldn't fit...gah! After a deep breath I simply found some teal coloured vintage buttons from my stash that did fit the buttonholes. It's no biggy, but it was disappointing not being able to use the coat buttons I'd bought especially.  


I made two other changes to the pattern/construction. The binding on the cuffs is supposed to be made from your coat fabric. Because of the thickness of the wool, there was no way that was ever going to happen, so I used some vintage binding from my stash instead. It was still a fiddle attaching it, which you need to be prepared for if you're using the pattern. The pattern also calls for two buttonholes on each cuff. I was too lazy to make bound buttonholes and as the cuffs are very thick, it would have been nigh on impossible to make machine buttonholes either. My way, which is the 'Handmade Jane lazy arse way', was to sew the buttons through all thicknesses.  Happily the cuffs are quite generous, which means I can get my hands through the arms easily. 
  

One final piece of advice I would offer if you're thinking of making this coat, or indeed any coat, is to choose your coat fabric carefully. I fell in love with my thick wool, but it does add a lot of bulk to seams and makes it difficult to get them perfectly flat. I probably spent as long at the ironing board, trying to steam the living hell out of my seams as I did at the sewing machine. In the end I took it to the dry cleaners in desperation. One professional press later and my seams were flatter than I could ever have got them. Probably the best £3.50 I've spent in my dressmaking life!  

Isn't the collar the prettiest shape?
Making a coat takes a lot out of you, both in time and energy. The whole process seemed to take over my life for a while, and I'll be honest, I did feel a bit of an emotional wreck by the end of it.  But it's my pride and joy and I'm going to love wearing it this autumn.  I must give a special thank you to Karen from Did you Make That? for shining a light onto the murky area of bound buttonholes. Without her and her excellent tutoring, there woud be no buttonholes on this coat, bound or otherwise!

In other news, I had the pleasure of being part of Scruffy Badger's knicker-making gang in Bath yesterday. You can read a fine account of it on Winnie's blog here. I do have some pictures to show you, but they've had to take second fiddle to my Abbey coat for now. I WILL show you my knickers in my next post though. I promise! x


59 comments:

  1. Eeep, you've done a fantastic job Jane! The colour and style suit you to a tee and I love all the details of this pattern. You must be ever so pleased with yourself...you can tackle anything now! I'm also looking forward to seeing your knickers soon too ;o)

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  2. This is really fantastic, well done Jane. I particularly like the bound buttonholes! And teal is a great colour on you!

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  3. Oooo it's so beautiful Jane! The shape, the colour of the wool, the polka dot lining...all divine. You are rightly proud of it :)

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  4. Bravo! Gorgeous shape and fabric, and I love the lining.

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  5. You have made me smile. Great coat by the way, perfect autumn colour and you must flash that lining every chance you get.

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  6. Beautiful! I love your coat! That pattern caught my eye too--it's such a pretty design. And you made a lovely coat from it.

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  7. Oh. My. Goodness!! It's gorgeous!! No wonder you look so pleased with it! It's interesting to read the construction techniques, especially about the ease; and taking it to the dry cleaners to get the seams pressed was a genius idea, I would never have thought of that. It looks lovely on you, and the fit is amazing. Happy wearing! :)

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  8. It is a gorgeous coat Jane, it really suits you.

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  9. Gorgeous Jane! You look so lovely in it! The colour and the style are timeless. Congratulations on a very successful project.

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  10. Jane its stunning.....I was wowed by it yesterday, and please forgive me, didnt recognise it as an abbey cost, such is my coat spotting blindness and just marvelled at it believing it to be your BBW jacket. Sob. What a failure I am!! I did spy the beautiful bound buttonholes and hadn't worked out that they were post Karen' s lesson either. Anyway, it is truly gorgeous and suits you wonderfully, I can understand how you'd wear it with pride. Very impressed and inspired. Time for me to get my arse in gear now.

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  11. Absolutely stunning. Brilliant cut, colour and sewing. Looks amazing.

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  12. Jane, it looked even better in person! And it fits you like a dream, you're right - you should be so proud of it! x

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  13. Oh my gosh it's gorgeous I'll have one please in a size 20

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  14. Looks great! All of your hard work certainly paid off! Really nicely sewn:)

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  15. Amazing coat ... I'm so luck to see it in person...

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  16. Amazing amazing amazing - I haven't even read the full blog yet I've just squealed at all your pics - absolutely gorgeous! Those buttonholes, the seams, the lining, the crisp collar. Ack! beautiful... right... now I'll and read the words...

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    1. That add me laugh, that's exactly what I do! x

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  17. Oh gosh oh wow - well done! It is such a pretty colour and that dotty lining is perfect and I DO like the buttons. But best of all - you made it yourself! And it looks like the real thing. It IS the real thing! Top tip about professional pressing - I would never have thought of that!

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  18. Beautiful coat and it looks fab on you! Beautifully sewn too - well done. Love the bound button holes and the adorable (and perfectly even) collar!

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  19. This is absolutely STUNNING! Well done on those beautiful bound buttonholes...and man, that collar is SO AMAZING! I love it!!!!

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  20. Jane, this coat is wonderful and it really suits you - well done! Do you accept any coat commissions yet?!

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  21. Oh wow, your jacket turned out gorgeous! The colour is fantastic, and the collar is really pretty. I never heard of the drycleaners pressing garments before, but it's a good resource to remember. :)

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  22. If I say so myself, your coat is spectacular. Very becoming color, too! Divine!

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  23. The coat turned out wonderfully. It is such a pretty color, flattering shape, and I love the collar.

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  24. Gosh! This is stunning. I knew it would be good, made by your fair hand but I am still blown away! x

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  25. Wow - this looks gorgeous on you!!! I love it - your hard work has really paid off on this one and it's a great choice of pattern as the style really suits you. Brilliant work, I'm so excited to see it made up!

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  26. Oh Jane this jacket is GORGEOUS! Such a great shape, the colour is fabulous - just beautiful! x

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  27. Stunning, as usual!!! Brilliant work(wo)manship...

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  28. Sweet. The combination of vertical style lines and the slight hem flare are really flattering.

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  29. It looks perfect on you! I especially love the collar...and the color! :)

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  30. Wow, what a great coat. The shape and colour are fabulous on you, and the finishing is so good. What an excellent idea to have the drycleaner do the seam pressing. I love the dotty lining.
    I am so jealous that there were no fitting adjustments required.

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  31. Oh Jane that is perfect in every respect. I like the cropped Abbey, I expected the longer coat version.

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  32. wow - gorgeous! i have been worrying about coat fabrics since i decided to try and make an Anise coat. i am worried i will end up with something too thick that i will struggle with under the presser foot. can you recommend what you think would be an ideal fabric and weight (as it looks quite similar to the Anise). thanks!

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    1. Hi, wool is perfect for a coat but it might be worth looking at the fabric sideways so you can see the thickness of the fabric (if that makes sense). My wool looks almost like felt and although it didn't give me any problems with the pressed foot, it was the lumpiness of the seams that were the problem. I'd say a thinner wool that doesn't resemble felt would be good for the Anise, let me know how you get on. X

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  33. Really lovely! I was just thinking about the change in weather meaning new clothes are needed... How clever of you to prepare in the summer! :) I'm really going to have to get a wriggle on...

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  34. Your coat really is a divine piece of work.

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  35. That Abbey looks fantastic, Love the lining!! and looks like it is just in time for the Autumn weather coming in. xx

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    1. It is, I've worn it every day! x

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  36. Gorgeous! That lining is so perfect for the color of the coat, and your buttonholes look marvelous!

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  37. Wowzers, this is too fab! Great job!!!!!

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  38. Wow, it looks beautiful! Well done.

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  39. Inspiring and impressive! I've been really looking forward to seeing how this developed and it's blooming brilliant! Well done!

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  40. Oh, it's GORGEOUS! Every time I read your blog I'm filled with a crippling sense of inadequacy. Oh well!





    sittingonherbumbaleerie.blogspot.co.uk

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  41. Beautiful coat. The ease in lining is so important, isn't it?
    Great colour too!

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  42. Wow Jane this looks so amazing. You've done such a fantastic job. I loved the fabric colour you chose from the moment you first shared in on the blog, but seeing made up into the coat with that lovely lining is just perfect!

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  43. Great coat Jane and the colour looks fab too - I can see you getting a lotta use outta your new make :)

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  44. The shape really flatters you a lot! Great job, it's a stunning coat!

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  45. I looks amazing! I can imagine all the work, especially using such a heavy fabric, I've just finished sewing some bags in tweed and that was enough - not sure I'd fancy doing a whole coat!! It looks well worth it though and I love, love, love the lining now it's in place, the colour and dots work so well. I hope you get loads of wear out of it and I'm sure you'll smile each time you do. Thanks for all the making notes, I've bookmarked it in case I attempt one myself one day. Beth/thelinencat xx

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  46. Love it! What material is the lining? It's gorgeous!

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    1. Thanks! It's just a normal lining fabric. I think it's acetate satin. x

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  47. Jane I love it, you're so clever, it's really pretty and the colour is beautiful. Blimey, I can barely sew on a button.

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  48. Hi, I do love your Abbey, am very tempted to make one myself( some lovely coating on Stone Fabrics website), had Anise been released when you chose Abbey? If so would you still have chosen Abbey? Just wondering how they compare? I'm in awe of the buttonholes!x

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    1. Thanks Lynn. No, the Abbey coat was released quite a while before the Anise, in fact I think I'd virtually finished my Abbey coat when the Anise came out. Although there's a lot I admire about the Anise, I would always have chosen the Abbey over it! The length is too short and I avoid anything double breasted. Lovely, but not for me! x

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  49. I know I'm late in getting to this (I'm so behind on my blog reading!) but I wanted to say how AMAZING I think this is!! You have done a just beautiful job of this coat, and have every right to be completely 100% proud!! It looks fabulous on you, and really great tip on having it professionally pressed, btw!! ^___^

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