Rear view of winter coat

Another winter coat!

I’m planning to sew another winter coat. What! Another? Did I ever finish the last one?

In short, yes. But by the skin of my teeth. I wore it on my trip to Louisville, USA. The coat, now dubbed the grey poodle, is super snuggly. I felt incredibly warm – yet smart – as snow flakes drifted in the chilly Kentucky air.

But, the night before my flight, I was up till 2am in my hotel room at Heathrow Airport, hand stitching the lining hem to the coat.

In my hurry, I managed to leave a pin inside the sleeve, which I only discovered when I was scratched a month or so later. I had to unpick the sleeve lining to retrieve it. No big deal, but irritating. Next time around, I’ll be like a surgeon in an operating theatre, counting out the implements before closing up!

Open coat revealing red lining

The lining adds a splash of colour to a wintry palette

Finishing the coat on time was beyond stressful. Mr Ginjer mopped my brow, made food and became my sewing buddy. He took on the tricky process of pinning and measuring, while I modelled the coat, to ensure the hems of both the coat and lining were level.

Normally sewing makes me feel calm, meditative even. I discovered I don’t like feeling as if I’m going to have a heart attack at my sewing machine. Meeting my self-imposed deadline was up there with the stress I remember feeling when I took my driving test for ever ago. No appearing on The Great British Sewing Bee for me.

Now, sufficient time has passed for that anxiety to be a distant memory. And I am getting excited about another coat. This is not for me. For once I am embarking on a non-selfish sewing project. Mr Ginjer was sufficiently impressed with my efforts to drop some heavy hints that he would like a pea coat.

Before I tell you about my plans for his coat, I had better give a final review of Vogue 8346.

At the end of my last post (in January, ahem), I was about to tackle the bound button holes and facings. About those button holes…

The pattern is designed for snap closures – the buttons are supposed to be purely decorative. As a result, the front facing was barely wide enough to accommodate my bound button holes.

Coat unbuttoned

The textured boucle fabric makes those bound button holes hard to spot, but they are there – I promise

Ideally, I would have liked at least another 1.5cm’s grace between my button holes and the front lining panel. If you go down the bound button hole route, check you have enough width in the facing to ensure 2.5cm between the end of the button hole and the facing-lining seam. This means extending the width of the facing pattern piece and shaving the same amount off the width of the front lining piece.

My biggest headache was created by the hems. Not just the deadline business. Rather, when I made my sway back adjustment and took out excess fabric above the waist line, I did not add that length back lower down. Doh.

Photo montage of front, side and rear views of winter coat

Winter coat in action: showing off the coat’s full skirt and lining

The coat skirt is panelled and the overall effect is semi-circular. And circular or semi-circular skirts are prone to dropping unevenly…you get the picture?

Levelling the hem was a nightmare. The finished length of my coat is now slightly shorter than the mid-calf length I had originally planned and the hem is not as deep as I would like, but I am happy with the outcome. My get-out-of-jail-free card was Mr Ginjer’s uncanny ability to spot when the level is off by a nanometre.

Would I make this pattern again? Probably not for a while. But only because the overall effect of the finished garment is quite distinctive and one is enough in my wardrobe at least.

Full-length picture of coat from front

All buttoned up and snuggly in my grey poodle coat

When I got back from Louisville, the British winter dragged on long enough for me to take the grey poodle on a couple of outings. The pictures you see of me “en-coat” were taken on a day trip to Chichester.

Ostensibly we were in Chichester to have lunch with some old friends, but it was also a great excuse for a splurge on more fabric at The Eternal Maker and for Mr Ginjer to try out his new camera.

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