Wednesday, February 23, 2011

snow days coat

pattern: School Days Coat from Oliver + S
fabric: wool coating with cotton lining and insulated interlining

A while back, I had the chance to take a workshop with Liesl Gibson. Oliver + S is well known for their excellent directions, so can you imagine how great it was to have the real live version right there helping you? This workshop was held at Cloth and Bobbin in Narberth, PA just outside of Philadelphia. I can't believe it was a year ago! However, I had made the coat to be worn this year and haven't taken any pictures of it until today when I got it out for boy month.

I was pleasantly surprised at how easily the coat actually came together. I probably wouldn't have attempted a coat pattern had it not been for the workshop. I had long wanted to take one of Liesl's classes but the ones held nearby at Spool were always for dresses! When Cloth and Bobbin advertised this, I jumped at the chance to make something boy from Oliver + S. There are many steps and you should take your time with this, but the instructions are, as always, so wonderfully clear and helpful that it works out just fine. Before sewing it, I spent time studying the construction of some of the nice coats in my closet to see how things went together. I wouldn't recommend this for your first sewing project, but an intermediate sewer can definitely do this.

Some things I like about this pattern include the detailed explanation not only of how to construct the lining, but why. So what you get here is a lesson in garment construction, which is above and beyond what most clothing patterns offer. I also adore the toggles and snaps. When I made this, the hardware was sold in a little package. I think it's great when the store that sells the pattern also sells things to make the pattern. Another nice detail is the patch pockets on the front that look very cute, but also contribute to making this an accessible coat pattern. As you can see, his cold hands fit very nicely into the pockets. The hood was, I think, easier than a collar, and also sweeter.

I may have spent more time looking for boy appropriate fabric than I did actually sewing the coat. The outer fabric is a charcoal wool coating that I scored at Cloth and Bobbin just before the class started. Everyone else in this workshop was making such adorable and beautiful girl coats with linings of bright and lovely quilting cottons. And though there were plenty of things like rocket ships and cutesy blue stripes to choose from, I simply didn't see any of those things on a nearly grown up boy of five. I also don't like using your typical polyester lining fabrics and silk seemed a little over the top. So with time running out before the workshop, I had to simply get what I could. The lining you can see in this picture came from JoAnn in the homespun section. It's a small scale cotton plaid, which complements the charcoal wool nicely. Quilting cotton advocates might turn their noses up a this, but these fabrics come in a variety of stripes and plaids, perfect for boys.

I used a rather stiff interlining, because it was all I could get. If I were to do this again for a winter coat, I would order proper Thinsulate from somewhere. For a fall jacket, cordory, twill or denim with a cotton lining would be plenty. My ideal lining fabric might be something like a shirting, but I'm still not really sure. I do, however, remember thinking when the coat was finished, that it wasn't nearly as hard as I had imagined and I could do it again every year. We'll see about that, but it is a wonderful pattern.

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