The best part on drawing, is not at the beginning or the end but something is often right in the middle, and the same goes for sewing! This little project had its own moments, good and bad, but there was a point just after the sleeves set in, that I knew it was going to work out just fine!
I had in mind a few ideas for this coat and in the end decided on a tunic or an over-blouse. I could have made a coat but as it was a mans coat originally, there was no excess of fabric on the hips, and the shaping darts at waist took away some more options, and I am also concious of going with the cut on wool due to pile. The wool was lovely and although rather old, it wasn’t too worn, just some repairs here and there (which I like to see as it shows that it was a very serviceable item and worth repairing – not unlike my own ancient eiderdown tweed winter coat).
I did some drawings and drafted a pattern and made it up in a cotton which was to be the lining.
The whole piece took about a week here and there to draft cut and complete and I put it away each time I was unsure of what to do next. I got a bit flummoxed on how to cut the sleeves and figured the best thing to do at this point make an base-layer for underneath and as these take an hour to make up, at least I would have achieved something that day! The base layer was made from a cardigan in my wardrobe – love the colour but those front bits get in the way all the time and there have been times I have used a clothes peg to keep them in place when I am working on something – and as a consequence, I no longer wear it, so it was to become a polo neck base-layer! I used my knit-block, set in sleeves flat and put a band in for neck – using pretty much all of the cardigan to make it.
The tunic pattern is straight forward. I drafted a light jacket pattern, and then had the shoulder seams shorter than a jacket as I wanted a very fitted shoulder, and tight sleeve-head (I don’t know if that describes it correctly). I marked lines where the joins would be preferable on pattern worked the cut from there – the back panel has a yoke and bodice as does the front with a centre front seam. I top-stitched each side of these seams. The front was cut from the front, and back from the back. The facings were cut from facings, and pockets from the coat sides. I cut the sleeves from the sleeves – this was a dilemma for a while but I thought it best to leave it a 2 part sleeve as it was and I pressed and steamed the sleeve as much as I could before laying the pattern over it and cutting. I cut the cuff on the crossgrain with leftovers from the back of the coat. The cuff has a slight flare to it.
On one hand, the coating fabric is a heavy fabric for the tunic, and ideally it should have been made in a lighter wool with a zip back – however the coat fabric is easy to manipulate and works fine (no way was I trying to put a zip in this either!). For a fitted piece, there is easy movement (I chopped some logs to check), which means it will work well as a ‘work tunic’ and as a mid-season jacket. I am so pleased with the tunic – it is incredibly warm, and such a practical item, and the pockets are a bonus. Gold stars all around.