This was going to be my new winter coat. Only I didn’t finish sewing it until after lockdown started and we were only allowed out for really essential things – blog photos definitely didn’t count! Things have eased up a bit now.
The pattern is Burda 114 11/2019, made up in an unusual black and white tonic fabric that reads as silver at a distance. It’s a Lady McElroy fabric called Uttoxeter, but I don’t think they’re making it any more because it’s not been available anywhere I’ve looked lately. It’s a shame because it’s lovely fabric and it’s my favourite colour. I went back and bought the end of the roll from the company that supplied me with the first lot, so I still have some in stash for future projects.
I haven’t had many chances to wear this yet but so far it’s proved quite practical. And it looks like I’d imagined it which is a bonus. It’s very roomy and the pockets are nice and deep. It’s warm too, although I’ll have to wait for winter to see if it completely replaces my long wool coat.
I’m glad to finally get photos of this project on me. It feels like it’s finally finished, after almost six months. Thanks to my husband for braving the park in the rain to take them.
It doesn’t look much different from the pictures in the last couple of posts, but my Burda 114 11/2019 quilted coat is finally finished.
The big change since last time is that new vertical line of top stitching down the front. It’s sewn right at the end, through all the layers, and goes from level with the top of the zip right to the hem. This holds the lining and facing in place – there was no need to understitch the lining on that side of the zip at all! And if you recall it was my attempt to understitch which led to the whole thing getting jammed in the sewing machine. I should have just followed Burda’s instructions in the first place.
I haven’t been able to get modelled photos yet. This has been such an involved project that I really want to do them in a location that’s more interesting than my back garden, but as we all know that won’t be possible for a while yet. But I do have some detail shots.
The closure has a zip and snaps too. No wind is going to sneak through that front opening.
Sewing on the snaps seemed to take forever. They’ve come out neater than I usually manage. Maybe I’m getting the hang of hand sewing at last.
The zip is two way but I’m not entirely sure it needs to be. There’s plenty of room even with the zip done right up.
At the moment I can’t quite believe I’ve finally finished it. It’s come out pretty much how I imagined it, but I’m completely unable to judge how successful it is as a garment because I’m not likely to have an opportunity to wear it until next winter now. And I’m very conscious of the less than perfect bits. It feels bit weird after all that effort. I’m hoping I’ll be delighted and surprised with it when I pull it out of the wardrobe in October.
OK so the comic is about computers, but the moral applies equally well to sewing projects. The coat project continues, but standards are slipping.
Here’s what it looked like when I was trying to sew in the lining. That didn’t go too badly, so I turned the coat right side out and tried it on. And the zip got promptly got caught on the lining. So there I was, wearing a duvet, and unable to take it off. I eventually managed to wriggle out and extract the lining from where the zip puller was trying to eat it, and decided to understitch both sides of the zip to keep the lining and facing well away from the puller. Which meant all that bulk ended up on the right, stuffed under the harp of the sewing machine. This was a bad idea.
I got to a point where the whole thing got completely wedged. I couldn’t lift the presser foot because the lever was hidden in a tangle of wadding. I couldn’t pull the jammed fabric either forwards or back without risking damaging the machine because something was well and truly caught around the needle shank. I seriously considered getting a screwdriver and taking the whole shank off.
After much careful pushing and pulling I got it out, at the cost of a small snag on the the fabric. Luckily it’s right under the arm so it doesn’t show. And my machine seems to have survived the experience.
There was no way I was going to be able to complete the under-stitching to the top of the zip, so I pressed it all as hard as I dared and so far the zip hasn’t jammed again. But after all that I didn’t feel like rearranging the room to take pictures with a clean backdrop! So here it is quickly slung on the dressform surrounded by a pile of clutter. The lining isn’t attached to the neck or armscye seams nor have I sewn any of the hems yet.
The collar needed a little bit of reshaping from the pattern; the edges looked slightly concave near the points so I shaved a bit off. I think it looks OK now.
So I’m still plugging away. I’m definitely making something simpler next!
Well I for one need a distraction from external events right now, so I’m going to keep on blogging about my coat, trivial though it is.
Thanks so much for all the advice and support about my quilting error. In the end I decided to go with susew’s idea of repeating the quilting lines close together down to the hem. I really liked the idea of doing the double line on the sleeves but I didn’t want to unpick the sleeve seams and I didn’t think I’d get it sewn without the layers shifting if I sewed it in the round. The new hem quilting lines aren’t entirely flat either but being lower down I hope it isn’t obvious.
The hem isn’t turned up here but when it is there won’t be that gap at the bottom; the fold line is placed at the same distance from the last line of quilting as the space between the lines.
The actual quilting was a bit of a challenge. I didn’t want to rip the side seams in order to quilt each piece separately, so I laid the whole thing flat and drew the guidelines across the entire width of the coat, with chalk this time not pencil, so I had a chance to correct any mistakes. Then I fed it through the machine, using a walking foot to try to reduce creep between layers. It worked pretty well; there’s a little bit of puckering where the stitching crosses the side seams but it’s liveable with.
It looks amazingly wonky below but it’s much better when viewed from a more normal distance.
The seamline that got crossed second is slightly worse for puckering.
I’ve also figured out what’s going on with the vertical quilting line that is present on the technical drawing but didn’t seem to be marked on the pattern. Summer Flies spotted it: it’s sewn right at the end, along the line of the zip, through all the layers, so it’s correct that my coat hasn’t got it at this stage.
I’ve started sewing the facings. Here’s my coat chain basted to the back facing piece. Really pleased with how nicely that’s worked out.
And here it is with the facings laid in place but not yet sewn on. I need to construct the lining too.
Progress on Burda 114 11/2019 continues, slowly. I have the body constructed now. But can you see the mistakes?
Here’s the line drawing for comparison.
I missed the vertical quilting line down the front completely. Oddly it doesn’t seem to be marked on the pattern, or maybe I missed it when I traced. It’s not shown on the diagram of the pattern pieces either, which does include the horizontal lines.
I also put the lowest horizontal line in the wrong place on the front pieces. I unpicked it but I couldn’t get the markings out of the fabric, so I ended up restitching the quilting along both the wrong and the right lines. As it’s the lowest line I think it looks like an accent rather than a mistake, but maybe I’m kidding myself.
The fabric is nice and shiny. Here it is with flash. Sparkly. I’m so glad I ended up with this fabric and not my first choice; this one can tolerate a lot of pressing which has been essential to tame the batting around all the seams.
Setting the sleeves in was a battle. Usually I just pin strategically and then sew without bothering to gather the sleeve heads or baste, but these involved several rounds of basting, ripping, and basting again to get them in smoothly. It was just like how I remember setting sleeves always went when I first started sewing. So maybe if I make a load more of these coats I’ll get the hang of it, heh.
Funnily enough the second one went in much more easily than the first. They look like they need shoulder pads here but I think they are better on a body than the dress form.
In other news I finally found a nice coat chain, after being disappointed with the Prym ones that are most readily available. If anyone else is looking, the Hemline brand ones look good but I eventually ended up with a no name one from eBay that was exactly what I wanted and cost about a pound.
Anyway I’m having a few days break from the coat while I recover from those sleeves. Maybe I’ll go back and add the missing front quilting next week.
The next step on my Burda 114 11/2019 coat is quilting the batting to the shell fabric. I was a bit dubious about doing it without a layer of something underneath the batting to help it feed through the machine, so I took my calico toile to pieces and used that. It worked really well; no problems feeding at all and very little shifting of the layers.
The problem was deciding what thread to use. Burda’s instructions don’t recommend anything different to the usual sewing thread. I thought I might use top-stitching thread to make the lines stand out a bit more. I tried a few sample lines of Gutermann top-stitching thread on scraps and it looked very heavy. I then tried regular Gutermann sew-all thread and it looked too light.
I’d read on Fiona’s blog that she prefers to top stitch with extra-strong rather than top-stitching thread because it’s a little bit finer, so I got my hands on a spool of that. It makes a nice medium line, but after comparing all my tests I went back to the original plan of using the heavy top-stitching thread to make a really bold contrast. Here are my samples.
Once I’d decided on the thread the quilting itself went smoothly – or at least as smoothly as possible given the bulk and size of the pieces. Quilting blanket-sized pieces must be a real challenge! I can see why quilters need those long arm sewing machines.
I marked the sewing lines with an HB pencil because it gives a sharp line that shows up against the fabric but is close though to the base fabric colour not to be very obvious. I then pinned the layers together along the lines with a lot of extra long pins rather than hand basting, and added a few more pins around the edges. The pinholes press out easily on this fabric once the pins are removed.
And finally I sewed along the lines, rolling up the section of the piece on the right side of the line so that I could fit it under the machine. Quilting the whole coat took me a couple of hours. That includes marking, stacking, and pinning the pieces but not cutting them out.
Now all I have to do is sew the pieces together. Watch this space.
There are so many bits and pieces required for my Burda 114 11/2019 coat. Shell fabric, lining, and a very thick batting. There are only nine pattern pieces, which isn’t many for a coat, but it’s taken me a few days to get it all cut out.
The batting ends up quilted to the outer pieces of shell fabric. I’m slightly dubious about Burda’s method for this. They say to hand baste the two layers together and then sew along the quilting lines with the machine. I’m using the specific batting recommended in the pattern (Vilene 295 high loft) and it’s extremely soft and fluffy. If I stitch with it against the feed dogs of the machine I foresee it being chewed up and not feeding or even jamming my machine. But I don’t want to sew with the shell fabric against the feed dogs because they’ll mark the fabric surface, and the bobbin side stitching is never as nice looking as the needle side.
My current idea is to take my toile apart and put the calico pattern pieces under the batting so it’s sandwiched between the calico and the shell fabric. Then baste all three layers together and sew with the calico side down so the feed dogs have something to grip onto that won’t disintegrate. I’m going to do a few tests of that before getting started on the real deal.
I’ve got some good notions for this coat. It needs a two way zip and also some snaps. I was surprised to find that two way zips with silver coloured metal teeth are less available than ones with gold coloured teeth. This one fits the bill though and I like the puller shape. The snaps are a gunmetal colour which looks good against my fabric so I don’t have to cover them.
What I haven’t found is a coat chain I like. I have a Prym one left over from a two-pack but it ends in tiny metal loops that need to be hand sewn to the back neck facing, which I found quite difficult to do on the coat I used the first chain for. And the chain itself has a regrettable tendency to catch on whatever jumper I’m wearing. Maybe I’ll just make a fabric loop. Or if anyone knows a supplier of nicer coat chains I’m all ears.
I’ve finally picked the pattern for my winter coat and found the perfect fabric so on to making a toile. The pattern is Burda 114 11/2019. I’m not intending to make a lot of changes, just to miss off the bow and make my usual length alterations.
Here are a couple of front views. Excuse the terrible lighting and phone pictures. For this toile I have included the facings and pinned up all the hems so the edges are where they will be on the final version.
The sleeve and hem lengths are good. It doesn’t look super roomy here but there’s a lot of ease in the body. Even with the front opening pinned all the way down it’s easy to walk in. In the real thing there will be a two way zip so it can be partly opened at the bottom for even more space.
Now the back and the side. The shoulder seam is in the right place. The ease is much more apparent from the back. However I think it’s all going to be needed because the final coat will have a thick layer of wadding under the shell fabric. I often make a rounded back adjustment on outerwear which I find improves the arm mobility, but I didn’t need to on this one because the back is already roomy.
I think the front needs to be very slightly longer to make the hem level.
The pockets are in a good place. I haven’t included the pocket bags on the toile but I have doubts about whether they are deep enough. Oddly enough on this picture it looks like the back is too long. But I think it’s the way I’m contorting myself to get the photo combined with the angle of the mirror.
The collar is enormous. I like a dramatic collar but I’m going to adjust the shape of this one a little. The front edge is drafted dead straight but looks a bit concave here so I shall correct for that on the pattern. If it doesn’t work I can always re sew along the original stitching line. I also notice the collar seems wider than in the technical drawing but I’m going to leave that alone because it might change with the wadding in, and can always be adjusted later by sewing a deeper seam.
So all in all pretty good. I’m hoping to cut the real fabric out this weekend.
I always knew what fabric I was going to make my quilted winter coat out of: a silver foiled denim that I’d previously used for a pair of jeans. I had a couple of metres left in stash and it was still available from the original website so I was planning to buy a bit more to make up the necessary length. This is my original sample from when I made the jeans. It’s really bright silver on a black denim substrate.
I’d carefully worked out the exact amount of extra to buy by laying all my pattern pieces out according to the width of the fabric and crawling around with a measuring tape.
Then doubt set in. The pattern recommendation is for ‘technical fabrics backed with batting’. I take ‘technical fabrics’ to mean those lightweight water resistant polyester and nylon things. Here’s the line drawing for the pattern so you have some idea of the sort of garment I’m talking about.
The denim is medium weight and not at all drapey. Would the quilting lines even show up? Would the whole thing be too heavy and stiff? I sent off for some samples of alternatives.
Here are all four fabrics together.
The three new ones are at the top. They are all described as lame, but in the top two the shine comes from metallic threads in the weave and the third one is a plain white fabric that’s been coated. The fourth (bottom one) in the picture is the original foiled denim.
The first two are definitely not suitable. They have a very crispy hand and are almost transparent.
The third one is very drapey – the base is a lightweight woven viscose – but at least it’s opaque. I was concerned about the lack of body through – I’ve got to sew a heavy zip and snaps to this thing. I’m not sure how you measure drapiness scientifically, but hanging it over a chopstick demonstrates the problem.
At this point I was seriously considering going in another direction altogether. Burda had made up the jacket length version of this pattern in a gorgeous velvet which seemed like a good alternative. I went down a rabbit hole searching for the perfect grey woven velvet but nothing quite fitted the bill.
So after days of agonising I went looking on Pinterest to see if quilted denim coats are even a thing, and if so what they look like. And actually I found quite a few. They aren’t as super puffy as the nylon sort, but they don’t look ridiculous. (Yes I appreciate that a silver coat is a fundamentally ridiculous garment. But I want the particular ridiculous look I’m aiming for, not a different one.)
So, greatly relieved to have made a decision, I went back to the original plan. You can no doubt guess the next bit. I went online to order the foiled denim fabric, only to find it has sold out. And I still hadn’t found any alternative I really liked.
Finally I came across an old sample I’d acquired last year of what I think is called a tonic fabric: it combines black and white yarns in a twill weave to give a shiny, almost metallic effect. It’s a cotton/acetate blend, it’s opaque, it has more body than the viscose, and most importantly the supplier still has it in stock. I leapt on it! It should arrive next week.
It’s finally time to start my winter coat project. I’ve made a decision at last: it’s going to be Burda 114 11/2019, but without the ribbon tie. There’s a zip and snaps under the overlap so I don’t think I’ll miss the tie.
As it is a Burda pattern, that means the first step is tracing the pieces from the magazine. I do this on thin paper off a huge roll I bought from Morplan some years ago. It’s the most cost effective way to get good tracing paper that I’ve found. But when I came to start this one, I discovered I was at the end of the roll. It seems unbelievable that I’ve used up 300m of tracing paper. I trace envelope patterns as well as magazine patterns but even so I’m surprised.
I’ve acquired another of the rolls now and started work. Tracing really does take time. I’ve heard people say they can trace off a Burda pattern in half an hour. By the time I’ve copied the original pieces, added the seam and hem allowances, done the pattern adjustments I need, and checked it all still fits together I’m looking at 2-3 hours total for a moderately complicated pattern. This coat has only nine pieces – I have used patterns in the past with more than 30! I’ve already got gadgets for adding seam allowance, and a big table to work on. I really don’t know how else to make it any faster. Top tips welcome; I can’t wait to get through the tracing and get on with a toile.