In case you guys hadn’t noticed, January was REALLY COLD. So I finally caved and agreed to make the coat I’d had materials for since last October: a winter-thick black duster for Bob that could double as a Harry Dresden costume.
Breaking out the trusty machine again~!
The outer layer is canvas, with a fleece lining I added to the pattern. Fleece, my assistant informs me, is incredibly difficult to cut. I reminded him that that’s why I asked him to do the cutting while I was at work 🙂 The pattern we used is the more elaborate view, labeled “Australian Drover’s Coat”.
Pocket pinned in place
Fun fact: Did you know you have to thread a sewing machine with the presser foot in the up position? Thinking back, my instructors always had the foot up when they threaded the machine, but I don’t remember being told why. Turns out, the tension disk will not open to admit thread with the foot down. That’s what’s been causing my jamming problems on the last few builds. Well, that and I keep having trouble winding bobbins with the thread taunt enough. They keep coming out loose. I think it’s a lot more persnickety than I want it to be.
The finished pocket on the coat
The pattern felt really straightforward and familiar after doing so many coats and tops in recent years for men. It had me attach the pockets to the front first, which was kind of strange, but pretty straightforward as they’re purely exterior pockets. Then I had to stitch the back pieces together.. and hit my first snag. I was told to attach the fantail to the back “matching notches, squares, and circles”. Except the back had several sets of squares, notches, and circles. Where the heck does the fantail go? What IS a fantail? The pattern didn’t say. If you ever find yourself in this position, folks, the best thing to do is google for other patterns. Sometimes their preview images will show you what you’re doing in more detail, helping you understand what’s going on. In this case, I used Folkwear #137, which I plan to purchase should I ever need to make another one of these coats, as it has better instructions and includes the leg straps that Kae suggested I add after I’d already picked out a pattern 🙂
This is where a fantail goes, by the way.
Once I had the fantail attached to the right spot, I continued on, attaching the front bits. Here, it says to do the collar and front facing; however, because I was adding lining, I skipped over that to do the sleeves. Then I stitched the back, front, and sleeves together in the fleece, leaving it inverted so the nice sides of the seams were facing down, towards Kae’s body. Finally, I inserted the fleece into the canvas and hemmed the sleeves, anchoring that in place. The collar was a bit difficult to add in after the sleeves, but I managed, centering it with difficulty. It was around this time that my arms began to seriously ache from hauling this heavy coat around, pinning and stitching, but I persevered, as it was Sunday and my time was running short. After another round of fittings, I decided to finish the last details over the next few days, particularly since the university would be closed due to snow so Kae didn’t have to go anywhere until Thursday. The stupid buttonholes took forever, though. I kind of hate using the buttonholer because when the machine inevitably jams, it’s nearly impossible to pick out all the thread. I got enough buttons stitched on that he could button the front closed and took a week off, coming back to finish up the last few details later.
Buttons to hold the coat closed
Buttons to hold the fantail closed
Buttons to hold the button-cover in place
Finished coat, front
Finished coat, back
Oh, so there’s this thing out there on the internet, I guess it’s called Pintrest? You may have heard of it >.> Anyway, since we’ve been getting a little traffic from Pintrest lately, I thought I’d throw out something for you all to pin: