A reasonable person would not attempt to make a fully lined wool coat within two years of purchasing their very first sewing machine. A reasonable person would try some easy projects first — a t-shirt, a skirt, perhaps a dress — and work their way up to more complex patterns. At the very least, a reasonable person would master a pair of pants or a jacket before diving into uncharted coat-making territories.
But, I swear, I’m not an unreasonable person. Attempting a coat made sense at the time. I’d finished making a t-shirt with a full bust adjustment that fit great! And I’d both purchased fabric for and thought about making a pair of pants. Plus, I desperately needed a winter coat for Southern California’s annual fifteen seconds of winter weather.
I’d had my eye on the Rumana Coat from By Hand London for some time. When Sew My Style announced it as the monthly pattern for February of 2018, I decided to go for it. I splurged on some stunning dark green Italian wool coating from Mood and a beautiful floral Liberty Tana Lawn lining. Because if I was going to do the thing, I was going to really do the thing.
I did have the foresight to sew up a muslin before slicing into my expensive green wool. I cut out a straight US size 6 and added my usual FBA. The fit was perfect, so I tossed my one-sleeved muslin aside to get to work on the real thing.
I attempted to steam-shrink the wool before cutting it out but realized that my iron, even at its lowest setting, was burning the material and leaving marks. Abandoning the iron, I forged ahead and began cutting out my pieces anyway. Having lost about a foot of material to the iron mishap, I made a few changes to my cutting layout. I also forgot about this little thing called fabric nap, which meant I cut out a handful of pieces upside down. Oops…
At the end of the month, when others were sharing their finished makes, I’d only finished cutting out my pieces. I continued working until the weather became too warm to be in the same room as wool fabric and set it aside for the summer.
In the interim, I worked on other projects (one of which was that pair of pants). When the weather started to cool off again, I was ready to dive back in and finish it up in time for our winter travels. The coat came together quickly after that. I had some issues with the vent, which I had to re-sew a couple of times to stop it from pulling up in the back. Several others in the Sew My Style group had run into similar problems, and I was able to use their expertise to fix it up. Since I couldn’t press my fabric without ruining it, I added a row of topstitching around the edge of the coat, which looks pretty nice.
All in all, it turned out well for my very first coat. It was perfect for our winter travels last year, and I even managed to wear it a couple of times in Los Angeles on colder days. I can’t wait to pull it out of the closet again this year! Even so, I do think I’ll wait a little while before tackling another coat.