Fall Sewing - Coatigan Dreams

I love Fall. I don’t think I am alone in this. Lately I seem to hear a lot about the beauty of Fall colors and the excitement of seasons changing. I don’t think Fall signifies the end of Summer or some kind of an end, to me Fall brings buzz of new beginnings and opportunities. Then of course there are Fall fashions, which is an inspiring category of its own. I enjoy thinking about transition of seasons and the exciting changes it means for my wardrobe. I feel exhilarated and inspired when I start contemplating all the sewing and wardrobe planning I get to do for the upcoming colder seasons. Oh, the possibilities and all the new cozy fabrics I hopefully will get to add to my collection... This Fall is no different. It really got me thinking about my style, where I am going with it and what I want to make to fill those holes in my wardrobe. By the way, am I the only one who seems to have these wardrobe holes that just never go away no matter what you do? Am I doing something wrong? I feel like every time I get rid of “one hole” in my wardrobe the other one pops up… As the temperatures started to drop over the last few weeks, one of the pieces that was on my mind is a long, cozy coatigan. I spent what seemed like countless hours amassing a small collection of inspiration images on my Pinterest board, which was really hard to narrow down to just a few inspiration photos. Still in the end I wasn’t sure what exactly I wanted. I seemed to sway back and forth between a cozy oversized look and simple, straight lined and overall more fitted look. The only things I was sure of were that I wanted the coatigan to be grazing my knees, have side slits, welt pockets, and be either of gray or camel color. At last I decided to go with the loose cozy fit and I am have not regretted it so far. I find I feel more comfortable and confident in roomy, oversized pieces, especially when I combine them with something more fitted or sleek, like these skinny jeans and boots. I think this coatigan turned out to be very versatile. I will wear it as a coat during the warmer Fall months and when the colder weather hits, I can easily throw it on under a warmer coat. In my search for the perfect pattern to match my vision I wound up drafting my own pattern out of a sweater pattern I already had. I have been really interested in pattern drafting lately and have been trying to draft patterns when I can. Yet after all the time I spend drafting the thing, I feel that my final pattern is VERY close to Esme Coatigan by Named Patterns. My sleeve is a little different, my coatigan has welt pockets and side vents, and my facing is wider. Oh well, it was a good exercise in pattern drafting! For fabric I used absolutely sumptuous DKNY wool mélange boucle knit. This fabric was just perfect for the coatigan I dreamt of. It is a medium weight and the weave is very tight resulting in nice drape and just a touch of stretch. The fabric also doesn’t fray, so I didn’t even have to finish the raw edges if I didn’t want to. I alternated in between my sewing machine and serger to put the coatigan together. Although I anticipated to serge most of the seams and press them to one side, I ended up sewing almost all the seams with a straight stitch and pressing them open, mainly to prevent the bulk and allow for construction of my side slits, which, by the way, have mitered corners! When I was buying the fabric, the only thing I knew for sure is that I wanted the coatigan to fall to my knees. So I completely guesstimated my fabric purchase. I bought 2.75 yards thinking that it surely will be enough. Well, I didn’t look to see the width of the fabric which was clearly displayed. The fabric was only 50” wide. I panicked just a little when I started to place my pattern pieces on the fabric, but with some patience and some creativity I managed to cut all my pieces out without too much trouble! I didn’t have ANY fabric leftover other than some small scraps that I tested my stitches on prior to sewing. In the process of cutting the coatigan out I decided to cut the front band pieces with one long side against the fabric’s selvage edge. I did it partially to get some extra yardage and partially to see if I can end up with cleaner finish on the inside of the coatigan. It was not necessary at all, but why not go all the way? Here are the steps on how I did it:
  • At this point the body of my coatigan was already assembled and the coatigan was hemmed. The only thing that was left to do was to attach the front band.
  • I pressed the front band together, wong sides facing each other, prior to sewing it onto the body of the coatigan so that the selvage edge was overlapping the cut edge by about 3/8”. This created a nice guideline for the fold and made things a lot easier down the road.
  • Then I unfolded the band and sewed the cut off edge to the body of the coatigan, matching right sides and notches. I pressed the seam allowance towards the band.
  • Next I finished the bottoms of the band. I folded band at the bottom of the fronts, right sides together against the fold I created in the first step, making sure the selvage edge of the fabric is extended about 3/8” beyond the vertical seam of the front band. Pinned the short ends to the band and sewed them, ensuring my stitching line is a nice continuation of the already hemmed body of the coatigan. I trimmed the seam allowance, clipped the corner, turned it out and gave it a good press. This resulted in a very nice clean finish of the bottom of the front band.
  • Following the fold guideline I created in the very first step, I folded the band over to the wrong side. The extra 3/8” I left allowed me to cover the pressed seam allowance really nicely. I pinned everything together and hand stitched the band to the coatigan.
I could have used a blind stitch on my machine, or stitched in the ditch of the seam, but I really wanted concealed finish, and this fabric hid my hand stitching so well, it is pretty much invisible. I have to add that I hate hand sewing, but it was very enjoyable on this fabric! There is something about wool and working with it that just brings me so much joy. On that note I am going to head back to sewing headquarters to finish my brother’s coat. Yes, the same one I mentioned in Spring. I am still working on it and he is not happy about it. He insists I have to finish it by this winter, says that it was supposed to be done last winter when I first promised it. May be it was the winter before that, I don’t remember anymore. I just don’t understand where he gets all this selfishness from… Love, Anya
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