I’m not entirely sure how I feel about this project.

On one hand, the finished product looks OK but on the other hand, the path to completion was just so frustrating. In other words, the drafting was average, the sewing was average, but despite that, the quality of the garment looks great-average-ish.

So where to start?

The Pattern

It’s not always I draft something and the final garment turns out perfect. Sometimes I just get lucky and other times, I basically wish I did a practice run – in this case, it’s the latter.

The choice of having a shawl collar versus a normal collar plus lapel, came from nothing other than pure laziness. I was so lazy that I even drew in notches to give the impression that it was made up of a collar and lapel, but seriously, it looks good!

This is my first time drafting a shawl collar, and I must say, it wasn’t as difficult as I imagined. I was able to grasp the concept of the pattern pretty quickly and found that the hardest part of the drafting was actually removing the darts – something that I should be used to by now, but I still messed up. The way I removed the shoulder dart on the back bodice caused the inclination of the shoulder to became way too straight which became evident, in the form of a massively gaping armhole, once I had cut, sewn and partially completed the coat. So very annoying.

I included a triangular yoke at the back to add a bit of creativity although all I wanted was a simple garment devoid of any other enhancements.

Sewing

I actually struggled.

I chose a plain blue cotton Chambray Denim Fabric, it was quite lightweight and a treat to press, and a floral print Polycotton Fabric, which my machine completely detested because every time it sewed over a flower, stitches would start getting skipped; this got fixed by swapping the standard needle with a stretch needle. Either way, I’m really pleased with the combination – the floral print works well as a lining.

Attaching the front part of the garment to the back was ridiculously difficult for me, especially around the collar/shoulder area. I just couldn’t do it. And because I was handling the fabric too much, the edges were fraying to the point where everything just became a mess. It’s probably at this point where an overlocker would have been useful, but the less interaction I have with my overlocker, the better (we don’t have the best relationship).

Something resembling a coat soon appeared, and I was so excited to try it on when I saw the horrible gaping at the upper armhole caused by my terrible drafting. I was in two minds about fixing it because I’d pretty much finished the garment, minus the hem, but it bothered me so much that I had to go back inside, remove all the stitching, including the top-stitching and re-sew the shoulders. It came out looking not-so-great, better than before but still not-so-great.

I finished off the edges of the collar with a top-stich, using a matching thread and a 4mm length stitch. Sewed the vent, turned up the hem and pressed everything to get this sleeveless coat.

The Finished Garment

Like the human body, all the messy stuff is kept on the inside, while the pretty bits are on show for the world to see. This is a really good looking garment on the outside, but as the sewist behind the coat, I know what I went through to get it to this point. The execution of the upper part wasn’t the best, but everything else went as well as could be expected. The whole thing really just averages out for me. At the end of the day, it’s the outside you see, and so based on that, it’s a really well made and well put together garment and despite the difficulties it turned out lovely.