Last year, after a year of sewing, I decided I needed a new challenge and set myself to make a coat. I discovered Fabworks online and shortly after, met them at the GBSB live and really got inspired by all the wools.
For my first ever coat, I decided to pick a pattern not too fitted that wouldn’t require to make a toile first.
I picked the Lola coat from the Sew Over It City break ebook, a loose coat with a waterfall-style front. The pattern calls for drapey fabrics but I wanted to make a wintery version so I went with some light grey mohair fabric with an open weave from Fabworks. The package I receive was massive as the fabric was very bulky and let’s admit it, did look like a (very nice and warm) blanket. I ended up having doubts about the fabric suitability for the pattern but after wrapping myself in the wool uncountable times and analysing the drape, I decided to go for it.
I surely didn’t make my life easy with pattern modifications. First, given the fabric I had picked, it was absolutely crucial to line it. The coat comes unlined so I had to figure out how to line it myself but after seeing Emily’s version (@mlemaust on IG) I knew it was feasible. For the lining I bought some printed light pink viscose from Fabrics Galore.
I also wanted a version with pockets but not as long as the long version because the fabric requirements were a bit much for my budget so I had to modify the pattern pieces to get an intermediate length with pockets.
How I modified the pattern: I shortened the front waterfall panel, front sleeve panel, back sleeve panel and lower side panel by 18 cm at the bottom of each piece. Because I shortened the coat so much, the pockets were too long and would have ended up showing under the coat. I therefore shortened the pockets by a few centimetres so that the bottom of the pocket would sit just above the bottom of the coat.
How I cut the lining: I cut the front sleeve panel and back sleeve panel in my lining fabric without any modification. Since I didn’t want to have a pocket in my lining, I attached the lower side panel and upper side panel pieces at the stitch line (taking the seam allowance into account) and treated it as one pattern piece. I cut this new side panel in the lining fabric. I didn’t cut the waterfall front in lining as it is already self lined.
How I figured out my pattern placement: The pattern pieces are massive because of the kimono sleeves. I only bought 2.5 metres of wool so to make the most of my fabric I decided to cut it as a single layer. I therefore had to trace each pattern piece’s symetrical. I usually open the A0 PDF patterns on powerpoint to figure out what my pattern placement will be but for this one it was too complex. Instead, I printed the A0 pattern at a 25% scale, cut all the miniature pattern pieces in my size and lay them on my cutting mat. In that way, I was able to see what the best option was, both for the main fabric and the lining.
Cutting and sewing: This was my most challenging pattern cutting so far. I lay the wool as a single layer on the floor with the end rolled (because of lack of room), pinned all the pattern pieces and rolled them up as I was going to unroll the other end.
Because the fabric was quite unstable I had the cut everything with my rotary cutter on a mat smaller than any of the pieces. And then repeat with the lining! Overall it took me 8 hours (!!!) to cut both fabrics.
The sewing in comparison was a breeze! The instructions were easy to follow and a lot less confusing once you have the actual pattern pieces in your hands. I first sewed the coat in the main fabric without finishing the inside edges of the waterfall panels. Then I sewed up the lining and attached the front sleeve panels of the lining to the inside waterfall panels of the main coat, with right sides together. I machine stitched the bottom hem of the coat and lining together, leaving a gap to bag the coat out and hand stitched it close. Finally, I folded the sleeve hems of both the coat a lining and and hand stitched them together. I also made a tie belt and some thread chain belt loops that I inserted into the side seams at the time of sewing the coat up.
And tadaaa! Here is my first finished coat. I prefer to wear it open as it looks less bulky but it’s very nice and warm when it’s closed. Unfortunately I cannot wear it as an everyday coat because I wear a backpack most of the time and the mohair fabric is wearing off very quickly with the rubbing. After a few wears, I already had a “fluff-less” patch at the back. This is not due to the quality but just the nature of mohair.
Overall I think it’s a great pattern for a first coat with a very interesting construction. If fitting is not your strong point, then this is the coat to go for as it doesn’t require fitting. If I was to make it again I would probably go with a drapier fabric to make the most of the waterfall effect. If you decide to make it, good luck and get ready for some tedious cutting!
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