Friday, October 3, 2014

In my mind's eye

I own a bolt (approx. 5m) of dark navy blue wool melton cloth.  I need a new winter coat.  I have an image in my mind's eye of a long, sculpturally lean, dark blue coat, with a warm collar and interesting sleeves.  This should be simple, right?

A while ago, I bought my first Lekala pattern.  It's 4182, which I think is not available on the main Lekala website, only in their Etsy store.  It had a potentially warm collar (just fold it up), and interesting sleeves. They have a lower tapering cuff, with a pleat at the side.

I love the concept of Lekala patterns.  You enter your measurements, pay a paltry amount ($3.46 CAD), and in a few moments you get an e-mail with a personalized pattern in PDF. The patterns can be ordered with or without seam allowances (SAs cost more, for some reason).  You have to print and assemble the pages - something all modern sewers are getting pretty used to.

I muslined the pattern and it fits pretty well, except that it's meant to be a raincoat (thin) when I need a winter coat, which would need more ease.  Obviously, I'd lengthen this considerably, if I were to use this pattern for my coat.  The only fitting glitch is that I told Lekala to give me shorter-than-usual sleeves.  I always have to shorten sleeves by an inch (2.5cm) or more.  Well, they certainly took my instruction seriously!  I eyeballed the pattern pieces, and added 14cm (5.5") before cutting out my muslin.

So why won't I be using this pattern for my coat?  It's too straight up and down.  There are bust darts but absolutely no body shaping, and no fitting seams.  It's drawn in by means of a belt only, which isn't in my mind's eye as an element of my ideal coat.  The pattern may turn into a spring jacket sometime soonish, however.

Downcast, I turned to other patterns in my stash.

I suspended disbelief and made a muslin of Vogue 1320.

Again, I'd lengthen this coat if it were my chosen pattern - which it isn't.  Why not?  Despite its rather nice shaping (by means of side front and back seams; there is a shaped side panel), what does this in for me is the yoke and very high neck, as well as the completely horrid collar that looks constricting without being warm, since it leaves the critical front throat area open to the elements.

I would consider morphing the neckline from the Lekala pattern onto the yoke, except for the fact that the sleeves on this one are  truly strange.  They are best illustrated at the kind of angle in the weird Vogue "window" shot at right.  That is, they kind of stick out.  Too much fabric would bunch, especially at the back. This is not within my "sculpturally lean" vision for my future coat.

Back to the pattern drawer.  I have higher hopes for Simplicity 2508.  

This pattern is reviewed multiple times on PatternReview and people seemed to really like it.  It dates to about 2010, but it looks pretty classic to me.  I was drawn to the white version at upper right, but this view calls for twenty buttons if you put one on each pocket flap!!!  Yikes!!!!

The collar is similar to the Lekala pattern.  The cuffed and buttoned sleeves are the ones I'd choose.

Long?  Could be, if I lengthened it.
Sculpturally lean?  I think so.
Warm collar?  Two choices!
Interesting sleeves?  Yes!

Muslin #3, here I come.


  1. I'm strangely drawn to everyone's winter coat plans. Oddly, I have no desire to sew a coat.

    In LA, well, we don't have a winter. I feel downright resentful when I have to go back inside to grab a light jacket. In CO, it's so blustery, I need high-tech wind-cutting fabrics. I'll just sew vicariously through your experiences.

  2. That Simplicity pattern does seem like the best choice….3 muslins? I admire your tenacity!

  3. I was going to suggest a Marfy as your melton sounds fabulous but you might have found a good one with that Simplicity. Best of luck

  4. I have this Simplicity pattern as well, thank you for posting about the dart error. I am looking forward seeing the muslin you make.

  5. Good luck with third time lucky! You certainly need a good coat where you live :)

  6. I have made Vogue 1320 and it is not a winter coat pattern for sure. It is very stylish but not enough room for any interlining or even for a sweater. I made it as a fancy winter coat-that is to say-for the theatre etc not to really keep me very warm. I think you would make a good choice with the Simplicity but the views with non double breast look more stylish. Good luck.