Saturday, 10 May 2014

Completed: The Evergreen coat

I made another coat! May I present my Evergreen Robson trench coat, the first piece of sensible, needed sewing I’ve done in quite a while. I love trench coats and have been without one for about a year as the front balance on my RTW one was off and it kept riding up. Annoying doesn't cover it so it sat in my wardrobe unused until I finally threw it into the charity bag. Needless to say throughout that time the Robson coat was at the top of my sewing list. 

Evergreen Robson coat


I finally got my hands on the pattern at Christmas but just couldn’t decide on the style I wanted. Classic? Statement? The recreation of a black and white gingham one from my university days? (Yes, it was as good as it sounds.) I landed somewhere nearer classic than statement or classic with a subtle twist. I stumbled across this gorgeous sage green twill with cream embroidered hearts at the Fabrics Galore stand in Birmingham. It is about the right weight for a trench coat, is quite warm and dries reasonably quickly but it has a habit of developing wrinkles - not that it takes anything away from the finished look imho. I've called it Evergreen as I think I can wear it through spring, summer and autumn. I'm not going to lie, I love this coat and therefore included more photos than normal.

Evergreen Robson coat

The fit of this coat was important to me. I don’t like a lot of fabric around my waist so I cut a smaller size than my measurements. I then made my standard Sewaholic alteration of grading down another size at the hip. No other alterations were made until the coat was together when I took up the hem by an inch to hit my knees and took up the sleeves the same amount. Looking back, I should probably have raised the pockets a bit and made them slightly bigger - my hands only just fit in them!

I made this slowly over a number of weeks as the road to completion is a long one with a great many steps. Cutting out takes time, especially when you have to take a break after accidentally standing on the fabric  and a pin decides to take a long walk straight into your foot! However, don’t let that put you off. The instructions for creating this coat are everything you would expect from Tasia - they are clear and easy to follow. You can even streamline the process a little bit by sewing a number of seams before rethreading your machine for the binding. 

I did wonder about how bulky it would be around the neckline as some of my other makes have struggled with this. I didn’t have to worry, it all fitted nicely together under the needle even with the addition of sew in interfacing (which I like. So much easier to use than the fusible stuff). 

Evergreen Robson coat

I decided to leave my coat unlined as the bound seams are one of my favourite features for this pattern. I also knew it would be a great way to perfect my edge stitching. I love the way Tasia suggests you bind the seams (fold the binding in half, place along the seam and stitch) as it takes half the time as the normal way of attaching binding. Or it would if you didn’t decide to hand baste it in place first… I used a slightly wider cream binding to make the tape easier to catch on the other side and pressed it in half before slipping it over the seam allowance. You also need to love top stitching! I’m delighted with how even and straight my stitching is - even when there is the added bulk of the hearts. I got away from the slowest speed on my machine and that feels like substantial progress! The button holes were relatively easy to make although I had to move a couple by a few millimetres to avoid the hearts. I chose some pewter buttons with stars on from Darn It and Stitch for the finishing touch. 

Evergreen Robson coat

Be aware, the cost of this coat can add up very quickly. With five metres of fabric, over 10 metres of bias tape, buttons, thread and sew in interfacing the total quickly added up to somewhere between £60-70. While this sounds a lot, I chose to invest in the fabric so I could make a coat that would last me years. 

Evergreen Robson coat

Confession time: the coat in the pictures is not the completed one. I needed the coat to be in a wearable condition for my Easter break in Prague but I knew I wouldn't complete it properly. I have since finished the arm hole seam allowances, added the belt loops and hand tacked the facings and hem in place. You can catch a glimpse of the bias tape and the amount of wrinkling in the photo above. I may, or may not, have stitched one of the sleeve tabs to the wrong side of the sleeve and had to correct that when I returned. 

Evergreen Robson coat

This is one of my best makes, potentially the best to date, and I have worn it nearly everyday since it became wearable. Im still in love with the fabric - the hearts make it more interesting without being overwhelming. The fit is spot on and I’m delighted with my stitching. The pockets are the best in seam ones I have produced and they have almost perfect welts! All it needs now is a label. I really should get some woven ones... 

Tell me, what is your best make to date? 

41 comments:

  1. This is really lovely. The fabric choice is perfect and the fit looks really good too. As for the cost, I think its ok to splurge a bit on something that you could potentially wear all year round. what other garment could you say that about and Prague looks great too.

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    1. Thanks, Sarah. You're right about splurging a bit when you will get a lot of wear out of it.

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  2. What a master piece! I love this and the colour is perfect on you! I think it's worth splurging on a coat as it takes much more of a beating than a day dress.

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    1. Thank you! You're so right about the cost. It surprised me when I added it up though!

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  3. This is perfect. I love the fabric! The colour is gorgeous, and I think you are right about the hearts - they provide interest but still keep the coat as wearable. I'm all for statement coats, but then they only ever go with about 2 things in your wardrobe, and you need to buy a second basic one anyway...

    I am so pleased that you are so pleased with it. Sometimes it is so worth spending the time, and taking the care to make it perfect. We should probably all do that much more often.

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    1. Wise words about statement pieces. I'm a sucker for them but then have nothing to match them with!

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  4. Wow, you have every right to feel proud, that is a beautiful coat! I love the little hearts, they're perfect. I have this pattern to and really want to make a classic trench, but I think I'm intimidated by it. It's so much work! Well done on finishing it so perfectly :)

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  5. This is fab-u-lous!!! I love the fabric and the little hearts. This is definitely the type of coat that will go with loads of things, and is really worth all the work. Although I have to say I got a bit queasy at the bit about the pin! There's a lesson in there for all of us, and I hope your foot is ok. As for my best make to date - um, I don't know! Probably whatever I've just finished, as I'm usually pleased with myself for a good make.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne! I have hardly stopped wearing it. My foot is fine but I must remember to keep wearing shoes when I cut!

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  6. Claire this is AMAZING! The fabric is gorgeous, and the fit looks perfect. I think you were very wise to take your time over it - on the few occasions I've forced myself to do that my finished items have always been my favourites x

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    1. Thank you! It makes such a difference to take your time and I can see why those items are your favourites.

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  7. OMG I'm drooling!!! My jaw literally dropped to the floor. I LOVE your Robson! I always loved that pattern and I'll make it one day for sure, but Minoru is more my style and hence on the top of my to-sew list. The fabric and the colour are amazing (no surprise here, you know I love green). It's just a pity that you didn't include any closeups of the buttons, as I'd have like to see them. I hope I have the chance to admire them on Monday!
    My best make to date is my linen Junipers. I absolutely love the style, the fit, and the story behind the fabric (ha!). The problem is that I can only wear them for a few weeks a year because they are really cool and definitely not appropriate for rainy weather... *sighs*

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    1. Hehe, I remember the drama with your Juniper fabric!

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    2. I also remember the drama! I hope to see your Junipers soon - come on summer! You'll definitely get to see the coat tomorrow.

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  8. Oh my goodness this is gorgeous! Congrats on a beautiful classic trench with a lovely twist

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  9. This is gorgeous Claire. You can tell from tbe photos how well made it is and how much effort you put in.

    My best make is probably also a coat, a Vogue pattern I made the winter before last. Either that or a silk crepe wedding dress I made from a Marfy pattern.

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    1. Impressive list of best makes, Sam!

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  10. Beautiful, Claire! I live the fabric you used!

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    1. Thanks, Gail. It was worthing waiting for.

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  11. Gorgeous! Love the fabric choice - a very inspiring make.

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  12. Well done! This is a great combination of fabric and pattern. The little hearts are such a cute touch without being cutesy. You will get so much wear out of this.

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    1. Thank you! The hearts are just about a perfect a twist as I could have found.

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  13. Claire, this is gorgeous, I love everything about it! ��

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  14. What a great looking coat! I love your fabric choice. I agree with you in investing in a good quality fabric - this makes the coat last so much longer. Love it! :)

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    1. Thank you. There are some things you can't skimp on when making items that you want to last.

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  15. Love the coat. I made a coat about 40 years ago but have been afraid to repeat the effort so my trench coat is a RTW. Yours is amazing.

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    1. Thank you. Perhaps one day you'll feel like making a coat again, although there is nothing wrong with RTW!

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  16. Gorgeous coat Claire, it's fantastic! The fit looks brilliant, and the fabric works brilliantly - as you said, not quite statement, but it has a bit of interest. It's make me want to get on and make one now!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly! Glad you're itching to make one and hope you're planning...

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  17. This is fantastic Claire, you should be so proud! I love the fabric you chose - really pretty, and different but still something that will go with everything. I recently finished a Colette Anise, and that's definitely the best thing I've made so far. I think the effort that goes into making a jacket/coat is really worth it, and I'm already thinking of what to make to replace an RTW autumn jacket that's seen better days!

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    1. Thanks. Ruth! Green is normally my colour but I'm starting to see its potential. I saw your Anise and thought it was fabulous!

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  18. This is an amazing coat Claire and I totally see why you say it is your best make so far! All these details and top stitching! And thanks for listing how much it cost in the end. It is interesting to know and was absolutely worth it :) I also have to congratulate you to your fabric choice - I love it (although it looks more grey than sage green to me)!! I haven't made anything yet that I would consider my best make. There are just to many little flaws in my sewing. But hopefully this will improve ;)

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    1. Thanks, Daniela! I hope you get a make soon that you can say is your best - you're makes are always impressive so I'm sure it will be soon.

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  19. OMG Claire, I love this coat! The fabric choice is brilliant, and the shape really suits you.

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  20. This is so awesome Claire! I love the fabric and you've done a fantastic job with the fit. I like the slightly straighter cut you've given it. It's seriously a massive sewing accomplishment and I hope you're feeling proud of yourself, it looks so beautifully made!

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    1. Thanks, Fiona. It was your first Robson that made me think about taking it in at the waist and then my narrow hips for the lower part - I hate having too much fabric around my legs!

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  21. This coat is amazing! Really stunningly made - you should be extremely proud of it!

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