A Robson Summer Jacket

Are you full steam ahead in your current seasonal sewing? I'm certainly am! This make is in anticipation of cool mornings and evenings in spring and summer that the UK is so prone to. It also fills a gaping hole in my wardrobe: a lightweight summer jacket.

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It's no secret that I absolutely adore my Sewaholic Robson Trench Coat. It is one of my most worn items due to the shape, fit and fabric so it was pretty clear which pattern I would use for this jacket.

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I made a number of changes this time. The most obvious is changing the length so it finishes around my hips. The second is stripping away a lot of the features: the front storm flaps, epaulettes and sleeve tabs were all discarded. I took out 2cm from the back - regular exercise is definitely changing my shape! I decided to keep the back storm flap as I really like this part of a classic trench. Instead of cutting two and securing them with a button, I used one and top stitched the turned seam allowance. Shortening the length meant the pockets needed to move upwards. They are as high up as I could make them while maintaining comfort and practicality. 

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As you would expect, there is a lot of top stitching in this jacket. Every seam on the main part of the jacket is top stitched either side and including the sleeves. The stitching is even throughout and this makes me smile a lot. The stitching that lets the side down though is the bar tacks. I definitely need more practice to neaten them but at least each belt loop is very secure. Forgive the collar in the next photo - I should have straightened it out.  

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The fabric is a cotton drill from Plush Addict and a Christmas present from Adam's Grandpa. It is of great quality even if it crumples as soon as you touch it. It was fun and forgiving to work with. I managed to squeeze the jacket out of 2.5m - not bad when you want a fabric hungry belt. Shall we talk about the bright pink lining? Yes, that's right, I was far too lazy to want to deal with all the bias binding that I created a lining. Somehow cutting additional pieces, stitching and overlooking the seams seemed much a more attractive use of time than lining up and stitching perfect binding. More practically, the drill would stick to my clothes making it hard to pull the jacket on. I debated for a while on how to finish the lining ( a cotton silk I bought on Goldhawk Road) and in the end chose to bag it. I would recommend top stitching the outer shell before you bag as it is very easy to catch the lining in the stitches. 

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This has already become a staple of my wardrobe as it has had a lot of wear since completion. I just love it. The top stitching, fit and the happy colour are the major reasons for this. Although I love the purple, I'm tempted to make another in a more muted colour so I have all occasions covered but I'm not sure I yet justify another version. Do you have a pattern that you want to make over and over? 

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. 

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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.

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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). 

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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. 

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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. 

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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. 

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This is one of my best makes, potentially the best to date, and I have worn it nearly everyday since it became wearable. I’m 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?