I got the Clare Coat pattern as a Christmas gift last year and it's been on my list ever since. I was a little intimidated about making my first coat, but I knew this pattern would be the way to go. Seriously - Heather Lou gives the best instructions, and the sewalong on her blog is invaluable. (No, this is not sponsored content - I'm just the kind of person who gets really excited about pattern directions!)
I decided to make View A, altered to have the length of View B and the welt pockets from that version as well.
The thing I enjoyed most about this make was the opportunity to take my time and focus on process. I've heard that sewing has the same effect on your brain as meditation, and this really makes sense to me. Quick makes are fun and necessary, but slow makes are something special...
Two of the notions came from my grandmother's stash: brown thread and pink twill tape (neatly wrapped around a cigarette box, of course).
I tested out different weights of interfacing, and in the end went with... (drum roll, please)... the original pattern suggestion, fusible weft. (It's the middle sample in the photo.) I'm really glad I did not go with my instinct and use something thicker - I would not be able to move!
Mastering the Welt Pocket
Okay, I can't say I've mastered them yet, but this coat was my first successful go at them!
Previously, I approached welt pockets in the same way I usually take on new things, which is to say with a whole lot of ambition. First time making welt pockets? Why not draft my own? I watched a youtube tutorial, after all. What could possibly go wrong!
As you might expect, these early attempts resulted in me cutting out new panels of whatever part of the garment I had destroyed with my welt attempt and starting over, pocketless. (The saddest state of any garment.) So when it came to inserting a welt pocket in $30/yd Italian wool, I was more than a little nervous...
I carefully made my markings and proceeded very sloooooowly. I hand-stitched the tops of the pocket bags - there was no way my machine was going to gracefully get around a tight corner with wool that thick.
It turns out that the secret to success is a properly drafted pattern...
Bagging the Lining
I wasn't nervous so much about the bagging itself, but it was definitely a little tense knowing that, after I did it, I wouldn't be able to go back and fix anything inside. I think I stitched the welts down about three times.
But it WAS fun watching my coat give birth to itself...
Are we there yet?
And then I realized that I still wasn't done yet! Podcasts got me through the rest, and also I fell in love with my snap decision (geddit?)
One episode of Call Your Girlfriend later, I had a new coat!
• I made a size 12 and added about 4" in width (yes, four!) to the upper back.
• I used the View B pattern with the length and pockets from View A.
• This version has a very forgiving fit. When I made my neon version, I actually took off 3" from the centre front and I'm happier with it. This one will be able to fit lots of sweaters underneath!