I fell in love with this. It cost $15 a yard and is 80% wool, 20% acrylic and has short fur, giving it the appearance of a young labrador. This may have something to do with my love. I need a dog in my life.
I got it home and realised it frayed. Fraying is not good for the Sydney Jacket.
And actually I have a coat with a huge draped collar like the Sydney Jacket and I never wear it because I always end up fighting with the collar.
So, the Labrador was saved from a fate of never emerging from the closet. Which is a cruel place to keep a Labrador.
But what to do?
Then I saw a post by Trine - Queen of the Coatigan - on instagram and had a helpful discussion about pattern options to replicate her gorgeous collection of said Coatigans and the lovely Marilla suggested trawling Burda for some options. Then I remembered.
I have the perfect pattern right here.
There was one downside - coatigan's of the Trine ilk need fabric that doesn't fray. The labrador frays. Ugh, back to square one.
Some more thinking and I remembered the Burda has extensions to the front for facings and a neck facing so there would be no raw edges. OK, no visible raw edges, but this is a coat that doesn't have a lining so it would need pretty seams and pretty seams on an unlined coat means one thing. Binding.
So I changed the habit of a lifetime and fully, fully embraced the binding. Binding of the facings. And the cuffs. And the hem. And ALL THE SEAM ALLOWANCES. I bought six packets of the stuff and used all but six inches. That's how much I embraced the binding.
Back up back up. Before we got to the binding there was some figuring out.
I wanted to create more of a cocoon shape so I added some width to the pattern under the arms and tapered this down to a slightly narrower hemline. This might have worked. It might have done. But it didn't.
I had a bit of a size issue.
The original knit version I made is enormous on me (but it doesn't notice terribly due to the softness of the fabric) and then adding yet more width to a much more structured, albeit non-stretch fabric, meant I could just about fit two of me inside the coat and both legs down one of the arms. It was ENORMOUS.
For a week.
I eventually decided to forgo the cocoon shaping and just take the whole thing in along the under arm seam and side seams by about a foot on each side - only a minor exaggeration. It fits much better now and I still like the shape, but you can tell I cut the wrong size as the neckline is way too wide and doesn't sit entirely satisfactorily and the drop shoulders are more like raised elbows.
The pattern is designed for knits and has cuffs, a hem band and a mandarin style collar. This wasn't going to work with the labrador's bulk and I wanted a simpler look so I just didn't add them, which was pretty straightforward. The neckline is finished with a facing (the collar is attached by being sandwiched between the coat and the facing) and I simply turned the (bound) cuffs and hem under.
I also had to find a way to stop the facings flapping around, so I catch stitched all the facings down. Good thing I like a bit of hand sewing.
This pattern is exceptionally simple, but due to my sizing issues and the epic amounts of binding I attached, which shockingly I actually quite enjoyed, it took a silly amount of time to complete.
It's not perfect, but I'm happy with my binding attempts. I think I did a Hong Kong finish and I'll happily flash the insides of the coat to anyone who so much as feigns a passing interest as I love the neatness of the finish and the contrast of the black against the blonde labrador.
Maybe this marks a step change in my thoughts on binding ... or not.
Incidentally, I wholly concur with Karen's thoughts on a clapper for getting a nice flat seam on synthetic fabrics and really bulky fabrics like this one.
I don't have a clapper and haven't used one before this project, but my trusty rolling pin worked in a similar way and really made a huge difference to the appearance of the coat - and thankfully didn't leave any oily deposits from previous pastry making.
I think I will be reemploying the rolling pin to have another go at the bulky armhole seams. I may just beat them with it. Poor labrador.
Then there was a pocket dilemma. There cannot be a coat without pockets. This is of no use to anyone.
I wasn't sure about the huge patch pockets included in the pattern for this coat. It looked so clean without them. Inseam pockets? No they would throw the shape off as soon as I put anything in them. Welt pockets? Not on your life - too much labrador to manhandle into something decent for this welt novice.
Instagram rescued the labrador again. No visible pockets = smart and fairly formal. Patch pockets = more 'now' and casual. Well that decided it - casual all the way.
It is by no means perfect, but it's a coat (I made a coat!), with copious BINDING and it's like having a pet I can take out for walks on a glorious fall day and it looks good with skinny trousers and tunics and I don't have to fight and frown at a collar all the time, so I'm calling this a win.
- Saiph Tunic in a gold silk satin (using the wrong side) which I made two years ago and is huge and doesn't do much for me, but looks nice with this coat;
- H&M jeans - sorry.
- Dansko clog boots - which I haven't taken off since I got them two weeks ago.
- Topshop necklace
- An inherited scarf which is the BEST scarf in the ENTIRE world.
See you soon x