When I started making this coat it was supposed to be something completely different. I was going to make the Luzerne Trench Coat from Dear and Doe, but on the toile process I found out it was actually too small for me and I would have to add a size or two to the whole pattern. I even considered it, but after giving it some thought, I realized it was not something I really wanted to do.
My dream was actually to make the Chilton Trench Coat from Cashmerette, but it was a pattern I didn’t have and I decided that I should not buy a new pattern while I had a perfectly good one on my pattern library. That’s when I decided for the Francis coat, from Seamwork.
I used to have a subscription for Seamwork a couple of years ago. It’s a wonderful site, full of tips and good patterns, but I wasn’t using it as much as I should and with money getting scarcer by the day, I decided to stop the subscription for a while. If I had the means and the time, I would still have it, and would enjoy it immensely.
Back to Francis: decision made, it was only a matter of choosing the lining, since I already had the shell fabric. It was this wonderful waxed canvas in Mustard that I’ve been gifted by Minerva as one of their Minerva Makers in exchange for a blog post. I had some lining I could use and it was the color I wanted as well, a dark red/pink/cerise color that went well with the mustard of the canvas.
Being short as I am – 158 cm -, I usually have to make some changes on patterns so that they fit me well. Changes is one thing that I can do without much ado. Add sizes to a pattern is something I could do, but takes more time and calculations than simply shortening the length of a body or a sleeve or widening a sleeve so that the biceps fit better.
I made the necessary changes to fit me, which meant I had to change the placing of the pockets. No problem. Better to have pockets that I can reach then having to fold myself over to get to them.
With pockets in a different position, I needed to change the placement for the belt loops as well. After some thought, the best option was to have them set above the pockets, which might seem a bit too high, but actually ended up being perfect for me. I was a bit afraid it would look weird, but it ended up well.
During the process of making this coat, I learned that I should not iron waxed canvas. Ever. I don’t know why I thought it was a good thing to do, but once done, I could not undo. The end result was not pretty, and I even had to cut a new collar because of melted canvas, believe it or not.
As most coat patterns nowadays, I should bag this baby out after putting it mostly together by machine. But I really dislike bagging out. Not to say I hate it. It’s such a heavy word, isn’t it? Since I actually have a diploma as a dressmaker, I decided to go the “couture” way: hemming sleeves and coat by hand. It’s actually a very zen activity and it brings me peace. It obliges me to be in the zone and in the moment, because you need to pay attention to what you’re doing. And if you don’t, you might end up with a hole in your finger(s). Using a thimble is a must in such situations.
Last, but not least, I’ve added a pair of inner pockets to my lining. Why not? That’s the beauty of making your own clothes: you can make as many changes as you’d like and nobody has anything to do with it. It’s your own work of art after all.
All in all I LOVE how this coat turned out. I enjoy making coats so much I want to start a new one right now… 😉