Hey, I finished my coat!

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat

I finished my coat last Sunday (!!!) to, well, no fanfare. Sewing projects are like that to me – I hoot and holler when a pile of fabric finally starts to look like a garment, but sewing on the final button never feels like the party it should. What I did feel was a huge sense of accomplishment and a burning desire to wear it immediately.

My coat took over two months and took many twists and turns so I’m a little unsure of where to start. Maybe starting with the fabric makes the most sense. I first spotted it in the summer at Nancy’s Sewing Basket. I texted pictures of it to my sister, I cradled it in my arms and carried it around the shop, and then I wistfully put it back on the shelf. It’s a gorgeous wool, a little loosely woven, with a geometric/lattice motif. I knew I wanted to make a coat, but I didn’t even have a pattern yet.

crabandbee.com

Enter Yona. Named Clothing contacted me to see if I’d be interested in one trying one of their patterns. I initially said no, that I was too busy with all of my planned sewing, which included a winter coat. While I’ve always been intrigued by their designs, I tend to stick with $5.99 sale Vogues; I love 1-2 designs per collection, I’m familiar with the fit, notations and instructions, and, well, the price is right.

I ended up cruising their site on a slow day at work and found Yona. I had overlooked the pattern until I saw the line drawings – it was my dream coat. (I pride myself on being able to see beyond styling and fabric choice, but wow, the fringe and contrast lapel facings really fooled me!) I’d also heard they draft for taller, broader-shouldered figures, so I went ahead with it after making sure our expectations were the same: I would muslin the pattern, but if the muslin didn’t work there was no expectation I would sew a finished coat. This post is by no means intended to be a straight product review, for two reasons: 1, I altered the pattern quite a bit and completely disregarded the instructions because I wanted to construct my coat using traditional tailoring techniques (my guess is that the instructions would be closer to RTW tailoring) and 2, I think it’s tough to review something objectively you received for free. Andrea has an awesome post on this topic.

Anyhoodles, here’s my disclosure! I received this pattern for free from Named Clothing in exchange for trying the pattern.

crabandbee.com

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat

The design changes I made were as follows:

  • 1″ wider lapels and collar
  • 1″ wider front overlap & adjusted roll line
  • 3″ longer width
  • Combined collar stand and collar since I would be hand-tailoring it
  • Button closure instead of a wrap
  • Welt pockets

Oh, the welt pockets… I had every intention of using the patch pockets included in the pattern. I generally prefer welt pockets but my head was already exploding with all of the steps in the coat and I had happily resigned myself to patch pockets. I waited until I’d sewn the shell to the lining so I could try the coat on. And guess what? the extra inch in the overlap crowded them out; welt pockets it was. I spent two days stewing and making best friends with Claire Schaeffer’s welt pocket instructions in Couture Sewing Techniques. Cutting into a coat front that you’ve underlined, interfaced, tailored, taped and catch-stitched is not for the faint of heart.

crabandbee.com | Winter coat welt pocket

Fit-wise, the design was pretty close for me and the changes were what I might have expected: small bust adjustment, broad/square shoulder adjustment and some futzing wit the back arm scye. All these were made very interesting by the simple fact this coat has raglan sleeves. There is significantly less information available for fitting raglans! There’s still somethin’ happening at the back raglan seams, but hey – I have a full range of motion in a coat, for the first time in my life.

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat

I cut out my coat and started sewing before I’d translated all of my design and fit changes to the facings and lining. I had to, or I would have lost the will to make this coat. Still, I was cursing my past self when it came to the lining, and frantically paging through my Joseph-Armstrong textbook  where I once again encountered the dearth of information about raglan coats! Whatever I did – and I really could not tell you what it was – turned out fine.

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat lining

I constructed most of this coat using  the “custom” or traditional tailoring methods from Tailoring: Sewing the Perfect Jacket, with one exception – I machine-sewed most of the lining to the front and neck facings. Even though the hems are sewn in by hand, I just couldn’t imagine hand-sewing in my fantastically slippery, heavy lining all the way around. Next time, maybe.

crabandbee.com | hand worked buttonhole

And that anti-climactic finishing step: the buttonhole. I don’t care for bound buttonholes for some reason, so I attempted the hand-worked variety. I found that a couple of days’ practice got me to a buttonhole that was totally fine – it wouldn’t win prizes but it also wouldn’t catch my eye when I was wearing the coat and make me regret not practicing more.

crabandbee.com | Named Clothing Yona coat

I could go on and on about what this coat asked, nay, demanded of me, but I’ll be sharing a brain-dump post later this week with detailed lists of resources I used and my order of operations for construction… so I remember what I did…

About halfway through the coat, I started getting fantasies about other sewing projects: blouses, jeans, quilts, anything and everything. I thought I’d be blowing through quick projects at this point but now that I’ve finished, I haven’t done much other than clean up my sewing space and muslin a blouse. After a two-month project, I guess there’s no rush!

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152 thoughts on “Hey, I finished my coat!

  1. I know exactly how you feel! I love doing the initial conception and composition of a garment, but finishing just annoys me. I recently made a coat, and the buttonholes alone took me an entire day to make 😛 Your coat (and your buttonhole) is gorgeous, and well worth your perseverance.

  2. I love this, it looks fantastic, suits you and what I interpret your style to be so well 🙂 I’m working on a tailored suit-ish jacket at evening classes and to my surprise have found that I love all the hand tailoring!

    1. Thanks, Lou! I’ve really been enjoying seeing snippets of your progress on IG. I’d love to read more about your classes, if you feel like sharing! Having just made my first attempt, I can hardly imagine how deep you could dig into tailoring techniques…

      1. I will share, I keep meaning to get back on the blogging-wagon… this is my first time doing anything like it and god the amount of knowledge that our teacher has is incredible!

  3. So, that coat looks amazing! Making a “real” coat is definitely on my someday-sew list, but for now I keep nursing along the one I have, a yard-sale find that’s lasted me like 15 years now … I do love it, but it definitely has a few fit issues (range of motion being one) which I’d like to puzzle out before I start sewing one from scratch. I admit that the amount of pad stitching in that photo of your collar is a little intimidating, but when I do get around to it I absolutely want to do it “right”—traditional tailoring all the way, because at this point my bar for coat longevity and usefulness is pretty dang high! Congrats on seeing it through to the end!

    1. Thanks, Tasha! I donated the thrifted coat I’d been relying on right before I started this one. Unlike yours, it was looking terribly shabby! I have to say that the pad-stitching was the most pleasant and least difficult thing about sewing this coat; take this with a big grain of salt because I’m not an expert, but from what I can tell, all you’re doing is using stitches instead of adhesives to attach your interfacing. More, smaller stitches = a stiffer hand.

      1. That makes perfect sense! I feel better about it already.
        I have a feeling you’ve pretty much already done all the research I’ll need when I get around to my coat, so thanks for offering to post a resource list!

  4. Oh – that fabric is so gorgeous! And the finished coat is superb! I’m usually not into large lapels/collars but it just looks so right in this style/fabric. And I agree with you re: bound buttonholes. I don’t particularly like them, not sure why…but if I ever make a coat I’m sure I’ll feel pressured to do them just because everyone else does in their tailored coats. So I respect your desire to not include them 🙂

    1. Hee hee, I loooove larger lapels because they balance out my shoulders! Still, I wonder if I could have taken it down to a 1/2″ rather than a full 1″ extra? And I think you should make whichever kind of buttonhole your little heart desires 🙂

  5. Gorgeous and perfect! It’s so fantastic to see the finished garment on you after getting peeks of the work in progress.And can I say – you look amazing in red lipstick!! You should wear it every day 🙂

    1. I really liked sharing bits as I went along! I can easily get to the end of a project and forget all the steps I took, so it’s great as an archive, too. I think I’m too messy for red lipstick all the time, but I love how it looks and this felt like a special occasion 🙂

  6. Great coat! I loved how you showed the process too in the previous posts… Also I’ve been sewing for a long time but am just starting to become familiar with real tailoring techniques. Hence, the hints to different resources in your post help a lot! =)

  7. I’m just starting my Yona coat! Glad to see you had success with custom tailoring, I plan on doing the same with the lapels and adding welt pockets. Looking forward to your resources post!

    1. Yay, I saw your post this morning! Congrats on not having to adjust anything – that’s just amazing. Even though adding welt pockets late in the game was painful, I’m grateful they’re there – they’re so luxurious! You won’t regret it.

    1. Thanks, Debbie! I also wish I’d finished a couple of months ago – we had an October cold snap that I was poorly dressed for! I could see you looking great in this style.

  8. Looks gorgeous, Morgan! A garment I could see you wearing on a near-daily basis in winter. Coats are supremely satisfying to put on and wear out, are they not? But I’m with you, usually by the end of a project, especially if it’s had too many fiddly bits or a lot of steps, I feel very “ugh” about getting the thing done. “Finally — let me move on to something else!” (or: “Finally – let me not do anything for awhile”)

    1. Thank you, Jessica! I can confirm that I have been wearing it on a daily basis. Luckily my desire to wear it overcame my end-of-project apathy 🙂

  9. WOW Morgan, this is really an EPIC project with an absolutely stunning result. Congratulations on a huge accomplishment! I hope there was some sort of celebration involved after you finished, perhaps including some sort of glorious shenanigans. If not, there should be. 🙂

    I am completely in awe of your padstitching in that photo and can’t wait to read your next post on the construction details. I was just reading Claire’s welt pocket instructions in that same book a few days ago and read through the hand-worked buttonhole instructions last month. It’s really cool to see you put these techniques into action!

    Have I mentioned how blown away I am by this project? !!!!!

    1. Ya know, there wasn’t nearly enough of a celebration! I’ve got to take my coat out for a night on the town.

      I really enjoyed the padstitching, even though it seemed so daunting before I started. Nowhere near as alarming as those welt pockets! I actually loved how much control her welt pocket instructions gave during construction.

  10. Such a great coat! Those wide lapels make it so distinctive. I love the overall shape and the fabric is beautiful! I’m very impressed with you tailoring. I’ve never tried hand tailoring, but it would obviously make a coat much more durable. Very impressive!

  11. Gorgeous. I completely understand hugging the fabric & carrying it around, it’s very special. I do look forward to reading your next post for more info, thank you for sharing your wonderful new coat.

    1. I was worried I would stand out, walking around the fabric store with a bolt clutched to my chest, but I’ll bet that sort of thing happens all the time in a fabric store!

  12. Your coat is magnificent and I love your fabric choice. High 5, I finished my coat on Sunday too. Coat making is intense, you basically eat, sleep, coat the entire time you are making it.

    1. Congratulations! I actually found I spent more time thinking about sewing my coat than sewing it – the best way to approach the next step wasn’t always clear so I would dwell on it. I’m off to check out your coat post!

  13. Congratulations! you should take your coat out for a date. Get a nice coffee, walk around admiring yourself in windows… It’s beautiful!

    1. Oh my gosh… I got a great image of me walking into a restaurant alone and asking for a table for two! The coat deserves it. Thanks, Gillian!

  14. this looks amazing Morgan! You must feel a brilliant sense of achievement making this. The fit looks great & the fabric is lovely! Like Tasha, I’ve had the same coat for years, about 10 years now, & kept it going this year by getting it relined. However I’ve definitely got broader since having a baby & would love a coat I can move my arms in again – maybe next winter!?! I’ll need to remember this pattern

    1. I’ve lived most of my adult life without a full range of arm movement, and I have to say, it is luxury! (PS how cool you’ve been getting your coat re-lined – do you get that done at a tailor?)

      1. Haha I’ll look forward to that then if I do get round to making a coat! I actually got my coat relined at my local dry cleaners as they have a repair service. It felt good to make it last another year!

  15. Gorgeous – congratulations! That fabric is amazing, and really compliments the style so well. And I’d be interested to read about your raglan adventures, curious to know what you did in the shoulders re. tailoring. Again, great job! Enjoy your new coat.

    1. I should draw up some diagrams! It took me awhile to arrive at the fix I made – lots of false starts until it finally hit me. Thanks, Chloe!

  16. The coat is beautiful, it looks great on you! The hand tailoring… waw, I admire your patience, but I also understand you want to take the challenge of it. It must feel very rewarding when something difficult or new works out so well.

    1. Yes! I did stew on making a coat for over a year, which made it a little easier. Sometimes I think doing things the hard way is actually easier – I think I would have had a harder time with fusibles, which never seem to behave for me, and with completely bagging the lining by machine.

  17. Hot damn! This is IMPRESSIVE! Congrats on such an epic make- I can’t wait to hear/see all the tips and tricks you used. I hope your enjoying your between project breaks- this is worthy of a lovely glass of wine and a chillax!

  18. What a great coat that is! Oh & I always end up cradling fabrics and carrying them around the store too, you made me laugh! (I tend to pet fabrics too…)

  19. of course this is wonderful! Such care and lovely effort has gone into it. I’d probably have sewn my fingers together in terror at the thought of welting it up all
    UNPLANNED-like…….the fabric is just gorgeous, and yes red lippy is definitely you.

  20. Amazing. All that work really paid off – it’s a lovely coat and the fit is great! Love your style.

  21. superb work! I admire your decision to use classic tailoring – the result is incredibly beautiful and I guess wearing it knowing what’s “under the hood” feels pretty special.

    1. Thanks, Sasha! It is a good feeling – I’m always waiting for fusibles to fail me, so it’s nice to know there aren’t too many lurking on the inside 🙂

  22. Ya! As usually, this project is neat, beautiful and amazingly well done. I am in the midst of sewing my second coat *sigh*. The first one, the Andy coat by Named, was a pleasure to work with! Apart from fitting it for my slouchy shoulders, I find this pattern really good. Unlike you, I used fusible interfacing, instead of some tailoring. As a result, the front panel puckers like hell. Never, never again!

    1. Noooooo, I’m sorry you’re experience a bunch of puckering! Part of my decision to go the classic route was that I’ve struggled to get good results with fusibles on nearly every project I’ve tried using them on. I don’t know if I’m doing something wrong but I just can’t seem to make them work for me!

  23. Bravo! This is a thing of beauty. The fit looks pretty great (I honestly would not sweat that raglan sleeve biz at all). My only probably with coats like this (Gerard included) is all that exposed chest! In Montreal I could only wear this until November before having to swap to something with more coverage. A scarf just doesn’t cut it round these parts.

    1. I am a Pacific NW wimp, and the last few days have shown me that I miss the chest coverage! I would probably end up in the hospital in your neck of the woods.

  24. This is FANTASTIC and well worth all the effort and perseverance! That buttonhole just makes me giddy. And I am totally with you on the dearth of information on raglans! I’m trying to tackle some design changes to a raglan jacket at the moment and there is just really nothing out there to help. But I think you achieved a fantastic fit (I think I commented on this before, but I’m fairly certain raglans always have some drag lines, it’s just in the nature of the sleeve, so for me, fitting is really about settling on the fewest draglines as possible). Anyway! Well done! Now go enjoy your coat!

    1. It’s kind of amazing there isn’t more out there for raglans – maybe the experts share your opinion – it’s just a matter of wrinkle reduction! Thanks, Sallie!

  25. Dammit, this is amazing! It looks so awesome on you! I’d totally have made this coat if I didn’t already have the RDC Gerard pattern because it’s totally my dream coat (raglan sleeves, big collar, slight cocoon shape). Your welt pockets look great! It’s so hard to steel yourself to slash the pocket opening, but you did an amazing job and they look fantastic (plus, they’re really more comfortable to put your hands into than patch pockets). I kinda still want to make this… and also the Grainline duffle coat… and maybe like ten more coats. They’re just so fun to make, aren’t they?

    1. Thanks, Sonja! I am already dreaming of another coat. It seemed so daunting at first, but I really liked the challenge. Do you think you’ll try another one this season?

  26. That last button feels kinda like the end of a hard workout… you just want to collapse, but still you’re proud of yourself for making the effort. Seriously though, this coat turned out so, so great! All that work was so worth it, and I’m sure this coat will be loved for years to come. I had lots of coat dreams for this winter (none of which I had time for) but hopefully I can at least get the new Grainline coat made… Fingers crossed!

    1. Yes! You’re running on fumes and pride when you’re down to those buttonholes. How are you liking the winter coat you made awhile ago? That was a very inspiring project to me! I can see how it would get addicting… I’m already having coat dreams myself!

      1. I still wear and love that coat! It makes me happy every single time I put it on. My only regret is that it isn’t as warm as I would like, but predicting that was well beyond my knowledge base at the time!

      2. Oh boy, I hear that! I thought this coat was going to be the thickest, warmest thing I’d ever felt, and having worn it a bit, it’s probably best at temps between 42 and 55. I wouldn’t mind trying another burlier coat someday soon.

  27. Great coat Morgan, Well done on reaching the finishing line. It looks like it was quite an epic task. I have a jacket that I fiddle with from time to time that’s been almost 2 years in the making now I think. It’s so easy to get sidetracked when there are so many fiddly steps. I hope it get lots of wear before things warm up.

    1. Thanks, Bernice! I’m happy to report I’ve been wearing it every single day since I made it. I want to see pictures of your jacket in progress!

  28. Awesome job on that coat!! It must be awesome to be able to move around freely in it. I hate that anout rtw jackets. You should feel super proud of yourself for finishing this huge project. 🙂

      1. Maybe i do! I never thought about that. Most things i make fit relatively well through the shoulders. It’s mainly rtw i have troubles with. My sister takes the cake though. She has broad shoulders and muscly arms but a small torso. I made her a couple of tops with a broad shoulder adjustment and she said it’s weird to have the shoulder seam where it’s supposed to be.

      2. Interesting! I tend to make and buy garments without fitted shoulders for fear they won’t fit, so I don’t have much of a frame of reference! Your sis is lucky to have someone sewing for her 🙂

  29. Wow! This coat is amazing. What a great and long job you did! Even with the welt pockets and the buttonholes…I made my first welt pocket in my last shorts and it was very tricky. I really understand your desire to wear it immediately in the final steps and after two months of work and sewing! It’s perfect and I love your style! Congratulations!! Hope to manage to sew a so beautiful coat one day! 🙂

  30. It reminds me a bit of the Xavier coat by Isabel Marant. Beautiful work. I’m taking a Craftsy course on classic tailoring now and hoping to apply what I learn to a coat. I like the challenge and I may be weird but there is something so soothing in a oldy-worldy way about the pad-stitching and underpinnings of classic tailoring. Thanks for the inspiration. Catherine

    1. Thanks! I like a lot of her outerwear, so I’m sure I was drawn to this design and fabric for similar reasons. I really like the amount of control I got from trying classic tailoring methods – I’d be curious to hear how you like the class!

  31. holy geez what a beautifully sewn coat. thanks for showing off the insides, it looks so good! i recently read a tailoring book from the library and was just so impressed by how much goes into it, so seeing those techniques in action is really cool. ALSO thanks for linking to that blog psychology post – it felt so true and so good to read. always tricky to give a dissenting opinion (and do product reviews) and i know i’ll refer to that article in the future!

    1. Gotta love the library – I think I checked out the tailoring book I ended up buying 5 times! Which book did you read?

      I’m glad you enjoyed the link! As you’ve probably have discovered already, Andrea’s blog is full of thought-provoking posts.

  32. A well made, hand tailored coat is such a thing of beauty. I love that fabric! Classic in color, interesting in pattern.

    1. Thanks, Bella! I have to say that it was really heartening to see your finished coat while I was going through the process. Gave me hope that I would finish one day, too!

    1. Thanks, Grace! Sometimes I have to talk myself into putting extra work into the details because I have such plain taste, but they’re what make me love the finished project when I’m done. 🙂

  33. SO many de ja vu moments reading through your post. Distraction halfway through sewing? Check. Sheer terror at cutting into the 50% done coat to cut in the welt pockets? Check. Excitement peaking at the halfway done mark before crashing when the realisation of the remaining workload? Check. Burning desire to wear it as soon as it is finished? Check.
    It’s such an interesting pattern on the fabric – I love non-obvious patterns like this 🙂 And the style suits your aesthetic perfectly – well turned out but relaxed. So would you say a raglan sleeve gives more movement than the standard sleeve option for broad-shouldered folk? I’ve got a Marfy coat pattern with raglan sleeves I was considering for the upcoming Southern Hemisphere winter… but like you mentioned, the amount of information out there for raglan adjustments is thin on the ground.
    So glad you ended up doing the welt pockets though – I love the end result 🙂

    1. Eek, you had to put in last-minute welt pockets? I wish I’d known, I would have hit you up for some advice and moral support.

      Speaking of non-obvious patterns… I didn’t realize this had a lattice pattern until I got it home and realized that it wasn’t irregular or random as I’d assumed (I’d hoped to avoid print-matching). I think the pattern added 25% more time to the project!

      The shameful truth of the matter is that I’ve avoided sleeves because I fear fitting my back and shoulders (hoping to make some traction on that this year) so I don’t have much of a frame of reference. My guess is that there is more movement for different motions – raglans might be easier to move your arms forward, and regular sleeves may allow for raising your arms depending on the angle of the arm scye.

  34. Yay! I love long projects and this one is so accomplished! I’d cuddle in this all day. I know these kind of sewing experiences teach you so much at once, in a good way… lots to soak up, right? It’s just lovely. Lovely tailoring, lovely silhouette (one of my favorites). And I’m with you on the bound buttonholes. I’ve hemmed and hawed over them many times but often they are just too bulky or home dec-ish. Fabulous job, lady!

    1. Thanks, Amy, and thanks again for your help! Fixing the fit on this further illuminated how much better my fit through the shoulders could be. And then all of the construction details… yep, you’re right – this project blew my mind!

  35. Your coat is absolutely beautiful. Words fail me. I found your posts while I, too, was searching for information about altering raglan sleeves so they fit. You’re right, there is so little out there!!!! I’m making a linen jacket, and I had to grade the pattern quite a bit to get it to fit. Everything went together so well. But. I redrew and re-sewed the sleeve dart and scooped out the front sleeve seam a little more, and now it fits pretty well in front. But in back I still have wrinkles trailing down under my arms. I don’t know whether to scoop the back sleeve seams more too, or let out the center back seam like it seems you did. I hope my finished jacket looks half as nice as your coat! (P.S. my cat pees on my work, too.)

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