Tuesday, 7 October 2014

The one that nearly ended my love of sewing


The title says it all, I had such a hard time sewing this coat that it nearly broke me! 

Living in the UK a good waterproof is essential and I wore my beloved Regatta wind/rain/bomb proof coat every day last year until it eventually started to fall apart. Don't worry, I got my money's worth!

I wanted to make my own this time round and saw this fishtail parka in an Ottobre Design Women's magazine that was perfect. Long enough to keep my upper legs warm and dry on the rainy walk to school, lots of pockets, a high collar and a deep hood. Just what I would look for in a shop bought version.


I wanted something lightweight and breathable so bought a polyester microfibre from Pennine Outdoor (thanks Lightning for the shop recommendation). The great thing about buying it from an outdoor specialist is that I could get all the hardware for it in the same basket. The only thing I bought separately was the lining fabric but that could have been sourced from there too if I was feeling lazy.


The Ottobre instructions left me so exasperated at times that I nearly gave up. I never knew how much I took Oliver and S instructions for granted until I started this project. I would have given anything for a diagram at various stages. 

The very first step was to install the welt pockets onto the front panels. I haven't attempted them before but usually get a grasp of construction techniques fairly easily, but without pictures?! No way was this going to be easy. I looked at the O+S blog post which was super helpful and covered the basics, but the pocket pieces on this coat were a bit different and so I was still puzzled. Ottobre says there is a guide on their blog, if you can find it let me know, because I searched and came up with nothing. There is a visual step-by-step for these particular welt pockets in the preceding children's issue 4/2013 so if you have it great, this is what I used to make sense of them. 


The hood is fantastically roomy and pulls tighter with a drawstring and toggle if you need it to stay put. Nothing worse than having to hang onto your hood in a rainy gale whilst pushing a pram and looking after an older child. Whilst carrying school bags. Are you with me?!

There is also an elasticated section around the brim which makes it a bit snugger.


I made the size 44cm and was very pleased with the fit. The length is just right and the drawstring waist means that I can cinch it in so it doesn't look too boxy.

Those welt pockets on the chest area take some getting used to. It is actually really comfy to have my hands at that level and because of natural body heat, it is a warm place to keep your hands. But does it look like I am fondling my chest? I don't know. I can see my husband finding those pockets too appealing to ignore!


I did nearly give up several times and because of a stubborn refusal to admit defeat, I have been a misery to live with over the past two weeks. My apologies have already been uttered and sentiments discussed between myself, husband and children. This was not a happy project and although I am feeling some warmth now that it is all over, for me sewing is part of what I do because I love it. I didn't love this. 

I was empowered to write a proper review of the pattern over at Sewing Pattern Review. I could only find one person who had made this before so thought my two-pennies worth might help someone who was struggling with it too.

I need a comfort blanket and so am having a day off before diving back into some Oliver and S patterns to nurse my wounds with. 


14 comments:

  1. Oh you poor dear. The fabric looks perfect and you've ended up with a super jacket. The combination of Ottobre, welt pockets and raincoat fabric sounds absolutely nightmarish. No one will ask you if you made this, it looks too good. And if you tell them I doubt they'd believe you.
    Bravo!!

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    1. Thank you very much! It was a trial but I am glad I tackled it in the end.

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  2. So sorry to hear you had such an unpleasant (understatement?) time making this jacket. However you did an outstanding job because it looks professionally made. It fits perfectly and looks good on you.
    I say Bravo too!!

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    1. Thanks Deb! Children's coats are much simpler...

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  3. I am sorry to hear you struggles with this so. By looking at this lovely coat I would never had guessed it though. it looks so professionally made! The welt pockets came gorgeous! I never would have though about the placement but I a sure my husband would have thought the same. You made me spit out my hot milk, lol. Any way it looks amazing, well done!!

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    1. Ha, sorry! I still can't get used to not having them around my hip area but I like that they are a bit different.

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  4. Oh dear, but it looks so great!! You did really well to carry on with it even though you could have given up. Are you still going to make the Sewaholic one? I'm still ignoring the head scratching pattern that I started 2 years ago and nearly made me want to give up sewing for good, one day I may finish it!

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    1. Yes, the Minoru is definitely on the list! I wanted a warm smarter coat and a showerproof one by the end of the summer. We have just bled the radiators as the cold seems to be settling, too early, far too early for cold.

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  5. The jacket look sooooo good! Sorry to hear it was such a pain. Yes have a little break and then an O + S "comfort sew" sounds like the perfect cure :)

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    1. Thank you. I have nearly finished a dress for Boo. The one she has been asking and asking for. It is blue, sparkly, has a cape and felt snowflakes. Hmm.. I wonder which Disney character I could be referring to ;-)

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  6. lol...I'm sure your husband finds those chest level welt pockets to be just the thing!;)

    For all the heartache and grief the pattern gave you, the finished jacket looks wonderful!

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    1. Thanks Cindy! I can breathe a sigh of relief now it is done.

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  7. Well done you, it looks so professional and you are a legend for finishing it.

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