Monday, January 26, 2015

Finished project: Simplicity 1254 - Leanne Marshall coat

I just looked back through my post archive, and the last "Finished Project" post I've written was back on...November 4th, and that one was for my daughter's Halloween costume.

(Side note: I did get just an email from the designer whose pattern I tested back in November with the final version of the pattern, among other things, but I'll be blogging about that later.)

In any case, here it is...the coat project that wouldn't end:

Simplicity 1254, the Leanne Marshall coat!

Simplicity 1254 - Leanne Marshall coat
The coat isn't without its issues, but I do really like it.

Yes, my face looks extra pasty/blue. Apparently, my husband's DSLR didn't know what to do with so much blue from the coat, and it overcompensated with whatever autocorrection it applies. We tried fixing it in a photo editor, but weren't able to do so in a way that made us both happy. Yes, that means that we pulled out the "real" camera for a "real" photoshoot for this one. Want proof? Here's the obligatory back-against-a-fence/wall-and-looking-to-the-side pic that is required in sewing blog photoshoots:

Against the fence
Yes, I am aware that my hem could use a good pressing. Trust me, I pressed the crap out of it; what I really needed for this project was to invest in a clappwer, which I will do before attempting to make another coat.

Pattern Drafting Notes/"Does it look like the envelope?"

I found the pattern to be well-drafted in that everything lined up as expected; however, you can see from the photos that the coat on me has more flare at the hip area than indicated in the line drawing and envelope photos. I actually took the hips in a small amount on this final version, so without that adjustment, the coat would flare more. This doesn't really bother me, but I wanted to note it in case you're looking for a sleek, slim-fitting coat.

Simplicity 1254 envelope

Additionally, the oversized collar turns out to make a not-terribly-functional hood:

Collar-as-hood
 When I'm holding it in place, you can see how large and floppy it is:

Yes, the hood is this large
This will do in a pinch on a super cold/wet day if I'm caught off-guard, but clearly, this coat will not serve as an all-weather outerwear garment.

Fabric and Notions Used

  • Coat shell: Wool flannel from Fashionista Fabrics (sadly now-closed). Melody from Fashionista even thought there was likely a bit of cashmere blended in here, too. As to be expected with this fabric type, this stuff sewed/pressed like a dream (my bulky hem, aside). I've had this fabric in my stash for probably ~5 years, and until now, I'd never felt that my skills or that a pattern was worthy of it, so it was a big deal for me to cut into this and make something out of it.
  • Lining: Poly charmeuse (this design sold out) from Gorgeous Fabrics.
  • Interlining: Flannel-backed Tricot interlining from Gorgeous Fabrics.
  • Zipper: YKK two-way separating zipper from ZipperStop.
  • Interfacing: This stuff from Fashion Sewing Supply.

Pattern Sizing and Alterations

This pattern is drafted with less ease than you'd typically find in a coat pattern. As drafted, it has 3" of ease at the bust, instead of the usual 5 1/2" (per Fit for Real People). If you plan to make this and are not already at the top of the size range, you might want to size up for this pattern. I did make a muslin, and below are the pattern alterations that I used for the final coat. Note that I am 5'2" tall and typically shorten tops/blouses/sleeves by about 2" in most patterns.
  • 1" broad back adjustment
  • 2.5" princess seamed FBA (Fit for Real People method)
  • 1.5" Full bicep adjustment (Fit for Real People method)
  • Shortened sleeve length 1/2" 
  • Shortened coat 2" at lengthen-shorten line
  • Interlined the coat by underlining the lining pieces with interlining
  • Trimmed undercollar piece by 1/8" to help the roll line
  • Used a magnetic purse snap as the collar closure
None of these alterations are terribly unusual for me, but I rarely need that large of a full bicep adjustment in jackets. I also usually need to shorten jacket sleeves by more than that. Takeaway message: the sleeves on this run slim and short. Everything else fits more or less as expected.

Some sewists on Pattern Review chose not to interface the upper collar piece (as directed in the instructions) because they were afraid that it would affect the drape of their fabric/collars. I did interface mine. Looking at my collar, I think that the interfacing does help give the collar the shape on the envelope and does help keep the collar from flipping up.

Here's a view of the coat from the back:

Simplicity 1254 - back
Also, if you're wondering if with that collar, the coat can be worn open, I think that it can:

Simplicity 1254 - worn open
 I really don't think that the collar looks all that bad when the coat is open.

Pattern Instructions

Yeah, so the instructions for this coat aren't great. This coat is rated as "Easy" by Simplicity, and I'm guessing that's only because the coat lacks things like bound buttonholes, welt pockets, and lapels.

This was my first real coat, and if I were to ever make it again, I'd probably find the construction pretty easy, but making a muslin didn't save me from a lot of confusion on some steps. As one of the reviews on Pattern Review noted, some steps in the instruction are super-detailed, whereas others gloss right over important details. For example, understitching the collar seam gets an entire step to itself, but assembling the entire lining and starting to bag the lining is also written as a single step. A number of us on Pattern Review found both the zipper and bagging-the-lining instructions to be pretty confusing.

To finish bagging my lining, I ended up using this tutorial from Grainline Studios, which I found very helpful and less confusing than the Simplicity instructions:

Sewing Tutorial: How to Bag a Jacket Lining

What's great, though, is now that I know how to bag a lining, I'll always know how to apply this to future projects. I hate hand-stitching, so even if it wasn't without stress, I'm very glad to have learned this technique (finally).

Here's my flashing-the-lining shot:

Simplicity 1254 - lining

Final Thoughts

I'm not going to lie; this coat was a huge PIA to construct. Part of this was my own doing by underlining the lining with interlining to make the coat warmer (and trust me, it's very, very warm). However, I really love the final coat, even though I suppose you could make the argument that it makes someone my size look like a giant blueberry (but really, who gives an F? I like the coat). I'd never be able to find a dramatic coat like this in a bright color like this in my size in RTW.

36 comments:

  1. Great coat. Love the color. You look lovely. Great job. Anne

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  2. You do not look like a blueberry. That color is fantastic on you and the coat is very flattering!

    It wasn't until I saw your hood photo that I realized the model is holding hers "just so".

    Drats. I still can't find my pattern pieces but that's okay. I'll be making lightweight coats from a Butterick and Burda and a heavy winter coat from the Cascade next fall.

    You persevered and kicked this coats a$$. Kudos! ;)

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    1. Yeah, I didn't realize that the hood was like this until the end, either. THEN I realized that the model was carefully posed. Even with my hood muslin, it didn't seem this oversized and floppy. Oh well, I still like the coat!

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  3. I like the blue. In fact, I love seeing coats in fun colors. Congrats on finishing your coat. You did a wonderful job.

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    1. Thank you! I am a fan of coats in fun colors, too. I actually have a length of red wool coating that I bought last year when I moved here because I've always wanted a red coat.

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  4. I followed you from beginning to end on this journey and I am so happy that you persevered and finished. I love the color and would make one in that color in a flash - not the LM coat, though!

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    1. Haha, thanks! I'm not sure that I'd underline a coat again--I didn't realize how warm it would make the coat, and I don't think we really need the extra (most of the time) in Seattle. But now I'm set for the occasional week where we have highs in the 30s! I'm sure that whatever coat I tackle next will go much more smoothly than this one.

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  5. You deserve that big smile in you pics. That coat is gorgeous and worth your persevering. Makes me wish that the weather was cold enough in Sydney for coats

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    1. Thank you! I remember feeling jealous of people who could wear coats (and lined jackets) back when I lived in San Diego.

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  6. That is a great looking coat! Especially love the color. It'll surely brighten up dreary winter weather. Great job!

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  7. this is an amazing coat and I think you look fabulous in it. Just in time for it to be 60 this past weekend. g

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    1. I know, right? I swear that embarking on this coat journey has led to us having this unusually warm winter this year.

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  8. Michelle your cost us just beautiful, you should be really, really proud. I love this style on you, it totally looks like something a Seattlite should wear! The colour, style and fit are all fabulous.

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    1. Thank you! I am so happy to finally have a proper coat to wear here (even if the temperatures don't warrant it for a while).

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  9. At the risk of sounding weird and creepy, the coat looks incredible and well-fitted, especially from behind. The seam lines on the back definitely emphasis your curves and look amazing. I love the front, too. You did an amazing job fitting the princess seams, too. I'm very impressed. Love the lining! Love the colour! :D

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    1. Thank you! And I agree that princess seams are my friends, when it comes to fitting.

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  10. Love your coat! You did a great job and look fabulous in it! I love the bright color and the lining. I have yet to learn how to bag a lining. Also like your idea of using a magnetic purse fastener on the collar.

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    1. I'd read through tutorials on bagging a lining before, but couldn't wrap my head around what to actually do. I think you need to just sit down and do it. Jen's tutorial was the first one that I'd read where what to do with the sleeves actually made sense to me. Now I want to Bag All the Linings!

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  11. What a beautiful color!! I'm not sure I'd have the patience so thankfully living in Fla I don't need to find out. Hehe. Until you get an actual clapper, you can sub out any piece of smooth unfinished hardwood ... You just press with steam, lay the wood over the area to absorb the moisture and "set" the press. Don't move anything until the fabric has cooled. Add a bit of weight (books) or pressure (you pressing the wood down with your hands) on top of the wood for extra oomph. That's what a clapper does ... absorbs the moisture, which sets the press. No pounding or other "abuse" necessary. :-)

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    1. Is absorbing moisture the only function of the clapper (beyond applying pressure)? Because I have some super heavy books that I'd be willing to use and save the $20+ for the wood.

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  12. I love this coat on you!! It really beautiful and the color is wonderful.

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  13. I've been derelict and keep forgetting to post.

    I LOVE YOUR COAT! You did a great job. It looks professionally made. The color is great and great on you. There's no Violet Beauregard there! I love the lining-- so fun and unexpected. It also looks so cozy and warm.

    My disappointment is the hood isn't functional. It looks like it obliterates peripheral vision and would blow off at even a slight gust. Not trying to take away from your coat-- because it is fabulous-- just saying I've waited to buy the pattern and you just saved me the sale stalking. The hood-- if functional-- was the draw for me.

    I think your coat is spectacular! Enjoy!

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  14. Currently making this coat, thanks for the advice!
    http://natsewing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/simplicity-1254-leanne-marshall-coat.html

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  15. Currently making this coat, thanks for the advice!
    http://natsewing.blogspot.co.uk/2015/10/simplicity-1254-leanne-marshall-coat.html

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  16. Hi Michelle! Today I bought fabric for this pattern and am now reading all reviews I can find. Nice coat! Any other observations after wearing it for a while? By the way, were you able to press the hem later? If not, my guess is that the lining is pulling. I had the same experience with a trench coat I made some months ago. Once I added a bit more length to the lining my hem behaved much better!

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    1. I had that happen with the lining in another jacket, but I don't think that's what's going on here. What I *do* think it is going on (in hindsight) is that I should have interfaced the hem. It's not in the instructions, and I didn't know to do it. I've since made another wool coat using another pattern (not yet blogged) that included interfacing the hem (among other things) in the instructions, and it made a world of difference in how the coat turned out.

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    2. Thanks! The hem interfacing was already on my to-do list for this pattern, and after reading all reviews I'll keep a close eye on the sleeve length and the flare at the hips. Looking forward to seeing your unblogged coat!

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  18. Thank you for the honest critique of this pattern. The designer is one of my favorites from all the seasons of Project Runway. I am glad to see this goes to a size 22. I will attempt it - eventually - but will keep your critique nearby when I do. Oh, Nancy's Notions has a great clapper and I intend to get one as soon as I can - item GHTC. The catalog also has a good tailor board and pad set - TBST2. In a pinch, however, a piece of 2x4 can work as a clapper. I had some thoughts about the voluminous hood. It does make a great collar but, as you said, it seems fuller than on the pattern envelope. I wonder if fabric-covered snaps could be used on the sides, to pull it together, or maybe a drawstring between the outer fabric and lining? Lots to consider. You did a great job.

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  19. Your coat is great ! I've just ordered a coupon of wood/cashmere fabric and lining to make it.
    Can't wait to begin this coat even if the zipper explanations seems a little confusing for me.
    Have you found better explanations somewhere else ?

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  20. I love the bold blue. It's gorgeous!

    I'm starting this coat today. Found your post while researching underling methods. The winters aren't usually awful in DC, but I'm always cold. I started to purchase solid flannel before opting for fusible quilt batting at my local Joann. I'm going to fuse it to my charmeuse lining and then pre-wash to soften the batting. This will be my first coat. I hope it goes well.

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  21. I've had this coat cut out since February. I haven't had a chance to make it til now but I've lost the last page of the instructions. Is there a site I can go to and download them?

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