Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Sailboat Raincoat


I made a freaking raincoat, people! I'm more than a little amazed at myself. Not because I'm wowed by my skillz, but because I never thought I'd need to own one, much less devote hours of precious sewing time to making one.

See, the thing about me is that I really like being indoors. My main hobbies (sewing, eating and drinking) all usually take place inside. However, now that I have taken on the role of Primary Entertainments Director for a busy toddler, these days I'm finding myself outside MUCH more than I am naturally inclined.

I could have decided to hunt for a raincoat in a charity shop, however cursory investigations lead me to believe that it would be tricky to find anything that I actually liked. Plus, I adore the challenge of sewing myself the necessary attire for whatever life has up its sleeve for me (wedding dress, maternity wear, etc.). So when I finally acknowledged this new outdoor trend, it was time to plot and scheme.... 


Pattern:

Picking a pattern for a raincoat was tricky. I don't think I've owned a raincoat since I was a child and I didn't really have an opinion on what I looked for in one, stylistically speaking. What I did know was that it had to have a hood. You can't carry an umbrella whilst pushing a pushchair or chasing a scamp. For a long time I was going back and forth on this Waffle Pattern hooded duffle/swing coat pattern, and although I do love it, I decided the A-line swingy shape probably wouldn't work very well with stiff raincoat fabric

Then, whilst I was casually window-browsing through my blog sponsor Sewbox.co.uk's extensive sewing pattern selection on a train journey, I came across the Papercut Pattern's new Waver jacket pattern. I thought, 'Stop the search'! It had a hood, it was lined, it looked good with phone-and-keys-sized patch pockets, and would probably be a suitable silhouette for a stiffer fabric. Susan, who owns and runs Sewbox.co.uk, is such a lovely generous lady, so I chanced my arm and asked if she'd send me a copy to review. Bless her, she did!


I haven't sewn with a Papercut pattern before, but I am familiar with their beautiful and unusual packaging. It is a very nice thing to own in its own right, however the larger sized envelope doesn't fit in my sewing pattern storage boxes! The pattern sizing suggested I was a Small, however I decided to make the Medium so I could cram lots of layers underneath. This was NOT intended to be a clement weather garment, after all. I didn't bother to make a toile/muslin because A) I didn't have anything suitable to toile it up in to hand, and B) I just couldn't bring myself to spend more time on this project than making a coat is already about to take. The result has come up a teensy bit big (funny that...), but I'd much prefer that than it feeling a bit snug, especially around the arms.

The instructions were great, with clear illustrated diagrams. The only bit that I stumbled on, and felt could have been made clearer, was a bit where you stitch the bottom of the hem turnings to the bottom of the front facings after you've stitched the lining in. I feel I understood what they were asking me to do, but the half-made garment in front of me didn't reflect was I was meant to have to work with at those points. I still don't know if the mistake was a pattern drafting one or my own, and I do not possess sufficient patience to stop, take a photo of the issue, email it with my query to the pattern company, and wait for a response. I made a stab at it and those points look slightly fudged, but generally it worked out fine. I'd love to hear anyone else's experience of that bit.

The only real change I made to the pattern was to I add zips across the tops of the patch pockets. I figured I didn't want my pockets filling up with water during a rain storm, particularly if my phone was in there. I considered making pocket flaps, but that would throw up even more pattern matching issues than I already had (more on that below), and I liked how the red zip tape breaks up pattern on the front and matches the hood lining.


Outer fabric:

One of the reasons that I had been stalling with attempting a raincoat project was that I just didn't know what type of fabric I would need to buy, or where to buy it. I certainly didn't have anything suitable in Le Stash (always the first port of call, of course). And then one day I went to work to teach at Tilly's HQ, as I very often do, and a company called Anorak who are based in Tilly's building was having a sample sale in the foyer. I had got there a bit early so had a wander about and I found some lengths of this sailboat printed plasticised fabric for sale. I was all like 'WHAT?!', and bought two lengths (about 2.7metres in total) for £15. I have no idea what it is (I should have asked) but I'm guessing its some kind of laminated cotton or something? It's the kind of stuff that you'd use as a table cloth for picnics or if you have toddlers, or perhaps for bags, but easily thin enough to sew little trouble.

So with such a bold print, you'd think I'd spent a whole chunk of time carefully placing the pattern pieces onto it? NOPE. Not at all. The only nod to pattern matching was my attempt to align the rows of boats horizontally at the side seams. I just simply couldn't be bother to make my head hurt with it all. Remarkably, I've got near-perfect completed boats at the centre front. In the photo at the very top of this post they look wonky, but I think that was just how I was standing! They look fine IRL. For the pockets, I just made sure each one had a boat slap bang in the middle of it, and didn't fret about how that then matched, or didn't match, with the rest of the print on the front pieces.


Not knowing exactly how the hell I was going to sew it, I researched 'sewing with vinyl'. All the info seemed to be advising about using stuff much thicker and weirder than what I was about to deal with, so I popped on my walking foot onto the machine, chose a thickish sewing needle, manned up and got on with it. I even pinned the seams together rather than using clips or something, I just made sure that all the pinning happened within the seam allowances to prevent any puncher holes from showing. I didn't have any problems making buttonholes through it either. I could even press it with my iron on a low setting and sandwiched between a pressing cloth.

One thing I did do differently was topstitch down all my seam allowances. I know that the seams of wet weather gear are often taped to make them fully water proof, but I don't plan to get that wet in this thing, plus I didn't want to make the seams any stiffer. I felt that glueing the seam allowances down would get too messy, so I opted to top stitch every-damn-thing. It definitely took longer, but I like it as a detail, I think all told it looks more sturdy. I also omitted the interfacing on the front facings as I wouldn't be able to get my iron hot enough to properly fuse it on. And because I didn't want the waterproof stuff against my neck, I used a scrap of nautical stripy woven cotton for the back neck facing.

As I say, I think this stuff was probably intended for furnishings or bags rather than clothing, and although the fabric seems to be functioning pretty well in its new role, I think it'll age pretty rapidly. Every time it gets creased or scrunched up, it leaves a slight pale mark along the crease line. Time will tell what it ends up like!


Lining:

I spent some time weighing up my lining options. Do I go for a regular shiny jacket-type lining? Perhaps a flannel/brushed cotton for extra warmth? Most of Dolores's coats seem to be lined in either fleece or jersey, which seemed like a good idea to give cosiness and comfort for adult casual outerwear as well. Then I hit upon an idea: what about sweatshirt fabric? A quick internet search and one email later, and I was hooked up by Girl Charlee with 2m of red cotton sweatshirting, gratis. That may sound super cheeky, but after they provided me with some jersey and Ponte de Roma recently to blog about, they said to let them know if I ever wanted any more fabric. Well, if someone's going to tell me that...! It arrived super quickly and was just what I needed for this project.

Shortly after requesting the sweatshirting, I had a panic. What if it was too thick? I didn't want to disable my arms with a layer of stiff plastic-y bag fabric and chunky sweatshirt fabric! But when it arrived, it actually turned out to be a thinner variant of sweatshirting than I've used in the past. The listing states 'medium weight', but to be honest, I would have found it a little thin if I'd intended to make myself a cosy sweatshirt from it. However, for children's wear or lining like this, it is exactly what I would look for.


Buttons:

I bought these plastic anchor buttons from Istanbul, of all places. Pat and I went on a little holiday there with both our mums (or mams, if you're northern, and my mother-in-law is) years ago before we got married. I think the shop was actually a wholesale button seller, but they kindly agreed to sell me just eight! I like how the silver anchors echo the silver teeth of the pocket zips.

Thoughts:

Unlike the other two coats I've made (this leopard print one and this navy wool one), I experienced a strange feeling at the end of the project. Or rather, I didn't feel a predictable feeling: the desire to never make a coat ever again! I actually felt like jumping straight into another coat project. Bizarre. I won't of course, I've got far too many things on my 'nippy weather sewing projects' list that make way more sense to complete first (not that sense or logic usually influence my sewing plans). Somehow, this coat  managed to provide the satisfaction of completing a 'meaty' sewing project, but without the excessive faff and annoyance of more complicated coat patterns.


As you can see from these photos, finalising this raincoat project immediately brought out beautiful sunshine. It has remained pretty mild and dry ever since, so I have yet to 'properly' wear this out in the wilds (or the park). What I can say so far is that it feels cosy. It really feels like wearing a jacket and a sweatshirt on top of whatever else I've got on. I would definitely choose a sweatshirt fabric to line another coat or jacket, if the style was casual enough. I could also see myself using this pattern again, I love the gathered waist version.

Cost: 

Pattern: £0 (it can be bought here at Sewbox.co.uk for £14.99)
Outer fabric: £15
Lining: £0 (it can be bought here at Girl Charlee for £7.95 per metre)
Buttons: £0 (if something is from my stash and I can no longer remember how much I paid for them originally, then I'm counting it as £0!)
Total: £15 

Not bad for a raincoat! A quick internet search brought up similar (but not as awesome) for around £80. Massive thanks to Sewbox.co.uk and Girl Charlee for their generosity.

What about you? Have you ever made a raincoat or used fabric similar to this (whatever 'this' is, exactly!)? Do you relish or despise coat making?

20 comments:

Ina said...

This is pretty amazing! Love the fabric you chose as well!

Almost a Hippy said...

What a fab coat. I'm dragging my feet massively over a wool coat that I've been planning for ages. Xox

Fabric Tragic said...

Looks great! I've seen some Orla Kiely coated cotton occasionally and been so very tempted! I've got a raglan sleeved vintage raincoat pattern in my stash that's always been earmarked for a raincoat......

sewalign said...

Your raincoat is awesome, the fabric is fab! Much better than a boring shop bought one.

Miriam said...

I'm such an indoor person too but this raincoat could motivate me to be more outdoorsy!! Great job x

pootleandmake said...

What a unique and fun raincoat. I love the print and everything about it is right up your street. I never thought to make a raincoat but now I'm tempted. It's hard to find nice fabric like your cute sailboats.

Tilly Walnes said...

In looooove with this!!! xxc

Louise Perry said...

Wow, this is totally awesome. I love the zips above the pockets and using sweatshirt material to line is inspired.

mem said...

Its Beautiful . Very well made . I also made a rain coat , cool weather wind resistant coat this year . It was made out of a mystery black fabric which was fused with something waterproof . I do think the fabric layer is a fine wool gabardine . I lined it with a very bright red satin like cotton . I love that coat and it cost me the grand total of 20 $ Australian which is about 10 BP . It took me all though Europe and I felt quite chi chi in Paris when I worse it with bright red suede shoes !! I am so glad I can sew.

Jane said...

I absolutely love this Zoe and I really like your own touches such as the zips on the pockets and the anchor buttons. I'm totally going to steal your sweatshirt lining idea, especially as the Girl Charlee stuff is lighter than normal sweat shirting, genius! x

In My Sewing Box said...

Love it!

Girl Charlee UK said...

Looks amazing! The red works very well with the lining and pocket zips.

Erika said...

I love the raincoat! But there is something else that I wanted to say: I really very much appreciate how open you are about sponsorships :).

Ronja said...

*groans* I keep wanting to do a raincoat so bad! That is so cute. Although Buying everything new would probably end up running $100 in USD.

*ponders* I do have lots of awesome and adorable second hand fleece... one has Foxes! And some plastic coated table cloth material that never ended up being used as a tablecloth, although it would clash with the foxes... That would cut costs quite a bit and I do have a nice stash of buttons and zippers. I should totally make a raincoat!!

Ronja said...

Also, I meant flannel, not fleece. Big difference.

Rebecca Pattydoo said...

Love it! I've been menaing to sew a raincoat for a long time - now I'm feeling inspired! Great idea to line with sweatshirt fabric too.

char said...

I absolutely love this. I will forever search for similar fabric. It reminds me of an ASOS sail boat print mac I didn't see until it was sold out!

Cecili said...

OMG what an amazing garment! Not only is it extremely cool and cute but it is so well made, you know it must be super comfortable to wear just by looking at this gorgeous, soft red lining :) in other words I love it!

JustSewJenna said...

This is amazing!! I love it! The zip on the pockets is genius, I have flaps on my raincoat (RTW) pockets and they keep getting caught in the pocket. Great find on the fabric, it looks fab! xx

Md. Abdul Qader said...

Thanks for your informative writing. Get up to 70% Discount from FZillion.com on all branded raincoat women. USA Free shipping and free return. 75 days Return Policy.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...