Sleeves and Pockets and Hemlines, Oh My

photo 5
The sleeves are in! That was the big project this past week, although I did some little things here and there elsewhere on the coat. As promised in my last post, here’s a full shot of the coat as it now looks. It’s odd because the photo looks a bit blurry (and it is in parts), but I think a lot of that is the visual effect of the fabric. Who knows. I’ll get better outdoor shots (at a fun location!) when the coat is done and done. 🙂

So, yes, here is the coat with the belt, pockets, and fuller/extended/non-ruffled skirt. If you’ve been following along, you’ll know I’m working on a modified version of McCall’s 5717 – I decided to omit the ruffle and lengthen the coat to below the knee for a more classic look. It will also provide coverage to my longest dresses and skirts that hit just below the knee. I’m excited! I’ve already tried it on with heels. After all this time and thought, it’s such a natural high to see your vision come out as you had hoped. (There’s also a big sigh of relief that goes with it!)

What do you think of the mini model at left displaying its mini wool cape? It even turns around in the following photo of the back…

photo 3

And here’s the back! You can see the fullness I added into the skirt; I started by adding width to the hem and transitioning it up to where the waist begins to flair out to the hips. I went back and forth deciding if I should add a back vent, but the great thing about taking public transit every day is you have a ton of RTW examples walking by you! There were many women wearing long coats with full skirts and no vent. I’m taking on so many new techniques, etc. during this project and so I felt a vent could be left for another creation. Besides, anything to keep out wind chill is just fine by me (ooooo, that can be rather nasty).

The pattern doesn’t come with belt loops even though it provides pieces for a belt. I’ll be adding those so it has something to grab onto when I’m not wearing it. Hmm, curious omission by McCall’s!

Hem Modifications
So how did I modify it? The side front and side back pieces each were widened 2″ on the side where they meet each other (so I kept the seams where they join with the front and back pieces as is). This gave me 4″ of ease at the side seams. I also wanted to create the folds in the back for visual interest so I added 2″ to the back pieces on the side where they attach to the side backs (which gave me 4″ of ease total). There was a 1940s coat that Casey of Elegant Musings posted once that inspired this design change, but I can’t find it for the life of me. Anyway, it had a similar effect, which I thought was fun and feminine.

The most important part of this is the walking ease it gives me, as commenter wolferiver also pointed out on my coat intro post way back when in November. Can’t be walking/dashing up and down those subway stairs with a hobble skirt now can I?!


The coat front and back without the belt. I didn’t overlap the front pieces here so you could see the pieces in full view. Can’t wait to add the buttons!

Tack That Baby Down
One neat step that the book Tailoring recommends is tacking the neckline down to the facing. I wasn’t quite sure what this meant at first (and who knows if I followed exactly as they instructed), but by slip-stitching the inside neckline to the facing the under collar and upper collar are held together without any shifting. It really helps secure that area of the coat quite well!

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And Then There Were Pockets!
The coat pattern comes with front pockets covered by tabs (do these kinds of pockets have a name?). I don’t find these pockets very practical because it’s a bit awkward putting your hands in them for warmth. In one muslin I took them out entirely, but in the end I decided to keep them to give the coat some added dimension below the belt. And just in case I wanted to use them for anything (might be handy for keeping my MetroCard safe and sound, for example) I made them functional too. I kind of doubt I’ll ever use them though.

Since they’re hidden by the tabs, I flipped the lining fabric so it peaks out a bit. It would’ve looked cleaner to have the fashion fabric line up at the edge, but they won’t be seen and I’d prefer to minimize bulk in this area. 🙂

I knew I really wanted side seam pockets so I took the pocket pieces from the Beignet Skirt by Colette Patterns and added them in at the same height as the tabbed pockets. To do this, I stitched the pockets 3/8″ from the raw edges so that the pocket fabric is hidden (same instructions as the Beignet pattern, actually). My other coats have side pockets that are slightly forward of the side seam so I debated creating angled welt pockets or the like. As with omitting the back vent, I decided to keep things simple for now – this being my first coat/tailoring project – and put them in at the side seams. They work!

All 4 pockets were tacked down to prevent them from flipping up, to the back, or wherever else they so fancied.

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With those pocket photos you can even sneak a peak at the lining I’ve chosen for the coat: black Sunback lining from B & J Fabrics here in New York (I’ve seen it listed as Kasha lining elsewhere). It’s really, really great – shiny satin on one side, warm flannel on the other without any added bulk. I’m holding the fabric between my fingers in the above photo to show you how thin the fabric is. It’s still quite sturdy though.

It’s $10.95/yd and B & J carries a range of colors, including some prints. You may recall I originally proposed a deep pink color for the lining, but after changing my mind a few times I realized that I really want the lining to serve as a blank canvas to whatever outfit I’m wearing. If I’m wearing a busy print or a color that clashes with pink (and seeing as how I love red, this could happen!) I didn’t want the pieces to compete with each other visually. Plus, if you ask me, black lining with this fashion fabric is just so much more elegant!

I Can See The Finish Line
Up next: inserting the lining, hemming the sleeves and skirt, top-stitching, and adding the buttons!! I’ll be back with a post on how I altered the armsyce on this coat pattern for a more comfortable fit (I just didn’t want to squeeze too much into one post).

Right, well I’m off to the Garment District to pick up some top-stitching thread for this coat. It will probably be hard to see, but I think the channels will be a nice touch (and it’ll keep the edges in place).

Wow, a wool coat with a flannel lining all ready for…spring? Oh well, at least it’ll be ready to keep me toasty come next winter. Have a wonderful weekend, and happy March!


15 thoughts on “Sleeves and Pockets and Hemlines, Oh My

  1. Amanda, the coat looks fabulous! I will share with Abuelita tomorrow. I know she will be extremely proud. Words fail me. Great job.

  2. Beautiful job! It must feel good to be so close to finishing! Maybe you can eek out one wearing of it before spring actually starts? Who know with the weather, it was snowing here in NH this morning 🙂 Can’t wait to see you in it when it is done!

    • It definitely feels good! Especially since I bought all the materials over a year ago. I was thinking yesterday that I might be able to get away with wearing it through March depending on the weather – we shall see! I’m hand-stitching the lining to the coat now. 😀

      • hopefully you can still wear it–i think there is a nor’easter headed your way now!
        enjoy the hand sewing–it’s actually one of my favorite things!

  3. amanda–i’ve never left a comment but this coat has me spellbound. how beautiful. that fabric is just perfect and i hope you are able to enjoy this gorgeous coat for a very long time. so inspiring!

    • Thank you so much, Sarah! This put a smile on my face when I read it in my inbox this afternoon. 🙂 I’m so eager to get the coat done so I can wear it out and about and feel just a teensy bit glamorous. I plan to treasure it for a very long time!

      Also, I can’t seem to respond to your other comment (must ask my WordPress guru friend for help!), but, yes, there does seem to be some bad weather on the way. This is the first time I have ever wished for colder weather longer so that I might have a chance to wear my coat a bit longer. 🙂 And, I agree, I also love hand-stitching. I’ve already gone through one spool of silk thread on this project!

  4. Pingback: M5717 “Sabrina” Coat: Live from Lincoln Center! | Sewin' in the Rain

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