Sunday, December 1, 2013

Burda Knee Length Sweater Coat (with Oopsies)

Joining in Patti's Visible Monday!

I mentioned on my last post that Elizabeth brought this pattern to my attention. It is a Burda from the Dec 2010 issue, but it can be downloaded on the Burda site.

This coat is a fairly simple design and is perfect for showcasing a special fabric. It has no lining or facings or closures. I elected to finish it with a binding and I added some closures.

I had a very special fabric in mind for this coat.

A year ago, I bought an Italian wool sweater knit from Emma One Sock. It's a lofty, fairly stable, sweater knit, though the cut edge does curl a bit. I bought a little over one yard, which was all Linda had left - I planned to mix this fabric with another. Margy had also bought a couple yards of this fabric. Then Margy went through a bout of wool/lanolin allergy and she gifted her fabric to me.

So generous!

(By the way, I see that Marcy currently has some of this fabulous fabric for sale on her site.)

When I saw this Burda coat, I knew I wanted to use the wool sweater knit. I purchased the pattern and printed it out. I decided to use a size 40, based on my upper bust. I did do a vertical-only FBA, though I avoided sewing the dart and eased the extra fabric at the side seam at bust level. I made no other pattern alterations for fit.

I did make some very stupid mistakes when making this coat. People don't seem to believe I make stupid sewing mistakes, but I am quite capable! My first mistake happened when cutting. This fabric has an amazing selvedge, which is different on each edge. I decided to put the selvedge at the hem, reminding myself that the back and the fronts needed to be positioned along the same selvedge.

I first cut out the back. There is supposed to be a center back seam, but I didn't want to interrupt the fabric, so I placed the CB on the fold line. As soon as I finished cutting the back, as soon as I took that last snip, freeing the piece from the yardage, I realized my first blunder.

I forgot to add a seam allowance.

I was quite proud of my reaction. I didn't reach for food, alcohol, or anything else. I started thinking of how I might fix this. I then (calmly) called Margy. I said to Margy, notice how calm I am? I then told her what I had done and some of the ideas I was forming to work around this blunder. Margy proposed that I just add twice the seam allowance to the front (for example, to cut the front out with 1" seams, instead of half inch). I knew that would work well, as I really only had to worry about the shoulder and side seams - the neckline and front was to be finished with a binding. And I always have to cut fabric from the armscye anyway, thanks to my narrow shoulders.

First problem averted.

I then proceeded to cut out the fronts.

As soon as the fronts were cut out, I realized my second blunder. I had put the fronts on the OTHER selvedge edge, which definitely looks different, so the fronts and the back would not match up at the hem.

Once again, I was calm. I went to bed and decided I'd worry about it in the morning.

In the morning, I decided that I didn't want the selvedge on the hem anyway. The selvedge, while beautiful, is light-colored and I didn't want a lighter color at the hem. So, I cut the selvedges off the front and back. I decided that I wanted a slightly shorter coat, anyway. I hemmed the coat by turning up the raw edge.

Second problem averted.

I had a third blunder. And, you know what? I can't even remember what it was. So it couldn't have been so bad. ;)

Wait! I do remember! My third blunder was that I placed the pockets too low. I thought I had carefully marked where to put them, but they ended up too low. Not much I can do about that except pretend it was on purpose. :)

The pattern is designed with in-seam pockets. I am not a fan of in-seam pockets, so I sewed curved welt pockets. I used wool crepe for the welts and the pocket bags are made from scraps of black ponte.

Curved welts made from wool crepe

Pocket area reinforced with interfacing.

Completed pocket

I decided to bind the front and neck edge with a speckled, floppy sweater knit that was left over from a Sandra Betzina sweater I made years ago. But before binding, I wanted to stabilize the edge of the sweater. I sewed a 1/4" twill tape to the front and neckline edge, by hand.

Neckline and front edge reinforced with cotton twill tape.

The binding fabric sheds like crazy when cut. I cut the strips at 2-1/2" and folded the strips, wrong sides together, matching the raw edges. I sewed the raw edges of the binding to the front edge with a 1/4" seam allowance, wrapped it to the back, and hand stitched in place. (Because the knit was so floppy, I first hand basted the binding to the coat before stitching on the machine.)

Sweater knit used for binding, up close

Which sheds, when cut. (I used the back side, which is less shaggy, for the binding.)
Binding up close

More binding

The coat is designed with no closures, but I used jumbo snaps at each front corner and a leather toggle just below the bust. I purchased the closure at Britex and used my hole punch to create the holes. I then sewed it on using black perl cotton. The coat is more functional in our foggy SF climate if I can close it.

Closure, up close, sewn with perl cotton

Finally, I took half a yard of faux Persian lamb, also purchased from Emma One Sock many moons ago (for another project), and sewed up a Koos style infinity scarf (sans twist).

There are lots of ways to wear this coat, thanks to the optional scarf and the optional closures. I have already worn it for three days straight. This may be one of my favorite makes ever! (It's like wearing a snuggly blanket.)

Faux Persian lamb infinity scarf

More Pics

With faux fur cowl

Without cowl

One lapel down

Both lapels down

Worn open