Yes, it’s official. This is the fourth Named pattern that I have made & I think that makes me a Named Groupie! Before I even consider my next purchase let’s talk about the Andy Coat, since this is what this post is all about.
The Andy coat is one of those patterns that grew on me the more I looked at it. Having made the extravaganza of the Lolita Patterns Spearmint Coat, with ric rac which has become my “occasions” coat, I recognised the need for more of an every day coat, and since I was often drawn to gazing at the Named website for long stretches of time, the ability of the Andy coat to fit my lifestyle requirements became clear.
I knew that I would not wear it without the belt, but with the belt it was cute. I hadn’t appreciated the desirability of a collarless coat at first- but apart from the advantages in not having to sew a collar there was all sorts of scarf wearing potential, and I also meant to make a detachable collar in fur (yes, fake fur!) that would also glam it up a bit. I haven’t done that yet however, since every time I wear this coat I LOVE pulling a scarf out of my proverbial sleeve (you know, like a magician) & wrapping it around my scrawny neck all chic & elegant-like. I almost feel like I’ve stepped into the 60s with neck scarf & leather gloves & the belted waist.
So shall I tell more about the make & start by introducing the raw materials? The fabric, the fabric! I bought this a couple of years ago from a local fabric shop with the specific intention of making it into a winter coat. It was *one of those fabrics* that felt too good to use though & was kept protected from moths sealed up in a plastic bag in the drawer. But then the Andy Coat woke me up & the fabric was released. Whilst it is sooo gorgeous with its lovely mini checking & evocations of vintage granny coats, it was a b*gger to cut. I cut each piece on the single thickness fabric trying to get alignment across the horizontals. I had thought about the vertical placement too, but thankfully this coat had no particular perpendicular challenges (feel like there should be a Peter Piper in that sentence!). I attempted to match the shoulder seam verticals, which is passable.
Why this check was super hard to match, both cutting & sewing was a. due to its scale & b. due to the difference between front & back. It’s quite a loose weave & trying to follow the same horizontal when it looks different on both sides of the fabric was tricky – but not impossible. I found the best way to speed up on this was to always use the same horizontal in the pattern as the stripe that I would match- that way I became familiar with what it looked like on the front & what it looked like from reverse.
But I tried really hard to get this perfect – this fabric was after all one of my sacred fabrics & I had to honour it. You know every time I sew one of my “sacred fabrics” I take much more care & attention which makes me think that I should buy more expensive fabric to ensure that I sew at my best. OK, I’d have less to sew, but maybe the discipline would be habit forming?
To complement the granny chic fabric I had bought some nice satin lining a while ago in Birmingham’s Rag Market in teal. Not much more to say about it than that! If I have a preference for lining I do like a nice shiny finish- all lovely & sleek to put your arms into.
So the sewing – I made this in some unneeded fabric (yes, I made a toile). I found I did need to take a small wedge, as is usual for me, out of the upper chest/ neck edge. So that made the toile worthwhile. I did not bother with roadtesting the pockets in the toile – I just made a complete coat with sleeves to check on the pattern fit. If I was worried, I would have also used it to practise the welt pockets on, but I felt brazen! I would sew welt pockets on the real McCoy & not before!
All the prep for this coat seemed to take longer because I accidentally bought sew in interfacing which meant basting it to every piece. Yawn. *Top tip* I found out that due to the nature of the fabric, its loos-ish weave – I overlocked all the edges of each coat piece (before sewing) to avoid fraying even though it was lined. Why not use the overlocking to attach sew in interfacing instead of basting? (I also overlocked the lining edges too as lining is mad for fray).
I also felt it took a long time to progress into making the actual coat because I opted to make bound buttonholes. You heard – bound buttonholes. And yes, it was my choice – the pattern lets you off the hook & allows you to make keyhole buttonholes using your machine.
I have to say I am extremely proud of my buttonholes. All seven of them. In fact I was so satisfied with cracking these babies that it felt wrong even thought there really was no smugness involved. Do you delight in getting something so precise & technical right? And what about to the power of 7? All thanks, again, to Karen’s E-book. I feel almost familiar enough with the process not to look anymore – but I know I will forget & need reminding each time I revisit bound buttonholes, because let’s face it, I am not going to be making coats & jackets every month now am I?
What about the pockets? Welt pockets too! I felt that these could not be as complex as bound buttonholes but that they might carry some of the same rationale & approach. I had made some before on my cardigan, but that was a long time back & they were also a slightly different layout. These welt pockets are on the tilt. I used elephant fabric as my pocket bags to make them more durable than using satin lining. But having finished them, you can’t see the pocket bag fabric. My secret elephants. A less than secret fabric confession is shown by my facings. Are you ready? Ok folks, I just did not know which side of the fabric I liked best to use as the *right side* & left it to chance after cutting my fronts. Because this is not a symmetrical pattern, there is a definite left front & right front. Cutting the front pieces determined which way up was the right way up & I followed this for the rest of the cutting out. A kind of game of chance, because I did not spend the time working it through before cutting the fronts. But I still really liked the other side of the fabric so cut the facings so that they would be “wrong side” out. So there you see, the very obvious confession, for the lifetime of this jacket!
Once the bound buttonholes & the pockets had been completed the rest of the sew could speed up. The coat has a centre back seam which provides some good shaping & the rest of the sew was as you’d expect.
I think you’d have to feel reasonably confident at making a lined garment to make this pattern as the instructions are adequate, but expect you to know what you are doing. I followed the general principles for bagging the lining & sewing as much by machine as possible by digging out the Spearmint coat instructions as they are extremely comprehensive & I like it that you use the lining sleeve as the location for turning the coat right way out as opposed to the hem. Lolita patterns has been hosting a sewalong for the Spearmint coat – it would be a good place to get some tips!
I made this jacket is a tad shorter than the original pattern, but it is a good length on me. There are no belt loops to my relief – I find locating your true waist for belt loops quite stressful so am happy that this belt is a floater & that works for me. Can you tell that there are shoulder pads? They are not monstrous & give the right amount of structure.
Finally look at the buttons. For some reason the tan/ horn was the only colour I could conceive. In fact originally I was looking to use piping with this fabric (before I changed course & went Andy coat) & the piping would have been a similar tan in fake leather. I don’t know if it’s overkill but I bought a second set of buttons to use on the facing side to give extra durability to the buttons (like they do on RTW). And I sewed the buttons on with a match in between the button & the coat to provide a long enough shank for the button to sit on top of all of those thicknesses. Goodness knows where that gem of ancient sewing wisdom came from, maybe while I was still being carried as a baby as my Mum sewed herself a coat?
Anyway. I am loving my jacket. As always a garment that can be worn for work & play is a winner for me. I have worn this multiple occasions to work now & at the weekend just gone took it with me as my weekend away jacket for it to get some sea views. It looks equally happy (as long as it is belted up) with a sharp skirt for work as it does with my Jamie jeans. That is one big wardrobe gap I have finally filled. Hurrah for my jacket! (I do need a Minoru though….but will I get round to making it this Spring? Too may other things on my list? )
And as for my next Named make…the choice! I have already bought the Laurie Striped Tee though…