If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen on stories that I was planning on making a coat from some unused curtains that have just been cluttering up the house. They were in my daughter’s room, but she only sleeps in the darkest room ever, and these curtains just did not make the cut (we were being woken up at 3/4/5am everyday which was far from ideal!!).
Now I did sit on this project for absolutely ages. I just felt like I was not good enough to make a COAT!! Come on! ITS A COAT FOR GOODNESS SAKE!
I had put the people in the sewing community that could do it on a huge pedestal, and decided that I absolutely could not reach those kinds of heights. That was until my husband told me that I was being completely stupid, and pointed out that the worst-case scenario was that I wasted a curtain that wasn’t even being used anyway.
So I did all my prep during nap times, including taking off the lining of the curtains, making my changes to the pattern pieces and did a lot of the cutting out (minus the lining). I then planned to do all the sewing during the week where Harriet went to a childminder before I went back to work.
I didn’t cut out the lining until right near the end, because this fabric was really expensive, and I didn’t want to waste it if I then did decide that I didn’t like the coat.
So, the coat I decided to make is the Papercut Patterns Sapporo coat. I have been eyeing it up loads but was on the fence as to whether the shape would suit me as I would consider it to be top heavy as this is where the bulk of the fabric is. Now I’m smaller on my top half, so this is normally the area which I try to keep slimming otherwise I just feel generally huge. But I was fortunate enough to try on this coat at the Handmade Festival, made by the lovely team at Cool Crafting. (I wish this was a more common thing to be able to try on the garments to see if we even want to put in the hard graft of making them!!)
Unfortunately, I did not take a photo of me wearing their sample, but it was made from a gorgeous blue wool fabric with a Lady McElroy lining. It was stunning. It was made up as a small/medium with no alterations. It was then that I decided that the general length of the coat was too long for my short frame, and that I would want the sleeves to be narrower. Sarah from Cool Crafting was amazing, and she really clearly explained how easy it was to change the sleeve width, and how to then change the body to correspond with the new sleeves. Feeling super positive I bought the pattern and 2.5m of the stunning mulberry blooms Lady McElroy fabric for the lining.
The sewing of the outer coat was really easy, and I did it in not very many hours. The curtain fabric was quite thick (it really hurt my hands cutting out the pattern pieces as you did have to use a lot of force to get through the layers), so I did sew slower than I would usually do, as I was rather worried about snapping the machine needle.
I tried on the coat at every opportunity, so you do get to see a true timeline of this make! I really loved this process, and although I did sew it quickly, I felt good that I had the time to keep stepping back, looking at in the mirror and really evaluating the make, and deciding if I wanted to make further changes. It was definitely a very satisfying process.
So lets get on to the alterations made…
- I took 2″ off the length of the coat to better suit my frame (I am only 5 foot). I did this at the paper pattern stage. I removed this length from the pieces at the side seam notches so that I knew I was taking the length from the same location on all the pieces. Before cutting out the fabric I did check that all the side seams would line up by placing them all on top of each other. I would really recommend doing this as a check.
- I lengthened the sleeves by 2 inches so that they were not cropped, as I wanted this as a proper winter coat.
- I lined the sleeves with the lining rather than with the outer fabric as the pattern suggests. This was done to reduce bulk in the arms.
At this point I then sewed up the coat as it was (only tacking on the sleeves), before making any other changes. Once I had sewn it up I decided that I did want to reduce the armhole size/sleeve width, as I originally thought.
- I raised the arm hole by 3″. I used the paper pattern pieces to be able to get the same curve as the original pieces (just higher up) (the photo clearly shows this). I then reduced the top of the sleeve by 3″ as well. I decided that 3″ off the bottom of the sleeve would make it too tight, so I tapered it to a 2″ reduction at the bottom of the sleeve.
I am super pleased I did this, as I think all that extra fabric round my armpits and bust area would have driven me crazy.
The only other “change” I made was making a belt with the curtain fabric for the times I want to clinch in at the waist more. But I really do love wearing it both ways actually. (Sorry you can’t really see the belt in the photos… totally forgot that my scarf would be hiding the coat! I will take some more photos soon!)
So overall I am super happy that my unloved curtain is now a really loved coat. I have actually worn it every day since finishing it. I’ve only had one person tell me they like it and did I make it (obviously apart from family who had to hear about this coat multiple times a day while I was sewing it). Now only one person sounds bad… but I am taking it as a total win, because that means that everyone else doesn’t realise it is actually a curtain! And it definitely wouldn’t appear to be a homemade garment. Hence it’s a total compliment in my eyes!
If I was to make the Sapporo coat again I do think I would lengthen the sleeves a little more. While they do technically reach my wrist, that is actually only when I am wearing very thin clothes underneath. So for a full length sleeve I think I should have added at least 3”.
Also I don’t think I needed to shorten the length of the actual coat either. I love it how it is, but I don’t think it would have been as long as I imagined. Maybe only 1” off the length next time.
But overall I am super happy, and I am so proud of myself (thanks husband too) for pushing myself out of my comfort zone and actually making a technically difficult thing like a coat. I would say to anyone thinking of making one, this Sapporo coat is actually not an intermediate pattern in my opinion, and I really think anyone can make it. It was such a joy and the instructions were really rather clear. However, on the 1 or 2 steps that I got stuck (because I’m a newbie to coat making), there were some really clear YouTube videos of people making the Sapporo coat. So, I would also highly recommend checking them out.
Hope you all love my refashion as much as I do. It has very quickly become my most worn and most loved make! Hurray for pushing myself out of my comfort zone. I should do it more often!!!!
Have you made a coat? What’s your most loved make?
See you next time,
Love, Abigail x