I was SO excited when SOI finally released their Chloe Coat pattern. I saw it this time last year when it was released as a London class, then I’d heard a rumour that it was coming out early this year, so I’d already bought my petrol blue lightweight boiled wool jersey and gorgeous Avoca satin lining from Fabworks, plus the tailoring interfacing and ice wool from SOI. And, after MUCH hunting (why aren’t there any lovely-coloured open-ended zips here in the UK?), I found THE perfect petrol blue open-ended metal zip and had it shipped from the USA (more on that later).
So, first up: pattern measurements. One of my bugbears about Big 4 patterns is that they always end up far too big for me if I go by the body measurements. Thankfully, I usually find Sew Over It measurements much more accurate. According to the Body Measurements chart I need a 12-14 for my 38” bust, a 10 for my 28” waist, and a 10-12 for my 39” hips. I’m rather hourglassy, so always find it necessary to grade between sizes.
My shoulder to shoulder is 15”, so a size 12, which would give me a 41” finished bust -plenty of room – but even the smallest size 8 would be 12” too big at my waist and 6” too big at my hips. I appreciate this coat’s supposed to be a looser, straighter fit, with 4” of ease, but I don’t really want 12” of extra fabric around my waist. So, after chatting with the lovely SewNeedy, who’d already basted and tried on a 12, I decided to go for a 10 at the shoulders, arms, and bust (dropping the top of the bust dart by 3cm as per the full bust instructions, to allow a bit of extra room there), and then grade it to an 8 at the waist and hips. Before cutting it all out, I also measured all of the pattern pieces and deducted the seam allowances to make sure they’d fit me.
The sewing process for the shoulders, with the easing, was clear and straight forward. Once I’d pinned the side seams, I found the 8 was, as predicted, rather swampy on me, so I took them in there by about 1”. I also found the back of the coat to be a bit swampy (I like that word!) around the back of my waist, so I graded it in there by about 0.5”.
When it came to trimming down the left-hand front and right-hand facing for the zip, I must admit I got a bit confused. I’m a grown woman and know my left from my right, but watching the video and working out which way up the fabrics were and on which side flummoxed me somewhat. I was even more bamboozled with it all and things just didn’t seem right… until I realised that my zip – y’know, THE perfect one I’d bought from The US of A – fastened with the zip pull on the RIGHT! ARGH! If only I’d realised, I would’ve cut the right-hand front and left-hand facing (I think?!) and had it fastening the opposite way. Anyway, to cut a long story short, I had a 30-mile round trip (I live in the sticks) to buy a navy plastic and insert that instead. Not my lovely petrol blue metal one shown on the left. So I compromised there – such is sewing life.
The sleeve heads were a bit tricky, as they have quite a bit of ease, but thankfully my boiled wool had a bit of stretch, so that helped. I don’t normally hand tack anything (life’s too short!) but in this instance I did as I was told and actually it really helped and the sleeves went in a treat. Phew! The ice wool went in nicely at the sleeve heads and totally makes a difference to the way the shoulders sit. They look much more professional, so if you’re thinking about not bothering with it, then change your mind now!
My satin lining went together really well, even though it’s slippery, and the only slight annoyance was that I had a couple of tiny puckers in the sleeve head, but Lisa said in the video tutorial that that’s okay with her, so it’s okay with me!
Attaching the facing to the lining was straight forward. At that stage, I remembered to sew my Daphne label to the neck facing. I think a label is a nice way to finish things off when you’re making by hand, even as an amateur. (In case you’re wondering, Daphne was my wonderful nannie. She passed away several years ago, so never knew about me taking up sewing, but I know she’d be proud of me. I remember digging through her button box when I was little.) Attaching the facing to the coat at the neck and sides, then under stitching, was also fine after I’d watched that particular tutorial a couple of times.
I’ve not bagged out a lining before, so this was all completely new and I needed to have my hand held.
When it came to attaching the lining to the sleeve hems, I wasn’t sure which bit to fold back and by how much. The close up in the video was too fleeting for me to catch what was going on and unfortunately Lisa’s hand was in the way, so I couldn’t see what to do. In the end I guessed and simply slotted the lining over the outer fabric and sewed the raw edges with the right sides together. Thankfully, it worked.
I found sewing the coat hem frustrating and lost count how many times I watched that final lesson. I understood about rolling the facing back up slightly so it didn’t hang below the front of the coat. Then Lisa ‘popped her hand inside and pulled it round’, but unfortunately the fabric was in the way, so I couldn’t see what was happening. She then ‘popped it back in’ to check that it was right on where she wanted to sew, but I couldn’t see where she wanted to sew, so couldn’t tell where I needed to sew! In the end, SewNeedy kindly did a video for me, as she’d done something similar before, and, with a few photos going backwards and forwards between us, I finally got it sussed.
Once I’d sewed the bottom hem, leaving the gaps at either end, I wasn’t sure why the lining was attached lower at the bottom of the facing, but on looking at others’ Chloe Coats I think that’s how it’s supposed to be.
The final stage was the top stitching and I used my walking foot rather than my zip foot, as I didn’t want any of the fabric layers to move. I also added a popper right at the top to hold the flap nice and flat.
So that’s it, all done, hurrah!
It’s definitely an intermediate pattern for which you need to already have a fair bit of sewing experience. It’s a fantastic coat and I’ll definitely make another, lighter-weight one for the summer. In the meantime, I can’t wait to flash this gorgeous pink lining to everyone!