Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Vogue 8307, The Armani Coat (that everyone else made four years ago)

V8307 Thumbnail

My light green wool cashmere coat from two years ago has officially bitten the dust. One of the closures is broken (again) and the coating is sort of disintegrating in places, not to mention it's so dirty I don't think it will ever be right again. My purple jacket for Turkey went so well that I was inspired to jump right into Vogue 8307. The purple jacket works for low 60s to low 50s. This should cover from the high-50s down to the upper-40s (around 8-13 Celcius). I have yet another coat planned to cover the mid-40s to around freezing. And below that we pull out the Inauguration Coat, which carries me down to as cold as it ever gets in DC (low 20s/around -7 C). It seems a bit ridiculous to have so many coats, but I am always wishing I had a different one for each 10 degree variation because wearing a not-quite-right for the temperature coat is so uncomfortable!

This coat is almost entirely from The Carol Collection. Included in the collection were two yards of 60" wide Kelly green Pendleton wool with the Pendleton remnants tag still on. So fun! The pattern calls for 2.5 yards of 60" wide fabric, so I cut the undercollar and front facing from a darker green wool, also from The Carol Collection.

The lining is a polyester charmeuse in a great print from, you guessed it, The Carol Collection. The lining is very thin and the wool is a medium weight, so I added a little more warmth with a layer of the Vera Wang silk/rayon slipper satin from Fabric.com at $1.95/yd. I treated the lining and underlining as one, with the matte side of the slipper satin to the lining and the shiny side facing the fabric fabric so the lining wouldn't catch on the coat in wearing. I didn't have enough to interline the front, but I'm hoping the quadruple layer of wool (wool-faced and double breasted, with heavy interfacing) will be adequate.

The problem with kelly green wool is that once you see it as a billiard table, you can't unsee it. It is the exact same color. The photos of the coat are not exactly true to life color. Trust me, it's the same. It is a very crisp wool with little drape. That made it awesome for the collar, which sits beautifully, but the rest of the coat looks very wrinkly in wearing--not because it *is* wrinkled, but because any movement I make causes a crease rather than a drape.

The coat as drafted has no pockets. Insanity. I added in-seam pockets between the front and side front at the high hip level. When I made a princess seam coat and added pockets in the past, this was the perfect location. On this double-breasted coat, however, I wish I'd put the pockets in the side seam. The pockets overlap each other and putting gloves in them makes the belly area very puffy. The Armani original has side seam pockets--should have looked at it before making the coat! The front pocket piece is cut of lining to reduce bulk and interlined for warmth.

Stabilize Pocket Seam with RibbonTo keep the pocket line from stretching out when I walk with my hands in my pockets, I reinforced both the front and side front pieces with ribbon along the pocket attachment line. By the way, am I the only one who didn't know that you could run ribbon through that slot on the foot? I recently got a new serger and that was a feature in the manual. I noticed that my regular SM foot has a similar slot and voila! Sooooo much easier than running the ribbon under the foot and trying to make sure it gets caught in the seam, which is what I've been doing all these years.

Interface Pocket Edge In addition to the ribbon, I also interfaced the interlining of the pocket along the joining edge. As with all pockets, I sewed it to the front/side front with a 3/8" seam, rather than a full 5/8" seam. That way, the pocket rolls to the inside when the seam above and below are sewn at 5/8" and it gives a nice, clean profile.

BackI added five inches of length to View A, tapering in the hip a bit where it begins to flare. I love the way the ladylike full-skirted coat looks on either people, but at my height I would feel like one of the flying monkeys from the Wizard of Oz in a full-skirted coat (even though it was the guards, not the monkeys, with the long coats, somehow I associate it with the monkeys). Because of the stiffness of the wool, even though I'd narrowed the width the final hem stuck straight out like a clown's frock coat in the back. I ended up taking in another 3 inches in the center back and side back seams and now the hem sits flat instead of flaring out.

Contrast Underside to Collar and BeltI found the back a bit boring--the front is dramatic with the collar sweep and the double breast with huge buttons and the back didn't match that drama. So I opened out the seams and added a back half-belt. I like this little touch for a coat; it adds a little visual interest to the back with truly minimal effort and doesn't affect the wearability or usefulness of the garment. I brought the contrast darker green wool fabric (my "design detail" forced by not-quite-enough fabric) into the underside of the belt as well as the collar. Actually, I think this "design detail" works quite well. The darker wool on the underside adds depth to the collar, half belt, and lapels by increasing the natural shadow that would be formed by these dimensional elements.

Broken Button The buttons for this coat were an issue unto themselves. I normally just use whatever I have in stash, but the best thing I had for this coat were more of the wood inlay buttons I used on my purple jacket. I was really not liking them, so I decided that I would splurge on fancy buttons on my trip to NYC. When I hit on the idea of black buttons, I started liking the coat much more. I found the perfect buttons at Botani. At $6.75 each they were way more than I'd ever paid for buttons before, but since the rest of the coat cost me about $5 in thread, interfacing, and interlining I figured it was worth it. I sewed the buttons on in the hotel room. When I wore the coat that night the top button popped off as I buttoned it for the first time. I was surprised I'd done such a poor job sewing it on. It was only later that I realized the shank had snapped off the button!!! So much for that.

Side It was actually a blessing in disguise--although I *loved* the look of the jeweled buttons, it was nearly impossible to pull the button loops over the jagged edges of the buttons and it made the coat too hard to wear. So I went to G Street and found much more sensible smooth-edged round buttons in a deep pearled green that match very well but still give a tiny bit of drama because of their size.

Also on the closure issue, I made a beautiful covered snap to hold the underlap lapel in place. Alas, the covering makes the snap very difficult to snap and it instantly pops open once you do manage to snap it.

The construction on this coat was smooth and, dare I say, easy. I started it on the Saturday before I was leaving for NYC on Thursday. I told myself there was no way I would finish it on time for the trip so I took it slow, just sort of poking along. But by poking along for maybe 3 or 4 hours each on Saturday and Sunday and then an hour each night after work it was nearly done by Wednesday night.

Pocket I fudged the hem (always the worst part of any coat project) and brought it along but, alas, was not able to get exciting outdoor photos in the City because of the button issue. So you're stuck with my boring indoor photos, as usual.

The pattern is well drafted. Love that the undercollar is separately drafted from the upper collar--slightly smaller and on a different grain for great turn of cloth. Everything fit together well, although the back sleevecap had more ease than necessary.

Before making it I paid attention on the streets to see that a dramatic collar is still in style for coats and there are still plenty out there. Although this pattern is four years old (and the Armani model over 5 years old) it has staying power. If you're looking for a high drama coat without a lot of drama sewing it, check out this pattern.

All photos are here and the pattern review is here.

41 comments:

Stoffhamster said...

What a wonderful coat!! So beautiful colour!
Greetings from germany!
Bettina BeAu*tiful

tanitisis said...

LOVE it! Now I want a full-length, swingy version. /sigh. I have such coat lust.

lsaspacey said...

So, are you saying this is really Kelly green? It looks like teal on my screen even though your picture of a pool table and your blog border do look Kelly greenish.

Dalila said...

Nice coat, Trena! I love that big collar style and side closure, I don't know why but I just think it's great. I like what you did with the back belt - rear visual interest is important too. If this coat is really as easy as you say it is, maybe I could actually make it (my sewing techniques are more slapdash than yours).
Thanks, as always, for your detailed posts!

KID, MD said...

I love it!! I'm not seeing the pool table green either, but I'll take your word for it. Good thing you look great dressed like a pool table! That pattern is fabulous and very flattering. The half belt in back is also a great touch. Nice work!!

Ann Brodsky said...

I also didn't know about feeding the ribbon through the presser foot slot. Thank you for that tip! I really like this coat on you, and so wish that the pattern was still in print. I'm also very envious of the Carol Collection as those are my favorite colors too!

Melissa said...

Gorgeous coat Trena! I totally don't see any similarity with the pool table whatsoever. You did a fabulous job, enjoy the fruits of your labor. :-)

Maire-Christine said...

Easy? Really?!? But it's totally fabulous. I love your additions, especially adding back interest. You'd think that a dramatic front would make up for coffin back, but not really. I love your use of the darker green. I love your buttons, what can I say, it's great.

Mary said...

Trena, what a great coat! Love the collar with its dramatic size and asymmetry. The different tone for the facings and undercollar is a smart idea which I will promptly steal...and the back belt is also a wonderful touch.

Stay warm-we are getting hammered with snow right now,
Mary

Karin said...

I didn't know that you could feed ribbon through the foot! Thanks for the heads up.

Your coat looks good, but it doesn't look Kelly green on my computer screen, more teal.

a little sewing on the side said...

Loving the buttons and loops!!
Perfect fit & stylish all the way around.

Adelaide B said...

Amazing! (As always.)

Samina said...

That looks fantastic! The color (on my monitor) looks great on you, too.

Eugenia said...

I so agree with you about needing different coats for different temperatures - one coat just won't do for the whole winter, at least not in London. Your new addition to your coat collection is fabulous. I love the stunning style and it looks so beautifully made.

Lindsay T said...

I like it! Having lots of cute outerwear choices helps one survive the yucky weather to come, I say.

Uta said...

Great coat! I love kelly/billiard table green, such a statement color. And I have a whole wardrobe of coats; in northern climates there's nothing as important for style and comfort, imo.

FITZ said...

stunning! i bought that pattern. then felt intimidated. might bust it out... i think the collar's amazing.

messymethodsewing said...

First of all, LOVE. Second, I did not know that ribbon trick and could have used it at 1AM when I couldn't sleep and reinforced a waistband with rayon seam tape. Great tip!

AllisonC said...

What a fantastic colour coat! I love the design too - I rushed out to buy this pattern when it came out and still haven't got around to it so I'm glad to hear it has staying power!

Faye Lewis said...

Wow Trina, how long did it take you to make this one. Seems like you are producing so many pieces. I love the color and I love the coat. I've admired that pattern for such a long time.

Kristy said...

Ooh I love this colour, much better than boring grey or black that I usually see in winter coats (not that we need such an extensive array here in Sydney). And no, you weren't the only one who didn't know about feeding the ribbon through like that! I do know, thanks to your post

wildmary said...

Gorgeous !! Your coat is really gorgeous and the color suits you very well !
Each year i make me a coat, I think you just found me this years's coat :)

I'll read you review with attention, thanks for all the details !
Marie.

MushyWear said...

I'm amazed that it felt easy to sew this. It has so many pleasing design details. I like that you added the back half-belt. The fit looks perfect and the style and color really suits you. Enjoy wearing it!

Little Hunting Creek said...

Beautiful coat! That color looks great on you.
Happy Thanksgiving!

BeeBee said...

It appears you are in good and crowded company not knowing about feeding the ribbon. Present company included.
LOVE the green. Very striking.

Aminat said...

Beautiful, the color is so stunning on you, and what a great job on the coat

Claudia said...

just want to thank you for your blog! also, as i see you love knits and know what to do with them, and love turquise colors, i would like to offer you some of my recently bought emmaonesock "tealy abstract" acetate spandex knit (great for travel). as of today there is a picture on the roll end page, though sold out, at the top. i got a big piece and would love to give you some. also i would like to meet you as i live in dc on capitol hill. i have recently started to be a coach at the asg dc sewing lounge, and have heard from allison at bits of thread that you sometimes attend. my email is claudiambell@gmail.com but much prefer to be phoned. my number is 202-543-4968. happy thanksgiving and again thanks for your generous blog! c.bell.

Claudia said...

i thought i sent a comment. this was my first to you! c bell, capitol sewer

Vicki said...

I think it is a good idea to have different coats for different temperatures. Variety is the spice of life. This one is lovely. Great colour and style.

Kyle said...

You know I love turquoise.
Gorgeous color and style!
A+ as always!

Kyle said...

ok, so now I see you say it's kelly green. but it looks so turquoise. :)

gwensews said...

I love the asymetrical lines of that coat. I too, wear green. It's a wonderful color on redheads.

Noile said...

I'm surprised that this coat looks so incredibly terrific as a jacket! Thanks for the heads' up about the pockets; I would have put them right where you did, too.

Kathryn said...

Great pattern, and great coat, as re-designed! It fits you beautifully and the color is good. I didn't know about the ribbon, either. Thanks! Also the tip for pockets. Good to know. Just made myself a pool table green fleece pullover, so now I have company. Only mine will be for indoors, here in the frozen north.

senaSews said...

I personally love this pattern! Your coat turned out soo beautiful. The big collar is such an eye-catcher. And I love the bright color. We all need more color during the winter days ...

Angela said...

Love your coat and the little details you added! Hehe.. this was one of the first patterns I bought when I first started sewing and I still haven't gotten to it yet.

Andrea said...

Another beautiful job as always. I love your coat. I've been continplating making one for myself.

McVal said...

Love the coat! If I made it, it would HAVE to have tons of thermal lining.. Unfortunately in Iowa, the temps can drop 30 degrees in a single 24 hour period. I guess I just need two jacket/coats. Chilly and cold.
Great job!

Tany said...

Your version turned out terrific! I love it!

sewabeginner said...

Gorgeous! I love that collar.

Tasia said...

Love it! I was considering this pattern earlier this year but went a different route - your version is beautiful and makes me want to pull out the pattern again! Fantastic colour choice too! :)