Oh dear! How did it get to be January 15th already?!? I had hoped to blog a bit more than I did in the past month, but so many things got in my way. I caught a terrible "man cold" from who knows where, which kept me in bed for days, and then sadly, a few days after Christmas, my dear Uncle passed away. He had been battling pancreatic cancer for the last year or so, so it wasn't really shocking, but having just had a really great visit with him over Christmas, it was a surprise that his death came when it did. I am so grateful that I was able to have such a great chat with him on Boxing Day and I will hold that memory of him for a very long time. Anyway, enough about that. Let's talk about sewing!
This is the Silvia Coatigan by Schnittchen Patterns. (Heads up - these are not the greatest photos. The white background is not really doing me any favours, plus I seem to have *ahem* misplaced my remote, so I had to do the whole push the button and run in front of the camera thing. Then just as I was all set up it started to snow, so if you see weird white flecks, they're snow flakes.)
This pattern wasn't really on my radar, until Caroline (of Blackbird Fabrics) made mention of it somewhere (I can't find the post on her blog or instagram, but I swear she mentioned it somewhere). Anyway, I checked it out, and I thought it would be a great in between seasons piece. Calgary is so weird in the winter because of the Chinooks. One day it can be freezing and you need a super warm, down parka, and the next day it's sunny and warm and you are sweating in said parka. So I thought this would be a great "coat" for those days, but I also wanted to keep it soft and fairly unstructured so that I could wear it inside when I'm feeling like I need an extra snuggle.
I ended up choosing this fabulous wool boucle from Blackbird Fabrics, and it worked out perfectly. It's nice and warm, and wooly, but still soft and drapey like a cardigan. I thought that I might be able to get away with not lining this little number, but when the fabric arrived, I decided it was a bit too itchy against the skin to go without a lining.
I have never worked with wool fabric, or wool coating, so I wasn't exactly sure how to pre-treat it. I did a bit of reading, but then emailed Caroline for some advice. As always, Caroline was very helpful and after emailing back and forth with her, I decided to try the steam function on our new dryer. After about 30 minutes the steam cycle was complete and the wool looked great with very little shrinkage. If our dryer didn't have that feature, I think you would have steamed it with my iron, but that seemed like so much work - especially when there is another option. I also asked Caroline for her suggestions about lining, and she graciously sent me some lovely modal knit from her personal stash. Sewing friends are the best! The knit fabric is perfect!
As for the pattern, I have never worked with a Schnittchen pattern before, so I was very surprised that the pattern pieces were contained in two separate pdfs. This took me a while to figure out as there was no print/pdf layout. At first I thought I was missing some pattern pieces, but then I remembered the second pdf, and lo and behold, there they were. This was not my favourite experience putting together a pdf to be completely honest. I had a hard time getting all the markings to match up and the borders weren't super clear, so my pieces were slightly wonky in a few places. Now this might be my printers fault, as it can be cranky sometimes, but I haven't had this much trouble with other pdfs, so I'm not sure.
All that being said, this coatigan came together rather quickly, and I mostly put it together with my serger. I did have a bit of trouble with the lining but I think that's because I haven't lined very many coats/jackets, so I didn't really know what I was doing, plus I was using a knit fabric with a woven. The instructions are only written (and fairly brief but they are translated into english so that's a good thing) with no diagrams which probably works just fine for an experienced coat sewer, but I am very much a visual/kinetic learner and so I require more hand-holding than just words (at least when I'm doing something for the first/second/third time). Anyway I turned to Jen's fabulous tutorial and kinda did my own thing. It turned out pretty well, so I can't really complain. And the knit lining is part of what makes this so cozy, so I'm really happy I didn't leave it out.
I have pretty much worn this non-stop since I finished it. I wore it around the house with my Hudsons while I was sick, and I reach for it pretty much anytime I'm running out the door (unless it was one of those really cold days we had there). It's slightly bulky, but I think that's part of the appeal. It's like being wrapped in a blanket and I feel really stylish when I'm wearing it. I also love the colour and it goes with everything.
According to the size chart, I should have made a size 42, but I ended up going with a 40 because I knew I was mostly going to wear it open, and I didn't plan on adding any closures. I didn't make any changes to the pattern at all. I thought I might have to shorten it, but I didn't and I think the length is just fine on me. I'm really happy with the fit, and I know I will continue to wear this a lot.
I hope you all are doing well and enjoying your New Year so far. I feel kind of crappy that I didn't get any year end roundups done like I did last year, but C'est La Vie!
Have you ever made a Schnittchen pattern? What did you think?