I seem to be making a lot of coats lately, maybe it’s the weather? The latest edition to my cloakroom is the Named Clothing Isla trench.
Last year I admired many a green trench coat about town, and one in the window of Oliver Bonas in particular. But (I think) like many of my fellow seamstresses out there, I never bought it. Whilst gazing through the window I thought “£120? I could make it for less than that…” Almost a year later, I finally got around to making one, and as it turned out – yeah, I could! The Isla is a classic trench coat with lots of lovely details, and is certainly one of the more challenging projects I’ve made.
At the start of autumn last year, when I originally intended to make this coat, I carefully scoured the shops for the exact shade of green I wanted, and found the perfect cotton twill at Ray Stitch. When, last weekend, I finally started to trace the pattern, I still sourced a lining but remembered a lovely Liberty tana lawn that I got on sale a couple of years ago that been been gathering dust in my stash ever since. I am so pleased I saved it as they make such a good pair – the buttons are also from Ray stitch.
The preliminary stages of tracing the pattern pieces, and cutting out the whopping 24 pieces involved, took a really long time especially including marking up, interfacing and overlocking. I must have been in another world when I traced the pieces from the pattern as I forgot to add seam allowances, on this, which is probably my 20th Named Clothing pattern?! Luckily I realised before cutting out my fabric (phew) so no harm done. I did however make one other big mistake whilst cutting out my back lining pieces. I don’t know what I was thinking – I must have been getting impatient, but there should be two pieces, each one cut out on a separate line. For some reason I cut it out as one piece, on a fold. I managed to work out a way of compensating for my error, which meant that the vent lies the opposite way than in the pattern – I’m not going to loose any sleep over this, and I’m just pleased I managed to work out a solution without having to throw my lovely lining away! I also took the hem up by 2 inches, as I am titchy.
After many hours laying the ground work, the sewing of the coat wasn’t actually as bad as I feared, and wasn’t much harder than the other Named Clothing jackets I have made – just some additional details and tricky bits. Sewing the collar and collar stand were very familiar from the many shirts I’ve made before, and so came out much neater than I was expecting. However, I feel the instructions became a little vague towards the end – when it came to sewing the vent I felt quite confused, and no matter how many times I read the instructions I really couldn’t work out if I did it right or not… but it looks right, so I guess I did. Sewing the buttonholes was a breeze thanks to my fancy sewing machine, although I think that considering I took up the hem by a couple of inches I should have left off the final button hole as it goes down to my knees!
I am so pleased that I got round to making this coat, it has been so much fun to make and I am so pleased with the results. It’s the final ‘big’ project I am going to tackle for a while, I think I need to make a few quick satisfying projects next…