I don’t think I would be the only one to say that I have found this winter really, really hard. My job has been so busy, and it’s been so cold and dark, just the thought of spring being around the corner is enough to cheer me up! Whilst it might appear that I have stopped sewing I have been sewing and knitting away through the winter months- I just haven’t been able to spare the time or energy to drag my arse out into the cold Scottish winter to take decent pics (and that’s to say nothing for how my partner/photographer James feels!). The result is that I have a back log of about 5 garments that I am dying to share, and this Merchant and Mills The Strand coat is the most recent one.
This is a really simple and quick coat that would be great for a beginner to tackle outerwear for the first time. I managed to knock it up in a day, although I did have two sewing machines and an over locker going all at once! It’s unlined and has some really nice details including darts at the bust and elbows, pockets and optional top-stitching and bias binding for the seams. For me, this coat was particularly good as it was practically free to make – the denim was a prize from last year’s #MIYMarch from Ditto Fabrics, and the pattern was part of a very generous birthday present from Ray Stitch.
The construction is very simple and enjoyable, although it was the first time I had sewn a Merchant and Mills pattern, and their instructions aren’t the clearest. It seems like it would be a really adaptable pattern too, the denim I made it in was medium weight, but I bet it work well in a heavier or lighter fabric. The pattern does have optional fastenings in the form of hook and eye closures, but I didn’t have any and I wasn’t too bothered either way – it was nice to make do, and not spend any money on it at all.
My favourite bit is the contrasting top-stitching, I went for red, as it added a bit of colour and I am really pleased with the result. I used a cotton lawn I had left over for the pockets and bias binding – I love keeping scraps of expensive fabric that would otherwise get thrown away. All in all, it’s a super easy and satisfying project that’s ready just in time for spring. All that’s left now is to make another shift dress like the very shabby one I wearing underneath the coat!