Friday, August 19, 2016

Raincoat Making

On this, my first raincoat make, the fabric was both friend and foe.

The Soho Coat from The Sewing Workshop

First, it is just a fun and interesting piece of fabric. I probably bought it from Marcy Tilton though it's been a while and she has nothing like it on her web site right now. It is a double-face fabric with black on one side and a black and cream stripe on the reverse. I think that the black side is nylon or maybe even rip-stop. The striped side appears to be a rayon knit.

The double-face feature was great for this pattern since the wrong side shows. I decided early on that the solid black would be the right side. However I had to constantly remind myself of this as I sewed. My reptilian brain wanted the striped side to be the right side. More that once I pinned it incorrectly and caught myself right before bringing the presser foot down.

I was cautious about sewing this piece because it is so different from anything else I've sewn. I even made samples! The samples showed that it would be easy to sew - no need for special feet or thread. But it does have a tendency to get sucked into the presser plate hole. That was pretty easy to manage though.

I love these deep pockets.

As usual I did not have enough fabric to make the coat as shown, but after reviewing some images online I decided that it was really a lot longer than I wanted anyway. And I'm not crazy about that high-low hem business. Just not my cup of tea. So I cut off 15 inches and reshaped the hem. It is a 3/4 length coat and would fall just above my hem if I wore a dress. But I don't wear dresses much.

In this picture you can see that the side seam is forward a couple of inches, making the in-seam pockets so much more useful than a regular in-seam pocket.
Because of the nylon I was hoping to severely limit my pinning, or at least keep it inside the seam allowance. I was afraid I'd end up with holes. Luckily I had some of this handy-dandy repositionable tape on hand. That was a great way to eliminate some of the pinning. If you don't have this on hand, I highly recommend it. Wonderful stuff.

I also had to be careful with the iron. A couple of layers of silk organza created enough of a barrier to avoid melting the nylon. And I was surprised at at how beautifully it presses.

A little Darth-Vader?
The neckline on this gave me fits. In the end, it looks fine, I think. The fabric is super stable, almost like sewing on paper except it doesn't tear. The shoulder and back neckline are attached to the cut-on hood like so:

Check out the front pattern piece. Looks like a dart, yes? But it becomes the place where the shoulder seam and the hood attach to the back. Yikes.

Here I am adding a tailor's tack, going only through the wrong side (the knit side).

The Soho Coat from the Sewing Workshop runs large as people on Pattern Review have pointed out, but I'm thinking that's a good thing. It is a coat, after all, and I might wear it with something bulky underneath. If so, I'll have plenty of room.

In sum, I am really pleased with this coat and I think I'll enjoy it for a long time to come. It was fun but challenging to make. It will be especially good for travel as it folds down to nothing.

There is a little more on Pattern Review.


  1. It looks perfect from here. I love the collar/hood 2 color way. I've never sewn a coat; probably because I have almost no reason to wear one in our climate. If I can just run from the car to the building--it's what I do to eliminate having to keep up with one. I know, crazy!

  2. This is exquisite - beautiful marriage of fabric and pattern. You really show off the lines and designs.

  3. It's a beautiful coat. Interesting fabric and a timeless shape.

  4. This is fantastic-your choice of fabric, and finishing techniques are wonderful. This will look great on you.