Finished - Silvia

I'm a bit betwixt and between with this lady here. I didn't particularly enjoy her creation, and dragged my heels finishing her off. But I'm much happier with her finished than I was mid project.

This is the Silvia Coatigan from Schnittchen Patterns, purchased here from Stitch 56. I've previously made the Lola cardigan and was, you may remember, very pleased. I've not made a coat before, and decided the Coatigan was the way to dip my toes in, as the instructions state it can be made in a heavy knit or woven, and be left unlined..... Hmmmm....

As many have mentioned the instructions are brief and unillustrated, and at the time of writing there is no supporting links to aid construction on the Schnittchen website (despite the contrary being printed in the pattern envelope). 

It is rated easy, and I don't doubt it is easy for a coat. The shawl collar is simple to construct, and all the pieces come together very nicely. But an inexperienced seamstress will no doubt need to look up better instructions for the construction of a shawl collar and, from my brief glance, installing a lining (which to be clear, I did not do!). 

Anyway let's talk about the fabric. This is a gorgeous heavy Italian pure wool knit from The Cloth Shop in Ivanhoe (I'm pressure sure the delightful Kim still has some in stock!). Either side could be used - I ended up using the smoother outer grey and black side, but a little part of me still wishes I'd used the whiter fluffy surface (the Instagram hive mind voted grey, mostly to reduce the risk of pilling). Anyway it was lovely to sew with and prewashed on a cold gentle cycle with no dramas (I pretty much prewash all my woollen fabrics in the machine and am yet to destroy anything. I always dry flat on my clothes horse). I finished a lot of edges with the overlocker first, then used my machine and a walking foot for increased accuracy. It took me a full day to cut it out and I'm very proud of my check matching across pockets, front, back and collar facing. I decided to eliminate the centre back seam as it is not shaped, and would have made more work for me with the check matching. 

Construction was fairly straightforward, but there was absolutely no directions for sewing with a knit or an unlined version of the coat. I reinforced the shoulder seams with clear tape. Because it is oversized I just used a straight stitch, lengthened a little to cope with the bulk. My main source of angst was the facings. I believe they must have shrunk a little when I fused my tricot interfacing, which left me about an inch short at each bottom piece. I really should have block fused before cutting - lesson learned! I had to patch some extra bits to the bottom which worked well on one side but I was a bit off on the other which resulted in the front corner sitting badly. Anyway  the longstoryshort involved swearing, unpicking and a few attempts later I decided it was good enough. I understitched the collar and facing, swapping sides at the break point. 

The facings were finished with the overlocker before attaching, and in the end all the hems and facings were hand stitched down. Fortunately my fabric is very forgiving so my shitty hand stitching is quite invisible. I do wish there had been direction if not lining to not cut out the notch in the hem to accommodate the lining/facing attachment, because of course in a non-lined garment the hem just goes straight across and I had to hand sew that bit together in a rather grumpy untidy fashion. 

The pockets (which I love) were lined with some merino fleece scraps and again I'm super chuffed with how invisible the seam is. But again most vexing because as drafted the pockets and the front facing overlap a little. Which means either your pockets must go under the facing (which is what I did) or stick out awkwardly over the top. So my advice if you intend to make an unlined version is to move the pockets maybe half an inch towards the side seams. Clearly this pattern as drafted is much more suited to being in a woven and lined - and there are many lovely versions out there on the interwebs that attest to this. 

Anyway, it's very warm and rather chic. I prefer to wear it with the collar up rather than rolled over and my style entourage agrees with my choice. I haven't added any closures on at this stage. It's a little snug around my hips if I pull it closed (I should have graded up a size down there) and I think having a button or snap would distort it a little but I might experiment. I do question the practicality of me having made a wool coat with no closures but then today I did see a lot of ladies in the city wearing things similar to the Tessuti Sydney coat with no closures. 

I like having a loop to hang my coats, so I reinforced the back neckline by topstitching some cotton twill tape along the seam allowance of the shawl collar, then adding my little label to act as a loop.

So the final verdict. I really like it. Would I make it again?  Maybe. If you intend to make it unlined be sure to think through how you'll finish your facing edges, shift the pockets out a little, consider cutting the front hem corner straight, not notched, and add shoulder stabilisation with a knit. And look up someone else's instructions for a shawl collar including understitching! 

What say you? Should I add a closure or be fashionably windswept? 

(Pics by Anna - thanks lovely x)