I’m torn about planning a seasonal wardrobe. I tried it for the first time this past March, when I posted what I considered to be a reasonable spring/summer sewing plan. “I can finish this in a few months, easy!” Not so easy it turns out, especially when you live in Chicago, a city that kicks any other city’s ass during the summer. Those sweet, sweet months between May and August begot more frequent late nights, beach volleyball, and patio drinkin’—and quite a bit less sewing.
My seasonal sewing plan wasn’t a complete bust, though. Here’s how I fared:
Sleeveless Button Up: I finally blew out the elbow on my favorite pink Levi’s shirt, so I lopped off the sleeves, took in the sides a bit to compensate for the deeper armhole, and bound the raw armscye with self-made bias tape. Cheating? Possibly. But I’m all for upcycling, so this one’s still a win in my book.
Solid Knit Tee: I made a knit Scout with some super-stretchy blue knit from my stash, but the ribbing I used for the neck band turned out a little gapey. I still wear this T-shirt, but it will probably be replaced by the arsenal of Lark Tees I’m planning on making. One down, at least five to go.
Floral Shift Dress: Colette’s Laurel in a floral cotton did the trick.
Printed Shorts: Nope. Next year: Maritime shorts. I hope.
Full Skirt: How did I not make this one happen?! A daggum SKIRT???!! I’m embarrassed, y’alls.
Woven Straight-Leg Pants: You can’t say I didn’t try. Try, and fail somewhat miserably.
The overall outcome could’ve been worse, but I still don’t feel great about failing to meet my goal. This season, I’ve decided to play it by ear, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been ruminating. Let’s get real: people who sew also love to plan. I already bought some deep-red herringbone flannel for another Archer (view A this time), and I’m trying to drum up the courage to finally sew some Ginger Jeans.
But the number-one-must-absolutely-try-to-attempt item on my list is a winter coat. I know it’s early, but if I don’t get started soon it simply won’t get done. I’m not trying to make a coat to withstand the 0º F days of a Chicago winter; those days are for my Michelin-man Eddie Bauer down parka. I would, however, love to sew a heavyweight coat that’s not only warm enough to get me through most of the winter unscathed, but also cute enough that I’m not embarrassed to wear it in public.
I’ve been scouring the web for intermediate-level patterns (sometimes in vain), since the only coats I’ve sewn thus far are the Willy Wonka corduroy monstrosities that I made for Halloween last year. I’ve narrowed it down to the following patterns:
Cascade Duffel Coat, Grainline Studio
Design details: slightly A-line toggle coat with optional hood
Pros: Made up in a nice wool, this would be insanely warm. And it’s got a hood!
Cons: It’s pretty sporty, and I find myself drawn to more feminine coats lately. I also already own a coat with toggles, albeit in a much lighter fabric.
Andy Coat, Named Patterns
Design details: collarless belted coat with welt pockets and asymmetrical button stand
Pros: Who doesn’t love a good waist-cinching belt? And no collar means all the scarves.
Cons: No collar also means it runs the risk of looking homespun?
Simplicty 1254 by Leanne Marshall
Difficulty: easy (I’m skeptical)
Design details: fitted coat with an oversize collar that doubles as a hood
Pros: I love the look of the concealed zipper band and in-seam pockets.
Cons: That collar looks like it might swallow my head. Reviews note that the instructions are lacking, which might be a problem for me.
Paneled Coat #126, Burda
Design details: fitted coat with panels, hidden pockets, and a lapel-free collar
Pros: The lines on this look modern and incredibly flattering. And, maybe it’s just the styling, but d-d-dayum this thing looks sexy for a winter coat.
Cons: While the neckline screams for a scarf, it might be a little too open to be practical for cold weather.
Long Wool Coat #104, Burda
Design details: Long, semifitted coat with passants (shoulder straps) and one asymmetrical row of military-style buttons.
Pros: According to Burda, this coat is “the ideal accompaniment for a quiet walk.” Burda, go home, you’re drunk. But for reals, this coat looks polished and timeless.
Cons: I haven’t gone the military-style route before, and I’m a little afraid this will look too preppy on me.
There are several more jackets on my Sewing Pattern Crushes Pinterest board, but I find myself consistently navigating back to these five coats. Please comment if you’ve tried one of the patterns before!
I’m still pretty intimidated by the thought of making a heavy-duty garment like this, but I’m determined to give it a go. Have you ever sewn your own winter coat?