I have wanted to make myself a cheery raincoat for a very long time but just could not find a pattern. In the end , determined to have my raincoat, I did some rather major alterations to an ordinary coat pattern. The pattern has princess seams which would have spoiled the rather beautiful pattern, so they needed eliminating, as did some of the shaping because I wanted a straight style. Do you want to make one too? There are some things you need to bear in mind, but it's not that difficult I promise.
This is the finished coat. I used a ripstop fabric in a very colorfully print called Ellies. I purchased it from WhiteTreeFabrics.com but do sadly this was the last piece. However I never like to dictate to you exactly what fabric you should use, we all have very different tastes. What you need to look out for though is a RIP-STOP fabric or a showerproofed cotton. For the linings I chose a firm shot taffeta. With the raincoat outer being quite firm it called for a stiffer lining than normal. I chose a darker colour than my main fabric.
And yes, the rather cute 60s style fabric does have elephant's on it!
This is the pattern, it is Mccalls M7058 and you can buy it from jaycotts.co.uk by clicking on this link Mccalls M7058 at Jaycotts.co.uk It is a lovely pattern with lots of variations to choose from. I wanted the style which has the hood, and as I bought the last of this roll of fabric there was only enough to make the mid-length version. Which was what I wanted anyway!
These are the front pattern pieces. To take advantage of the pattern on my fabric, and to eliminate some of the seams I needed to create one front piece. The back is the same, it is also princess seamed and this too needs amending. I also wanted my coat to be loose fitting and it was prudent to get rid of the shaping at the waist too.Above are the pattern pieces as they began life.I am not going to ruin my pattern, they are expensive and I will want to use it again so I traced it off onto tracing paper, available from Jaycotts.co.uk You can buy it here:- Dressmakers tracing paper
One thing I must mention is that you cannot put pins into this fabric or it will leave holes. Instead when cutting out you should use pattern weights, I make my money banks earn their pennies, but if you want proper ones they are available on this link Pattern weights you also only get one chance at sewing your seams too so I strongly advise making a toille. You can however pin WITH IN the seam allowance, but this fabric is not easy to pin.I have eliminated the curves on the princess seams and put the two fronts next to each other. At the top there will be a triangle where the pattern will not meet. This will form a dart.
If you look closely you will see at the top of this front piece there is a notch cut out. This is what used to be a princess seam and is now a dart. The back will be exactly the same but the dart will be narrower.
I now have two,front pieces instead of four and one back piece instead of three. To make it easier I draw around these pieces on the lining with tailors chalk. Transferring all pattern markings. The centre back needs a pleat for movement , this is normal on most lined patterns, so place the coat back about one inch from the fold of the fabric and pin the pleat into place. Linings can look pretty much the same on both sides so to avoid confusion I place a small piece of masking tape on the back of each piece with the piece number on it.
This is the back lining all marked to and ready to be cut. Cut out your back, sleeves and hood linings now.The front lining needs special attention. You will need to cut the front facing out of the main fabric and the rest from lining so bear this in mind when you are cutting the lining out. You will therefore have to eliminate the princess seam and form a dart here too, so that it matches the coat front.Don't worry if it sounds complicated it will all make sense what the pattern is in front of you.
Now you are ready to stitch the darts and sew the shoulder seams. You might be wondering how on earth you will get the seams flat. Firstly you can press this type of fabric, but ONLY with a cooler iron over a pressing cloth. I use a linen cloth as linen withstands high temperatures without burning.On the shoulders I pressed the seam flat and then pressed it towards the back and top stitched with a long machine stitch.You must always use a new needle when starting any project, this one will blunt your needle quickly so you may need to use two. You should always have a selection of sewing machine needles in your personal stock, you not only need different sizes from very fine to the heavyweight one I used to sew this fabric, but you will also need needles for stretch fabrics and a twin needle is very useful when top stitching hems as it gives the appearance of having used a coverstitch machine. Take a look at the different types of sewing needles available from Jaycotts and then look at the fabrics in your stash. Have you got the correct needle for each of your fabrics! If not you can order your supplies here Sewing machine needles were you aware that there were so many different types?
I wanted to add patch pockets at the front. I tried the garment on, fastened together at the side seams with masking tape and put a another strip of masking tape to mark the top,of each pocket. Make sure that each side is equal.Then you will have to have patience because you need to match the pattern on your pocket exactly to that on the coat. So, take a larger square of fabric which roughly looks as though it will match and move it around until you find the exact match, cut it out to the right side. You can iether make a lined or non lined pocket, it depends on your personal choice and your fabric to be honest. Please take your time with this bit, it can be frustrating but it will be totally worth every angui
This is the pocket sewn in place. Perfectly matched I might add!
The best way to sew slippery fabrics is with a walking foot. The one I use is especially for my Bernina 350PE Bernina walking foot
there are walking feet for most machines so please telephone jaycotts.co.uk for advice on the correct one for your machine. Contact details at the end of this blog post .A walking foot does just that, it rises and falls in a walking movement lifting the foot off the fabric very briefly to enable the lower feed dogs to move the fabric without having to fight against pressure from an ordinary machine foot. If you do not have one then try a Teflon foot and see if that glides over the fa ric easily. PS if your money banks are empty then put some sticky tape on the base of your normal presser foot, cutting the centre hole out , it's only a temporary measure but it works.
Stitch the side seams next.and press and top stitch them as before.
Sew the hood together and press the seam open using a sleeve roll. Do the same with the lining. Right sides together stitch all the way around the front of the hood. Turn right sides out. press. Top stitch. Baste the bottom together inside the seam line and attach it to the coat neckline, matching notches. You can pin it within the seam allowance here.
This is the hood sewn in place. Make your sleeves by stitching the dart and sewing the underarm seam. Run a long basting stitch along the sleeve head just as you would normally do. Ease into place, it will, go, be patient,
You now have the basics of the coat, minus the lining. Make up the lining by stitching the shoulder and side seams. Press. Just leave the back pleat pinned for now because you need to try the lining out to make sure it fits inside the coat exactly. Once you have made any alterations and are happy with the fit stitch about three InChester down from the neckline and about four inches up from the bottom. Press the pleat to one side on the reverse.Right sides together and hood tucked inside stitch all the way around the neck, the sides and the hem. Make sure that the lining is loose and does not pull the coat out of shape, you will need to push the hem lining up slightly from the bottom of the coat.Pull the lining through one armhole. Baste the lining to the coat around the armhole within the seam allowance
This is what you should now have in front of you. By the way if your fabric is wrinkly, put it into a got tumble dryer for a couple of minutes hangmitmup,immediately and the fabric will soften and the creases drop, out!
I inserted very thin shoulder pads just to smooth the shoulder line out. Insert these now if you are using them.
Turn up the sleeve hem to the required length and top stitch.
Fold the hem back down and attach the bottom of the sleeve lining to it. Pull it through to the inside.
Your inside sleeve edge will now look like this.
Pin and hand sew the sleeve lining onto the armhole. Press using a cool iron and a pressing cloth.
Top stitch all around the coat, stitching in the ditch at the back of the hood. I top stitched the hem twice half an inch apart so that the lining would not fall down
Now it comes to fastenings. If you have never used Non sew poppers before then don't be afraid to use them, although I would practise first.there is a huge selection on this page, Non sew press studsI also recommend that you use these pliers Pliers for non sew poppers etc as they make the job so much easier. Mark the position accurately with a ruler and a disappearing pen. I did all the top ones first then measured carefully to ensure that the lower part of the press studs matched. A final press and a tumble in the tumble dryer and it's all ready for some rain.
The coat is very loose fitting and casual which is exactly the look I was after.
I chose silver poppers which do not detract from the fabric, as if anything could!
Thank you for reading this post I hope that you will be tempted to have a go at Pattern hacking, it's great fun and it means that you become your own designer too!Best wishesAngela