Anne Marie's Jacket

Warning!  This is a very picture-heavy project!

AM wanted a new fleece jacket, as the one I made for her previously is older than her nephew (now almost 13!), and not wind and weather proof... She chose the fleece a few years back, and, like many things, it went into my stash and...  um... 'rested' is good.  'Matured' may be better!  One of the problems was that paying customer projects kept eating up the time every time I thought I'd have a free couple of weeks, or other family stuff (like sick in-laws and emergency trouser projects) distracted me.  Another was finding a suitable pattern...

Eventually, a couple of weeks back, I found a fantastic pattern that hit all the bases: made for fleece, came in the right sizes, and stylish enough to wear to work in London as well as suitable for winter dog walking in the country and crumbly-hunting in wet Wales...

The pattern is the Funnel Collar Serger Coat pattern, #1005 by Great Copy.  This wasn't available in the UK, so I ordered it from Rockywoods Fabrics in the USA.  I have to say here that their service was fast and trouble free.

There are a few minor alterations that I want to make in the way the coat is assembled and finished, but these will be addressed during the project, as we get to them.

Anne Marie's glorious fabric will look so good made up!  Neither of us could decide which way out we wanted this amazing colour combination, so it will be pot luck!  It'll depend at least partly on which thread colour I have available!

First trace your pattern...  You need to trace off parts of the pattern anyway, so I just traced the whole thing off so that all the other sizes are available to me later if I want them.  

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Once the pattern is on the fabric, cutting it out is no problem!  In fact, I love that first cut into nice expensive fabric!

After the first cut, it's soon all cut out and stacked ready for sewing.  The next thing is some thread/seam/machine experimenting

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Seam experimentation!  Here we have several seam types to see which is the most suitable for the fabric and finish wanted.  Given that part of the sleeve and neck/collar seams to show on the outside, a good finish is essential.

On the left is the twin needle lapped seam, right side purple, reverse green.  While the right side looks good, I'm not so happy with the reverse, and given that this will show, I may give this one a miss.  It does have the advantage of being the least bulky, and therefore less likely to be uncomfortable, though this isn't much of a consideration, as this is a coat designed to go over other clothing.

On the right top we have the two thread flatlock, right side purple and reverse.  This seems to have a neater reverse, though the right side is possibly less smart...

The bottom two are right side and reverse of the three thread flatlock.  There's very little visible difference to the two flatlocked seams, and prectically nothing on the bulk, though the three thread version is possibly slightly stiffer than the two thread.

The twin needle and bobbin thread on the left samples, and the needle thread on both the right samples is 120's poly.  I can't remember where I got it.  I think it was some of the thread left from the silk chiffon gown from August this year, which can be seen in The Wedding Gallery.  The looper threads on the right samples are bulk poly from Empress Mills.

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The next bit is transferring all the pocket markings from the front pattern to the front of the coat, and the pocket pattern to the pocket linings.  The pocket linings are made from a black cotton shirting.  This reduces the amount of bulk in the pocket area, and being a woven fabric rather than a knit, helps to stabilize the pocket slit, preventing distortion during the zip insertion.  The zip opening is stabilized with strips of fusible interfacing.  This helsp to stop any fraying of the pocket lining fabric.

I transfer the pocket placements lines on the front pattern to the coat front sections with pins.  On Polar Fleece pens and chalk rarely show up, so I never bother with them.

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The lines from the pocket pattern are transferred the same way, and the cutting line for the slit drawn in with whatever shows up!  In this case, a perlized gel roller pen...

The ends of the slits marked on the pocket lining need to be matched with the placement line on the coat...

The pocket lining is then pinned in place, ready for sewing.  The line acts as a guide for sewing the slit.

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I first sew the slit, using the guide line to place the sewing machine foot.  I start in the middle of a long side, sew down to the corner, round the bottom, and up the other side.  I continue round to join up at the start...

The needle is to the left of the foot to give a nice narrow slit.  When you turn the corner, stop with the needle down, lift the presser foot, pivot the fabric round the needle, and lower the presser foot to carry on.  Don't forget to lower that presser foot!  The kids I teach are always forgetting this important point and creating seriously fabulous snargles to be dug out of the bobbin case and shuttle...

The overlap in the stitching finishes off the seam neatly and without bulk.


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Once the edges are sewn, the slit can be cut and the pocket lining turned through to the inside.  Be careful to snip right to (but not through!) the corners so that they turn through nice and sharply.

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Smooth the lining down neatly and without wrinkles.  Tug it gently into shape at the corners so that they are nice and square.
The zip is then placed behind the slit and sewn in place with the stitching forming the top stitching round the pocket opening.  I've used a black zip here to go with the edge tape that will be applied round the edge of the coat later.  Make sure that you have pinned the zip tape but not caught any tucks into the pins.

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As I'm using purple thread, the top stitching doesn't show up as a big contrast, but you still need to make it neat.  Again, I'm using the edge of the foot as a seam guide.  There is no advantage in this type of zip application in using the zip foot: the wider general purpose foot gives better grip and feed on these thick layers.

Always check on the inside to make sure nothing is caught where it shouldn't be!

The next thing to do is complete the pocket by sewing the pocket bag to the lining.  This needs to be done with care.  I'm doing it on the serger/overlocker to make all the edges neat as they show on the inside of the coat. 


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