It's about exploring and sharing my creative adventures (mostly sewing these days) ~
~those activities that sometimes obsess, usually inspire, occasionally frustrate
~and always provide a delightful maze to wander through.

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Bring on the Rain! (The Soho Raincoat)

The Good News:  The Soho Raincoat is DONE!
The Better News:  I'm delighted with the results :)

The back story:  Last winter I made up the Sewing Workshop Soho Coat pattern in a robe, blogged about here.  I already knew that I wanted to make a raincoat out of this luscious deep purple pleated fabric scored from Fabrix,

but I could not get past how to work with all those micro pleats, going in every which direction.  I got Stymied, Stalled... flat out Stopped in my tracks by the Fear of Getting It Right.  (If you don't understand what I'm talking about it, please don't tell me about it!)  ;D  So there it sat.  In the corner, partially cut, a few sample seams on scraps, my traced pattern which nearly got ruined by spilled spray starch, twitching, wilting, taunting me.... for nearly a year.   The copious amounts of rain we're getting this year finally motivated me into action!  And, par for the course when the game is called the Fear of Getting It Right (i.e., Perfection Issues), I finally found the path called Just Have Fun and Finish It Already!   Is it perfect?   Nah.   Is it good enough?  You betcha!

My previous post details a lot of the discoveries I made in working with this fabric, so you can check that out for fabric-specific info; this post will be about making up the Soho pattern.

Which I still love.  Love!  This pattern could be a heavy winter coat, a light Fall coat, a raincoat, even a robe ... the lines are simple but elegant, and whatever fabric you choose can define a variety of uses.   Because of its simplicity, it's easy to make minor, or major, changes for a completely different look.  And I think the lines make it very flattering to a wide range of figure types.

Have I mentioned yet how much I love this pattern?   I have sooooo many coat and jacket patterns, but I already have thoughts about making this up again.

Without further ado....here are some shots of the finished coat:
Some hood/collar variations -
here it's sort of rolled down.

Hood in relaxed position

Hood up


Hood down and flattened out.

Stealth Mode.
Close up of buttons


Some notes about the pattern:

  • If you just follow the instructions and don't make any changes, it's SO easy.   A lot of bang for the buck on this one!
  • The instructions, for the most part, are very very good.   The only thing that threw me off was the unusual shoulder seams, which are basically a V-shape (dart) cut into the front pieces between the hood & the rest of the front (the hood & front are together in one piece), and how the shoulder seam is attached to the back.   Just read through the instructions for this area carefully, and don't be confused by the fact that some stay-stitching around the dart is shown along with instructions to stitch a seam.   Do not do what I did, and stitch the dart together.   It isn't really a dart.   It's the shoulder seam.   Have I confused you?   Good, now I have company.  };-)
  • As with most Sewing Workshop patterns, this one runs large.   My measurements called for a largish Medium, but I cut a Small, and shortened both the sleeves (by about 2") and the length (by about 3").  It's still plenty roomy.
  • The first step you do is sew on the pockets, so you need to know where you want them right off the bat.  I had shortened the length above the pocket placement line by 1", but I still raised the pockets by an inch.
  • You also need to know where to place the buckle, or closure, if you follow the pattern.   I chose not to use their closure method, so I skipped this step.
Closure Details
I didn't really like the looks of the closure the pattern called for, so I waited until the end to figure out what I wanted to do.   Even then, I kind of made it up as I went along.
The twisty bits are sewn and turned thin strips that I twisted tightly until the strip folded back on itself.   To do this, you simply hold each end of a strip, and twist each end in opposite directions, like you're twisting a rope.   Once it gets almost too tight to twist any more, bring the ends together, hold them together in one hand, and the rest of the strip will automatically twist itself into a rope, as shown above.    Tighten or loosen the twist until you have the size loop you want, then sew the ends together to hold that shape.

Then I free-formed four triangularish shapes, sewed them right sides together & turned them.

I decided where I wanted the buttons, and sewed the twisty bits in place on the outside.

Then I covered the end of the twisty loop with one triangle, matched a second triangle on the inside for stability, and topstitched the two triangles together.   Pic above shows an inside (i.e., unseen) triangle on the left (rather messy looking, but as mentioned above, I was going for "good enough", not perfection!), and the outside triangle, which will be visible.

Other Construction Notes
The edge of the hood was VERY wavy after I was done, so I sewed a running stitch and gathered it up a bit, then top stitched the edge of the hood - just enough to make the edge sort of flat.   These pleats DO relax a bit after fussing with it, i.e., sewing and pressing.

I may still top stitch the side seams, in order to keep them flatter and neater looking.

Bottom Line?   Love the fabric, love the pattern.    Give me some more rain!

43 comments:

  1. Wow, what an amazing raincoat! You did a great job taming those small pleats and the finished effect with those wonderful toggles is very upmarket boutique :)

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  2. Love the gorgeous color and the design is so ... Jilly! Thanks for sharing and inspiring ...

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  3. Brilliant work! Love every part of it...J

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  4. I knew it would be fabulous! Love the closures.

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  5. That's the most stylish raincoat that I have ever seen! And I live in London, where it rains quite a bit! It's just gorgeous. You did a brilliant job on it.

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    1. Wow...high praise indeed - big thanks! :)

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  6. Love it! The closures are fabulous.

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  7. Amazing, can I borrow.. We had the wettest year since records began...

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    1. This would probably even fit you! I'm sure we could find something to trade - if I wear 8" heels ;)

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  8. FABULOUS! It came out GREAT, JillyBe!! I love your handmade toggles and everything is perfect. Last night I was playing with my green pleated fabric that is the same as yours. I tried different ways of hemming, including Wonder Tape, but so far am not happy with the results. But you have mastered this!!

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    1. hehehe....you may notice that I've not shown any pictures of the INside! ;D

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  9. Amazing coat - love it especially the way the fabric has been used.

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  10. OMG. No wonder you're so excited about this coat! Isn't there another storm on the way?

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  11. Congratulations on facing your fear of the fabric and making a terrific coat. I would be intimidated about that fabric, too, but you handled it well. I've seem the Soho coat made into a winter frock. I love it. I have the pattern, and someday will make one. Good sewing!

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  12. Well done and what a great rain coat!! I love the smile on your face, it's just priceless! I second the "bring on the rain" comment but for different reasons to you (I just want to cool down!) haha

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  13. This is fun! I love what you did with the closures. Great fabric. I can tell you are going to enjoy not getting wet...

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  14. Wow and Wow and Wow, I love it.

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  15. What a great coat - it suits the fabric very well!

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  16. It came out absolutely beautiful! I just love the hood :) Bring on that rain!

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  17. Jilly, I will add my 2 cents to the 27 other comments above. Your raincoat is gorgeous! I so love the closures, and the fabric is so pretty. So glad you found your alternate path!

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  18. Why wait for rain? Heck just wear your fabulous coat any old time. Your joy in making it good enough is infectious. It's more than good enough. Anyone getting up close and personal to look inside, well, I hope it's mutual. Love the side view, very French Leutenant's Woman. You need some moors to wander over. I wanna red one.

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  19. Not only for a rainy day...this coat would be great to wear over a special occasion dress if the weather was cool and one needed an overcoat. Very classy.

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  20. I love everything about it! The closures are brilliant, fantastic job Jilly. Good thing for you that I am nowhere close to your size or I might have to come down there and steal it. 8-)

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  21. What creative closures! This looks like a very expensive Micra pac jacket--love it!

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  22. Maybe the best rain coat ever. This fabric would have driven me nuts but you worked it to your advantage. Masterful.

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  23. This coat is too beautiful to wear out in the rain! The closures are inspired -- love them. Looks like the path to "just have fun and finish it already" was a success! Happy new year!

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  24. Now I will have to make mine up in the New Year so the next time we meet we can have matching coats. The one thing I noticed, which I just never did looking at the pattern drawing, was how much shorter the front hem is frin the back. Great job and thanks for working out all of the kinks before I get started!

    Happy New Year!

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    1. Get busy on it ReAnn! See you next year? (I recommend the non-rainy season, though....)

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  25. Such a lovely raincoat! You did a great job and it's totally you. Now I bet you want it to rain more often, right? (If so, then just move up here. It's barely stopped for a deep breath since October!) Better yet, just wear it whenever.

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    1. I think I'll look for non-rainy excuses to wear it; the amount of rain we're getting this year is just about right. I need my sunshine! ;)

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  26. Thank you SO much, everyone - your comments put big smile on my face :D

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  27. Ohh! Don't stand still too long- some obviously-dyed redhead with twitchy paws may try to steal it right off of you!!! Gorgeous! What a great year-end make!

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  28. Each of the sewing projects you have posted this year have been excellent on you and now the coat is really tops. So glad to get to know you in 2012 and looking forward to years of sewing friendship.

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  29. Jilly Be, I have bestowed upon you an inspiring blogger award! Enjoy!

    http://sue-parrott.blogspot.com/2013/01/my-acceptance-wow.html

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