Tuesday, 17 November 2015

The Clare Coat!

Hello! I have returneth from the depths of poopy nappies and over-caffeination to proudly introduce my latest make - the Clare Coat! Not only am I a little chuffed with myself for completing a rather large sewing project, but also one that has my name on it. Before you think I've soiled myself in sheer narcissism, no, this is the brand new pattern from Closet Case Files and I'm very touched that Heather Lou has chosen to name it after me. More on that later! First, the coat.

Heather has created, what I believe, is a great introduction into coat-making. Although, if you have already dipped your toe into coats, this is still a unique, very wearable pattern to add to your wardrobe. I made version A, which has an asymmetrical zip, bracelet sleeves, front welt pockets and collar, whereas version B is a more traditional-looking coat yet flaunts a fabulous dramatic funnel neck.


I decided to make version A as I liked that it was different to anything else I have, and I envisioned a cosy, coat with a huge check reminiscent of Westwood or 1960s outerwear. To achieve this, I used a poly-based wool alternative from Minerva (I'm vegetarian and try not to use wool in my sewing), which I am beyond pleased with. And, it's aptly from the 'Quebec' range so quite perfect for a pattern from cool Montreal. Soft to the touch and surprisingly warm, I love the hazy effect of this fabric, plus it coordinates perfectly with River's buggy. As a Mum, you've got to meet the demands of a child who currently has a better wardrobe than you! Life was a lot easier when I was just dealing with Elvis and Don.



In terms of construction, this coat will get your geeky sewing juices flowing without risk of strops and drunken sobs in the corner when it all goes tits up. I made a straight size 10 and needed no alterations. I don't mind sharing my measurements as I think it's helpful for others deliberating sizes: I am 36-27-40 and found the 10 fit me perfectly. For the record, I'm also a tall bird at 5'9 and the coat finishes just above mid-thigh for me. Heather's instructions are super clear and straightforward, reassuring for anyone new to coats who may feel a little intimidated. Don't - this would be such a great starting point. My version only used tailor's canvas in the collar whereas the rest required fusible interfacing to give it suitable support. In my opinion, the finished version hangs very well and I like how the collar sits a little proud from my neck.


The coat has that wonderful long zip, which if you've been swooning over Heather Lou's version with the rest of us, you'll see how you can really pimp that up with a chic zipper tassel. I may investigate this to update my version. I bought my brown zip with bronze teeth from Minerva as Vicki kindly matched it to my fabric for me. Sewing the zip is easy and it's finished with a lovely placket, another nice feature which contributes to the overall polished finish of this coat.

 

Initially, I wasn't sure whether I would stick with the shorter sleeves or lengthen them. Being tall, I also have monkey arms and even standard sleeves can look short on me. However, I decided to stick with Heather Lou's intentions and I am so glad I did. I love how chic they look pushed up a little more. Take mama for coffee, bubba...yes, okay, I'll pay. Again.

I may forget my name most days but I can
still pattern match!

I've been out and about in it already on my daily walks with River in the park, and I really do love how easy it is to wear with jeans, oh, and my disco chelsea boots. I've also tried it with tights and mini skirts for a full on 60s vibe and it looks great. This is definitely a fun coat, and as you have seen with Heather's own version, it can make a statement with to-die for bold jewel colours. So many options!

You may be asking why Clare, and I can't really answer that either as most days I look in the mirror and see a tired Mama who used to date Don Draper. He left me when I was with child. We're not surprised. But seriously, it feels very heartwarming to be liked and respected enough that, after the huge undertaking of work involved in releasing a sewing pattern, the designer wishes to put your name on their product. It is genuinely so very cool and exciting. Although I fly to Canada at least once a year to visit in-laws and friends, I finally met Heather Lou for drinks this summer in Montreal and fell a little in love. I am just pleased I wore my best perfume and silver shoes. We had dinner with Gillian and the sweet newly-weds Andrea and Ian, then a picnic the following day when Sonja just happened to drop by. What a stalker! (Jokes, my dear Pug Mama!) We had such a great visit and I did try to convince my Canuck to move to Montreal but he said the winters are too harsh - the man doth been in England too long! So for now, I shall tread the streets of Greenwich in my Clare Coat, content in the knowledge that I squeezed both a child and a coat into 2015! Thank you Heather Lou xx