|Can you guess who I am? (And don't you love my superb photoshopping skills?)|
Fun fact about me: I hate games of chance. I prefer to win based on my (perceived) intellectual merit; trivia games are the best because they allow me to show off the results of way too many nights of following Wikipedia rabbit trails. Even when I was younger, I enjoyed collecting tidbits of knowledge the way some of my classmates liked collecting Sanrio items, so it's probably no surprise to those of you who grew up in the 90s that my favorite kid's game show was -- you know what it is* -- Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego?
|Please tell me you read that last run-on sentence super fast, in Greg Lee's voice.|
Anyway, by now you've probably heard about Lolita Patterns' latest release, the Spearmint coat. I was originally contacted about being a test sewer a few months ago, but due to a sad comedy of errors (a tragedy of errors?), I wasn't able to finish the coat before the deadline. I was originally going to use the rest of the velvet tablecloth from my pirate coat, but there wasn't quite enough for a long coat, it was too drapey for the my liking, and my machine's walking foot decided to give up the ghost, so pile fabrics were not going to happen. By the time I switched gears and prepped, cut, and underlined new fabric, there was no way I was going to finish in time to give Amity and Leila any feedback. I was pretty disappointed in myself for botching my first test-sewing experience, but thankfully those two lovely ladies were very understanding. I did finally finish my coat about three weeks ago, though, and thank goodness it's such a fabulous garment, because my initial bad feelings toward the coat are now totally eclipsed in my memory by how much I like this coat! Seriously, every time I wear it, I get so many positive comments. And I can't help but feel good when wearing such a bold color. The Lolita!CarmenSandiego cosplay potential doesn't hurt either!
|Likes: dramatic collar, full skirt, and slim-cut sleeves. I don't know why so many Big 4 patterns have sleeves big enough for two of my arms.|
|And oh hey, look at what's hanging out in the side seam...|
|Okay, totally geeky of me, but look what I've got on my pocketses lining fabric: rings. Pay tribute when you can, right?|
|The coat looks good hanging open, too.|
|I need to press and steam it better.|
|Side view...oh hey, I'm following one of those fashion blogger tips: if you've got a small bust, wear something with large ruffles in the chest area to make it look fuller.|
|Back view...I'm in love with how huge the collar is!|
After getting over the initial bad mojo from the failed tablecloth version, I have to say that the sewing process itself went fairly smoothly. For all that the collar looks so impressive, it's actually extremely easy to sew, and I think a confident beginner could tackle this coat. When I showed my mom and sister, they were both duly impressed that I had actually made it myself.
|I have to say, I'm pretty impressed with myself too!|
Fabric: 100% wool coating from Jo-Ann Fabrics (purchased two years ago with the intention of making a winter coat, only I decided that I wasn't ready to tackle it yet), underlined with a cotton/poly bedsheet since the coating was still pretty thin and drapey. The lining was another sheet, but a 100% polyester microfiber one instead, since I wanted it to be somewhat slippery, but not as slippery as actual satin lining fabric. I did actually start using the "real" lining fabric for the pockets, but it misbehaved so much that I opted against using any more for the sake of my sanity.
Notions: A yard of horsehair canvas, plus a hook and eye.
Techniques used: You guys, I actually bag-lined my first ever garment! I think I've read this Threads article about fifty times, and been confused every time, but the ladies over at Lolita Patterns did a good enough job explaining it that I did it right the first time (an achievement in and of itself), and, get this, it was 2 AM. If my sleep-deprived and sickness-addled teacher/student brain could do it without seam ripping, those must be some pretty dang good instructions. Oh, and I used horsehair as interfacing for the first time! Good thing, too, since it then gave me the idea to interface Thranduil's collar with the leftovers.
Hours: Ummmm, this might be the only downside. It took me a good 4-5 hours to cut everything, and then an additional 15 or so hours to do the sewing (but I was also underlining everything). I didn't need to do any fitting though, thanks to the forgiving front opening, so there was that. I also didn't do the bound buttonhole, so that saved on sewing time. What I did appreciate was not having to waste time trying to figure out why pieces didn't fit together -- guys, this pattern is well-drafted and everything actually matches up!
Total cost: Thanks to massive sales, teacher discounts, and excellent coupon usage, I was able to get the wool for the coat for $12, and then the two sheets were an additional $3 each. I think the horsehair was about $12...throw in another few bucks for thread and it brings the price of materials to about $35. Not bad at all, considering that a coat like this could easily run upwards of $100 at Nordstrom.
Will you make it again? I think it's unlikely, since it's a pretty singular coat, and more than one garment with a huge ruffled collar is not really necessary. However, I will most likely steal the sleeve and armscye of this pattern, because it is one of the nicest I've ever had to set in. Also, as mentioned by several other test sewers and the actual pattern debut blog entry, this is a "top coat," so it definitely runs snug. I cut the size recommended for my measurements and I can't wear this with anything bulkier than a long-sleeve tee or a thin sweater (think the kind of flimsy ones they sell at Target in the Merona collection). Since I live in California, that doesn't really bother me, but if you're intending to actually layers items under this, I'd go up a size or two. I would also check the size of the pocket opening, too, since they feel rather large to me. I might just go and sew up the bottom third of mine, actually.
Final thoughts: Thank you, Lolita Patterns, for coming up with such a fabulous coat pattern! It's almost as fabulous as Thranduil's spangly tunic, it's that fun. And while some people have said (hi Mom!) that the front neckline is too open and I'll catch my death of cold, I personally think of it as a built-in scarf showcasing mechanism. Now I have an excuse to get more huge statement scarves.
If you're interested in purchasing your own Spearmint pattern, you can get it here at their online shop, or you can even buy it in a bundle with the other Lolita Patterns releases, the Gunmetal and Sugarplum.
And if you haven't seen Knitnbee's and LadyKatza's red Spearmints yet, you should go check them out! Apparently this pattern just begs to be made up in such a vibrant color. Hmm, what are the chances of one day having a red Spearmint meet-up IRL?
* "Do it Rockapella!" Oh my goodness, this song brings me back to middle school like no other. It used to be my dream to get on the show, even though I'm terrible at making decisions/answering questions when under a time crunch. I'm pretty sure I would never buzz in first and then end up being the gumshoe that doesn't even make it to The Chase.