My Big Bow Coat – Completed And Out In The Wild

By Lauren Guthrie

It’s been a long time coming with this coat, but finally its finished! Yay! 


I first downloaded the pattern from Lekala back in September. I really wanted to get my teeth into this one and take my time, so I started at the beginning of November with a muslin to check the fit. The pattern came in only one size that was based on the measurements that I plugged into the website. As it was the first time I’d tried one of these patterns I really wanted to check things out first.

The muslin was surprisingly good apart from being a little tight at the elbows (as tested by the ‘can you chat on the phone comfortably test?). So when cutting it out I just added a little extra to the seam allowances of the sleeve pieces while keeping the sleeve head all the same (see my full post on the muslin here).

I cam across interesting instructions on the welt pockets and collar………which were pretty much like a technical challenge from the final of a sewing bee. At least there was no one filming the frustration or mistakes this time! See my previous posts on the welt pocket tutorial and collar tutorial.

With a few final touches this week I’m now able to wear it out in real life! Yay!

I’ve done a final row of topstitching along the centre front of the coat.

Attached the sleeve lining to the outer coat at the hem with a French tack (I followed the great guide in Tasias new book – Sewtionary).

I decided to use big press-studs to fasten it closed at the front – one at the collar and 3 down the main coat bodice. The button hole on my machine is pretty good but I just didn't want it to be stitched. I thought about bound button holes but I was worried that might not look right. I'm thinking about adding mock buttons at a later date but I haven’t found any I’ve fallen in love with yet.

The collar does feel big! I guess it is really. It’s not as drafty as you might think due to this facing section that sits on the inside but that does just cover the shoulders. My neck still feels a bit cold so a scarf is still needed when wearing this coat; especially with the temperatures we are getting these days!

When I said it’s totally finished I might have fibbed a bit….the little belt loop detail at the back isn’t in place  - again due to the button situation. It’s not critical to holding the coat together or anything so I figured I’d just live with things for a bit.

One thing I have changed about this part of the coat is the size of that section of fabric. I thought the first one was way too big. I just looked odd. So I made a smaller one,  but I might see if I get third time lucky. I think the second version might be too small. What do you think?

Overall I’m really pleased with it, and I love the Liberty fabric I used as the bodice lining. It's from their Autum/Winter collection as is called Perennial. I added a little loop to hang it up too, made from a little strip of the off cuts. 

For the sleeves I used regular anti-static lining so I could slide it on and off with ease when I've got a big woolly jumper on! 

I enjoyed making it so much and trying to figure out all the diffferent stages. It’s defiantly not a quick make and I would say you’d need to be pretty familiar with clothing construction before trying it, but if you want a challenge go for it!

Big Bow Coat – Collar Tutorial

By Lauren Guthrie

My Big Bow Coat is really coming on now! In fact I only have the press-studs and buttons to sew on and it’s totally finished!

Before I do the big reveal I wanted to show you how I worked out the collar on this coat.

When I made my toile (which you can check out in this post) I realised just how wide the collar was and I was worried it would mean it would be a bit drafty around the neck as it was so open.

As I showed you in the last tutorial on making the welt pockets, the instructions are really difficult to interpret for this pattern and there is no reference to a whole extra bit of the coat and collar that helps it all sit in place and stops the drafts around the neck.

Here is how I managed to figure it all out. The text in italics is the original instructions. 

We last left things after step 2, which was all about the welt.

Step 3 Sew bust dart on front. Press towards hem. Make and sew a counter pleat on back according to makers. Press.
The dart part is easy enough. For the pleat, it’s fairly easy too, the only extra thing that I did was to stitch the pleat on the inside folds to help them automatically sit in place.

Step 4 Sew side and shoulder seams of front and back. Press seam apart and serge.
Again, so far so easy.

Step 5 Sew together, pair wise, back and front neck facings. Press seams apart. Pin right sides together and sew neckline edge. Clip into curves, turn right side out, and press.
It gets a bit confusing here as on the actual pattern pieces they are called the upper back and upper front.  You will have two sets of these pieces and one set should have interfacing on it.
When you sew them together (right sides facing) make sure they are offset slightly as shown below. This will mean when you press the seam allowances open you get a continuous curve once you trim off the little triangles that stick out.

Repeat this for both sets then sew them together (right sides facing) along the inner curve. Notch it out as show below.

Then turn around, so wrong sides are facing, and press in place. I also added a line of topstitching round the inner curve 0.5cm from the edge. I think it just adds a nice detail. (Not shown in picture). 

The big bow is a massive feature in this coat and it’s fairly straightforward to make it. Steps 6 and 7 refer to making the actual bow and the only bit I would change is where the topstitching goes. The pattern says to do it 1cm from the fold but I think that’s too much, I’d do closer to 0.5cm.

Step 8 Top stitch the bow onto the right ride of the upper collar from the right side, aligning the marked lines. Sew the bow knot (belt-loop) to upper collar, aligning upper and lower edges. Sew upper collar to the neckline. Clip into curves and press seam apart.
I ignored the first part of this instruction. Attaching the bow at this stage just means it will get in the way. I sewed it on by hand once the collar was all on and finished.
Next I attached the upper collar (that’s the outside collar which will have the interfacing on it) to the main coat.

Step 9 Pin lower collar to collar placket right sides together. Insert vertical edge of front neck facing between them, matching notches along the lower edge. Sew together. Press seam toward the placket. Fix lower collar to facing along the lower edges.
This bit too me ages to work out and I think it might be easier to just see the pictures. The thing I started to realise after this step is that you have to see the collar as a 3D thing and that it just won’t lie flat at all.
The lower collar is the inside collar and as it’s shorter that the outside collar you have to attach it to the collar placket. The confusing bit is fitting the facing in-between that seam.
I recommend you pin the facing the inner collar to the facing along the lower edge and sew that first. Then pin the placket in place, which will sandwich the facing in the middle. Sew with the normal 1cm seam, press the seam allowance to the placket, and then top stitch again 0.5cm from the seam line. I think it’s the details of the topstitching that really add a nice touch.

Step 10 Sew lining the same way as the main fabric pieces. Turn seam allowance of the lining hem twice inside at the 1cm and topstitch. Sew lining to front band facing. Press seam allowances onto lining and serge. Sew lower collar to lining and to front band facing. Press seam into lining.
This step isn’t too bad either. As long as you take it one bit at a time. The mistake I made was to cut the front bodice-lining piece too large. I forgot to miss out the width of the front band facing. It does say that at the top of the instruction sheet, I just missed it.
I also topstitched on the lining 0.5cm from the seam line for another detail.

Step 11 Sew and press sleeve elbow seam. Make a decorative stitch at 1cm off the seam. Press hem of sleeve. Sew and press apart front sleeve seam. Make a gathering stitch along sleeve cap for ease. Sew sleeve into armhole, matching notches and adjusting ease. Sew in shoulder pads.
Again, I did the top stitch 0.5cm from the seam line. I also missed out the shoulder pads too but I’ll come back to that.

Step 12 Serge lower edge of garment. Press hem. Not too bad, there is a line along the bottom of the pattern at about 1” (3cm) from the bottom edge so I pressed the hem at this level.
Pin lining to facing and lower collar, with right sides together, sew facing and upper edge of collar.

This bit is tricky as there are quite a lot of layers to sew through.
So at this point you will have the outer coat that has the collar attached (the collar that has the interfacing attached to it) and the coat lining that has the inner collar (which also has the facing attached to it).
Sew lower edges of front band facing to from exactly along marked line of hem turn up.
You then have to attach them together starting at the hem on one side of the coat all the way up to the collar, along the top of the collar and then back down to the other side of the hem.

Trim corners. Turn coat out onto right side, straighten seams and press seams.
This bit is easy enough.

Put fixing stitch along collar and neckline connecting seam.
Here I put a line of topstitching along the top edge of the collar 0.5cm from the edge.
To put the second row of top stitching along the bottom edge of the collar, you need to hand tack the outer and inner collar together. I used red thread and stitched right in the seam line to make sure that everything was lined up correctly.

I then topstitched it from the outside of the coat but I managed to get all the lining caught up in it. So out it came and I had to do it again, making sure I pulled the lining out the way.

To finish off the collar I tried the coat on and got Ayaz to pin it in place before hand sewing it on.

Once I get the final few things finished off I’ll show you the coat in its full big bow and big collar glory!

Fabric Friday Inspiration - Hot off the Bolt

By Lauren Guthrie

This week we've had another fresh batch of fabric arrive including some really lovely and hard to find printed jerseys. Some of these are so soft and snuggly!  

You can see all the new solids and patterned ones in the just arrived section. Most of them are medium to lighter weight so would be perfect for the Colette Myrtle DressColette Moneta DressSew Over it Untimate Wrap Dress or Sewaholic Renfrew Top

How fun are these dalmation ones!?

We also have some really cute ones that would be perfect for kids wear like the Oliver + S Playtime Dress Tunic and Leggings.

Awwww birdies and helicopters

Also this really simple but delicate fawn spotty one - so sweet for a little baby! The Oliver + S Lullaby Layette Set would be lovely. 

These new cotton jerseys from the Arizona Collection of Art Gallery Fabrics are so amazingly soft! The softest I've ever felt! I'm in such a habbit of getting into my PJ's way earlier that I should these days and I'm dreaming of some made of this. 

The pinky one is called desert blanket...ah that just makes we want to wrap it round me and curl up on the sofa! I've downloaded the Lisel + Co Digital Metro T-shirt to make a long sleeved PJ top, it's added to what is a very long list at the moment! 

This beautiful double knit fabric would be perfect for the new Tilly and the Buttons Francoise Dress Pattern or for the Colette Mabel Skirt (the later is also on my long list!). 

These spotty ones are double sided so you could pick what side you prefer or use it to contrast a section of the garment. 

I think the Francoise would look amazing in this burgandy chamrbray dots fabric too - it's so soft! 

We also now have the really lovely Arizona Collection by April Rhodes for Art Gallery fabrics. The full collection is listed in the Just arrived section (link here). I think it would make an amazing quilt and there is even a free pattern on the Art Gallery Fabrics website (link here).

We've made up some lovely bundles too that would make great Christmas presents! They have a fat quarter (50cm x 56cm) of every design in the collection. 

I have to show you these few more as well...they are a bit more obscure and wouldn't look out of place in a guthrie vs ghani competition. Sometimes I'm so taken by something that I just have to have some!

These lips!.....Awesome! It has a navy background and then loads of big juicy lips on a drapy polyester fabric. How cool would a Colette Dahlia look in this? 

On the subject of the Dahlia.... we have also had some of the loveliest check/plaid cotton and viscose mix fabric that is really similar to the one in the lovely pictures that Colette had photographed for the pattern. 

Then, how cute is this Hello Kitty floral lawn? You almost don't see them at first then their little cute faces start to appear everywhere! 

Who is still finding time for a bit of sewing at this time of year? Or is everything a bit too busy? Or are you busy making pressies?