It is no secret how much I love Charm Patterns and my Patreon subscription is quickly becoming my pattern staple. I’m amazed at the amount of exclusive content Gertie offers her patreons – she is no mere human! December’s pattern was a Mrs Maisel-inspired swing coat and I couldn’t wait to get started. However, I had to wait a couple of weeks. Given the scale of the pattern pieces, there was no way I could bring myself to piece together the tiled pattern so I ordered copyshop prints; I naively thought that they would arrive before my Christmas holidays but – unsurprisingly, really, due to the pressures Royal Mail was under – I had to wait until after Christmas to get started.
On New Years Day, I finally committed to cutting out the pattern pieces and fabric (this is my least favourite sewing chore). Given the size of the pieces, I had to forgo my sewing room and take over the living area. I opted for a coral with Tiffany blue lining (one of my favourite colour combinations). It only took two afternoons to sew the coat up. I was expecting it to take longer; I was also expecting it to be a struggle as I’m still sewing on my starter sewing machine (which was intended to be used by an infrequent hobbyist, not an almost-everyday sewist). I thought I would have trouble feeding the layers of coating fabric through as that was my experience when I made a Deer and Doe Lupin jacket back during the first lockdown; however, that may have been as much down to the fact I lacked experience in sewing as it was my machine’s fault. Come to think of it, I was overly confident sewing a jacket with only a few weeks sewing experience. This swing coat was a much more positive experience, with much less swearing (saying that, I must have stabbed myself with 100 pins when feeding the fabric through the machine).
What makes Gertie’s patterns so fantastic, in my opinion, is that a lot of work goes into sizing. Even this swing coat pattern (which isn’t fitted) accommodates different bust sizes (A-C and D-H). While I’d ordinarily wear a D, I opted to make the smaller size because the amount of ease in this pattern is significant and can easily work for my size. Above this, Charm Pattern instructions are incredible and Gertie also offers video sew alongs (for this pattern, I really needed it to understand attaching the lining to the cuffs as it’s a rather weird technique I had never come across before – brilliant, though, once I grasped it). Those cuffs! So worth the effort – they really do bring a bit of drama to the coat. They’re interfaced, just like the facing pieces; the pattern asks for light to medium weight interfacing; next time I would only use a light interfacing for the cuffs as they aren’t very fllexible (not that they need to be, I suppose).
For someone who has never sewn a coat before, this is a brilliant starting point; there are so few fitting issues to contend with. I didn’t make any adjustments. Given my height (5ft1), I could have shortened the length by a few inches but I decided to go for a full length version (much like Miriam herself!) and I tend to wear heels more frequently than not. There is also a shorter version of the jacket that I really want to make as well and it will be more suitable for forest walks in boots with the dogs.
It’s a practical coat which I will definitely get a lot of wear out of; I can wear a couple of layers under it easily because of the ease in the pattern. It also has pockets; always a plus, right? The shorter version has a patch pocket option which is super cute and I am looking forward to revisiting this pattern soon to make a short version.
There is an option to make a bound buttonhole with this pattern (with a pattern piece provided) or you can use your sewing machine to make a buttonhole if you’re confident it does the job well. For my purposes, I cheated and used a snap with a faux self-covered button. Why risk a dodgy buttonhole if you don’t have to?
The most time consuming part of this project is the hemming but that’s to be expected! It was a thoroughly enjoyable project and I know I am going to get so much wear out of my new coat; the weather here is pretty miserable at the moment. It’s cold, windy and incredibly icy… little wonder I am rocking the windswept and interesting look when I popped outside for a couple of pictures of the coat. I was hoping for some sun, at least, but I could be waiting weeks for that!