There are a few firsts achieved with my Fibre Mood Carmen Coat. Number 1: it is my very first me-made full-length coat. Number 2: it’s my first patchwork project. Number 3: it’s my first time working with specialty fabrics created by Linton Tweeds. All these firsts make my Carmen Coat extra-extra-extra special for me. I loved the making process, which also turned out to be extra-extra-extra labour intensive.
Perhaps the problem was that I grossly underestimated how involved this garment-making project would be. Unrealistically, I thought that it would take about 5 days from start to finish; but all the cutting itself alone took 5 days of work. Then interfacing all the fabric pieces took up the duration of 8 full episodes of Korean Drama on Netflix. I know because I watched it while interfacing, because interfacing can be deadly boring. My mind needed something else to keep it alive while fusing interfacing to the fabric pieces.
The amount of pressing that was required for interfacing (some of it was block-fused), and ironing out ALL (rough count may be 227) seams took up more time than the actual sewing at the machine. I was spending a lot of hours with my iron and ironing board, and started to fantasise about a better ironing station. ¾ of the time spent on this make was used to prepare the fabric pieces and patchwork. I sewed up the shell and the lining within a day, and bagged the lining the morning after. I thought I was going to miss the Fibre Mood Link Party at the rate I was going, but I made it just on time, or more accurately – I was fashionably late.
Sizes for this coat go from XS to XXXL, with the largest size catering to a 145cm hip measurement. I made a size XS, and it fits perfectly without any major modifications. There are some minor adjustments. First, I lengthened the waist ties with finished measurements at 61cm long. I also widened the ties as well so that they would be 2.5cm wide (originally 1.5cm wide). I did this mainly because I felt the proportions would fit better with such a long big coat. The fabrics I was using were very thick, and skinnier ties would just turn out looking like stiff twigs instead of ties. The other modification is deepening the pockets so that there’ll be generous space for keys and phone in my coat. There are 2 snaps that are supposed to be installed to help close up the coat, but I skipped this closure entirely. I don’t think I’ll ever use the snaps. It rarely gets too cold or drafty where I live. I like to wear the coat open, and the ties are sufficient for closing up the coat.
The special detail of this coat is in the sleeves. They are double lantern sleeves, which provide space for whatever big poofy sleeves that you may be wearing underneath the coat. The cut of the coat has a very slight cocoon shape which echoes the shape of the sleeves.
It is not a difficult pattern to sew. I would rate it at an intermediate level. Fibre Mood rates it 4 out of 5 stars for the level of difficulty. The tricky parts of sewing come with the neat corners that have to be sewn for the lapels, and bagging the lining. I’ve had some experience with both so the instructions were adequate to get me through it. However, if it’s your first time making a coat, then I reckon you might have to do some extra research on these techniques to complete the coat. Some details in the coat-making are left out, e.g. easing in the sleeves, grading and pressing the seams. And when it comes to bagging the lining, I think the illustrations can be better to guide someone new through it. But it’s no biggie to check out these techniques on the internet. The coat is drafted well, and it’s perfect for a patchwork project because it doesn’t have any darts. And the lantern sleeves allow for some interesting colour-blocking.
I was spying on the amazing fabrics made by Linton Tweeds, and sorely wanted to purchase some but couldn’t decide on which fabric to choose. To solve the indecision, I finally settled on 3 Craft Packs ( 2 in pink/purple combo and 1 in green) so that I can have a good feel for a range of the fabrics. After I placed my order, I saw the announcement by Fibre Mood for the Link Party preview of patterns. The Carmen Coat grabbed my attention because it looked like the perfect pairing with a patchwork of Linton Tweeds, and voila, my Carmen Coat was conceived. The birthing of it was laborious, but I learned so much in the making of it. I am on a quest to make more blazers, jackets and coats, so this was an invaluable experience to launch that journey.
In each Linton Tweeds Craft Pack, you will get 10 selections of their tweeds and they come in 30cm X 40cm rectangles. Before cutting, I fused all these rectangles with interfacing so that the raw edges of the tweeds wouldn’t shed so much while handling. The interfacing also made the tweeds more stabilised for easier sewing. For my patchwork, I cut up these rectangles into 10cm X 30cm pieces, and these were my building blocks or tiles.
First I sewed them up at the short ends to create long strips of fabric, then joined these strips together at the long sides. Each seam that was sewn was pressed properly before moving on. As I said, the pressing was intense, and so was the cutting.
Fortunately, I had my handy LDH Rotary Cutter with Midnight Edition Blades to accompany me for this patchwork. I wouldn’t have been able to cut through all the fancy tweeds of different thicknesses.
There are many great sewing patterns in the new Fibre Mood Magazine. Check them out by clicking on the picture below or the link provided in the previous sentence:
I love my patchwork Carmen Coat! I am soooo relieved that it’s finished. Now I’m settling in for another 8 episodes of mind-numbing K-drama because that’s what’s needed to decompress from this intense but satisfying project. Happy Sewing!