I don’t want this to come across as an overly negative review of this pattern. I’m sure if you’re a more experienced seamstress - or can read the original German instructions - this would be a much more enjoyable sew. For context, I consider myself slightly above “advanced beginner”, but not quite at “intermediate” level. I’ve sewn a variety of garments and fabrics but not attempted jeans or underwear. This was my first coat and fully-lined adult garment. I hope that helps!
I struggle to find coats that suit me. I’m slightly above average height at 5’7” but I feel drowned by long coats. I have narrow shoulders and look like a child wearing an adult's suit jacket in anything with shoulder pads or a large collar/lapel! I bought this boxy pale pink Jack Wills coat in the sale last January. I loved the length and style, but the fabric was AWFUL and bobbled straight away.
I kept my eyes peeled for a similar pattern so that I could recreate it, and spotted the Schnittchen Patterns Silvia Coatigan on @frenchnavynow_ last September.
I chose a bright pink herringbone wool tweed from Fabworks (now sold out), Rifle Paper Co. rayon for the bodice lining and a viscose-blend lining fabric from Like Sew Amazing for the sleeve lining. I didn't think the rayon would be slippy enough for the sleeves, and it meant I could cut the bodice and pocket linings out of just one metre - bargain! I've only used lining fabric once before and it was revolting and plastic-y and melted when I ironed it. In stark contrast, this lining feels lovely and slinky, and didn't melt or pull apart at the seams.
I was between a UK 8 and 10 on the size chart but opted for the 8 as I usually size down in RTW coats.
Fabrics as above
Scissors by Ernest Wright
Project bags by Sarah Ashford Studio
I decided to interline as the wool wasn't particularly thick. In my infinite wisdom, I opted to use fusible fleece. I don't think this is what it's intended for and I wouldn't recommend it as an interlining! I cut out the front and back pattern pieces, trimmed 2cm from each edge and attached them to my wool before I began construction. It gives the finished coat a rather starched and boxy look, and I had to trim it down around the arms. I didn't add it to the sleeves as I thought I'd look like the Michelin man. On the plus side, it IS wonderfully warm!
With the fleece attached, I started assembling my Silvia. Be warned: the instructions are REALLY sparse and there aren't any pictures. There's a link to a separate album of photos but I didn't find these particularly enlightening. I muddled through most of it but really struggled with the collar. If you've sewn a collar like this before, you'll probably be fine, but I just couldn't get my head around sewing a 90 degree and 270 degree angle together. Mine isn't particularly neat and thanks to the relatively loose weave of the wool, I knew it wouldn't survive unpicking.
I'm also pretty gutted I didn't realise that the collar had a seam in it, or I would've pattern matched it!
Nikki of Hello Yellow Club recommended this Grainline Studio tutorial on bagging out a lining as the pattern instructions don't go into any detail. Luckily, I figured out sleeve linings last year when I made the Poppy and Jazz Honeydew hoodie. I was still a bit baffled by the front hem corners as the main coat has a bigger seam allowance than the facing. I studied my RTW coat and made an educated guess, which thankfully, seemed to pay off.
I think the lining is my favourite part! Pictured here with my Alice & Co Mary Quant dress: a free download from the V&A website!
Despite the pattern pieces and seam allowances being the correct size, the lining was really baggy. A couple of people reported the same problem with this pattern, so I wonder if the drop shoulder causes it to droop? I couldn't face turning the coat the wrong way out again or performing major surgery, so I pulled the lining down 1cm onto the inside hem, and slip stitched it in place. It's still a little "droopy" but it looks much better. Hopefully I can still move freely without ripping my lining!
This is the longest I've ever spent on a project: I started cutting it out at the end of December and didn't finish until the first week of February. I really didn't enjoy the process and kept putting it off, but I banned myself from starting a new project until I'd finished it! I saved my Knit and Destroy tape measure scarf (see first photo) to wear with it, which was a great incentive to finally knuckle down!
Pictured here with my Sew Over It Libby shirt: blog post here
It's not perfect but I'm enormously proud of my Silvia. I couldn't resist finishing it off with some of my favourite pin designs:
Pockets, me made and pattern paper heart pins available in my shop.
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