Hello again! How are you all doing? Have you been sewing up a storm or has your sewjo been dampened recently? I would say it’s a 50:50 split with the sewists I know. If you fall into the latter, I can completely understand, but take heart in the fact we’ll be over this soon and I’m sure all that sewing enthusiasm will come roaring back with a vengeance! Anyway, that’s my public announcement over, so time to give you a few more details on my recent linen coat project.
This was a very fun and quick coat to make. This is my second project from the Nani Iro Atelier, or Atelier to Nani Iro book (as the Instagram translation has it) and I took a bit of a risk on it. It was the topper for my capsule wardrobe as part of #thegreatmodulesewalong project hosted by Whitney and Carla over on Instagram and was the piece that was supposed to hold the collection together and, in fact, the garment around which I based everything else. There weren’t too many reviews of the coat I could find outside of Instagram, but I know Elle Gee Makes made a great one last year, so that’s a good review to check out if you want to take a look at another version of the coat.
The Atelier to Nani Iro book came out in English last year and I’ve already made the Tapered Trousers I, which came out very nicely. I cut out a dress too, but forgot to add seam allowance, so that was repurposed. Whoops! There are two coats in the book – “Summer and Winter”- which are almost exactly the same and use the same pieces; the only difference is in the length of the sleeve and the fabric used. Both coats are unlined and intended to be very oversized – which is a good thing as far as my measurements go.
Sizing and Fabric
As I mentioned when I made the pants, all of the clothes (as far as I can tell) are made to be very oversized, which is a definite Japanese style and is used to great effect with the beautiful Nani iro linens and gauzes in the book. There aren’t many sizing options – for this coat the pattern comes in S, M and L, and the pants were in S, M, L and XL. The “risk” I took was in going for the straight size L.
I was absolutely fine knowing the coat wouldn’t be as oversized on me and I actually didn’t want it to be. I have a very different figure from the models in the book and I don’t think I can pull off quite that amount of ease (although I wish I could!). However, I didn’t want it to be tight or form-fitting either – that’s not the style. The table of measurements gave only one finished horizontal measurement, which was 50″ at the bust for the Large size. My bust is 44″ and a 6″ difference is not unacceptable for a casual coat. I could see the pattern had a little more width through the waist and hips, so I guesstimated that there was probably about 6″ of ease all the way down for me.
I swayed back and forth as to whether that would be enough and at one point got ready to add a couple of inches through the body just to be sure. I was also prepping to make a muslin with some fabric, but wasn’t convinced it was close enough to the final fabric to give an accurate idea. Then one day I got out of bed… and just decided that I would go with it. I didn’t have a lot of time to finish my capsule wardrobe and I felt it would be okay.
As you can see it did work out okay. I think I could have added another couple of inches and it would have been slightly flowier, but it’s also perfectly comfortable and closes easily in the front, so I’m happy with it. My measurements are 40″ HB, 44″ FB, 37″ waist and 46″ hips if you want to compare for your own needs. The sleeves are intended to be somewhere between bracelet and three-quarter length and I quite like them rolled up, so they are fine too. I had been worried about adding too much to the shoulder, but can now say it wouldn’t have been an issue.
The fabric is a gorgeous black and white polka-dot medium-weight linen that I picked up in Dressew in Vancouver last year for this exact project and I used 3m for this project (which calls for 4 yards in the book, but my fabric was a little wider).
Now for the interesting part. Would it surprise you to know I sewed this up in a day? I wasn’t racing along at breakneck speed either. If you’ve been sewing a while then perhaps you could tell from the pattern, but I was genuinely surprised at how quickly it came together. There aren’t too many pieces and there are no tricky techniques apart from the collar attachment, which I found a little fiddly.
I will tell you that I entirely planned to bind the hems as this was an ideal project to practice on. Simple with long seams and well-behaved fabric. But the truth of the matter is that I was slightly short on some binding I made a few months ago and my willpower totally evaporated out of the window at the thought of making another 10 or 15 yards. I quite like making bias binding, but I have to be in the mood for it. And I wasn’t. So I ended up serging and pressing and I think it’s fine. The part you can see if it blows open is the facing anyway, so it’s not too ugly.
The back vent is handled beautifully, in much the same way as the Wiksten shift, by simply pressing back and stitching up and around the finished edges. I did change the construction order somewhat as they have you stitch the side seams, attach the shawl collar and facing and then set in the sleeves. The sleeves have no excess to ease in and are a dropped shoulder style, so I decided to sew the collar and facing first, add the sleeves on the flat and sew the side seam afterwards, all in one. The instructions also get you to sew the pockets on last, which seems slightly unusual, but as there’s no lining it doesn’t matter too much, and actually I wanted to place them after the coat was finished, so I did indeed leave them until last.
The only aspect I had a little trouble with was the sewing of the collar and facing, but only because I haven’t done it too often. I looked at the collars and thought there was no way they were going to fit in the allotted spaces, but with a bit of manipulation and clipping into the seam allowance at the corners, I managed it fine. I did manage to sew one collar on upside down by mistake, so that induced some swearing and unpicking, but really it was plain sailing once I figured out the right way to sew them and it works well – you get a very clean finish for a simple coat after topstitching the collar down from the right side.
Overall, this coat turned out exactly as I thought it would. As a linen coat with no lining, it’s clearly not going to provide a great deal of warmth, but I intended it as a layering spring or autumn coat and it does the job admirably. I imagine it would be easy enough to change up if you wanted to. So that’s 2 for 2 from the Nani Iro book so far, and it won’t be my last project either. Good stuff!