I made a real winter jacket! Yes, a real one this time, it even has a hood ;) I finished it at the end of last year, but it has been scarily warm here the last month and I wanted to test the jacket under real conditions so that some time passed between making this jacket and showing it here. As I’m really proud of how it turned out and it took a lot of my time and nerves and all the materials where so super expensive I felt that I should take my time with this post :)
I have sewn winter jackets before. A black and a pink Minoru. But when I made them, both times I only had 1.5 m of wool fabric available, so that they both lack a hood. And once it got really cold here I found that both jackets weren’t warm enough and I wore my rtw ski jacket instead. It really looks stupid with dresses!
So when last winter was over I started planning this winter’s jacket. I kept looking for patterns and always seemed to get back to the Waffle Patterns Tosti Jacket. I started reading about Yuki’s designs on blogs and everyone said that the instructions and patterns were excellent, what really made me want to try one of her patterns. I was torn between the Tosti Jacket and the Pepernoot coat, I really liked the Tosti Jacket better, however the pattern was designed with lighter fabrics in mind and not with as much ease as needed to sew the jacket for winter. The Pepernoot Coat however was designed with a winter coat in mind. Luckily I didn’t have to make a decision before shopping for fabric, as both patterns require 3.3 m of fabric. In autumn Marvin and I visited our relatives and I was able to make a quick stop at my favorite fabric store. They had a variety of coat fabrics available and I almost bought a bright yellow wool fabric. Marvin stopped me. Well, all he did was saying that he wasn’t sure about the color. And so in the end I went with something that is on the safe side color-wise: purple. I guess it makes sense that when you spent so much money on a fabric you pick something you are sure you’re going to like. Also I’m pretty sure this color will look fine with 99% of my wardrobe ;) The fabric mainly consists of wool, but there is also a little cotton and polyester in it. The fabric has two layers. The outer layer is twill woven red-blue-purple wool and the inner layer is very densely woven white wool and cotton. The two layers are connected every few cm. I wanted to buy exactly 3.3 m of the fabric. However there were only 2 pieces of this fabric left. One was about 3m long, the other 1.5 m and the sales woman offered me both pieces for the price of 3.5 m. I know why I always come back to this store!
To summarize: I bought the thickest, sturdiest fabric they had in store. And of course in the end I picked the pattern that was explicitly not designed for a fabric like that, the Tosti pattern. Challenge Accepted!
I bought the pattern on Thanksgiving, it was on sale and I thought I only had to pay 10 € for it. However VAT is not included in the price on the website. It is unusual for an European seller not to include VAT in the end price, just so you know! I paid 11.90 € in total in the end.
I usually tape my pdf patterns together by myself. You know.. to save money or whatever (who know what my motivations are?!). This time I was very reasonable, and I’m a little proud of myself. I sent the pdfs to a plotting company and they sent me the plots. That was still less expensive than buying the printed version of the pattern. Plus I didn’t have to trace my size because I was afraid of ruining the only copy I had. Sadly I was’nt able to tell the plotting company to only plot one of the layers of the pdfs, so when the plots arrived all sizes where printed on them. If you have the possibility to only plot those sizes you really need I strongly advise you to do so. I had a really hard time to figure out what lines to cut and which marks where for which size.
As Yuki suggest on her blog to cut one size larger than you would need, if you’re planning to make winter jacket I cut size 38, though according to he measurements chart I am a size 36.
Generally i think it is great when a pattern features a lot pattern pieces. This pattern has separate pattern pieces for the lining and includes pattern pieces for hundreds of different kinds of pockets (slightly exaggerated). However it was a lot of work to adjust the pattern to my body, because I ahd to change so many pieces. There are lengthening and shortening lines printed on the pattern pieces and they really helped a lot. Especially because there are 2 of those lines on the bodice pieces. One is simply not enough for me. When I lengthen garments that include a zipper I always try to lengthen in a way that will allow me to buy an off the shelve zipper. As the pattern called for a 74 cm zipper for my size (which isn’t off the shelve) I had the option of either lengthening by 6 or by 11 cm and I decided to go with 6 cm, so the jacket may appear a little shorter on me than it does on others. Usually I would lengthen by 8 to 9 cm.
I also added 6 cm to the hip circumference, which is also something I usually have to do.
I decided to sew the zippered pockets, I really like how those flap pockets look, however I find them neither practical nor comfortable. Because of the thickness of the fabric I didn’t sew any of the other pockets except for the inner welt pocket, but instead of sewing welts I added a zipper. The instructions guide you through sewing the back with vents or without. I wanted vents! I think they make the jacket look much more professional. I found out that that is only true if you sew the jacket from a lighter fabric. Sewing the vents from such a thick fabric was tedious and it doesn’t look that nice in my opinion. It also lets more wind through, which is stupid.
I didn’t sew the shoulder taps and I also omitted the belt loops.
After having made the alterations and decisions on how the jacket should look like I made a muslin. It revealed that I had to make an adjustment for broad shoulders, deepen the arm holes and widen the sleeves.
I also thought while trying on the muslin, that the neck opening could be a little too tight. But I didn’t change it. Too bad. Because now I can hardly close the jacket all the way up, especially when I’m wearing a scarf underneath. I think this might a pattern issue and not due to my personal neck measurements ;). I haven’t seen one picture on the pattern page and Yuki’s blog where she wears the jacket closed all the way up. However, it might be that this is an issue that only arose because I made a winter jacket from a pattern that wasn’t designed with a winter jacket in mind. But next time I would definitely widen the neck opening.
Another thing I might change is the height oft he bust darts. I lowered them before making the muslin and I lowered them after trying on the muslin, still they look like they’re a little bit too high.
Let’s move on from the pattern to the instructions and I will tell you more about the materials later on. My expectations on the instructions were high. I had only read positive things about Waffle patterns Instructions. I was a little disappointed. The first issue I had was that the included seam allowance is 1.2 cm. My sewing machine has markings for 1 cm and for 1.5 cm and I don’t know of any sewing machine that has a mark for 1.2 cm. Yuki says that 1.2 cm is approximately 1/2″, so why didn’t she design the pattern with 1/2″ directly, my machine has a mark for 1/2″. What I did was to mark 1.2 cm with a strip of washi tape. Another thing that stroke my eye was that some of the graphics were pixelated. And there were some unnecessary typos in the text. Like a missing blank between two words, something a spell checker software would have caught. I don’t expect instructions to be written in perfect English, I wouldn’t even know the difference between perfect English and not so perfect English ;) However I expect that when buy a pattern that pricey that the instructions have been spell checked by at least a computer program.
Sometimes I had troubles understanding the instructions and sometimes I think the instructions were too vague. I especially had problems figuring out how to fold the pleats in the lining. The instructions simply tell you to ‘Make pleats on the center back matching the pleat markings’. I did box pleats.
Apart from that the instructions are thorough and there are a lot of technical drawings in the included that are for the most part detailed enough to guide you through all the steps without reading a single word. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this pattern to a beginner, just because of the shear amount of steps you need to go through to finish this thing.
Sooo on to the material. I already talked about the wool fabric. To be safe and to have a really really warm jacket I bought Thinsulate and used it as an interlining and I bought a membrane lining. I bought both fabrics at a special German outdoor fabric online shop. I bought 2 m of both fabrics and that was a good amount :) I interlined the bodice and the sleeves, the collar and the hood are not interlined. Unfortunately the membrane lining isn’t as sleek as I had hoped and it sometimes pulls up my sleeves when I put on the jacket. I also ordered the metal snaps. They are water resistant. I’m not sure if that really makes any difference ;) The zippers are from my stash. The main zipper is a two way zipper. I don’t really think that anyone would need a two way zipper in a winter jacket, but whatever, I think it looked nice with the lining. And who knows?!
The toggle buttons were in my stash as well. I initially used them for a jacket that I once made for Marvin. He never really wore it as it wasn’t windproof at all and way too cold. So I rescued all the pieces I could reuse and threw it away. Before applying the buttons I punched holes into them, because I couldn’t get my hand sewing needle through the leather. I then used embroidery thread to sew the buttons to the jacket. And let me tell you that that was no fun at all. The jacket was already assembled and huge and I couldn’t really see where I was sewing and always pinched the needle into my fingers.
And I almost forgot: I used a little piece of my first tablet woven band to serve as a hanging loop.
The whole sewing process was exhausting. My fingers and arms hurt after every session. Sometimes my machine simply surrendered and I broke a lot needles. When I topstitched the jacket front in the end I was only able to compete the seam with a lot of missed stitches. And it took some muscle power to force the jacket to fit through the opening of my machine right from the needle. And to keep the multiple layers of fabric underneath the needle. And to get them there. Applying the snaps was an adventure too. I think all of that was totally normal, a domestic sewing machine will surrenderer when it has to sew so many layers of thick fabric, but even though I knew that sometimes it was hard to keep motivated.
I also bled a lot. Literally. I pinched my fingers with sewing needles and with pins a lot. Blood sweat and tears, I’m telling you! When I was done I took a sewing brake. I almost never do that. But I really was exhausted! I’m glad to tell you that I really like how the jacket turned out. And that it definitely is warm enough! Sadly January was exceptionally warm here so I wasn’t able to wear the jacket as much as I had hoped, but last weekend it snowed and I was very warm in my jacket (although I don’t look that happy, you have to believe me, I was warm ;)).
The jacket is kind of heavy. Something you might want to consider when you’re shopping for winter coat fabrics. The thicker the fabric the heavier the jacket.
Another thing that could be more practical is the hood. It is simply too huge and when it is a little windy it gets blown off my head almost immediately.
So, smaller hood, wider collar. Enough issues to justify making another winter jacket. Or better: a coat. But first I need to overcome the trauma this one gave me. I bet it will be forgotten in no time as I really like this jacket now :)