my oldest daughter adores the outerwear that i’ve made her, so when winter coat season rolled around we started checking out coats and patterns. to keep it simple i had wanted to use the same pattern as the jacket i made her recently, just change up a few details. however, that was immediately shot down. darn kids and their opinions. after some browsing she really honed in on the parka style coat. natch, burda had just the pattern so there you have it. easy peasy lemon squeezey. sure…
i planned to crank out this coat the few days before thanksgiving because i was feeling really guilty that she was still wearing last years coat (she had the audacity to grow a whopping three inches in the past year, so it was all sorts of too small). then of course, the whole family was working through a stomach bug, runny noses, etc, and i generally felt like total crap. i took one look at the excessively long list of pieces to draft and almost cried. why burda… WHY?! clearly i was not in the best emotional state to tackle a coat. wisely, i set it aside for after thanksgiving, and thankfully the viruses we were carrying moved on to other unlucky souls.
once i got over all the pieces i would have to draft, i set to work. i made these super awesome bellows pockets that nearly did me in! ohmygosh four of them. with flaps. those friggin pockets took me hours to make! i was not helped by the fact that my fabric was just a hair too thick for all the layers, and by the fact that there is a substantial lycra content. it didn’t seem nearly as stretchy in the store as it turned out to be when i was sewing. hate. that.
once the pockets were on, the entire shell took maybe an hour to construct. at that point i felt much better. the lining went together easily, though it was a little time consuming. i decided to interline the body with polar fleece, and the sleeves with flannel. to keep down the bulk at the seams, i flatlocked the fleece where i could, then joined the lining and fleece at the neck, armholes, CF, and hem. i also tacked the lining to the fleece down the side seams. since the sleeves were one piece, i simply underlined the lining with flannel and constructed them that way.
really, things went along just fine until i got to the zipper. there was so much bulk in this area i had a crazy hard time sewing as close to the teeth as i needed to. so, this is where i started to have problems with the pattern. as i understood it, you were supposed to have the teeth covered by the shell fabric (as in a standard zip install), not exposed as i have it. but, because of how far the hood zip comes to CF, i really didn’t have enough room to do it as instructed. and then oh horror of horrors, i couldn’t topstitch around the zipper. SOB! i am crazy upset about this. if you’ve been reading this blog for very long you will know of my obsessive topstitching, and here, of all things, the zip had to go without. between the bulk, the weird zip install, and the stretchiness of the fabric, i just couldn’t get any topstitching to look decent. i tried so hard… seriously, i am mortified over this egregious omission.
then to top it off, there wasn’t really enough room to sew on the front flap that would have covered the zipper. i’m pretty bummed about that as well. in fact, the whole neckline on this pattern is problematic. it’s so snug she can barely zip it up all the way, and that coupled with the fact that i inadvertently added width at CF makes me feel like something is off in the drafting. were i to make this again i would have to make some adjustments there for sure.
the pattern does have a small facing around the zipper on the inside. i didn’t think of this until it was too late, but i’m pretty sure i could have used that facing piece on the flap side of the shell and seamed the flap in instead of sewing it on top as (i think) the pattern was instructing me to do.
other than not getting the flap on, the only thing i changed was how i did the drawstring casing. and this is hardly a change, but i thought i’d mention it. the pattern has you sew a casing to the inside of the shell. i did this with some leftover bias tape, then after i had the lining in i went back and topstitched over my original stitching to anchor the lining to the shell all the way around. it’s a small thing, but i thought it might look kinda sloppy on the inside with the drawstring only gathering the shell.
for finishing touches, i did the fur trim on the hood, and hammered in ten shiny snaps. yeesh those snaps were hard to get in! i’ve only used the pronged type of snap before, so this was a new experience. i had to cut a hole in the fabric and insert them more like an eyelet (where you use a tool to hammer down this tube thing that curls over on itself to secure).
not gonna lie, this coat was a mega hassle to make! some difficulties were my own doing, some were due to the pattern. the frustrating part is that changing up just a few small details would have made it go soooo much smoother. even though i wanted to burn this pattern by the time i was done with it, i think i may use it again for a lighter jacket post-winter. it would make a really cute anorak-style jacket, or even mix up some details for a military-inspired style. if i ignore the zip/flap disappointment, i really love how the coat came out! it’s so squishy and cozy, thanks to the fleece interlining, and it keeps her nice and toasty warm. anastasia loves it and positively squealed with joy when she saw the pockets. the girl loves her pockets, especially these deep roomy ones. all and all the coat is a win, though i hesitate to recommend the pattern. it’s been a while since a project has frustrated me as much as this one did, and it may belong in the “not worth the effort” category. unless you make a second one and are content to call the first a learning experience.