I am slightly embarrassed to admit how long this project has taken me. Marilla Walker asked me to pattern test the Honetone coat back in October last year. It was all going so well and I was nearly there when… BAM… summer struck! I just couldn’t bring myself to sew a heavy wool coat in the sweaty heat of my studio.
So, it sat on my dressmakers dummy for 8 months, looking at me, pleading with me to finish it. When I actually got around to the finishing, it only took me a couple of hours. Seriously, not sure why it was such a massive hurdle to be honest. Probably the buttonhole fear. Always the buttonhole fear eh! Anyway, I finished it. HORRAY!
This is the Honetone Coat by Marilla Walker. Marilla has designed 2 pattern options. The first is a kimono sleeve straight cut coat with 2 sets of pockets, it has inserted pockets and larger patch pockets. The second option is a shorter jacket with inserted pockets only. I opted for the coat. Time to stretch myself and make a coat I think.
Honetone is an ancient name of my home town in Devon. Apparently it means Huna’s tun or farmstead. Like the name, the design of this coat draws inspiration from a historical source. As with many historical garments the shape is very straight and boxy. The reasoning behind straight cut tunics and garments of the past was to preserve as much of the valuable cloth when cutting as possible. – Marilla Walker
I bought this fabric from ‘Fabric, Needlecraft and More’ run by Achieve Australia in Meadowbank. For those who don’t know about Achieve Australia, let me enlighten you. Achieve Australia supports people with disabilities to achieve social inclusion. This vision has driven Achieve to expand the concept of an op shop into a fully-fledged Social Enterprise. It creates opportunities to directly support workers with a disability.
More than 40 volunteers who are experienced and enthusiastic needlecraft hobbyists from the local community are rostered on to staff the ‘Fabric, Needlecraft and More’ store. They work in partnership with supported workers in both front of house retail roles, and in support roles. Together they source, sort, shelve, display, price and help customers locate everything from dress and upholstery fabrics and patterns to embroidery tools, books, and knitting and crochet yarn.
This place is heaven to a sewing enthusiast and this is the place I scored my fabric to make my Honetone coat. The fabric is second hand and it cost me $14. Yes, I made a coat for $14 and felt the joy of buying from this incredible place.
The fabric itself is a wool blend and is reversible, a little like a jacquard. I had the option of a blue/purple coat or a coral/pink coat. I went for the blue/purple option. I love the broken diagonal stripes of pink and coral.
I also fully lined the my coat. I checked my stash first, the fabric I found was a chocolate brown satin given to me by my friend Kath. It had been sitting in her house for many years. There is some slight fading through the fabric which I don’t mind at all. The fabric is good quality and a little fading does not faze me. It’s only the lining and it really doesn’t matter.
Let’s just say that coat making has always been up there with jeans, swimwear and underwear in the ‘too hard’ basket. It’s something that seemed too difficult and far too daunting to consider. Well I broke down my swimwear fear, as you can see here. Underwear should really be next and jeans, well I just can’t get past the fear of those quite yet. But a coat, that’s a biggie and lets just say, it was no biggie. It was a really enjoyable process.
With the sizing, I made a 3. I swing between a traditional size 8 & 10 on top and a 12 on the bottom half but realised that the size 3 would fit my proportions. The hips allowed for some extra room, it’s boxy, the right kind of boxy!
As I was pattern testing this make, it means that you are far more conscious of what you are doing. You pick over the instructions and the pattern in a way that you wouldn’t normally do. What I’m saying is that I concentrated and it paid off.
Here it is;
I didn’t make any changes to the pattern size, I cut the size 3 straight from the packet. I would normally alter a pattern but I wanted to see how it would work as it was. I think it perhaps needs shortening in the body a little (I am very short in the body) but that’s not a deal breaker. You can see when I put my hands in the patch pockets, they just sit a bit low. I think I should have removed about 5cm from the body, but it will be fine in body length for most people.
The only change I made was to the patch pockets. I decided to wanted to line my pockets so I made a completed unit and then top stitched it in place. It’s not a necessary step but I really liked the feel of the satin fabric inside my pocket and you get a really lovely finish at the top opening. This process is especially good if you have thick fabric, which I did.
One of the best things about this pattern is the instructions for the smaller inserted pockets. I was very worried about this part, but the instructions are really detailed and easy to follow. It’s also one of the first things you do so any fear is removed fairly early on in the make. I really love these pockets and how the reverse of the fabric works so well here. It’s just the right pop of colour I think.
I bought a couple of sets of buttons. The first set were pale pink. I made the fatal error of relying on indoor lighting to check the button colour against the fabric. As soon I a got them home I realise they weren’t the right shade. The second set I purchased was on my jaunt to Jimmy’s Buttons in Melbourne. He actually chose them for me and I think they are a much better option. I am still unsure if they are the right buttons though, I would really like a purple/blue set but so far they have eluded me.
My buttonhole fear was completely unfounded too. I keep forgetting that my Bernina is a demon when it comes to sewing consistent buttonholes. Of course the fabric was not particularly forgiving as it’s pretty thick here. After a few tests and a little bit of swearing I ended up using some tear-away. This gave it some purchase on the machine and that worked a treat.
So time to tick ‘coat making’ off the list. It really wasn’t such a big and scary project after all. At least now it’s cold enough to actually wear it, and you will definitely see me coming in this one. Nothing like wearing ‘1980’s Florida’ on a grey Sydney winters day!