When I asked Taufiq what he wanted for his birthday I probably should have put some ‘Terms and Conditions’ in because a couple of weeks later I was sewing a coat; an actual coat with shoulder pads and everything…Considering the first ever coat I made was the in 60’s week on The Sewing Bee (where there were tears, uneven hems and wonky buttons), this may have been too much of an ask.
I’m always asking him for an opinion on my makes- combination of colours, print, fabric and I’m usually met with a response which falls within the spectrum of a half-concentrating non-specific nod and a completely unhelpful “yeah I guess so” with a face that says the opposite. So I thought this would give him some incentive to join in on the pleasures/chore of searching for the right pattern and fabric. Initially all the direction I was given was “a coat”. After some pestering this turned into “a peacoat”. With that I managed to narrow it down to two patterns: the Thread Theory Goldstream Peacoat and Vogue 8940. Having made the Fairfield shirt by Thread Theory (which was an absolute dream to sew up) I did my best to nudge him into choosing their pattern. Unfortunately for me, I gave him the option and he went for the Vogue pattern. Classic.
Pattern Review: Vogue 8940 “Men’s Double-breasted Peacoat and Pants”
Sizes: 34-40 or 40-46
Type: Paper pattern
Price: Ranges from £6.50-£13 (shop around online for half price sales)
Fabric: Wool/cashmere blend outer in ‘Camel’, gold polyester lining from Cloth Spot (ordered by phone with brilliant customer service- thread matching and the ladies kindly compared different linings and picked the best match.)
Sizing and fit: I cut size 34. This was a perfect fit and didn’t need any adjustments, but I put this down to Taufiq having a slim build with a narrow waist. From feedback from others, and looking at the finished coat there isn’t much space around the tummy, so I would factor that in if you have a rounder/more square body shape. It is quite snug, he can wear it with a thick jumper but would struggle with too many layers.
Construction and instructions: The construction was quite simple, with lots of parts to put together. There’s lots of top stitching which is oddly satisfying! The main issues I had was with the vast amount of ease in the shoulder cap, the welt pocket and the instructions for attaching the lining to the hem.
The sleeve cap has a ridiculous amount of ease. I ended up extending my gathering stitches beyond what the pattern stated and steaming the heck out of it (see tips ‘n’ tricks’ below). They won’t look ‘right’ until the shoulder pads are in.
The welt pocket was quite frankly a bit of a disaster- I did a practice but kept making silly mistakes with the real thing. I unstitched it so many times it ended up a bit of a mess. I used the instructions in the pattern but in hindsight there are much better tutorials online. Make sure you hand baste the different parts. After all the stress I only did a single welt pocket rather than two.
The instructions for attaching the lining weren’t as clear as they could be and I definitely relied on my ‘experience’ (ha!) to help me finish it off. For one thing, I’m pretty sure the instructions tell you to hem the outer sleeves twice! I may be wrong, but it tells you to hem them at the end of completing the outer and then again when it talks about attaching the lining. The other thing, and this may be down to me losing my markings, but I had to unstitch the bottom few cm of stitching down the facing and front pieces to let it fold up when it came to hemming.
Tips ‘n’ tricks: Make sure you use a damp pressing cloth and a tailors ham/rolled up towel (as I did!) and let the wool cool before moving so it ‘sets’ into place. For those pesky sleeve caps, Jamie aka Male Devon Sewing gave me a great tip: put on an oven glove and steam the cap holding it from the inside (just don’t burn yourself!)
Another thing I noticed from browsing peoples makes on social media was the fact that the shape of the collars vary quite widely! Some are quite rounded which meant they lost the definition around the notches. Be really careful when stitching the collar and prepare your seam allowances (trim/notching) properly to let you get the crisp sharp corner into the notch. You want a ‘V’ shape rather than ‘U’.
Overall: It’s definitely not a beginners sewing project- the instructions were reasonable but I did rely on me having a bit of ‘know-how’. But the end product is worth the effort- it’s got a lovely tailored feel and is super smart, whilst still being easy to dress up/down. And the main feedback that counts, the wearer’s? He loves it and can’t wait for someone to ask him where he bought his coat from so he can smugly reply “my wife made it”…The joys of wearing me-made clothes!
Let me know if you’ve given this pattern a go and how you got along with it. I don’t think I’ll do this one again for some time. Don’t tell Taufiq, but I might be tempted to give the trousers in the pattern a go seeing as the pattern fits him so well!
P.S. I took great joy in taking these photos and letting someone else experience the awkwardness of posing! He’s really channeled his inner Derek Zoolander. Would you say this was Blue steel or Magnum?