I have an announcement. I did something that’s a big deal for a home sewist.
I made a coat. The Yona coat. It’s smart, warm, and one of a kind — everything this proud seamstress could ask for in a sewing project.
The Yona coat is September’s Project #SewMyStyle garment. I was so-so on sewing a coat — until I made one. Now I understand why people get into coat making!
Yona Coat Construction Details
I wanted my Yona coat to be a house coat — a cardigan with the soul of a coat. A trench coat with the heart of robe. Something I that keeps me warm and chic around the house.
And I thought it would be a nice piece for weekend visits to the grandparents — you know, when you’re spending time at a house where you don’t control the thermostat. (Sorry, Dad, but mid-60s is too cold for me.)
I sewed a 36 (U.S. size 4), and I wish I would have sized up. I knew the coat would fit on my body, based on the finished measurements, but it would be nice to have more ease in the hips. I was hoping for a wrap coat that I could REALLY snuggle into. Oh well; that’s what happens when you don’t muslin.
The peacock blue-green wool is a medium-weight fabric that I thrifted years ago. It was a five-yard piece that I bought for less than $10. Ridiculous, I know.
The bird lining is a silky print I got from Jo-Ann. I love prints, but I wasn’t committed to a print when shopping for a lining. I looked at solid-colored linings, but nothing worked with the peacock blue-green. The birds worked too well to pass up.
The inner collar stand is a piece of navy ponte leftover from my Colette Mabel. Over the course of a day, wool can get scratchy on the neck, and the ponte is soft and smooth. Plus, the navy is a nice design element.
I did French seams for the lining. No one can see them, but I know they’re there — and they’re keeping a delicate fabric from fraying into oblivion.
For the wool, I finished the edges with a zig-zag stitch instead of my usual overcasting stitch. I did this for two reasons: First, the overcasting stitch on my machine is time consuming and uses a lot of thread. Second — and more important — the lining protects these edges from wear, so I didn’t need a super-beefy finish.
What Went Well with My Yona Coat
Dudes, I Made a COAT
I am so proud of myself. I made a coat. With my sewing machine and hands and brains. I’m excited to have people tell me they like it so I can say, “Thank you. I MADE IT.”
I never had serious ambitions about making a coat, but now I’ve got them B-A-D. The winters around here are long, and a handmade coat surely would brighten the grayest days.
Bagging the Lining
Bagging the lining was fun — after I found this Angela Kane video.
Coat/lining origami is SO COOL. Sewing the lining in the sleeve cuff was particularly satisfying.
I picked up these “This Took Forever” labels at Craft South in Nashville this spring. (The store is adorable and definitely worth checking out.)
I thought they were hilarious, and this coat deserves this recognition.
Yona Coat Areas of Improvement
Attaching the Lining to the Facing
The lining was the biggest issue I had with the Yona coat, and it forced me to get creative.
There is one notch to match the lining to the facing, and I am confident it’s in the wrong place. The reason I think it’s in the wrong place is because I eased the holy heck out of the lining between the notch (mid-chest-ish) and the collar. (Shauni from The Magnificent Thread had a similar experience.)
I ended up with extra lining length in the upper part of the front… but then not enough length toward the hem.
I was upset with myself for not trusting my gut about the lining easing. It seemed excessive. But there were no other notches to guide me, and I figured Named had a better handle on how this should come together than I did.
This is an important lesson: Sometimes, the pattern is wrong. It’s not you. It’s a flawed product.
Once I stopped beating myself up and took the night off from my Yona coat, I came back the next day with a solution.
I was absolutely not going to unpick the lining from the facing. It took me about two hours to get the easing right, and unpicking stitches from a slinky, thin fabric can compromise the material.
My fix was to extend the lining by stitching a wool rectangle to it at the hem corners. I was cautious with the wool extensions, checking often to ensure the hem retained its shape.
It took a fair amount of handstitching, but it worked. It’s not the prettiest lining, which is a shame because the birdies match the wool so darn well. Eh. My fix is on the inside and no one likely will notice it unless I point it out.
Making the Collar Sandwich
My first pass sewing the shell, collar unit (collar + stands), and facing together, I missed sewing part of the edge of the collar into the seam. There’s an illustration pointing this out, but it’s not mentioned in the text.
I sewed the seam, tried on the coat, and instantly realized my error. (Katie of What Katie Sews did the same thing, so I think Named has an opportunity here to improve the Yona coat instructions here.)
And as long as we’re talking about opportunities for improvement, Named ought to suggest basting — basting the collar unit together and basting the collar unit to the shell before pinning the facing on top.
For some reason, Named directs you to pin the shell and facing together AND THEN insert the collar unit between them into the seam. I can’t figure this out; can someone explain it to me?
Abbreviated Instructions Assume Too Much
I like Named’s spare instructions for patterns. The Yona coat instructions, however, were too light.
Yes, the pattern is rated as Advanced. But even if a pattern is more difficult, the instructions should be able to carry you through if you take your time.
If it wasn’t already obvious, I did not find this to be the case with the Yona coat pattern. I especially struggled with the lining instructions. I wasn’t sure what was meant by “right side”; for the record, the side that touches the interior of the shell is the lining’s right side. Confusing, yes?
And the instructions on lining a coat on Named’s website were different from the Yona instructions. The website says, “Place the lining inside the shell. The sleeves of the lining should be inside the bodice’s sleeves, wrong sides together.” The Yona instructions say, “Place the lining on the shell, right sides together.” I was lost until I found that Angela Kane video!
I wonder if perhaps there’s not a poor translation in the mix? Named is a Finnish company.
Over to you, gentle sewists: What’s your proudest make to date? If you’ve sewn Named patterns, have you struggled with instructions? How often do you sew without a muslin? I almost always sew one, so diving in without a test garment was W-E-I-R-D. Please sound off on all this and more in comments! Thanks for reading!
P.S. Here’s my post from last week, ICYMI: Colette Mabel: Quality Time with My Seam Ripper.
P.P.S. When this post publishes, I’ll be attending the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo in the Chicago ‘burbs! I’m taking a pants-fitting workshop, and I CANNOT WAIT. And I can’t wait to share all pants intel with you.
I wrote this post about attending the expo in 2016: Recap: Field trip to the Original Sewing and Quilt Expo 2016.
P.P.P.S. Here are my other Project #SewMyStyle makes for the year:
January: Sew House Seven Toaster Sweater #2: The stylish sweatshirt
February: Named Saunio Cardigan: Harder than it looks
March: Becoming a (Manila) leggings person for Project #SewMyStyle
April: Bridgetown backless, the forever dress
May: Cali Faye Collection Pocket skirt + How to use basting tape like a pro
June: Mom status: Effortlessly cool in a Megan Nielsen Briar top
July: Cali Faye Valley blouse pattern hack: A mini muumuu with no regrets
August: A Modern Darling Ranges Shirt Dress: Megan Nielsen Pattern Review