Yona Coat (unwrapped)

Another one ticked of the seasonal sewing list - here's my winter coat: the Named Clothing Yona Wrap Coat. This one was a challenge, and whilst I like it very much and it grows on my every day, I couldn't quite call it my 'dream coat'. In fact, I have no idea what I would actually define to be a 'dream coat', so considering that, it's not turned out too bad for a first effort. Plus it's made up in lovely fabrics and colours, and in more practical terms... it's warm!

My first winter coat!
I committed to making a winter coat a while back - even recycling my old one to give me 'the fear'. Without really knowing what style I wanted, or scouting out suitable fabrics available to buy, I impulse-bought the most beautiful, textured, dark aubergine, wool mix (70% wool, 30% polyamide) from Barry's whilst at Sew Brum. I bought 2.5m (at £13.95 p/m) with the encouragement from my fellow Sew-Brum-ers that it should be enough to make my mystery coat. The pattern choice came later, and again, I wasn't really sure what I was looking for. I plumped for the Yona in the end, as a bit of a safe bet (I'm fairly confident in the fit of Named patterns/using their instructions).

Named Clothing Yona Wrap Coat
Having sewed up my first piece of outerwear quite recently - the Waver Jacket - I was perhaps a little less daunted than I usually would be with a big project like this. There was quite a bit of prep involved - as there was with the Waver - including applying more interfacing than I've ever used in one garment. By chance, I'd also read The Thrifty Stitcher's Tips for Making Winter Coats post, which I would 100% recommend checking out. The recommendation for using a walking foot to tackle the bulky layers is definitely one to put into action.

Walking foot/pocket sewing action
The pockets were quite difficult to attach neatly, whilst ensuring that none of the pocket lining was exposed. I made this just a little bit more difficult for myself by choosing a super-contrasting gold lining (the boldest they had in Fabworks). If you look very closely at a funny angle, you'll probably see some gold peaking out in places, but I can live with that.

A close up of the shaping on the collar/lapels
Attaching the facing, shell and collar together has to be one of the most challenging bits of sewing I have ever undertaken. The bulk of all those layers really tested me and my machine to the limits, and I definitely had to attempt it more than once. The pattern doesn't suggest it, but I would recommend hand basting the whole thing together before starting. In hindsight, it seems like an amateur move from me for not doing it to start with and just following the instructions blindly, but hey, you live and learn!

Lining flash  - worn with Inari Tee Dress & Rise Turtleneck
Lining flash 2
The rest of the coat came together pretty quickly. I had a bit of difficulty matching and inserting the lining - there seemed to be excess lining fabric at the front/top of the facing that I had to ease stitch in, and not enough notches! I was more nervous about turning the whole coat out due to previous bagging out confusions, but had no problems at all. One thing I will take into consideration in future is choosing a better quality lining fabric. Having seen how easily this one frayed while working with it, I now understand how the lining on some high street coats ends up shredding after a while.

My 'not sure about this belt' face
Now to explain the title of the post, and my one big dislike about the coat: the wrap belt. As a fastening, I just don't think it sits well in balance with the length of the coat, and the soft cocoon shape of the body. The finished garment is shorter than I anticipated, so I would add a good few inches if I was to make it again - maybe then I would be happier about the wrap belt? On the plus side, I love the coat shape when it's worn open.

I would like to add some sort of discreet fastening to hold it closed at the centre front - what do you think would be the best option?

Side view
Back shot, and also capturing the back of my beloved new boots
Despite some mixed feelings about the finished thing, I'm still very proud that I made a proper winter coat. And what's to stop me from making another one? Or another few? A coat for every occasion..! I've probably over-analysed the challenging aspects of the coat in this post, but it really was a learning curve, and I'm glad I chose the Yona pattern - my familiarity with Named patterns helped to bridge the gap with my total unfamiliarity with coat sewing.

Velvet jackt - Zara
I feel like I could get at least one more use out of the Yona Pattern - it would be totally perfect (wrap belt included!) to replicate this velvet jacket in Zara at the minute. And in terms of general future coat sewing, I think new techniques such as welt pockets will be on the to-try list for next time - see Crab and Bee's Yona alteration for inspiration!

Thank you Chris for taking pictures xx
I'll be wearing it with pride, and it's also a relief to know that I won't see someone else wearing the same coat on the walk to work everyday (it's definitely happened before)! I 'accidentally' bought 3m of grey leopard print wool at the Knit and Stitch Show this weekend - it might be a long time in the works, but any suggestions for a pattern I can use it with to make my next coat?

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Inari Tee Dress hack

Late to the party as ever, here's my very first Inari Tee Dress! I love Named, and the Inari is one of those totally beloved patterns of the sewing community, so I can't quite believe it's taken me so long. I guess I had been pretty tentative due to the shape, or lack of, and concerns over whether it would suit me... But you know what, I think I quite like it!

My first Inari!
I finally picked up the pattern in an attempt to replicate this amazing dress I saw on Instagram. Very chic, very COS, no? With the simple addition of a couple of ties, the Inari was the perfect pattern to make my inspiration come to life.
Insta inspiration courtesy of @alanamacleod
I used a black suedette from Samuel Taylor's in Leeds - purchased at Sew Up North (more on that later!). It was only £4.99 per metre, so a great low cost/low risk option for trying out a new silhouette and my first suede-look garment. It was really easy to work with, and the texture, although difficult to see on the pictures, adds an extra bit of interest to an otherwise quite plain dress.

The Inari is one of the easiest and most straightforward garments I've made in a long time. From start to finish, the whole sew time was only about 3 hours. For the waist ties, I cut and made them based on the Kielo Wrap Dress laces (just a bit shorter in length). The side tie is sandwiched and stitched between the side seams, and the centre front tie is attached in the way you might attach a bag strap - I think it sort of works.

Close up of the dress and all my layers because the UK is currently freezing!
I did have a slight problem with sizing, which actually meant I made the dress up twice... I originally made a UK 12, which was perfect for standing still, but pulled in an unsightly way across the bust, arms and back as soon as I moved/tried to wildly gesture. It's my fault for assuming it would be a roomy-enough fit to select the size based only on the finished measurements. The too-small version will hopefully find a loving home with one of my friends very soon though, so every cloud...

Thank you to Sara for taking photos!
I think it's turned out pretty Cos-like, which is great as I'm currently doing all I can to counter the temptation to spend/fulfill all the 'I could make that' statements I throw out there when visiting the new Cos store in Leeds. Plus, it cost £7.50 to make, rather than £75 *smug face*. The narrow fit on the shoulders/top balances out the relaxed waist much more than I expected, and I'm really enjoying wearing it, both on it's own, and layered over the Rise Turtleneck like in these photos. My boyfriend told me it looked 'edgy' and 'cooler than what you normally wear'... so I guess I'll take that as a compliment?!

Sew Up North smiles with Amy, Angela, Hannah, Hayley, Sharon and Becca
And I couldn't resist including just a couple of highlights from last weekend's fab Sew Up North. A huge thanks to Becca and Sally for organising such a brilliant day! I was super reserved fabric-shopping-wise - I am a Leeds local after all, so I thought I'd let everyone else take their pick - but I couldn't help grabbing more suedette in a rusty orange/red. I can't wait to make a second version of the Inari with it (incorporating the waist ties again) and many more after that!

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