The Avid Seamstress Coat – DIY Electric Blue Crombie Style Coat made in Wool Melton Doeskin from A W Hainsworth

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

Hi Readers,

Today I am sharing my review of The Avid Seamstress Coat pattern made up in a rather special fabric; a wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth. Never heard of them? Well, tbh, I didn’t know much about them either. But when they asked me if I would be interested in making something using their wool doeskin I did a bit of reading and didn’t hesitate to say yes. This Yorkshire based company has been in existence for more than 200 years and is an integral part of British industrial history. They supply some of the world’s leading designers – including Gucci – as well as fabric used in a number of Hollywood movies. Perhaps the most famous use for their cloth is the red uniforms of the British military, worn by both Prince William and Charles (and who, knows Harry, soon?!) at their weddings, and, not surprisingly, they hold a royal warrant.

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

My coat is made up using the shade “electric blue”. It does appear to run more on the purple side of blue, but I still like it. The doeskin is a dense, felted wool, much like other meltons I have worked with, and I pre-treated my fabric with a steam press. It cut, sewed and pressed well. It does not feel overly hot or heavy for this time of year (at least in this part of the world) and it has definitely been a welcome addition to my wardrobe.

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

Now on to the pattern. I used The Coat pattern from The Avid Seamstress, which is a fairly recent release. I would love to find my perfect Crombie style coat pattern…single breasted, fully lined, two piece sleeves and a notched lapel with undercollar and collar stand. I am still looking! This coat pattern brings you that type of style but, I think, is aimed at less confident seamstresses. It’s a bit of a mixed bag for me. I like the style, the fit out of the envelope (which was very good for me), and the fact it’s unlined means this is a lighter weight option for spring. But! I did not like the instructions. The instructions come in a colour photographed booklet, which in theory, is a great idea. However, the sample coat used in the photographs is made up in a dark grey boiled wool, which makes it incredibly hard to see what’s going on. No contrast thread is used. Add to that the fact that they chose to cut their back facing from boiled wool (?!) and it’s potentially very easy to get confused. The seams are left raw in the sample coat (which I think is a bit of cop out), but I chose to do a Hong Kong finish on my seams, using self made bias that I cut from a lining I had in  my stash. I used the same lining to cut my back facing, and I also decided to line the sleeves, mainly to avoid having to bind or finish the armhole seam allowances, and also to make getting the coat on and off easier. It really wasn’t difficult to add the sleeve lining and it’s a shame this wasn’t suggested in the instructions. You will note that I also added patch pockets to my coat. I would probably have preferred the inseam pockets, but I was too scared of being able to get a neat finish on them and also I didn’t like the idea of them flapping around loose on the inside. Prepare for photo overload!

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth – (interfaced) front facing with Hong Kong seam finishes and additional sleeve lining
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth – back facing/ lining piece with additional sleeve lining
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth – Hong Kong finished interior seams
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

The pattern comes with separate pattern pieces to cut interfacing for all the hems, which is brilliant, but no mention is given of interfacing any other part of the coat. I chose to interface the front facing, upper back, upper sleeve and lower side front armscye.

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth – additional interfacing placement
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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth – additional interfacing placement

Pattern Review

Pattern Description: 

Inspired by classic tailoring, we’ve created a coat pattern that not only looks fabulous but also is an easy, enjoyable make – without the time-consuming tailoring. With a slim, chic silhouette, The Coat offers a modern twist on the woman‘s winter coat.

Flattering princess seams feature a clever in-seam pocket, while the modern drop sleeves make for a relaxed yet stylish look.

The Coat sewing pattern is incredibly versatile, working well in a range of fabrics from mid-to-heavy weight coating material to lighter woven fabrics – great for an alternative spring trench-coat.

The three quarter length hem is perfect over dresses or trousers, offering both elegance and warmth on a chilly day.

Other features include a notched collar, 2 button front closure, kick pleat and buggy lining (fully faced).

Pattern Sizing:

UK 6 – 22.

I found the sizing to be generous and I sized down to a size 16 through the shoulders, arms and bust, and graded out over the hips. I did not need to do a FBA.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?

Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?

The instructions are presented in a colour photographed booklet, which in theory, is a great idea. However, the sample coat used in the photographs is made up in a dark grey boiled wool, which makes it incredibly hard to see what’s going on. No contrast thread is used. Add to that the fact that they chose to cut their back facing from boiled wool (?!) and it’s potentially very easy to get confused.

Other things which I didn’t like:

  • Changing seam allowances used throughout the instructions: a total of 4 different seam allowances used (note, some rather narrow).
  • Separate pattern pieces are provided to cut interfacing for all the hems which is brilliant, but no mention of interfacing any other part of the coat. I chose to interface the front facing, the upper back, the upper sleeve and the lower side front armscye.
  • I didn’t like the instructions to sew the back vent, and did my own thing. The instructions don’t seem to tell you to clip into the LHS vent but if you don’t, I don’t see how the vents will sit properly.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?

I love the style of this coat. It’s modern and very easy to wear. I found the fit to be very good for me, and I didn’t have to do my usual FBA. I like the fact finished garment sizes are given. The collar is not a traditional notched lapel, but is actually a cut on shawl collar which gives the appearance of a notched lapel.

I didn’t like aspects of the instructions (see above).

The seam allowances in the sample coat in the instructions are left raw, which I think is a bit of a cop out, and I chose to finish mine using a Hong Kong finish. I made cut 1 inch bias strips from a lining I had in my stash, and used the same lining to cut the back facing and also line the sleeves (again, it’s a shame this wasn’t suggested/ included in the instructions, otherwise you have to think about how you are going to finish the armhole seam allowances). 18 metres of bias binding should be more than enough to see you through this project.

Fabric Used:

Wool doeskin melton from A W Hainsworth, Yorkshire.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:

  • 1 inch sway back adjustment with removed length added back to hems.
  • 1 inch full arm adjustment.
  • Shortened sleeves by 1 inch (in retrospect I wish I hadn’t).
  • I lined my sleeves.
  • Added 5/8ths inch to bottom of back facing to allow for a hem.
  • Changed in seam pockets for interfaced, lined patch pockets.
  • Hong Kong finish on all seams. I applied to the Hong Kong finish to each seam before constructing the coat. I used a scant 0.25 inch seam allowance to sew 1 inch bias strips to the right side of the fabric piece, before turning and stitching in the ditch to secure the bias strip in place.
  • Interfaced front facing, upper back, upper sleeve and the lower side front armscye.
  • Gathered sleeve heads to ease sleeves in.
  • Handstitched lower hems.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I might sew again. I recommend only if you are confident enough to know what you are doing without relying on the instructions too much.

Conclusion: 

Modern style; very easy to wear. I do love my coat and being as it’s unlined, it’s the perfect weight coat for now in my part of the world.

Outfit Details:

Trousers – Simplicity 8389

Top – Pauline Alice Faura top

Until soon!

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The Avid Seamstress Coat made up electric blue wool melton doeskin from A W Hainsworth

 

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Posted by

I love to shop, but I also love to sew my own clothes, and am currently on a mission to improve my (fairly basic) dressmaking skills. I confess to going into shops and being outraged at the prices of some (not very well made) garments (is it an age thing?) and think "huh, I could make some thing at least as good as that for less" (is it something to do with coming from the Indian subcontinent?) So this blog details my sewing endeavours, both good and bad....I love to nosey through other people's sewing projects....now everyone can get to see mine.

24 thoughts on “The Avid Seamstress Coat – DIY Electric Blue Crombie Style Coat made in Wool Melton Doeskin from A W Hainsworth

  1. This beautiful coat is stunning on you, and the color and finishes (Hong Kong seams) are fabulous. I too do not like the high prices of poorly made Ready To Wear clothing. I am 70 yrs, old, and have been sewing since age 10. That is 60 yrs. of making mistakes and learning from them. In regard to sewing now, I rarely make something from scratch, except for placemats, napkins, table toppers, pillows, alterations, and refashioning clothing items (I find this a real challenge).

  2. MANJU!!
    Once again you made the most beautiful coat I’ve ever seen! I’m sorry the pattern caused you a bit of a headache, I totally agree, that there shouldbe instructions for finishing the seams!!!
    I just went to look at the fabrics… because one can never have too many coats!! ahahahhah
    xB

  3. Hi Manju, that coat is fantastic on you, the color is beautiful. As for the pattern, I think it tries to be a classic coat but falls down on so many details. And I never understand a wool coat without a lining – just me I guess but I think coats need the slippery lining so you can put on over other things. And then I got to the part about the faux notch lapel. that is a detail too far. I think a lot of patterns try to simplify for teaching new stitchers but end up with the a poor imitation of what they are trying to do. all those comments aside, it really looks great on you and I think you made it better with your inside finishing details.

    1. Thanks Beth and I agree; this coat is trying to offer newbie sewists details that you really only get one something like a Vogue advanced pattern. But even in Vogue, trust me, I am still waiting for the perfect coat pattern! Sigh.

  4. I had to go look up the company because the fabric is so incredible. I like how you handled the seams and the coat is really on trend.

  5. I love what you did to improve the pattern; i.e., interfacing, Hong Kong finishing and lining. Too bad they gave lousy directions! Love the color and the contrasting color you chose for the inside!! Looks great!! and looks great on you!!!

  6. This colour and the coat look great on you.
    I have bought this pattern though I haven’t made it yet and I agree that using grey fabric in the photos for instructions are not clear. I like your idea of lining the sleeves and I think that you have attached the sleeve lining to the facings, I hadn’t thought of that.
    Thanks

    1. Thanks Jean. Yep. I attached the sleeve linings to the back facing like a regular lining and, not being a fan of hand sewing, I bagged the sleeve lining out at the sleeve opening so there is no hand sewing. It just makes for a much cleaner finish around the armhole IMO.

  7. I love the bright color on you. The bound seams and lining finish it nicely on the inside. I think you were wise to use additional interfacing around the shoulders and upper sleeve. I’ve not seen this pattern but it sounds like you needed to be inventive with some of the instructions.

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