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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Hmm… this feels strange.  I’m back and blogging, but not about baking!  This blog is all about SEWING!  Let’s go back five months, shall we?

Covid-19 strikes and I find myself with quite a bit of free time.  If you didn’t know, I work for an airline and suddenly, work was crazy, then it wasn’t.  I voluntarily opted to take some time off.  I thought, “This will be great!  When things calm down in a couple months, I can do some traveling! I can visit my favorite (and only) sister in France for her BIG birthday in September.”  2020 had other plans though and here I still sit, in my house, wondering what’s next.

Get to the point already!

Okay, so I found myself once again searching for that beautiful pink coat that was on Gilmore Girls seasons 4 and 5.  You know it.  The one Lorelai wore with the cute pockets and offset belt.  I had researched it years ago.  It was made by Edward An and is impossible to find.  IMPOSSIBLE!

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Here was an idea:  I could find a seamstress to make it.  Well, two of them.  One for me and one for my dear sister who also likes the coat and did I mention has a BIG birthday coming up?  I found one locally and paid her a visit.  That’s all I paid.  She quoted me $1500 per coat.  I don’t know about you, but that’s a bit too rich for my blood.

Back to the drawing board.  I could make them myself.  I know some basics of sewing and always wanted to learn more.  Good old Google helped me locate a blog on just the subject of sewing the Gilmore Girls pink coat.  One person suggested using a pattern by Jalie called City Coat.  What the heck is Jalie?  Turns out it’s a family owned pattern company out of Canada.  And the City Coat is available for purchase online to print from home.  Okay, now we’re getting to the part you are probably interested in.  How do we make Lorelai’s coat?  That is, afterall, what this blog post is about.

——Sew You Want To Make Lorelai’s Pink Coat by Edward An——

Materials you’ll need:

  • Jalie Stretch City Coat pattern
  • Tracing paper
  • Sewing machine
  • Pink wool (approx 2.25 yards but can differ depending on size)
  • Pink thread
  • Lining material (slightly less than the amount of wool)
  • 10 gold buttons (plus 1 for spare)
  • Patience

I’m going to walk you through what I did to accomplish a close replica to the original coat.  Keep in mind, I am pretty new to sewing and there could be other methods I did not use.  If you are a complete beginner, I would highly suggest practicing with material like muslin first.

Step 1 – The Pattern

When you buy and print the pattern, you will need to tape the pieces together and then cut all the individual pieces out.  I had trouble with some of it lining up correctly so after cutting individual pieces, I fixed the ones slightly off by removing the tape, lining it up, and re-taping.

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Now look at the pattern and pictures of the finished design.  What are similar: yoke, princess seams.  That’s a good start.  But the things that are slightly different: collar, sleeves, princess seams end at waist, needs waist line and a belt, patch pockets instead of sewn in pockets.  This is why you will need tracing paper and patience.

The first draft I did was using size W.  Look, I’m a tall girl.  5’10”, 160 pounds, 39″x34″x40″ (approximately).  I’m telling you this because a size W was WAY TOO BIG!  The final pattern size I used for my coat was U, but tapering to T at the waist to give it a more hourglass shape. To figure out your size, I would say to measure the front and back pattern pieces at the waist and add up the total.  Subtract 3-3.5″ that you will lose from seam allowances and overlap when coat is buttoned. If that number matches exactly your waist, size up.  You want the end result to still have a couple of inches for wiggle room and/or sweater underneath.

When working with the master pattern, you need to establish where the waist will be on the front and back pieces.  Draw that line on the pattern.  Know that you will be adding a seam there so you also need to add seam allowance to your revised pattern pieces.

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Let’s start with Center Front and Side Front.  After a mock up with the way too big size W, I realized that the original princess seams were too far over near the arms.  The Edward An coat has lovely seams that go nearly over the apex of the bust and in slightly at the waist giving it a nice, flattering look.  So I shifted the seam on the Center Front towards the center, 1″ at the top, tapering to 2″ over at the waist (plus my adjustment to size T at the waist).  Use the lines for the size you are making and measure from there.  Add seam allowance at the bottom for the waist.  Respectively, I shifted the seam for the Side Front over 1″ at the top, tapering to 2″ at the waist, again in the direction of the center of the coat.  Add your seam allowance to that piece too at the waist.

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Finishing the front, you now want to match up the seams at your size of the master pattern and trace the front bottom. You’re removing the middle seam so you will want to remove the original seam allowance there.  Leave the side seam allowance.  You’re not using the built in pockets either so ignore how it juts out and just match up the straight lines.  I also added 8″ to the bottom so the coat would be about knee length.

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Center Back and Side Back are easier.  Seams stay where they are up top, you just need to add the waist and seam allowance.  For the bottom piece, once again match up the master patterns center seams and trace the entire outline at your size.  Make sure you have seam allowance at the waist.  Add 8″ to the bottom. There is no seam down the middle below the belt so this piece will be cut on the fold. Remove the seam allowance on that side.

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For the Front Yoke and Back Yoke, this part will be up to you.  For my coat, I left them exactly as is.  The seam looks slightly lower than the Edward An coat.  So for my sister’s, I raised the seam 1″.  What that means if you decide to do that is you’ll need to raise the seam on the yokes and also raise it 1″ (or elongate) on the Center Front, Side Front, Center Back, and Side Back.  The sleeve seam will no longer match up so that will also need to get moved over 1″ towards the shoulder on the Sleeve Top and Sleeve Back.  Is it worth the extra effort?  Up to you.

That leads us to the sleeves.  On the Jalie pattern, there is a horizontal seam at the elbow.  We don’t want that if we’re trying to be true to the Edward An coat.  You can match up the bottom sleeve lines at your size to the top sleeve and trace your new pattern, or you can just lengthen the Sleeve Top and the Sleeve Back following the same angle.  I think in total, my sleeves from the top of the shoulder were about 16″ long.  You’ll want to measure yourself (or the person you’re making it for) to get the right length.  Keep in mind, we are adding a cuff so go a couple inches above the wrist.  I also found in my mock up that the sleeves seemed wide.  You can tell from the picture that for my final pattern piece, I tapered it in more towards the wrist.

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For the Cuff, measure the bottom of your Sleeve Top and Sleeve Back that you traced.  Your cuff needs to be about 2.5″ wider because it wraps around the wrist and buttons up. My cuff is also about 6″ tall because half of that is going to be folded under.  Again, measure your arm length.  These all need to be adjusted to match the size you’re making it for.

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We need to now draft the pattern for the belt.  I went with about 3.5″ tall and 23″ wide (cut on the fold so it will be 46″ wide).  Keep in mind that the belt extends out on the right side by 2″.  And when the coat is buttoned closed, you will lose about 3″ in overall width.  So say you are going for an end result of 38″ at the waist.  You need to add 2″ for overhang, add slightly more to tuck under and stitch so you don’t have raw edges, and add about 3″ since the coat crosses over itself when buttoned.  At the end of the day, it’s much easier to take away excess length.  I probably cut away 3″ of extra belt.

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Draft your pattern pieces for the pockets next.  You can see my pictures to try and figure out sizing.  Finished height is about 8-8.5″ and width is slightly less than 8″.  If you want to add a liner to your pocket, I found a great video on YouTube with instruction.  Also read a blog about making your liner slightly less in width than your pocket so it folds inward just enough to make it invisible (or nearly invisible) on the outside of your coat when stitched on.

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I found the collar to be a bit of a challenge. I knew nothing of collars until I started this project.  The Jalie pattern has a collar and collar stand so it sits up on the coat.  The Edward An collar is more of a Rolled Collar.  You can look up YouTube videos on both types.  In the end, I drafted a rolled collar.  Measure your pattern necklines from your Front Yoke and Back Yoke.  Add the total up. You want the collar to end about 1.5″ on each side so subtract 3″ from your total.  That should be the length of your collar that attaches to the neck.  You will stitch a top and under collar together so keep in mind when you turn them right side out, you will lose a little length in the seams. Add that length in if you want exactly 1.5″ on each side of the neck.  I would suggest you cut a trial collar out of scrap material so you can get the collar points right.  My coat’s collar goes outwards more and my sister’s points downwards.  That’s probably a result of me sewing my Back Facing on upside down.  Oops!  I’ll get to that in the Sewing portion of this post.

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You’re pretty much done.  The Back Facing and Front Facing will be left as is, but lengthen your Front Facing piece the amount of inches (I did 8″) that you added to your coat.

Step 2 – Cut and Assemble

Beware of NAP!  I didn’t even think of it but my wool has a nap.  If you don’t know what that is, just move your hand up and down your fabric.  Is it smooth going one way and rough the other?  If so, make sure you cut your fabric out all in the same direction, of course following marked grainlines.  I had some of my pieces upside down just to fit on the fabric and realized while assembling that some areas looked darker.  Nap direction can change how fabric looks. I corrected it for my sister’s coat as mine was the trailblazer.

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I’m not going to go into great deal with assembly from the Jalie instructions.  You essentially sew the front pieces together, the back pieces together, top stitch if you want top stitching, then sew the front and back pieces together at the shoulder.  I liked the instructions on the sleeves that you sew the Top Sleeve and Back Sleeve together, then sew onto the coat with the side and side sleeve open.  For me, it was easier than sewing the sleeves in already constructed armholes.  Also remember to sew completely over where the original pockets were.  You can ignore Jalie’s instructions on that.

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Obviously we made some changes and additions so let’s talk about what I did with the belt and cuffs.  I added the belt after the front, back, sleeves, collar, and facings were attached.  I would suggest you add interfacing to your belt.  Where the belt folds back (the area where it extends from the coat), you can skip interfacing a couple of inches so you don’t have two layers of it there.  Work with your iron and something long to fold the top and bottom over while pressing.  I used a flat rate USPS envelope.  See?  You don’t need a ton of fancy-schmancy equipment.  Your goal with the belt is to have it be about 2.5″ tall.  You can make it shorter if you want but that’s what I thought looked close to the Edward An coat.  When pinning to the coat, use your waist seam to measure and keep it straight.  You want your folded over section that extends from the coat to be about 2″.  Top stitch it on the coat and hand stitch the ends to neaten it up.  I did this in a couple steps because I didn’t want to sew over my Front Facings.  So I folded the facings over, stitched as close to the edge of the coat as I could without going into the facing. Then I snipped and tied off those threads, pushed the facing back in place, and stitched the end of the belt.  This process may require a little bit of hand stitching.  Again, be patient.

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For the cuffs, you will notice that the Edward An coat has a slit on the back seam before the cuff.  When sewing your sleeves at the back seam, do not sew all the way down.  Leave about 3″.  Press your cuff in half and sew it on starting at the back seam and wrap around.  When you turn it right side out and tuck half under into the sleeve, then you can top stitch to keep it all in place.

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This is a good time to now hem your coat.  I bought a Serger recently so I serged the bottom, pinned it up about 2″ with hem clips, ironed, and used my sewing machine to do invisible stitches.

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The pockets can be sewn on at this point. When you figure out where you want to place them, sew pretty close to the edge so the lining doesn’t peek out.  If lining is a little visible and it bothers you, you can hand sew it after.  Remember, pockets have an opening at the top so don’t sew there.  I may or may not have sewn one pocket all the way around before realizing I may or may not be a dummy.  Figure out placement of the flaps next and stitch just the top down.  Also beware of the Front Facing underneath.  Try to avoid stitching over it because that will be visible and not covered by lining.

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Keep on with the pattern instructions.  Do your finishing touches.  Add button holes and buttons.  My coats were slightly different, but my buttons were placed about 5″ apart.  The buttonhole on the belt was closer than that though.  You just need to use your best judgement and look at the picture of the Edward An coat.

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At this point, you are ready to line it.  Now get the lining patterns that the Jalie coat came with.  Ugh! Nevermind.  It didn’t come with a liner.  Hello Google searches, once again.  I found a website that I thought did a good job with explaining how to create a lining.  I didn’t cut out each piece minus the facings and sew them together.  My lining fabric for both coats had quite a bit going on and I didn’t want to try to match up the pattern that closely.  I achieved what worked well with four pieces.  Lining Front, Lining Back, Lining Sleeve Top, and Lining Sleeve Back.  Make sure your pieces are longer so there’s a little give.  I made a mistake with my sleeve lining where I only made it a couple inches longer than the Sleeve Top and Sleeve Back.  I had to hand sew it into the sleeve as close to the Cuff seam as possible.  It worked, thankfully.  But I was worried I would have to sew extra sleeve lining on or order more fabric.

The body of the lining was attached to the facings by machine with a longer stitch.  This is where I realized that my back facing for my coat was upside down.  The lining at the neck was way too wide even with a 2″ pleat.  I cut away the excess fabric down the back seam before I realized what I had done.  Rather than undo a good portion of my coat, I made a new back facing measuring the width at the shoulder seams, and the correct width at the bottom that attaches to the liner.  I sewed that on by hand and then cut away what I could of the old back facing to reduce bulk.  Fortunately, it worked well enough.  But I did lose my pleat in the lining.  The lining was still wide enough to fit to the coat.

I whip stitched the bottom closed by hand, having to do it three times before it was the right height where it had a little give, didn’t pull up on the hem, or didn’t hang below the hem.  Even with having a dress form.  Did I mention patience?

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Finally, the flower.  I simply cut out petal pieces in 3 sizes (picture is missing the small size), ironed them in half for effect, and stitched the bottom row by machine on a circle of wool.  I hand stitched the smaller petals on top, really just stitching at the center of the flower.  To hide the stitching underneath, I took a circle of wool in the same size as the base and hand stitched them together.  Do stitch that 2nd circle of wool onto the pin before sewing it to the rest of the flower. Voila!

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Blood, Sweat, Tears, and a Tetanus Shot.  It was a crazy project, but I am so happy with the end results.  I’m sure my sister will use hers more than me (I live in Phoenix, Arizona).  I didn’t skimp on materials but I also didn’t spend $3000 total, proving you can be your own seamstress and save a good deal of money.

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The materials I used:

Pink Angora Wool from MacCulloch & Wallis (gorgeous and excellent quality, though a bit brighter than the Edward An coat)

Gold Shank Buttons from Mood for my coat

Gold Shank Buttons from Britex size 1″ for my sister’s coat

Beagles and Coffee from Spoonflower in Satin for my coat

But First Coffee from Spoonflower in Satin for my sister’s coat

 

 

 

Dress Rehearsal:

 

 

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