A wool coat for winter, part 2: Toile
I did not even dream of making this coat without a toile. I may take risks with cheaper garments but this wool was way too expensive for me to skip this crucial step. It’d be better to make a toile out of similar fabric but I only had the bolt of Ikea cotton for that purpose. However, I figured that would work for the basic fitting purposes.
I took my whole bolt of toile fabric and my pattern and headed for the Sewing Café (or Kaavakahvila) hosted by the wonderful ladies of Ompelino. This way I could enjoy not only the huge cutting tables they have but also cake and coffee. What’s not to like!
The Vogue V8346 I have has only the sizes 6, 8 and 10. I was a bit worried about the small size range since my measurements are actually between the sizes 12 and 14. The vogue patterns do have a lot of ease, though, so I just cut the size 10 and hoped for the best.
The first thing I noticed was that there was going to be a lot of hem! My bolt of Ikea cotton came already folded and I usually cut everything doubled. I tried to save fabric but then found it impossible to place any of the major coat pieces next to each other. Finally, I gave up and just ended up cutting one piece out of each length. At least now I understand why the cutting layout in the instruction leaflet looks the way it does!
I didn’t cut the collar or the sleeves. I will have plenty of time for them later, once I know more about the coat and the fit. In any case, I will not be making sleeves using the V8346 pattern. I think that a coat this fine needs to have two-piece sleeves.
Sewing the toile was a new experience for me since I got to use an industrial Pfaff sewing machine in the picture above. It only makes straight stitch, but it automatically makes back stitches at the beginning and the end of each seam and also cuts the thread. And the speed! I have grown used to controlling the speed of my home Bernina by using just my pedal but this Pfaff monster was a racing car compared it. I must admit crying out loud a few times when I accidentally pressed a little too hard on the pedal and the Pfaff surged forward!
After the toile was finished, I could breathe a sigh of relief since the coat was not too small. In fact, it was just slightly too large. Now, I was able to take advantage of me doing this at Ompelino. Heidi from the Ompelino could help me to get the fit right and pin away all the excess fabric. It was so much faster with someone else doing it! And the only way to fit the back for me was to ask my husband to do it and, even though he has improved his fitting skills during the years, he’s still not a professional.
The centre front was about 2 cm too wide, but the side fronts were okay. We also had to lower the neckline a bit. My longer torso meant that the original neckline didn’t fit without wrinkling and pulling. (Btw. we put some random shoulder pads in so that the shoulder shape would be correct.)
The back needed more changes. I know that my back is narrow and this pattern shows it very well. Heidi pinned out quite a bit not only from the centre back but also from the back princess seam.
At home, I basted the dart and the new seams and tried my toile on. Just not that only the right-hand side (left in the image) has been fitted:
Sorry about the silly face! Already the coat was looking promising. The flare of the hem is exactly what I was after.
I ripped the toile apart and transferred the changes to both sides. Here is the finished toile (again with the weird pose, what’s wrong with me?):
Since we had to lower the neckline by moving the centre front position, there is an angle with the coat fronts. This still needs to be fixed.
Here is one more picture taken outside with a bit more light. Here is how I fixed the angle of the coat fronts. I made a little horizontal dart a little below the bust line. I also marked that I needed to add a bit more width to the front pieces:
Now the toile is finished and it’s time to cut the coat!
I hope you enjoyed reading this post. Thanks for reading and see you soon! Happy sewing!
Thank you for this detailed post and pictures to follow your process. How marvellous you went to a sewing cafe to receive the benefit of their equipment and expertise. I live in a large city and will research if one exists here. Your coat is off to a great start and the fit looks terrific. Appreciate your inspiration.
Thank you for your comment! I hope you find a sewing cafe! If not, perhaps someone could appreciate your suggestion and start one!
I can’t wait to see the finished coat! I bought this pattern years ago, but it’s just been sitting in my stash….. I may need to bring out this winter and finally get started on it! Would you recommend it as a first coat project or should I try something simpler first?
It’s hard for me to compare it with other coat patterns, since I haven’t made that many. This has a lining, so it adds a bit extra work but if you are making a winter coat, the lining is a must-have. The coat itself is pretty easy to fit because of the princess seams and it doesn’t have many difficult details, like welt pockets. If you are making a wool coat, the biggest obstacle is probably the pressing. The wool seams a thick and if you don’t press them properly the coat will certainly look home-made. I recommend this blog post which will help you to make your seams flat and professional looking: https://withmyhandsdream.com/2017/10/29/diy-pressing-tools-sleeve-rolls-aka-tailors-sausages-dauber-tailors-clapper-and-a-point-presser-and-what-to-do-with-them/
I know it has been a couple of years since you made the coat. I hope you remember anyway 🙂 I notice that the toile fit rather closely to your body (looks good). The toile represents the red fabric. How did you take into account that you made 4 layers in your coat. Didn’t it change the size you needed to a larger one? I am planing to make 3 layer coat of same pattern. I live in Denmark and it is not as cold here. The pattern is only a 2 layer pattern and I worried that the coat will be too small if I don’t go up one size.
The coat looks very beautiful – and the color is great