Monday, November 15, 2021

Cashmere Rumana Coat

How many handmade coats does one person need? Don't answer that.

Last year, I scored some amazing cashmere/wool/nylon coating from Fabric Mart (side note, I buy almost all my wool coating from FM, they carry deadstock so you never know when or what you're going to find but if you see something you love, NAB IT). They had a ton of colors of this stuff and it was hard not to buy more than one cut. This fabric was overstock from Michael Kors and was $20/yard when I bought it. Pretty hard to beat that price, and it's easily the nicest coating I've ever used. The lining is a grey silk crepe de chine that I ordered from FM at the same time.

I knew almost immediately that I wanted to make a long coat, and landed on the Rumana from By Hand London. I ordered the pattern to be printed at PDF Plotting, made a muslin...and then did nothing. Well, not nothing, I opted to sew the Oslo Coat which had been sitting in my sewing room for a year before jumping on to the "new pretty" Rumana. Which meant the Rumana sat in my sewing room for a year. Notice a trend?

Anyway. After years of sewing coats, I recommend that you start one in September. Don't wait until it's actually cold. Don't wait until October because then you'll be overwhelmed with Halloween sewing. Or maybe that's all just me and seasonally specific to southern Indiana.

The day I finished the coat it was something like 80 degrees. As of this writing, it's November and I still haven't worn it. But that's okay! It just means that the mistakes (because obviously there are mistakes) won't be on the front of my mind when I eventually pull it out to wear.

The Rumana is a long coat with princess seams, a back vent, and welt-ish pockets. My measurements are 33-28-38 which put me at a size US4 in the bust and US8 in the hips. I also needed to shorten it 3 inches, I'm 5'4". I could not find what height it's drafted for, those 3" I removed based on how my muslin looked. All those seam lines make adjustments easy, but also leave a lot of room for error if you don't adjust across all the pieces (including the lining) correctly. To keep things simple, I cut a size US6 across the board, and then let the seams out over the hips. In retrospect, I probably should have just graded appropriately over the hips. It does fit very closely, which I think turned out fine since I don't anticipate this as an every day, over all the bulky hoodies, kind of coat.

As far as coats go, I found construction to be not too bad. I'm not sure why. I feel like I'm losing perspective on time because my kids are at school all day, and I can work for a few hours uninterrupted (a luxury, I know!!). I've also made five or six lined wool winter coats and countless jackets, so I do have a fair amount of experience. Does that sound braggy? I'm not trying to brag, just to give an appropriate assessment of the pattern and skills needed to sew it.

There is a sewalong online, which I always find helpful with coats. I do have one GIANT beef with the directions, which led to my huge mistake. The buttons are on the "wrong" side. If you follow the illustrations in the pdf, they are wrong. If you follow the written word, they will be correct. If you use your brain, you'll be fine. Now you can see how I ended up doing it wrong.

Nobody will know except me when I go to button the coat and have to do it backwards. But still. Sucks to spend so much time on something and not have it be correct.

The other thing I think I might have done wrong is the vent. It looks fine, but I can't help shaking the feeling that it's also backwards. This was my first time sewing a vent so I don't really know. My hand-sewing also looks a little tortured.

Long coats have a tendency to feel extra fancy to me, and obviously this color screams LOOK AT ME. But my friends who do not live in the Midwest tell me that long coats are fine everywhere else and not "too fancy" for every day wear. We'll see how often I reach for this one, versus my old friend the short olive Yuzu Coat.

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