Are you taking the #memademay challenge?  Never heard of it?

#Memademay is the brainchild of Zoe, a sewist blog writer.  Her blog is So, Zo.  Zoe designed a challenge for herself to see if her handmade wardrobe was actually items that she would wear.  She also wanted to push herself to try different types of garments that she hadn’t tackled before.  When other sewists heard about this, they wanted to share the experience hence the Me-Made-May challenge.  While you can gear your participation to your own levels (you can participate as much or as little as you want – no expectations) one very common pledge is for a participant to aim to wear one self-stitched or refashioned garment each day for the duration of May.   Check out the instagram tag #memademay!

While I haven’t participated in this challenge, I did just finish the Florence Coat from Tessuti Fabrics.  And it happens to be May so …

This is not a complicated pattern to sew, but it was a challenge for me as I actually had to read the instructions!  All the seams are overlapped for the raw edge finish so I had to pay attention to which side overlapped where.  I chose to make the size 1 which translates to size 10 -12.

The coat description from the Tessuti site reads as follows:

The Florence Coat is a long-line, oversized, unlined coat with a relaxed style. It features a collarless neckline with stitched down facing, dropped shoulders, patch pockets and full-length sleeves with turned back cuffs. The coat front sits edge-to-edge without overlap, making it the perfect lightweight layering piece for the autumn/winter months. As seams are overlapped and edges and hems left raw, the Florence Coat is best made up in boiled or felted wools that do not fray when cut.

The fabric  I used was the Sweater Double Knit in grey.  It has the heavier weight like a ponte knit and has a no fray edge.  It is soft and cozy, making it perfect for an early spring coat.  (If you want to make this coat in a woven fabric, there are additional instructions available.)

The instructions provided are clearly written with colour photographs as well although the sleeve cuff instruction took me a couple tries.  For some reason, I couldn’t wrap my brain around it!  I ended up doing it my way which I’m still not sure is what Tessuti had designed.

Here are the couple suggestions/additions I did.

  1. If you are able, use a rotary cutter for the seams.  You are guaranteed straight even edges.
  2. While the instructions suggest using pins to mark your seam allowance, I ended up running a basting thread in a different colour.  I kept stabbing my fingers with all those pins or I’d lose my seam allowance as the fabric shifted.
  3. I interfaced the back neck and front facings.  Because this fabric is a knit, I was worried that it would stretch out when worn or hung on a hanger.  I used a very light weight fusible such as Sewer’s Dream as I didn’t want to add bulk or stiffness, just support.  If you choose to do this, make sure you trim away the seam allowance on the interfacing.  Otherwise, because of the raw edge finish, you may catch glimpses of the interfacing.
  4. I sewed in some stay tape on the shoulder lines.  Again, I didn’t want the shoulders to stretch out.
  5. You may think to skip the vilene/tear away stabilizer step and just go with a stay stitch.  I highly recommend you use the vilene/tear away or wash away stabilizer!  While this fabric is a stable knit, it is still a knit.  I used the Pellon Sol-U-Film 551 with great success.  I find some tear aways leave bits underneath the stitches.  Then I have to tweezer those bits out.  Urgh!  With the wash away, it just disappears – so long as your fabric is washable!

If you are in need of a early spring coat, I recommend this pattern.  I’m even thinking of making another one in a different colour.  After all, there are still another 26 days in this month!