You might already have seen my new Yates Coat by Grainline Studio over on my Minerva profile – but today I want to share some more pics, as well as more information about fitting, as well as fitting pictures.
I made the Yates Coat from a Minerva sewing kit, i.e. one of the kits available from Minerva that include all the fabric and notions you need. I was greatly intrigued by this checkered wool fabric but also a little afraid of it ending up being “too much”. But I am so glad I went for it, as I really love it as a spring coat and feel very comfortable wearing it.
The Yates Coat is wide and elegant and designed to hit mid-thigh. It has deep lapels and is closed with a hidden double row of sew-in snap closures. The Yates has a horizontal seam across both the front and back, allowing for clever inseam pockets. The sleeves are two-piece sleeves, making the Yates comfortable to wear. The coat is fully lined, ensuring a beautiful finish on the inside and outside.
I won’t go too much into detail about the fabric and notions – you can head over to my profile on Minerva to read more about it. I will just mention that the wool isn’t too thick, a wool-poly mix, has a slight nap, and is very easy to work with. Instead, I will focus a bit more about fitting on my blog.
A coat is a big project, so my advice is to go the extra mile and make sure that you’re happy with the final result. That includes checking how to treat your fabric, making a muslin, fitting the coat correctly, and be thorough with every step and pressing. The Yates Coat is rather wide, so you *might* get away without making a muslin – but even with this wider shape I ended up with a few changes that improved the fit a lot.
After measuring myself (with a thin wool sweat on, since that’s what I will mostly wear with this coat!) I decided to make a muslin in a straight size 2. I based this mostly on my bust measurements, but my hips are within a size 2, too. My waist however, is usually more a size 4 – and right now, while I’m pregnant, soon off the charts. But the Yates coat is rather wide – there are about 30 cm/12 inch of ease around the waist. That means you don’t really need to grade out if it’s only your waist that’s bigger – as long as you’re fine with a slightly slimmer fit at the waist. Even now, while so pregnant, I can manage to close the coat – but not without getting unflattering drag lines, as you can see.
I am 175 cm tall, while the Yates is designed for a height of 165 cm. How much you need to lengthen or shorten your coat does not only depend on your height but also on if you’re particularly long or short in the torso or the legs. Remember – your length is distributed across your whole body, so you probably won’t need to add 10 cm to the pattern, even if (like me) you’re 10 cm taller. I decided to add 5 cm in total, evenly distributed above and below the waist. The two lengthen/shorten lines on the Yates Coat work for me, but you might need to consider lengthening or shorten the pattern somewhere else to get the fit right.
The muslin (with an added 5 cm) didn’t fit too bad, but you can see some drag lines at the back, and it felt a little tight while moving my arms. The shoulder seams didn’t seem to sit quite right, either. These are adjustment that are rather common for me – I am quite small on top, but my back/shoulders are often a little wider than the width of those small sizes. I decided to do a broad back adjustment, adding 0.5 cm on each side by slashing and spreading the back piece at the middle of the shoulder seam (as described on the Deer and Doe blog, by way of an example). That way the back shoulder seam gets wider and you might need to widen the front shoulder seam, too, to make them match up again. However, if you’re only adding 0.5 cm you might get away with easing the back shoulder seam in. That’s what I did and it worked out great.
I also think that some of the wrinkles at the back were caused by my rather sloped shoulders. It only looked like an issue in the back, so I opted to make a sloped shoulder adjustment, changing the angle of the back shoulder seam by 0.5 cm – you can see how that’s done on the Melly Sews blog, for example. It also means lowering the armscye by the same amount to avoid getting a smaller armscye. The last adjustment I made concerning the back/shoulder area was moving the shoulder seam by 0.5 cm to the front at the neckline, and 1 cm towards the outer edge. You can read how to do that over here. That way the shoulder seam was moved a bit further to the front in general, and was angled even more towards the front close to the shoulder tip. You might need to adjust the shape of the sleeve head, too, to make it match the changes at the shoulder. I didn’t do it this time around, since I didn’t move the shoulder seam too much and changing the sleeve head when working with a two-piece sleeve is more complicated. But I did move the notch at the top of the sleeve head slightly to make sure the ease was distributed evenly when setting the sleeve in.
Finally, I decided to add very thin shoulder pads and sleeve heads to my coat. That’s not included in the pattern, but depending on your shoulders, your fabric, and the look you’re going for, it can really make a difference. You can see how different the right and left shoulders look in these fitting pics. All in all, the combination of these changes really improved the fit of my coat. Last but not least I decided to widen the sleeves a bit and to lengthen the sleeves by 2 cm.
Even though these changes weren’t too big, I needed to change nearly every single pattern piece – adding length to most main pattern pieces, lining pattern pieces and interfacing pieces, altering the back/shoulder of every piece connected to the shoulder/back area, including the collar. Since I didn’t want to cut my pattern pieces directly from the tissue paper, I needed to copy every single patten piece before making these changes, too. I think this was the most time-intensive part of the whole process!
This was followed by trying to match the fabric pattern as nicely as possible. You don’t really need to put as much effort into this as I did, but I think it really pays off to pay attention to how the upper and lower coat pieces are matched, as well as to how the front and back pieces work together. You can check the Yates Coat highlights on my Instagram account to see more about how I decided to match the different pattern pieces.
Sewing the Yates is actually the easy part, once fitting, adjusting, and cutting is done! It’s not a very complicated project. Just make sure to press, press, and press to get clean and sharp seams. This particular wool fabric really tolerates a lot of steam and warmth without shrinking or getting marks, which was great! I used my tailor’s sausage, my tailor’s ham, and even my new clapper a lot, and I think it really gave me nice and sharp seams. In combination with the pattern matching, the seam across the back and the front hardly show, and the pockets kind of disappear, which I think is really cool.
That’s all for today, I hope some of you might find this useful if you should sew your own Yates Coat one day. I can also recommend to take a look at the Yates Coat sew along on the Grainline homepage – it was very helpful!
– The pattern, fabric and notions for this make were given to me for free from Minerva in exchange for sewing a sample for their homepage. However, all opinions are, as always, my own. –