Bunny coat- all finished and ready to wear

So, I’ve managed to finish a coat! This is quite a picture heavy post because there are lots of details to look at, and I had to show off my gorgeous little model! There are some more pictures of the construction process in my previous post, so I thought I’d focus on the later parts of the construction like the lining, and the finished coat for this post. This is also another tick from my make 9, so I’m feeling pretty smug with 7 out of 9 complete!

The lining of the coat is designed to be a couple of centimetres shorter than the outer, so that when it’s all put together the hemline is really cleanly finished, and the intersection between lining and outer sits on the inside. It just takes a bit of precision in the folding and sewing, and trust that it will come together as planned!

There are both poppers and toggles to fasten the coat. I like the way that from the outside it is just the toggles that are visible which looks quite traditional, but the poppers add a lot in terms of functionality. They help to keep that baffle tightly closed against a breeze and make sure that the coat stays cosily fastened right up to the neck. I installed mine with Vario Pliers, because I find it a lot more precise than hitting everything with a hammer.

Like the penguin dungarees, the pattern doesn’t include markings for either the toggles or the poppers, but does include good instructions to help you position them for yourself. I used wash away tape to hold the ‘leather’ for the toggles in place while I sewed because I didn’t want to put extra pin marks into them.

I decided to include a hanging loop which isn’t in the instructions, but will make this a bit more practical for everyday use. I made sure to sew it in twice, because the finished coat is fairly heavy, and that little loop will need to support the whole weight of it. I also included one of these beautiful Kylie and the Machine labels. I’ve not really used labels in the past, but I thought that for such a special sew, with all the work that went into it, it needs to be celebrated! These little ‘handmade’ labels come from a pack with an assortment of rainbow colours, so I’m sure you will be seeing them again in things that I’m feeling especially proud of.

The bunny ears do make the hood quite heavy, but look so cute hanging down the back! When the hood is up they flop down either side if the head rather than stand up tall because they are so heavy and don’t contain any interfacing or stiffening.

I like the little peek of fur at the end of the cuffs too. The lining is cut slightly longer than the outer on this version of the coat to facilitate this, but on the other coats in the book the lining stays hidden so it would be easy to change it in this coat too if you preferred.

The sleeves are too long on Toby at the moment, but rolling them back looks fine because you just end up with a bigger furry cuff!

This is going to be one cosy coat! It just feels beautifully weighty and soft. Having tackled this first coat for Toby I think it would be a nice tradition to make him another next winter but perhaps choose another of the animals. I’m definitely tempted by the fox for next time! Maybe finishing this one will give me the boost that I need to finish off my Taylor Trench for myself too.


Bunny coat- sewing in progress

This coat is coming together so much more quickly than I anticipated! I am just loving seeing it come together, and that it great motivation for fitting in just one more little seam. Initially I wasn’t sure what the experience of sewing with the fur would be like, especially with the constraint that it can’t really be pressed so many of the seams need topstitching flat, but so far it hasn’t been a problem at all.

Speaking of the fur, it is so satisfying teasing the trapped sections of fur out of the seams once they have been sewn. On the seams where there is fur sewn to fur you can hardly see the seam once it’s done because it gets covered over by the pile.

I did a few test swatches of the settings that I planned to use for the applique sections and ended up choosing a much shorter stitch length than the book recommends. I just preferred the way that the dense stitching completely covered the cut edge of the applique piece.

I also found some suitably coloured and themed quilting cotton to line the pockets. The patch pockets would be so bulky if they were lined in fur like the rest of the coat, so it was definitely a good choice. I like these leaves because they remind me of autumn which seems appropriate in a coat.

The hood is also partially constructed now, including these amazing bunny ears! They are pretty heavy, and I was impressed that my sewing machine coped with 7 layers of corduroy and 2 of fur plus seam allowances without complaint! I did switch to a slightly chunkier needle for that section though. The inside of the hood is just so soft and snuggly!

The only problem that I have run into so far with sewing this up was entirely of my own making. When trying to topstitch one of the seams while keeping the fur out of the way I managed to stitch through my finger! ouch! fortunately it was only the skin at the very tip and it seems to be healing nicely but I’ve been a lot more cautious and careful since then!

I still have the lining to construct, and I’m hoping that it won’t stall me in the same way that lining my Taylor Trench seems to have! I really need to get back on to finishing that coat project too at some point soon! In the meantime, I’m really enjoying the process of creating something which will hopefully be a treasured hand me down for children in my family for many years to come!

Bunny Coat- an introduction

When I made my penguin dungarees, in my mind I was using them as a test run of instruction style before diving into a more complex project from ‘The Fox, the Bear and the Bunny’. In my make 9 this year, I planned to make Toby a cute coat and there are three suggested designs in the book, one for each of the title animals. I went with the bunny coat, partially because I don’t know if Toby will let me dress him in a bunny coat next year, but figured that at 18 months be was going to be too young to protest!

The patterns from the book do have to be traced because they are double sided and overlapping in some places, but you would probably want to trace children’s patterns anyway so that you can make them again in the next size up. One thing to look out for though is the tiny arrow on each piece which is the only indication as to the grainline. Its much smaller than the convention on most patterns, so definitely takes some getting used to!

This is quite a complex pattern with a lot of pieces. The book does helpfully give some indication as to how much of a time commitment each of their patterns are in the instructions. It will depend a lot on how much un-interrupted time you get to sew, and how fast you are comfortable sewing, but it was a helpful indicator that this coat would be around 1-2 hours of cutting and preparation, and 8-10 hours of sewing. Contrast that with the dungarees, which recommended 20 minutes for the cutting and 1-2 hours of sewing time.

I picked up most of the fabrics locally, and chose this cream/grey corduroy for the outer and a velboa synthetic fur for the lining and accents. I prewashed and dried a test swatch of the fur because ideally I wanted to be able to chuck the coat in the washing if it got too grubby, and apart from a little shrinkage the fur was absolutely fine with a wash and tumble dry- definitely a useful test!

This was a bit of a mammoth task tracing off and cutting out, especially as the fur shed like crazy when it was cut. Fortunately, I was able to do all the cutting on one day so that I didn’t get in a muddle over the nap of the corduroy, and actually interspersed it with some other sewing so that I didn’t get too bored or stiff working on the floor.

I still need to source some toggles for the front fastening. I’m not sure yet whether I will buy them ready assembled, or do as the book suggests and make my own. It does feel like one big hurdle completed to have the bulk of the sewing preparation done though, and now I’m starting to feel more excited about starting the construction.

Size-wise, I’ve gone for the smallest size again which is 1-2 years. Toby will be 18 months at the start of the winter so I’m hoping it will be a good fit. If it’s a bit long though I’m not too worried. We can always turn back the cuffs for him too if it’s too long in the sleeve. It means he might get a longer wear out of it too.

Penguin Dungarees

I was given The fox, the Bear and the Bunny for Christmas last year and it is full of lovely children’s clothes with personality! This is the first time I’ve used it, and I’ve tweaked the concept a little from the version in the book. These dungarees come from the fox section but the sky blue corduroy remnant that I had in my stash didn’t really fit that theme so I chose my own!

I didn’t have quite enough length of fabric to cut the back of the dungarees in one, so I needed to piece the straps back on. This fabric is the remnants from a very early make- my Tilly and the Buttons Delphine skirt. I picked up a metre of a Polycotton locally to use for the lining. I wanted one with animals on which would coordinate and ideally be non directional so that I could roll up the bottoms as cuffs. This penguin one was what I came up with, and so dictated the theme for the pocket too.

The book has applique templates for the suggested fox face pocket, but it wasn’t too tricky to find a penguin image that I liked and create my own templates. I wanted it to be pretty simple shapes, but I think it looks really effective. Because the felt doesn’t fray, you can just cut the inner shapes to size and zigzag them on. The outer shape needs a seam allowance included because that lets you add a lining and turn it out all neatly.

The dungarees have elastic in the back waist for a bit of shaping. I didn’t have any 40mm elastic at home so I just used 30mm. I’ve made the smallest size (12-18 months) so I thought that using narrower elastic might actually scale down pretty nicely.

The instructions are mostly text, but do have some illustrations for clarity. They do helpfully remind you which parts of the dungarees are most likely to experience stress when worn by an active toddler and instruct you to reinforce those sections. One thing that is left up to your own judgement is the size and position of the buttons and buttonholes. Unlike lots of patterns there are no markings on the pattern pieces, but I think on this project in particular the placement is fairly intuitive. I think if you have made a couple of garments before the instructions are more than sufficient to help you though the construction, just don’t expect a picture of every stage.

Construction-wise, these are pretty simple. There is a full lining which finishes everything neatly on the inside, and gives a great opportunity to use some of the fun cotton prints that are always so appealing, but don’t actually make very practical clothes for mixing and matching. The fabric requirements given in the book are a bit generous because they don’t list requirements for each size, just the largest. You can definitely be more efficient if you measure your pattern pieces and plan accordingly. In this smallest size, I could easily have got away with 90cm even with my directional print and napped corduroy rather than the 1.2m listed in the instructions.

I did make a few tiny tweaks to the finishing of them. I topstitched all around the neckline to help it lie flat and to stop the lining from trying to peek out. I also adjusted the turn ups at the hem for the outer layer. In the instructions it has both the outer and the lining finishing at the same point, but I thought I could get a better finish by making the lining a bit shorter than the outer corduroy. It looks really neat and tidy now when turned up to show the lining off.

These dungarees are a bit too big at the moment which is as I expected and explains the lack of modelled photos. Toby is on the shorter end of the spectrum, so I’m hoping they will fit nicely during the winter. This t-shirt is just a second hand ready to wear one, but I might have to look out for a suitably coordinating jersey to make a couple more to wear underneath before then too. Maybe something with fish or some more co-ordinating stripes.

All set for school…

When I made the co-ordinating clothing set for baby it inspired me to have a look for some other fabrics in my stash to make some alternatives! I thought it would be nice for Toby to join in too and be able to co-ordinate with baby for some ‘coming home’ pictures. We often dress Toby in a long sleeve t-shirt rather than a jumper anyway so I thought it would be nice for him to have a couple more for the autumn and winter.

I bought half a metre of this ‘art class’ jersey in green from Ray Stitch in the sale ages ago thinking that it would be nice to use for Toby at some point. Baby things are such a good way to use a small remnant or cut of a more exciting print in combination with other solids so I paired this with some cotton spandex in peacock blue from Girl Charlee.

For Toby I’ve used the Brindille and Twig Ringer Tee again as a great basic tee. I had enough of the pencils jersey to cut out a pair of t-shirts which are the reverse of each other. Both look really great, so I’m looking forward to Toby growing into them.

Once they were finished, there were still a few scraps of jersey left and it seemed a shame to put them away or to waste them. I managed to use all the little left over pieces to make another newborn baby set. This time I used the cuffed version of the wee lap tee to more closely mirror Toby’s top, though there was only enough of the printed jersey to cut the front so the back is plain.

I got to use the final option from the Teeny Beanie pattern too- the plain hat without ears. Now I’ve made all three types and like them all. This one is the fastest and least fussy to construct I think though.

Even the tiniest scraps got used to tie in the feet of the footed trousers. This is a slightly more understated outfit for the baby I think. Still definitely a ‘set’, but I’m sure we will mix and match the pieces with other clothes too.

I’m really hopeful that we will be able to get some great family photos once the baby arrives in their matching outfits, but even if they don’t ever get worn at the same time, I know that both Toby and the baby will get some good wear out of these this winter. Now I just need to trace off the next size up to be ready for the next growth spurt!