The hairy caterpillar trench

Guys- it's been so glorious down here in Brighton. The sun is back and I really hope he's here to stay! I love Brighton anytime of the year but it just comes in to it's own this time of year. Although saying that living by the beach has it's downsides, which is mostly to do with the tourists that flock down when there's a moment of sunshine. Luckily I have my own (teeny) balcony with a sew view so I don't need to hustle in the crowds. 

Today I'd like to show off my 'hairy caterpillar trench coat'. Although, first and foremost I'd like to apologise for the blurriness of these photos and I guess, my laziness. Because I could retake these but then I'd rather get on with more sewing. Sorry guys! 

simple sew trench

Now, you're probably wondering why I'm calling it that. Well, the inside seams are bound in hairy caterpillar print fabric. Ta dah!

hairy caterpillar binding

I really love this hidden detail. It made the project take slightly longer but it makes me insanely happy every time I take the coat on or off. It really ups the wow factor for me on an already cool jacket. 

This pattern is by Simple Sew and I purchased it immediately after seeing Gabby's version. It seemed like the perfect transitional pattern and also seemed like a relatively straight forward pattern that wouldn't take up too much time. 

How wrong I was! Honesty is always the best policy - I started this project in like November. In fact, it could have been October. I cut out all the pieces and decided to add a lining like Gabby's. I started sewing it together and it was all going fine. I even added pockets in this lush cotton and steel fabric I had been hoarding for months. 

SO in love!

Then when I sewed an arm in I tried the coat on and - oh. The armhole is too low! I couldn't really lift my arm and it just felt incredibly uncomfortable. I was gutted. 

The pieces were folded up (rather crudely) and shoved in my UFO box. And then I mostly forgot all about it. 

But then in March I decided to give it another go. This little change of heart was mostly down to the fact that I had taken my normal coat to the dry cleaners and then realised it was still too cold to wear anything but a suitable coat and I had a week to wait. Having a job that requires me to leave the house I initially panicked and then thought "well might as well get the old UFO out the box" as a dressmaker does...

simple sew trench

So, I unpicked the lining from the coat pieces and decided to do away with them. As the coat doesn't really have any fastenings, other than a tie belt, I decided I wanted bias bound seams. I checked my stash and found my hungry caterpillar fat quarter and decided that this was just what the inside of a coat needed. Plus I've had this fabric since I started sewing nearly three years ago so it needed to be used. Now, I've never made my own bias binding before because I thought it was a just huge faff but I actually found the process quite therapeutic. Plus you can make it out of scraps or leftovers in fabrics so much cooler than the pre-made bias binding.

Anyways, I decided I was far too lazy to unpick absolutely everything and I didn't want to sew the pockets and pleats again in the skirt portion so I kind of made do with the situation and just bias bound the seams the best I could with regards to what I could get to. I unpicked parts of the seams and resewed them. It's probably not as neat or as good as if I had done this from the very beginning but I'm quite pleased with the results. I will definitely be binding seams again - such a cool and unusual look. Definitely ups the ante when you don't have a lining in your jacket.

simple sew trench

After binding the seams I simply reattached the other parts. Putting the facing back on was slightly tricky as I had trimmed this section down when it was initially attached so it didn't match the seams exactly. I was also unhappy with my interfacing choice that I had used previously but as I kind of just wanted to finish this I wasn't too concerned. Just made a mental note for next time.    

I decided to baste my sleeves in first just to check the fit as I had a suspicion that the lining had a lot to do with the fit last time. Sure enough it was better sans lining. It could still be tweaked but as I needed a jacket fast, and the re-working was going so well, I again, decided to make do and made a note for next time. 

simple sew trench

I sewed the hems by hand as it's my favourite slow Sunday afternoon sewing project. I've said this before, but I also just prefer the look. The skirt hem took HOURS. But I sat on the sofa watching Rob play a video game (it was called Uncharted and the graphics on that shit were insanely good!) and had a grand old time so I wasn't complaining much. 

simple sew trench

The one thing I didn't sew was the belt. I did sew up the belt but for some reason it barely went around my waist. I think I must have not initially cut out enough pieces because that wasn't right. Anyway I had this belt from vegetarian shoes (weird name I know but this is a totally lush non-leather belt) and I really like the pairing so I'm quite happy the fabric belt didn't turn out right!

The fabric I used for this project is a cotton gaberdine from Calico Laine. I really like this fabric. In fact it's what I used for the Pea Coat I made. They have a really great colour selection and I really love this colour against my dark hair and pale skin. Emerald green for the win! Plus it's so different to any other jacket I have. 

I am so pleased that I fished this jacket out of the UFO pile. It's a bit messy in places due to the reworking and not doing things properly the first time around but you can't see that. Not unless you're looking really closely and then I'd probably ask you to step back because why are you standing so close to me?! Haha. I have gotten so many comments on this jacket too. All the feels!

I really like the little touches of this jacket - like the pockets and the bias binding because it just adds something else to the look and feel of the garment. I love wearing this. It's such an easy to through on jacket too. Plus, due to the lack of fastenings it's a great jacket to go out to dinner in with. You can pig on whatever you want and it doesn't matter if you feel bloated. Simply go one belt hole down when you leave. Easy! 

I will definitely make this pattern again. It was an easy make - despite the initial failings, for which I am totally to blame fore! The instructions for Simple Sew patterns do leave some things to the imagination and I think they do expect you to know a little about sewing in the first place as something aren't mentioned, like I don't think it tells you when to press seams etc but once you've got a couple of projects under your belt it isn't really an issue.

I don't think I will be attempting a lining again on this project. I actually like it without as it lends itself well to being a transitional jacket - from Summer to Autumn and Winter into Spring. Plus, I have my eyes on sewing up a Sew Over It Chloe coat for my winter coat next year so an unlined jacket suits my needs perfectly. 

I have plans for a red version. I used to have a red trench coat I bought from Jane Norman (which I'm not so happy to admit I ever shopped in there - do they still exist?!) when I was at college which I adored. Except I dyed my hair and some of the dye ran on to the back of the collar which wasn't great. But I wore that coat to death. Perfect to try and do an updated re-make!