Monday 24 February 2020

winter sewing: Rumana coat

So this may have taken me four weeks instead of two, but I finally managed to finish one of the biggest and most important things from my plan! Successfully!

I've been thinking about making a second Rumana coat for a while. I made my first one two years ago and I wear it constantly for the eight or nine months of the year it's cold enough to do so. Why a second one? Well, mostly, the colour. Don't get me wrong, it was the absolute correct choice; having a camel coat is amazing because I never have to worry if it'll look weird with any of my rainbow-spectrum dresses. But there are times, usually when I'm not well and don't have much colour in my face, when I just can't stand to see myself in beige. There have been a couple of occasions recently when I've caught sight of my reflection and thought "wow, I look really sick." So I've wanted to have a winter-appropriate coat in a colour that really suits me for when I need a bit of a lift.

This wool is obviously from my guy at Walthamstow, who told me it's ex-Karen Millen (he seems to get a lot of Karen Millen deadstock). I hadn't picked a colour until I saw this fabric, which seems ridiculous to me in retrospect because I know bright red is the colour I look the best in. This particular blue-based red is absolutely stunning - it's rich and vibrant without being overpowering and taking the coat out of the realm of something I can wear every day if I want. It's the direct opposite of beige.

The pockets are my favourite thing about this coat, and almost the entire reason I made a second Rumana rather than trying another pattern. They're huge, for one thing, and they also sit at the exact point where my hands would naturally be when I'm walking, meaning I can comfortably wander around with my hands in the pockets without it feeling weird. As someone who doesn't really like gloves very much, this has made such a difference to me.

I really wanted to have a way to tie this one closed, but I wanted it to be as unobtrusive as possible. For some reason my brain rebelled at the idea of belt loops, so what I eventually came up with was sandwiching the ties in the side back seams. They don't interrupt the line of the coat at the back, and if I want to wear it open I can just tie them up behind me, as you see above. This coat really isn't intended to close at all so the belt isn't a perfect solution, but it does what I need it to do. 

(please excuse this horrible lighting change. I had to cut this photo session short because it suddenly started raining, realised I hadn't taken any pictures of the lining, and ran back out during a brief lull to get another couple of shots. Should have recalibrated my camera, didn't.)

My one slight regret on this coat is the lining. I used this viscose I had in stash (I bought it when I was depressed and apparently thought this might be a dress I'd want to wear? Hah) and while I like the look of it, I should have used something less annoying. It managed to grow in ways I didn't notice until I was putting the hem together, and by that point I couldn't quite fix it. There are some very weird things going on around the back contour darts. Also it just isn't great as lining fabric - I had to switch it out for something slipperier at the sleeves, and I think I probably should have given up on the idea of beautifully colour matched but still contrasting lining and just got something functional. 

Overall I'm happy with this coat. It fulfils the brief of "bright and warm" and will carry me nicely into spring. I took these photos at the same time as the photos of my cape (which is a Minerva project so not going up here, but suffice to say I really don't love it) and looking back at both sets of pictures it's clear to see that the coat is perfectly fulfilling the brief I set for it. Same day, same make-up, same outfit on underneath, but my face just looks so much more alive in these. The red is doing its job, and I'm extremely grateful for it. 

Up next will be my plans for spring, which will have some room built in for me to finish most of the winter stuff as well. I actually made more this winter than the state of this blog would have you believe, but a bunch of them were Minerva projects and a bunch more weren't really worth posting about: a second plain black bodysuit, an exact remake of one of my Ruska dresses with a slightly more stable neckband, several Christmas presents, a test run of the pyjama bottoms which I didn't love but also didn't have any real issues worth discussing. I don't regret having done this rather than followed my actual plan, but I do still want the leggings and shirt and bag and I will do them, dammit! The shirt is especially important as Patrick turns 40 in less than a month and I need to have something to give him besides a pair of Carly Rae Jepsen socks (you can get those, it turns out). I'm hoping to get fabric for that this week and get started!

By Hand London Rumana coat

Fabric: Red wool from Walthamstow
Cost: £30
Pattern details: Ankle length lined, panelled coat with deep pockets and notched collar
Size: 16
Alterations: Ties added to the side back seams
Would make again/would recommend: Yes/Yes