Friday, December 9, 2011

The Kestrel Coat-A Tutorial and a Giveaway.

I have been simply longing to sew this.

The Kestrel Coat by Clever Charlotte.

Not only am I going to sew it for Lidia but I have a copy of the pattern to give away!
Thank you Charlotte!

So leave a comment and your email if it is not linked to your profile and once the coat is sewn I will draw a name randomly.
If its your name-the pattern is yours!

I am making it in a luscious butter cashmere that I have had in my stash for a decade and lining it with Tula Pinks Prince Charming quilting cotton.
Pre-wash your fabric as you intend to care for it!
I washed my wool,in the machine,with wool wash and air dried it.
One of the beauty's of wool is that most marks will brush off when dry or be able to be sponged off with a damp flannel.

Lidia's measurements put her in a size 3 but as she is nearly 8 I went with the size 4.
As she will be wearing it over summer frocks I was happy for it to be a little fitted.

As I was using cashmere I wanted minimal wastage. So I cut my lining out first and then used that as a template to cut my main coat.
Just remember-wrong side to wrong side or vice versa!

Following the pattern,interface the collar lining pieces.

Consider cutting the front facing whilst you are handling the interfacing. Put this to one side for now.

The collar and collar facing.

Following the pattern,gather between the notches on the lower back piece.
I gather by sewing  two rows of the largest stitch length.

The gathered pieces.

Following the pattern,pin the lower back piece to the upper back piece,gathering the lower back piece to fit.
Consider knotting the threads so that the gathers can be evenly distributed without fear of pulling out.

By sewing the gathered side up you can check for even distribution as you sew.

After sewing,press the seams well.

Clip the curves.

Press the seam open taking care not to flatten the gathers.
If you are sewing with wool,use lots of steam and a pressing cloth and let the seam cool before moving on to the next step.

Press the seam again.

The ''resting'' backs.
By letting the wool cool and dry the curve will be well set in the garment.

Following the instructions sew the upper and lower front pieces together.

Press the seam flat and then press it open.
By pressing the seam flat first the seam will set nicely.

Use plenty of steam!

Remove the gathering stitches and rub out any holes left with your finger nail.

Following the instructions pin the shoulder seams.

Press the seams open.

I chose to apply my interfacing now rather then after sewing the side seams.

Sew the side seams matching the notches.

Take care to match the seams.

Press the seams open.

Use a pressing cloth and lots of steam to press the seams open.
Don't forget to let them cool.

Following the instructions,sew the collar and collar lining together.

Press the seams open.

Following the instructions,pin the collar to the coat,matching notches and easing the pieces together.

Sew from the far notch to the far notch.

The coat and collar will need to be eased together as it is sewn.

Sew from the coat side up and lift the presser foot if you encounter tucks.

After sewing the seam was a little bumpy.......

But after clipping and pressing the wool settled into place.

Taking care not to squash the gathers,press the seam open.

Pressed and even.
I love wool!

I had to fiddle with the cotton lining.
Even with clipping the seam before sewing I found it tricky to sew the lining evenly to the collar.

Sewing slowly from the coat lining side and lifting the foot often I avoided most but not all of the tucks.

Out damned tuck!

Once it was clipped and pressed it looked fine.

Next time-
I will trim the interfacing back by the seam allowance on the collar interfacing(which traditionally one should do-I generally don't).
Or,I will add a basting stitch between the inner notches.
Definitely not a big deal.

To ease or not to ease-that is the question

Once pressed well it is not that noticeable and it may not be a issue in the other sizes or with other fabric choices.

Look at the drape.

Doesn't it fall beautifully?

Next-Setting in the sleeves.

x N


  1. Oh, Nicole! It's looking so lovely!

  2. Thank you Cindy!
    It is so nice to be sewing a natural fibre again.
    One that doesn't catch on the craggy skin on my farmers wife hands!

    x N

  3. Okay. Now I HAVE to get some Clever Charlotte patterns. You've been taunting me for too long!
    Love the Kestrel coat, in particular the collar. Really like the colour of cashmere you chose. Simply lovely.
    Thanks for the tutorial too.

  4. Wow that is beautiful! I can't wait to try one of these patterns.

  5. Lots of names for the pot-yippee!

    Thanks Deb,Melisa and Sarah. I am having so much fun sewing this coat I bribed the Twins with Tim-Tams to make supper so I could keep sewing.

    x N

  6. The color is beautiful and suits Miss L perfectly! I love it paired with the dark lining too. So glad you're doing all the gathers! It looks fantastic so far!

  7. Thank you Mel,the sleeves are to die for!

    I worried about the dark lining but in reality it is quite practical as that will probably look grubby first as cashmere spot cleans really well!

    x N

  8. That wool is beautiful - I hadn't ordered this one as I was not sure about the fall of the back but your version is looking lovely, makes me reconsider!
    Lots of useful tips from you as always too Nicole.

  9. OK - you've already convinced me that I must have this pattern. Soooo, be sure to pick my name! ;)

  10. Yay! When you said a while back that you were doing a giveaway, I had a feeling it was going to be for a Clever Charlotte patter. Hope I win. :)

  11. Thank you Karen,Sandi and Mylinh.

    I have finished it and can't wait to show you!

    x N

  12. It's gorgeous - I feel like that donkey in Shrek, bouncing up and down & saying 'pick me, pick me, pick me!'.

  13. Great color combination. Can't wait to see how it turns out. Thanks for the giveaway. designsmck(at)

  14. I love the Kestrel coat so much! I also love the fabrics you have chosen...they really are beautiful colours. Tula Pink is always a winner in my books.
    Count me in for the giveaway too!

  15. I love the Kestrel Coat and the fabric you are using. Please included me in the giveaway.


  16. Giveaway is now closed.
    Thank you to all who entered.

    x N

  17. What a fantastic tutorial. I have this on my to do list too

  18. Oh do Rachel,it is such a buzz to sew and comes together well.
    Thank you.
    x N

  19. Hi there! I know it's years later, but here I am trying to sew this coat. I've done well, except am completely stuck on sewing lining to main coat. Everything seems to match except the pivot point on the collar. It seems bulky to me, and I'm not sure what to do with the seam allowance. Any thoughts? Heidi

  20. Hi Heid!
    Trimming is key, a very narrow seam is best, if you are concerned about it splitting, re-stitch your seam with a tiny stitch (just the point) you can also turn it, check the bulkiness, turn it back and clip (up to the seams) any bulk out.
    Are you using super thick cloth?
    Good luck, let me know if I can help with anything else.
    xx N