Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sew and Tell with the Krew Coat

Hope everyone enjoyed their nice long weekend!  Did you get a lot of sewing done?  I had plans to sew, and the kids were even at Nan's house, but I ended up giving the house a really good "pre-spring" cleaning instead.  Sigh. 
If I can't sew, at least I get to look at the things you talented ladies sew!  And I've been quite smitten with this coat all morning.  How many of you have boys you sew for?  Or at least would like to sew for, but you can't find anything other than a Jon Jon pattern?  Finding great patterns for the little men in your life certainly isn't as easy as it is to find patterns for girls, but don't quit looking!  We actually have quite a few great designs on the website.  Check out all those great patterns made just for boys!  
My son is almost six years old, and today's Sew and Tell pattern, The Krew Coat by LilyGiggle, would be perfect for him!  The Krew Coat pattern comes in sizes 4-10 and is made using old cargo pants, hoodies, and flannel shirts (either your own or you could get them from a thrift store).  Upcycles seem to be really popular right now.  If you don't have to buy new fabric for a project, that's more money in your pocket to buy something else (like new patterns or different fabric, ha!)  Facebook friends always get 10% off of their order with the code FRIENDLY10.
Leah C. has today's review, so let's take a look!
As the mama of a pre-school boy, I've always got my eye out for great boy's sewing patterns.  Many of the patterns I've found are either a little too old-fashioned for our tastes, or they are basic patterns that require super-cute, special fabrics to stand out (read: pricey!).  I was thrilled to see that LilyGiggle's Krew Coat addresses both of those issues... it is a modern, urban style that repurposes worn-out clothing, which saves on fabric costs!  This pattern calls for the pockets to be made from old cargo pants, and the hood to be cut off of an old hoodie. I took it one step further and cut the lining out of an old flannel shirt, so the only fabric I had to purchase was a knit for the exterior.  Awesome!
Here's a "before" photo of the hoodie and shirt that I repurposed:    
Another bonus of using the flannel shirt was that I was able to include one of the flannel shirt pockets when I cut out the lining, creating a "secret pocket" on the inside that is a big hit with my son!
The pattern pieces lined up well after printing, and were easy to fit together:
I used a thick gray knit without much stretch for the exterior of the coat, and serged all of the major seams.  The pattern doesn't call for serging, but I tend to use my serger for speed and durability whenever possible.  No seam allowances were mentioned in the instructions, but I asked on LilyGiggle's Facebook page, and I got a quick response that the pattern includes 1/2" seam allowances.  Step-by-step instructions with photos are included with the pattern, which is very thorough - it reads like a tutorial rather than just including basic directions.  The basic coat came together very quickly, maybe 2 hours of work including the cutting.  I embellished the coat with an adorable iron-on bird patch that I purchased years ago from JennyJen42 on Etsy.
I'd consider myself an intermediate sewer, and would recommend this pattern to an advanced beginner.  Working with the stretch of knit fabric and installation of a zipper are the only challenging aspects of the pattern.
Here is the finished product!
I did run into a few roadblocks during construction.  The only major issue I had was while attaching the zipper according to the instructions.  I found that the horizontal seam of the bottom band did not line up from the left front to the right front.  This isn't a surprising development - when working with knits, its important to sew in the same direction on both sides so that the pieces stretch the same way.  To correct it, I had to take the zipper out, hand baste it in place, and resew the zipper.
In a more minor complaint, the pattern calls for the neck seam and the bottom hem to be sewn right-sides-together before the jacket is turned right side out and topstitched.  Then the lining and exterior fabrics are sewn together along the front, and the zipper is applied.  This results in an exposed zipper tape, and requires you to turn and topstitch the sleeve bottoms from the exterior.  The next time I make this jacket, I'm going to experiment with the methods I learned from sewing Ottobre patterns:  encasing the zipper between the lining and the exterior, and sewing the sleeve cuffs together while the jacket is still inside out, requiring that you leave a section of bottom hem open in order to turn the jacket right side out, then finishing it with a topstitch.  However, the method specified in the instructions certainly works, and may be easier for a beginning sewer to execute without confusion.
I made the 4T version of this coat, and here's a comparison of it to an unwashed 4T hoodie from Carters (the Krew Coat is on the bottom). As you can see, the length is pretty much the same, but the sleeves are much wider than the Carter's hoodie, and the jacket itself is wider as well. This is more of a styling difference than a sizing issue, but if you want more tapered sleeves, it wouldn't be hard to adjust the pattern accordingly. I had to roll up the sleeves for my son, but the lining is cute, so that is not a problem for me!
And my son modeling the coat... it is still a little big on him, but will be perfect for the spring!
The best thing about making this coat is that I'm now excited to find the next pair of ragged-edged cargo pants or stained hoodie in my son's closet, ha ha!  And my husband placed an order for a matching jacket of his own - it is a big fashion hit in our house!
Have fun sewing!

So who is going to sneak off to their husband's closet while he isn't at home and pull out a few old shirts to make this coat?  He won't miss them anyways, right?  Well Leah did a great job on this coat and on the review and has definitely got me wanting to push some of those sweet little dresses aside I've had cut out so I can sew up something totally cool for my son instead.  He gets neglected when it comes to sewing, poor guy. 

If you're looking for a few other great boy patterns to get your hands on, take a look at a few of our favorites that would go rather nicely with the Krew Coat.

How stinkin' cute are these Dapper Dillinger Trousers from Patterns by Figgy's?   They come in a size 12m- 6/7 years.  I love the pockets so your little guy can stuff rocks, snacks, and other treasures down in there  :)  You can dress these trousers up or dress them down.  I love them in corduroy.  And how much fun is it to say "trousers?"  I'd much rather make a pair of trousers than pants.  It's so sophisticated.  He'll look so dapper.
A great button-up that can be quite versatile is The Everyday Camp Shirt by Fishsticks Designs.  This pattern can be sewn up with or without the yoke and with or without the pocket.  You can make it as dressy or casual as you like by changing up the fabrics used.  Button-up collared shirts are a great staple in a little guy's wardrobe.  This pattern comes in two size ranges that are sold separately.  You can purchase the pattern in 12m-5T or 5-14 years.
Now go show the boys some sewing-love!  Don't forget to purchase your Krew Coat pattern!
Happy sewing, ladies!!

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Thanks so much for taking the time to comment! I'll try to respond as quickly as I can! Have a fabulous day full of sewing!