As promised last week here’s my latest project a Burnt Orange Neya raincoat by Vikisews. It really is a very practical make as it’s totally waterproof and I finished it just in time for Storm Agnes to make its appearance here in the UK…bring it on I say!
I saw the Neya coat some weeks back and at the time I’d been intermittently borrowing my son’s cagoule to go for walks and shopping in because our weather was awful. Have you tried pushing a heavy shopping trolley and holding an umbrella simultaneously? Ugh, so not easy! Anyway, I decided I needed a very practical waterproof coat and the Vikisews Neya looked nice and modern to me.
Of course, once I’d made up my mind, finding the perfect fabric in a colour that I liked was like looking for a unicorn. I scoured the internet and sent for lots of samples. I kept trying to remember all the different websites I’d visited over the years (note to self: Add a list of fabric shop links to my Trello app).
Eventually, I remembered Stoff Stil (now called Selfmade) and lo and behold they had what I wanted and in just the right colour. Here’s a link to their waterproof range if you’re interested too, there are lots of colours. The fabric has a fine interlock backing and on the right side, it’s PU. Not one to cut corners I made up my mind that I wanted to try my hand at completely sealing the seams with seam tape so I also bought a length to try out from Point North. This project was going to be quite a challenge!
A quick word about the pattern. According to the ease charts and judging by the photos Neya has a lot of wearing ease. I felt okay about having some ease because it allows for layering underneath, however, I did size down to a 36.
My first challenge was to make sure the whole thing fitted me okay because waterproof pu coated fabric is a lot like faux leather…you can’t really make adjustments because unpicking leaves holes…yikes! To be on the safe side I made a toile and I’m glad I did.
Adjustments that I made to the fit were as follows:
- Raise the back neck and bring the back shoulder seam toward the front for my forward-rolling arms/shoulders.
- Lower the front neck curve by 1cm
- Slim the lower sleeve width down a little.
The final adjustments were to add some hidden bust and back shaping. My lousy posture and forward arms/shoulder always seem to make looser-fit clothes hang oddly…the back always flares out at the centre and my bust picks the front up.
Those tucks that go across at yoke level on the back and front are literally just folds, but I cut my pattern through and made a hidden seam so that I could shape the lower body of the back and front and make a sort of hidden dart. This little drawing that I made probably explains it better than trying to write it down. You’ll see that I’ve lowered the armhole a bit to compensate for the fact that I’ve removed some fabric above which would shorten it
I didn’t go too extreme with the shaping because I wanted the tuck to still lay properly because it made a shaped seam for them to follow. Anyway, I’m pleased with how this worked because my coat hangs well now 🙂
Once I was happy with the toile I could cut out and start. My fabric had its challenges, so I practised seam finishes on a scrap first. I discovered that a size 80 Schmetz Microtex needle seemed to work along with my walking foot to help feed the fabric through.
I tested out the iron-on waterproof seam sealing tape (from Profabrics AKA Point North) and found that it wouldn’t stick to the interlock backing. I had no choice but to topstitch the seams open so that I could iron on the tape and know that it would stick. This worked well in the end 🙂 Some areas were impossible to add tape to like the pocket topstitching area, but I added tape to all the major seams where water could potentially get through.
The hood is supposed to be made in double thickness but it would have been too thick in my particular fabric weight so I used a fancy lining that was left over from my yellow shacket. I figured that it didn’t matter if the inside wasn’t a waterproof fabric because if it was raining my hood would be up on my head anyway with the main fabric on the outside. I also think the lining looks pretty 🙂 .
Let’s talk about the bits that tried my patience…
Sewing those horizontal tucks and the hems was very tricky. It seemed that when I had the right side of the fabric on the bottom as well as the top, even with the walking foot it didn’t feed well through the machine. I tried a Teflon foot but that didn’t help as it seemed as though the Feed Dogs of the machine couldn’t get traction on the fabric. In the end, I practically pulled my work through the machine (while muttering bad words!) Any suggestions to help ease this problem are greatly appreciated.
The other tricky thing was installing the eyelets (grommets). Again, I practised on a fabric scrap and found that they worked best when I used a small piece of bouncy sweatshirt fabric as well as some interfacing at the back. The extra bulk gave the eyelet something to grip on too. Please answer this though…Why is it that every single eyelet fixes on easily until it comes to the last one??? I was so terrified of ruining the coat and had to prise the last one off not once, but twice after it got mangled and went wonky. Ugh, thank goodness the fabric didn’t rip.
Despite the problem-solving that I had to negotiate along the way, this was an enjoyable project and I’m really pleased with the outcome. I know it’s not a glam fancy coat but I like to think the bright colour and mod shape make it a bit more special than your average raincoat.
Have you ever tackled fabric like this? Let me know in the comments and if you have any sewing tips for it please do share.
Thanks for reading. See you soon!