I obsessed over the Oliver + S school days jacket for a very long time. I searched for wool, scoured Flickr, read the forums, and studied many other fabulous versions of this coat. Finally, with E quickly growing out of size 3 clothing (the biggest size of the pattern range I own) and spring just around the corner in these parts, I went to the store determined to buy something and get sewing. I finally found an indigo-colored stretch denim that seemed workable. It was considerably cheaper than wool and so I figured that this would be my learning coat. It’s not particularly cold around here anyway, and E is one of those kids who is always too hot.
I used two different fabrics for the lining: Dear Stella Piper sprinkles for the sleeves and hood (if you don’t care about directionality you can squeeze the 3T out of 1/2 yard) and Dear Stella Piper stripe for the other lining pieces and pocket lining (about a 1/2 yard, I believe). The main coat was coat out of 1 1/3 yards of the stretch denim, considerably less than the 2 yards recommended. I was happy to have the extra denim, but probably not so much if I’d bought that $35 a yard wool that I was considering. If you’re in the same boat, it might be worth laying the pieces out and seeing how you can squeeze things together before buying fabric.
I only made a few modifications. I added a little hanging strap at the back of the neck and I ended up adding a layer of cotton batting to the interior body lining pieces. It was easy to quilt the batting to the lining because I could quilt up the side of each stripe. The fabrics felt a little lacking and the lining makes it a bit more cozy. I wish I’d followed this advice from Rachel and cut the pocket lining out of the exterior fabric. The white lining pokes through a bit from the side view. Since I was using a thinner fabric I decided to avoid the various toggle issues discussed in the forums and use buttons instead. I had no trouble with the button holes and I like the color they add to the front. However, E has trouble getting them buttoned and unbuttoned by herself. I’m going to look into magnetic snaps or proper toggle closures next time. I also added a fourth closure and it pulls a bit funny at the bottom as she moves. A good lesson in doing things as written the first time…you can see how the bottom pulls when she moves here:
Once I’d acquired the appropriate materials and cut out the various pieces this was an easy sew. The directions, as to be expected with Oliver + S, are very clear. Lots of steps for sure, but nothing too technical. One of my favorite parts of the project was conversing with Christine at Beanniequilts, after discovering that she was making the same jacket for her daughter. It as such fun to have a sewing buddy to keep motivated on a long project.
This coat took a long time but I’m really proud to have made a proper, fully lined coat. It was a huge undertaking and my first 3-scissors pattern. Whether or not it gets much wear it was a great learning experience. But I do think I’ll wait a while before tackling a coat for O. I need something a bit less involved for a chance of pace.