Hi! I got the sewing book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here) for my birthday earlier this year. It features several wardrobe basics – skirts, tops, pants, and jackets, plus bags. most of the projects in the book use her fabric designs. (You can see her fabric collections at Windham Fabrics and her other products on her website here.)
I decided to make the Pilvi Coat, which features a simple neckline (no collar), 3/4 raglan sleeves and side pockets. There isn’t any lining, just front and neck facings, no buttons or closures unless you want to add one at the top. There’s also a shorter hip-length version, the Pilvi Jacket, in the book. It’s a great coat for the Bay Area, which doesn’t get too cold much of the year. I really like how this turned out. It’s quite versatile. I can wear it with pants or skirts – and hats, of course.
The day I took these photos, it was a rare cloudy day so the light wasn’t great. But I do love the orange wall! It’s an apartment building that’s painted a really bright orange. It looks duller in my photos than it appears in real life. I’m wearing a vintage beret in these photos, which I got from All Things Vintage in Oakland.
All of the patterns are printed on two large sheets. Similar to the patterns in Japanese sewing books or Burda magazine, the pattern pieces overlap and are printed on both sides of the pattern sheets. If you are unfamiliar with patterns printed on both sides, this means you can’t cut the pattern pieces or you’ll cut into other pattern pieces. You must get some tracing paper and trace the pieces.
I made size L (bust: 38-40.5″ (96.5-102.9 cm); waist: 30-32″ (76.2-81.3 cm), hips: 41-43″ (104.1 cm-109.2 cm)). After I traced a size L, I had second thoughts and thought I should add more ease to the shoulders. I have broad shoulders so I was afraid they might be a little too fitted. I have a small bust, which works well with this coat. If you have a larger bust, you may need to make some adjustments to the pattern.
I taped more tracing paper to the front and back pattern pieces where the sleeves attach and traced size XL there and used my French curve get back to size L. I didn’t make any other adjustments as this was my test version.
It can be tricky finding all the pieces but there is a nice pattern sheet guide in the back of the book that highlights in this salmon pink color, the location of each pattern piece. Page 153 shows where you’ll find the Pilvi Coat pieces are on the pages. I didn’t know the guides were there until after I traced my pieces. Before you trace a pattern, consult the pattern sheet guides, which start on page 152.
I decided to make my first version of the Pilvi from a home dec fabric I got on sale from Discount Fabrics in San Francisco years ago. It’s a medium/heavyweight corded synthetic fabric, likely nylon and maybe there’s some cotton in the cords, which fray a lot as you’ll see in the photos below. The cords are a royal blue and they are woven in with this black synthetic fiber. The cords make it seem striped. It’s hard to see how blue those cords are in these photos.
The book recommends using “wool coating, textured mid-weight wool, mid-weight cotton fabric.” My fabric was a bit hefty because of the cords. I used a colorful lightweight cotton print for the back neck facing pieces and the pocket bags. I got the facing fabric for free at an American Sewing Guild stash sale. It was in a box of free scraps.
As I mentioned earlier, this is an unlined coat. I decided to pink my side seams. You can see a sliver of the pocket bag in this photo.
The front facing is not a separate piece – it’s part of the front jacket pattern piece. The front edge of the coat is where the facing folds back. The top part of the front facing attaches to the
neck facing at the top of the sleeve. The sleeve facing attaches to the back neck facing.
NOTE: When you trace/cut the back and sleeve pieces, be sure to cut the entire piece, which includes the facings. Then you need to trace the sleeve and back facing pieces. If you don’t trace/cut the entire back and sleeve pieces, they will be 2 inches short and won’t line up with the front pieces.
The entire facing is topstitched in place in one long stitch line. I pinned the facing in place and then I basted using a ladder stitch. I wanted to make sure it wouldn’t shift as I stitched. I used washi tape as my fabric guide.
Here’s another look at the inside of the jacket – as I was wearing it. That’s the front facing from the inside.
And here are more photos of the finished coat. Gotta love the pockets! Note: the pockets may be placed a bit low for some people. I have really long arms so the placement was fine for me. (Or maybe I incorrectly marked the pocket placement?) Be sure to check the placement before you sew them in place or you may be reaching pretty low to retrieve what’s in your pocket.
I really love these sunglasses. I forgot to put them on until after I had taken many photos so I only took a couple of photos wearing them.
Here’s the back. I think the coat fits pretty well. I like the length and the shape.
I will be making it again with a fun cotton print. I wonder if I need a little more ease around the armscye or maybe the bicep area. See those wrinkles around my bicep? The sleeves don’t feel tight so maybe it’s the fabric, which is a heavyweight home dec fabric. I think I’ll cut size XL for my next version.
Here’s the back detail. You can see some slight wrinkles in the fabric, which are the result of the fabric sitting folded up on a shelf for a few years. I pressed it but you can still see them on the back and part of the front. Maybe an other pressing will get those out.
When I was walking down the street to my photo location, the jacket flapped open in a light breeze, which was a little annoying. I needed to put some sort of closure at the top. A few days later I donned the coat and stopped by Britex Fabrics in San Francisco and asked Douglas, one of the store’s stylish fabric mavens for his opinion. He said that a button could be distracting and may clash with other things I wear with the coat. Good point! So he suggested a hook and eye that would be hidden.
So I traipsed to the third floor of Britex and went to the notions counter asking to see their hooks. There are fabric covered hooks in different colors. I was shown a blue one that was a close match to my fabric. Perfect! I love the hidden hook. You have the option of leaving it unhooked and no one can see it. I like it a lot better than a button. Then I can wear a necklace and I don’t have to worry about how it looks with a button. Dritz makes covered hooks and eyes but the color selection is limited to black and white, and maybe brown. I found other colors on Fine Fabrics website here.
Here’s a close-up shot of the hook and eye. It’s much smaller than this – only about 3/8 inch (1 cm) tall. These are often used when sewing fur.
I sewed it on…
… and it looks like this when hooked. I added the hook after I took photos of me wearing it. You can see my topstitching here – it follows the edge of the facing and continues over the neck facing and back down the other side of the front facing.
The topstitching will be visible so if you don’t want to see it, then you need to hand stitch it in place. I decided to try the topstitching and I like the way it looks. But if you are going to topstitch you really need to take the time to pin and baste the facings in place so the top stitching will look good.
The pattern calls for finishing the hem by folding it over 1/4 inch (6 mm) and then 1 inch (2.5 cm) and topstitching in place. Because my fabric is on the heavy side, I opted to finish the edge with bias tape and sew it down with a catch stitch. Here’s the front facing and hem finishing.
I really love this coat – the only drawback is that because it’s most synthetic, it doesn’t really breathe. But we do get a lot of cool weather in the Bay Area. Summer nights can get pretty cool and spring and fall can be cool as well. So I can wear this coat at least half of the year.
The next one I made will be from this fun fabric – ASCII art (!) – which I got from Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics a few months ago. I made this wearable muslin so I could make the Pilvi Coat from this fabric.
So stay tuned for that coat. What’s in your sewing queue?