Hi, I made another Pilvi Coat! It’s my fourth version of this pattern from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here). This simple pattern is an unlined coat with raglan sleeves and in-seam side pockets. It works well with a variety of fabrics.
I’ve made this coat using home decor fabric and other heavyweight fabrics:
Here’s a photo of my first three Pilvi Coats plus a red one by Laurel Dismukes of Laurel’s Quill. Laurel does all the sewing for Stonemountain & Daughter Fabrics in Berkeley. We spoke to the Bay Area Sewists meetup group in January at Sips N Sews about patterns and fabric choices.
When I got this ponte fabric at Britex Fabrics yard sale last fall, I wasn’t sure what I would make with it. The print is huge and continuous. The leaf-like design goes down the entire length of the fabric in one continuous design in three parallel rows. Here’s the 58″ wide fabric spread out on the floor.
I pondered making a skirt or a dress, asked for ideas on Instagram and then decided to make another Pilvi Coat. I lengthened the pattern by 10 inches to take full advantage of the print. I also added an inch of length to the sleeves because I have long arms.
I cut the back piece first, placing it in the center of the center leaf design. I cut each piece individually so I would know exactly what part of the print would appear on each sleeve and front piece. I wasn’t trying to match anything. My pattern placement was focused on taking advantage of the design.
In this photo I had already cut one front pattern piece and then I placed that piece on top of the fabric to test placement. One side of the front pattern piece folds back to form the facing. So after I cut one front piece, I placed it on top of the fabric to see what the front edge would look like on the opposite side. On the right side of this photo, I’ve folded back the facing to see where the print would land on the pattern piece.
I wanted different parts of the leaf design to appear on the front.
I like the abstract design. Here’s what the back looks like.
And here’s a side view. The photos were taken at Britex Fabrics in San Francisco. I was there last Monday and asked the store manager to take a few photos with my phone. This famous fabric store moved a few blocks away from its prior location on Geary Street, to Post Street. The first floor is spacious and really shows off all the wool and silk fabrics. I’m standing in front of an enormous wall of wool. It goes from floor to ceiling!
I hand stitched the facing and hems because I didn’t want to see a seam. The pattern calls for topstitching the facing and hems. I folded over the facing and machine stitched the edge before I hand stitched it in place. I switched thread colors even though no one will see it – navy and off-white thread using a zig zag stitch. This is my first project with ponte, which is a stable knit and easy to sew.
Here’s a close-up shot of the hand stitching. You can see the different color threads. I matched the thread according to the color in front.
It was tedious but I’m really pleased with the results.
Here’s a summary of the materials and construction details:
Pattern: Pilvi Coat from the book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style, size XL
Adjustments: Added 10 inches of length to the coat, 1 inch length to sleeves
Fabric: 3 yards ponte from Britex Fabrics sale ($12/yard)
Interfacing: very lightweight knit interfacing for facing
Needle: Schmetz stretch, 75/11 HS
Sewing: zig zag stitch and hand sewing
Have you made anything with a huge print or with ponte knit? What was that like for you? I really enjoyed working with ponte. It’s easy to cut (doesn’t shift or curl up) and easy to sew with a zig zag stitch. Big prints are fun. You just need to take care in placing your pattern pieces.
As soon as I saw this colorful fabric at Britex Fabrics, I thought to myself, “Pilvi Coat!” A simple design is great for a large print because you can show off the print to full advantage. That’s what I like the Pilvi Coat pattern from the sewing book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link here). I’ve made this coat twice before, one in blue and another using a fabric with a big print, which you can see here and here.
This coat has pockets! I had fun using colorful fabric scraps for my pockets.
I love the colorful painterly design of this home dec fabric, which is a digital print from Spain. Britex marked down the fabric to $20/yard because the manufacturer forgot to put a selvage on one side of the fabric.
Now this beautiful fabric is part of the ongoing Yard Sale at Britex Fabrics, which means you can take an additional 40 to 60% off. So you can get it for $12/yard or less, which is a great. There’s limited stock and it’s only available in-store.
The painterly design inspired me to wear my vintage Kangol beret (label on the inside and no kangaroo) and take photos next to this striking mural. The hand is holding a paintbrush, which seems appropriate. You can’t see the brush in these photos because it’s several feet above my head.
I love how the Pilvi Coat pattern shows off the fabric. Plus, with such a busy print, you don’t have to worry about matching anything.
The Pilvi Coat has raglan sleeves and just a few pattern pieces – front, back, sleeves, pockets, and facings for the back and shoulder. There are no darts. The front facing is part of front pattern piece. You just fold it back and attach it to the shoulder facing. You can see it in this photo. My hand is on the front facing.
I debated whether or not to use interfacing for the facing. The fabric is home dec weight but it does have a nice drape so I decided to use some lightweight woven interfacing in my stash. I probably didn’t need it but it does ensure that the front corners don’t flop down.
Home dec fabric can fray and this fabric certainly did. So I had to take care to finish all the seams. I used three different techniques due to time constraints and aesthetics. The book instructs you to turn down the raw edge of the facing 1/4″ (6 mm) and press. Then topstitch it in place.
This is an unlined coat so I decided to use bias tape to bind the seams that would most likely to be seen when taking the coat off (or putting it on). I used this technique for the facing and the hems (sleeves and bottom).
I used bias tape in my stash – premade Wright’s bias tape in royal blue and a vintage bias tape in a tiny floral print, plus some striped silk bias tape the I made, which was leftover from a past coat I made. You can see the striped bias tape in the hem.
It’s fun to use leftover bias tape in a project! What’s great about using bias tape is that the fold is your guide. You line up the raw edge of your fabric with the bias tape and sew. Then you fold the bias tape over the raw edge, press and stitch in the ditch.
I serged the side seams and sleeves. For this pattern, you sew the sleeves, pockets and side seams in one long seam. Here’s the side seam and the hem bound with bias tape.
I had the knife up on my serger because I wanted a clean edge as I serged this sem. But I wasn’t paying close attention when I got near the top of the pocket and cut into my pocket bag. Oops. So I just had the opening start a little lower. Easy fix. If I make this coat again and serge the side seam, I think I’ll trim the raw edge myself and not use the knife on the serger.
If I had more time, I would have done a Hong Kong seam finish, which would have looked nicer but I didn’t have enough bias tape on hand and I didn’t have the time to do that.
The third finishing technique I used was a triple zigzag stitch to finish the seams attaching the sleeves to the front and back as well as on the pockets. You can see the zig zag here.
The book instructs you to topstitch the hem of the Pilvi Coat and facing but I decided I didn’t want a seam on this lovely fabric. So I hand stitched the facing and hem in place. It took a couple of hours to get that done because I used tiny stitches, catching one or two threads of my fabric and then the edge of the bias tape. It’s a bit hard to see in this photo.
It was a bit tedious but it was worth it. Here’s a close-up of the finished (and invisible!) hand stitching.
I made size XL for this Pilvi Coat. I have broad shoulders and a small bust. If you have a full bust, you will likely need to make some pattern adjustments or the coat may not drape very well.
If you make something from Yard Sale fabric at Britex, share it on Instagram by Nov. 20 using the hashtag #yardsalefabricmagic and tag @britexfabrics, you could win a big of fantastic fabrics and notions.
Hi! I finished my Pilvi Coat just in time to wear it to a publishing conference for women last week. I thought the fabric was appropriate for the event and because it was March, women’s history month. The pattern is from the sewing book Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style (affiliate link). This is my second Pilvi Coat. I blogged about my first one here.
My first Pilvi Coat was size L. I decided to make one this one size XL because I felt the other one was a little tight in the arms and thought I could use a little more ease in the shoulders. (There’s also a shorter hip-length version of the Pilvi in the book.)
I got four yards of this wonderful bottom-weight cotton fabric at Stonemountain and Daughter Fabrics. It has a touch of lycra in it. As soon as I saw it, I knew it was destined to be a Pilvi Coat. It shows off the fabric design very well. design is ASCII art – created using letters and characters to create images.
The Pilvi Coat pattern requires three yards of fabric. I had an extra yard to give myself flexibility in pattern placement. Unfortunately, the fabric is no longer available but they have a variation of this design in an other fabric a knit fabric. [My mistake, I thought it was a knit.] It has a grey background but the faces are in a smaller scale. Update: Stonemountain tells me that the sister fabric is a cotton/poly/rayon jacquard and that it also comes in peach! So you can get something similar but the faces aren’t as big.
I was very careful in my pattern placement. I placed each pattern piece individually so I could decide where I wanted certain faces on the coat. I mainly wanted the women with the sunglasses at the top of the front and the back of the coat.
The back is supposed to be cut on the fold. But I traced the back pattern piece on the right side of the fabric so I could see where the design would go and then I flipped it over and traced the other side. I wanted the sunglass lady to at the top of the center back. (Please excuse the wrinkles! I wore it all day at the conference and didn’t press it before taking these photos.)
I finished the facing edges with black bias tape. Then I stitched in the ditch all the way around from the bottom edge all around the neckline and down the other side. I finished the hem with some off-white bias tape in my stash and machine-stitched it in place. I hand stitched the hem on my first Pilvi coat because I didn’t want to see any topstitching. With this coat, the stitches blend into the design.
I didn’t bother with matching the design at the side or sleeve seams. The design is so large, I don’t think it matters. When I placed the pattern pieces for the sleeves, I just wanted faces anywhere on the sleeves.
I’m wearing a vintage hat with a veil. There was a slight breeze so the veil wouldn’t stay in place. Here I am trying to hold it down. This is one of my favorite hats but I don’t often wear the veil down.
I’m also wearing a tunic I made (Draped Mini Dress from Japanese sewing book She Wears the Pants). My pants and camisole are RTW. The sun was really bright so I’m wearing a pair of vintage Vuarnet sunglasses from the 1980s. The big lenses go well with the ladies on my fabric. My lipstick is Ruby Woo by Mac. I got the bracelet from the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the necklace from Macy’s and the Pikolinos flats are from a shoe store in San Francisco. You can also get the shoes on Amazon. They are the Pikolinos Puerto Vallarta Mary Jane Sandal (affiliate link).
Pilvi Coat construction details
You can really see the ASCII art in these photos.
Here’s the inside front. I finished the raw edges with bias tape and stitched in the ditch.
I didn’t use any bias tape on the side seams or sleeve seams because I didn’t have time to get more or to sew it in place. Instead, I finished those edges with a curving stitch on my sewing machine. This fabric has a tendency to unravel so I may also go over those edges with my pinking scissors.
If I had more black bias tape I would have used that to finish the bottom hem. I had this off-white bias tape so I used that on the hem and top stitched. It matches the design of the fabric.
This is the fabric I used for my pocket bag. It was left over from this dress I made in 2011.
Pilvi Coat Details
Size XL of Pilvi Coat – no changes to pattern pieces except I made the pocket bag one inch deeper and moved pocket placement up 2 inches (~5 cm)
4 yards heavyweight cotton fabric with a little lycra (3.5 yards was probably enough for this design)
Gutterman polyester thread – black (no. 10)
Schmetz 70/10 needle
No interfacing because fabric was heavyweight
Construction changes – instead of folding over raw edges of hem and facing, I finished edged with bias tape. For sleeve hems, I used seam tape and hand stitched in place.
I like this pattern and I’m sure I’ll make another one – perhaps in a fabric that isn’t so heavy. It doesn’t lay as flat around the neckline, which could also be because size XL is just a little too big there. The catch is that if you use a fabric with more drape, the front corners will droop unless you give them extra reinforcement.
One last thing for my Northern California readers – Bay Area Sewists is holding a Sew Together, Fitting + Demo meetup on Saturday, April 8 in Berkeley at Lacis. There’s still one place left for one attendee and one member can no longer make it and is selling her $20 ticket. We’ll have two people with a lot of fitting experience on hand to help people fit their patterns and mockups. Beth of SunnyGal Studio will be show how to convert bust darts into shoulder gathers.
Plus we’ll have a couple of raffle prizes at this meetup – an issue of UK sewing magazine Love Sewing + patterns and a free class valued up to $50 at CourseHorse. You’ll find crafting classes in San Francisco on this site, which is a discovery and booking tool for local classes. CourseHorse is stillin beta mode for San Francisco. More classes will be coming soon so you may want to sign up with your email address to receive more info when classes are live.
This is my review of the Pilvi Coat pattern as it appears on Pattern Review (I’m csews there). You can read my review here. Some of the information is repeated in my post about the Pilvi Coat but there’s some more info on construction details here.
Pattern Description: Coat with 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. The shorter version of the coat is the Pilvi Jacket. You use the same pattern pieces but shorten the front and back pieces.
Pattern Sizing: XS to XL
Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes
Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but the facing construction can be a little confusing so pay close attention to the pattern pieces. The front facing is not a separate pattern piece. It’s part of the front pattern piece. You fold it back and the top of that front piece attaches to the shoulder neck facing. The shoulder neck facing attaches to the back neck facing. You topstitch the entire facing in one long stitch line.
NOTE: The pattern pieces for this book are printed on both sides of two large sheets. This means you must trace the pattern pieces – similar to what you do for Japanese pattern books or Burda. The shoulder and back neck facings are traced using the back pattern piece and the sleeve pattern piece.
There is a helpful pattern sheet guide in the back of the book that shows exactly where each pattern piece is located on the pattern sheets. The Pilvi Coat pattern diagram is on page 153.
What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the clean design and the pockets. The top stitching of the facing is a nice design detail. But you really need to baste the facing in place if you want that top stitching to look good. I pressed, pinned, and basted the facing using a ladder stitch before I topstitched. If you don’t want to topstitch, you could easily hand stitch it in place.
Fabric Used: I really don’t know what the fiber content is. It’s a heavyweight home dec fabric I got on sale a few years ago. It’s a black synthetic something with blue cords woven in. I’m guessing poly with maybe cotton cords? This version was my wearable muslin. I used a bright cotton print for my shoulder and back neck facings and the pockets. The book recommends “wool coating, textured mid-weight wool, mid-weight cotton fabric.” Using heavyweight fabric can result in bulky seams around the arms.
Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I traced size L and then before I cut my fabric, I decided to grade up to XL in the shoulders. I have broad shoulders so I thought it would be good to have a little more ease. Size L is Bust: 38″-40.5″/96.5 cm-102.9 cm; Waist: 30″-32″/76.2 cm-81.3 am; Hips: 41″-43″/ 104.1 cm-109.2 cm. I’m a size 16 in Vogue patterns.
I finished my hem with black bias tape because I had some in a drawer and then I hand-stitched it in place using a catch stitch. The book calls for topstitching the hem but I prefer an invisible stitch.
The book says you can add a button at the top. When I wore it, the front opening flapped around in a light breeze, which was a little annoying. I considered adding a button but it would distract from the clean neckline. I got a great suggestion from Britex Fabrics – use a hidden hook and eye. I got a covered hook and eye in blue, which matched my fabric. So I have the option of leaving it open or using the hook.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I plan on making another version with a fun print. It’s a style that is very versatile. I can wear this coat with a lot of things. It can be dressed up or down.
Conclusion: I really like the shape of this coat. I’ve got a small bust so it fit me perfectly there. I think if you are larger than a B cup, you may need to make some adjustments to the pattern. If you use fabric that’s not medium- or heavyweight, the front facings will likely flop down. If you don’t want that, then you should add some interfacing on the front facing. You can just trace a piece by following the lines of the front pattern piece along the fold line.
The coat feel comfortable to wear but I noticed that in the back there are slight drag lines around the upper arms. This could be because of the fabric I chose. It doesn’t feel tight. But I think when I make it again, I’ll just make a straight size XL.
For more photos and construction details, read my blog post here.
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?