Pilvi Coat No. 2 – Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style

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.)

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.)

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fabric with ASCII art

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.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - topstitching detail

Here’s the inside front. I finished the raw edges with bias tape and stitched in the ditch.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - inside detail

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.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - hem detail

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.

Pilvi Coat - from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style - pocket bag

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 still in 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.

Pilvi Coat from Lotta Jansdotter Everyday Style sewing book - using fun fabric (faces created via ASCII art)

Printing PDF patterns – what are your options?

If a sewing pattern has a paper and a PDF version, the PDF typically costs less than the paper version. But they can be a pain to assemble, especially when you’re printing PDF patterns at home and have a big stack of letter-size or AO pages to tape or glue together. A paper trimmer certainly saves time (see this post) but sometimes you just want to skip the tedious assembly.

The good thing is that many patterns have large-format, copy-shop versions in addition to the print-at-home file. However, if you pay to print it, you may end up spending more than the cost of the paper pattern. Grrrr. Meanwhile, some patterns are only available as PDFs.

Let’s face it, cost is a factor. I will often buy the PDF version of a sewing pattern if the shipping costs are too high for the paper pattern. For example, Tessuti charges $30 to ship one of its paper patterns from Australia. Yes, $30 for shipping outside Australia – that’s in addition to the cost of the paper pattern!

A large-format print of PDF pattern I designed on Bootstrap Fashion. I printed this at Staples for $17.40.

Where can you print large-format PDF patterns?

In the United States, you can go to:

  • FedEx, which has print services in addition to shipping,
  • one of the big office supply chains, such as Staples or Office Depot,
  • a local shop specializing in architectural, and engineering document services, or
  • an online company based in Virginia, PDF Plotting.com, which I learned about from Melizza, who blogs at Pincushion Treats.

Below is a breakdown of prices for printing PDF patterns, as of March 20, 2017. I’m listing prices for prints 36″ x 48″ (3 ft x 4 ft or 91.3 cm x 121.9 cm) and for a more unusual size 36″ x 120″(3 feet by 10 feet or 81.3 cm x 304.8 cm). Yes, that’s a really long piece of paper.

If you create a design on Bootstrap Fashion or buy one of the Leko or indie patterns available at Bootstrap’s online pattern store, you can choose to print the pattern at 36″ wide and it’ll be however long it needs to be. I designed a dress using Bootstrap’s design app and made a PDF pattern that was 36″ x 114″ (81.3 cm x 289.6 cm) and I spent $17.40 to print at Staples – 2.5 times what I paid for the pattern. 🙁

I posted on Instagram (@csews) about what I paid at Staples and Melizza (@pinsuchiontreats) commented that she gets her PDF patterns printed at PDFPlotting.com. Thank you, Melizza!

Options for printing PDF patterns - copy shop (Staples, FedEx) or at PDFPlotting.com

When I went to my local Staples on a weekend, the person working in the print/copy department didn’t know that their printer could print anything longer than 48″. I told him to print it at 100 percent and instead he printed it to fit on one 36 x 48 piece of bond paper. Then he had computer problems. While he was rebooting his computer, I emailed Bootstrap Fashion and the founder, Yuliya Racquel told me that if the paper wasn’t on a roll, he could choose “poster” as a print option and print it that way. But if it was on a roll, it should be fine. She was right.

It was taking him forever to get the computer going so I went back on a weekday. The person working that day didn’t know that the printer could print anything longer than 48 inches but it worked and he learned something new. Hopefully, you’ll get a knowledgable staff person but you may need to educate them about printing PDF patterns.

Rates for printing PDF patterns

Note: All prices are for black-and-white prints, before taxes. (Maybe I should update this post annually – let me know if that would be useful to you.)

  • FedEx – $0.75 per square foot. A square foot is 12″ x 12″ (~30.5 cm x 30.5 cm).
    Cost of one 36″ x 48″ sheet: $9. So a pattern with three sheets of 36 x 48 will cost $27.
    Cost of printing one 36″ x 120″ sheet: $22.50
    You can order print services online here but I didn’t see an option for engineering prints or large-format prints so it looks like large-format black-and-white prints need to be ordered in person. Find your local FedEx office here.
    Conclusion: Expensive place to print, avoid unless you have no other options
  • Staples – about $0.60 per square foot.
    Cost of one 36 x 48 sheet in store: $7.19. Cost to print three sheets of 36 x 48: $21.57
    Cost of printing one 36″ x 120″ sheet: $18
    You can also place an order online (see Staples engineering prints page) and have it delivered for $9.99 or pick it up in-store for free.
    Cost of one 36 x 47 sheet ordered online: $7.29. Cost of three sheets: $21.87, add $9.99 shipping if you don’t pick it up in-store (cost of three sheets + shipping: $31.86).
    [Office Depot has the same prices as Staples for what they call “engineer prints” online but anything more than 30″ wide is delivery only, no in-store pickup available. Add $9.95 delivery fee.]
    Tip: If you’re in the store, tell them it’s a line drawing, similar to an engineering print and be sure to tell them that you want it printed at 100%. Customer service may vary greatly because not all staff will know what to do with your file.
    Conclusion: Still expensive but cheaper than FedEx.
  • Local shop specializing in architectural, design and engineering document management. I called one place in the Bay Area, Smart Plotting Reprographics, and they were far more expensive than FedEx. The rates were $2 per square foot for anything less than 20 pages, $1 per square foot for 20+ pages. And they also charged a set-up fee of $1 per page.
    Cost of printing one 36 x 48 sheet: $25
    Cost of printing one 36 x 120 sheet: $61
    Conclusion: Do not print at specialty engineer printing firms – they are not set up for small PDF jobs.
  • Pattern Review offers large-format printing for members who order patterns from Pattern Review. When you order a PDF pattern, you can also order a large-format print. The printing fee is $4.50 per pattern, which is very reasonable, especially if a pattern has more than one page. The shipping fees are $3.49 US 1st class, $6.99 US Priority, $13.99 Int’l, $7.99 Canada 1st Class. You can read the details on PR’s blog here.
  • PDF Plotting.com – about $0.10 per square foot! See the link B&W CAD Prints on their site. (CAD refers to computer-aided design.) They also print in color, which costs a little more $5 for one sheet of 36 x 48.
    Cost of one 36 x 48 sheet: $1.20. Cost of 3 sheets: $3.60 but a minimum of $7.49 is required to place an order. So you’d need to upload at least 7 pages to meet this minimum. Thus you’d spend $8.40 plus $4.99 for UPS ground shipping for a total of $13.39. The company is based in Richmond, Virginia so the closer you are to Virginia, the faster you’ll get your PDF patterns.
    Cost of printing one 36 x 120″ sheet: $3.60 (If you have a fraction of a page, the last page will count as a full-page. So 120″ is equivalent to 2.5 pages of 36 x 48 so it would be counted as 3 pages.)
    Tip: If you have a layered PDF where you can select the size(s) you want to print, be sure to click on the button “My file(s) require special sizing instructions” so you can add comments about what size to print. If you don’t do that, your print job may be delayed because they will need to contact you to find out what you want to print. Also, if you have one file but it’s two pages, in the “# of originals” field, select 2. If you select 1, then you will only be paying for one page instead of two. And they will need to contact you to confirm that you want to pay for that additional page.
    Conclusion: By far the best and cheapest option – even with shipping costs factored in.

Going forward, I will definitely go to PDF Plotting.com for printing PDF patterns. I don’t mind waiting a couple of days!

Where do you print your PDF patterns? At home? A copy shop?

Printing PDF sewing patterns - here are some options in the U.S.