How to Sew a Sunny Raincoat
This raincoat will make you feel cheery on any rainy day! Here’s my top tips for making a waterproof coat!
I feel in love with this yellow Gortex fabric the minute I saw it. Something about a bright yellow coat is so happy on a rainy day. This was my first attempt at sewing rain wear, and I learned so much from it. High tech fabrics such as Gortex are a completely different animal, here’s how to get the best results from your rainwear project. For this coat, I used pdf pattern #1030 the Waver Jacket from Paper Cut Patterns. Overall it was fairly easy to assemble, but read on for the one thing that the designer could have done better!
Waterproof Fabric Tips
1. Water proof fabrics require special care when cutting. You can’t use pins because they put holes in the fabric. Also, Gortex in particular has a rubber backing that is very thick and pins won’t poke through it. You will need to use pattern weights, and lots of them when laying out the pattern to cut.
2. Fusible interfacing doesn’t work with this type of fabric. I tried ironing some on at low heat (so the fabric doesn’t melt), and though it seemed like it was working the glue did not hold in the long run. Use a sew in interfacing instead for this project.
3. A walking foot is essential for sewing this “sticky” fabric. One side of the fabric is slick, the other sticks like glue to everything. It gets stuck under the presser foot and doesn’t move as you are sewing. If you don’t have a walking foot, you could try using a piece of freezer paper under the presser foot to help it slide under the presser foot.
4. A sharp needle is a must. I used a size 14 all purpose needle for this project.
5. Good quality thread makes a huge difference, Gutterman thread was recommended by the fabric supplier and that’s what I used. Fabric was purchased from Seattle Fabrics.com.
6. Making buttonholes was challenging. The pattern had buttons and snaps as options, I decided on buttons because they were easy to find. I think snaps would have worked better because the button holer kept sticking to the fabric as I mentioned above and was very cumbersome to use. I made several mistakes with my buttonholes, and I just have to live with how they turned out.
7. You can’t rip out stitches with this type of fabric because it leaves holes. You only get one chance to do it right, and for the same reasons Gortex is just difficult to work with.
Waver Jacket Pattern Review
I have not sewn with many pdf patterns, as I usually just stick with one of the name brands. This pdf was overall well designed, but I spotted a couple of things that could have made this project turn out so much better.
1. The Center front wasn’t cut on the straight grain: This may seem like a small detail, but this one change could have made this coat so much better. Grain line placement makes a huge difference in how the finished coat hangs. As you can see from my photos, the coat appears to have too much fullness at center front, and hides the buttons when hanging. This is because the marked grain line was at an angle to the center front, generally a no-no in the design world. Particularly with center front button plackets, the front grain must be cut on the straight grain for the best result. I knew I should have changed it when I cut it, but for some reason I didn’t. Live and learn from my mistake!
2. Pocket placement could be better: The pockets are way to close to the center front. I did alter the pattern and added extra fullness at the side seam. The pockets should have been moved at least 2″ closer to the side seam.
3. Lining hem could be longer: Most quality coats have what is called a jump hem. That is, a hem that has 1/2″ or more extra length in the lining so that when you move your arms and shoulders the extra length keeps the hem hanging straight and doesn’t pull up as you move. This coat was not designed this way and I discovered too late that the hem pulls up in an unattractive manor when moving about. If I make it again, I will add extra 1″ of length to the lining. For now, I stitched the hem of the lining independently from the jacket, allowing the extra movement that is needed.
Overall this was a challenging project. The fabric I chose was not easy to work with, but I am still pleased with it. My purpose in making this jacket was to have something to wear for walking outside and working in the yard on wet days. The jacket serves it’s purpose even though it isn’t as perfect as I would like. The color alone makes me happy every time I put it on.
I have plans to try sewing a couple of other rain coats in the future, so stay tuned for more!
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