Creative articles about sewing

Sapporo Coat Sewalong – Week 1 Pattern Prep

Boom – week 1 already! That got here fast.

This week sees us all choosing our size, getting our pattern ready and shopping our stash (or maybe supporting your local fabric store for some new fabric that you can order online). We start sewing on the 13th May, so if there is some fabric online you have seen – then go order it. Of course this project is a lockdown project so being able to shop from your stash is pretty amazing.

But first things first, let’s start with what size to choose. Depending on the pattern you have, either the original release (V1 from here on in) or the latest release (V2) the pattern will help you determine what size to make (you can tell if you have V2 as that is the version that has the short jacket as well as the longer coat option. If you have V1 and want to make a short version – I’ll tell you how a bit later in this post).

This is an oversized garment, not fitted at all. It’s a cocoon shaped coat/jacket – so there is more room through the hips than a standard coat for eg. And it is flattering on so many body types! But, repeat after me – it is an oversized garment. 

I used V1 for my first 2 (and for the one I made my Ma) which were coat length, they are winter weight coats and I made size L/XL. I wanted roomy so I could just throw on without worrying about how many layers underneath I was wearing (and I wear a lot of layers LOL). Both V1 & V2 have plenty of positive ease. Ease in pattern drafting is how much extra room is in the garment when made, it’s the difference between your actual size and the finished size. Positive ease = extra room, negative ease = less room (think of yoga pants for eg, they are made from super stretchy fabric and fit snuggly, they are supposed to be smaller than your actual measurements so that they are indeed snug when you put them on). When I tested V2 before it hit the market, I made the shorter length jacket; I made it up in linen and lightweight denim so it was more suitable for the warmer weather. I made it 2 sizes smaller than my

Check out the finished garment measurements to help you decide what size to make.

measurements based on the finished garment measurements in the pattern as I wanted this jacket to be less roomy. So the size you choose is your personal preference of course. But think about what you will be using this coat/jacket for and that can help you determine what size to make. I’ve taken a photo of what the finished garment measurements look like.

Now fabric decisions. This pattern is so good in that you can make it up in anything really. Linen – all the weights – cotton, silk, wool coating, denim, lightweight coating, boucle. You get the idea. A stiffer fabric will have more structure and show the cocoon  shape more, and lighter fabric will have less structure and almost drape against the body. Lining traditionally is slippery fabric, so it’s easy to get the garment on and off over your clothes. But I use all sorts of

Here are 3 Sapporo’s, 2 winter weight & 1 made in light fabric. And just look at the green one, you can see why it was so hard to gift to my Ma.

lightweight fabric for lining. Silk makes a glorious lining and feels fabulous to wear, cotton is a great lining too, tana lawn (think Liberty Tana – yum), I have seen Sapporo’s on IG that have been lined in lightweight linen. Rayon and/or viscose are great too – but bear in mind these are a little trickier to sew as they can be a bit shifty when cutting and sewing. Go bright and bold if you so choose, I love linings that are a bit of a surprise when you get a peak of what’s inside. And if this is your first coat project, and you’re a little nervous about cutting into your good fabric – choose fabrics that can be a wearable muslin.

You can make your Sapporo up in one colour, but it is a great pattern for colour blocking or two tone. When I made my Ma’s, I didn’t quite have enough green wool for the whole coat, so I made it with the centre back piece in a green tartan I had in stash. I have to be honest, giving that coat away was hard – some of my best sewing went into that garment and I loved how it looked. My Ma’s a trouper though and she’s promised to leave it to me in her will LOL.

Needs must Sewsters! When you don’t have enough of one fabric, just use something else! And lining!! This was a silk remnant put to very good use,

Now that you have your size sorted, you can prepare your pattern. There aren’t too many pattern pieces for the Sapporo, so if you have a paper copy you might want to trace your chosen size onto violene (a very lightweight sew-in interfacing) or tracing paper, I have even had some Sewsters trace their patterns onto baking paper (doing this preserves your original copy). If you have a downloaded version and have printed your A4 pages, follow the instructions on how to stick it all together. And a top tip – gluing the pages together is better than sticky tape in my opinion. You can reposition pages if you haven’t got them quite straight enough and glue is a much more cost effective option. If you want to print on A0 or wide format, depending on where you are at regarding lockdown in your neck of the woods, this could also be an option.

If you have a copy of V1 and wish to make the shorter length, this is just a matter of shortening the pattern (both the main fabric and the lining)  The pieces of pattern that affect the length are 2 (main fabric lower front), 3 (back main fabric and lining) & 7 (front lining). 

You can see how much shorter the coat length is compared to the jacket length.

But things to bear in mind are the length of the pockets and the shape of the hem – you don’t want your pocket bags bunching inside your lining, that would cause bulges and most of us want to avoid that! And the hem shape is imperative to the finished look, so no altering that (the photo above shows what I’m talking about).

The pattern calls for interfacing. If you don’t have any and/or can’t get any, I don’t think this is going to be a major issue. I mean, in these Iso times – needs must. And if you have to forgo interfacing, then you just do. I use a very lightweight interfacing, which hardly makes any difference at all to the structure of the fabric, so not using any will not ruin the final look. If you only have scraps of interfacing – then piece them together. And the other day on IG, a very clever Sewster used calico as her interfacing, and sewed it in (which we used to do in the old days, before fusible interfacing was even a thing), and even better – the calico was a muslin from a previous project.

You will need thread, and do not panic if you do not have a colour that matches perfectly. It won’t matter. There is no topstitching in the pattern, and only the tiniest amount of understitching around the neck and inside the sleeves. The Sapporo is also fully lined, so you will not see if your thread is not matching. And, here’s a little secret (well, not very secret to peeps who know me), I use whatever colour thread I have.  Close enough is good enough in my opinion, and sometimes contrast thread is used because that’s all I have on hand. Don’t stress the thread!!

For my Sapporo, I’m deciding between two options of fabric choice. The animal print & black wool to make a two tone jacket is a lightweight option (I don’t have enough of the animal print to make the whole thing), and the red/black/grey fleck is a mid-heavy weight wool mix. I’ve definitely decided on a short version again – but what fabric option will I choose?? You’ll just have to wait until next week to find out.

What shall I choose? Decisions, decisions…

So there we have it. Your size is sorted, your pattern will be sorted this week and you’re shopping your stash (or your local fabric stores websites). Fun!!!

See you next week.

Mwah…

Difficulty level: Intermediate
Time to Complete: A week or more
Used Products:
BERNINA 740
BERNINA 740
Edgestitch foot # 10
Edgestitch foot # 10
Reverse pattern foot with clear sole # 34
Reverse pattern foot with clear sole # 34

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  • pjstitch

    Hi Karina – Thanks for all of this info.  It really is helpful and you have provided the extra push I need to start this project!  I’m looking forward to sewing and finishing the coat along with you.

    I have plenty of fabric on hand so I have selected a couple of options and will mull it over today while I piece together the 47 pages of the A4 pattern….

    • karinakayes

      Hello!! You’re so very welcome. How fabulous you have a few options to mull over, that’s half the fun. Good on you for getting stuck into your 47 pages, you’ll have assembled in no time.

      Keep safe, mwah…

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