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  • Writer's pictureJustine Woolley

I Am Patterns -Merlin Coat Review

During a recent break whilst waiting for supplies to arrive for my next commissions I had time to finally make the I Am Patterns Merlin Coat.

I encountered a problem of my own making almost immediately. In my excitement to buy the pattern after spotting it online I hadn't read the description properly. I didn’t realise that the pattern had overlapping pieces that would need tracing. I’ve had to do this before but found this quite difficult with having to trace eleven pieces out of thirteen. Due to the number of overlapping lines it was a feat of concentration to ensure I was tracing the right size and following the right lines. Also, later on I realised I’d cut the lining wrong as even though I knew the front, back and sleeve pattern pieces doubled as lining pattern pieces I didn’t notice the cutting line for the lining pieces. Luckily this was easily remedied as I only needed to cut some away.

After taking my measurements and looking at the final measurements of the garment for my size I decided to go down a couple of sizes based on the finished size. I am 5”1’ so even though it was a cocooned shape coat I didn’t want it to be too voluminous as I’d look even shorter! It's worth noting the paper pattern is size UK 8 to 18 (French equivalent) but the PDF is UK size 6-24 (French equivalent). The coat has turned out slightly large still so if I make another, I’ll go down another size.

The instructions suggested making a toile which in hindsight may have been a good idea but a lack of appropriate fabric, the amount of time I had and the fact I’d make a coat before led me to just get going.

I didn’t shorten any pattern pieces as after measuring as I felt the coat would stop at the back of my knees which is probably a bit lower than intended but what I wanted. Also, I normally have to shorten sleeves on any pattern but these were just right.

I had purchased the correct amount of boucle fabric based on the pattern instructions however was left with 60cm so probably could’ve got away with buying half a metre less as not sure what to do with the remnant.

The making up of the coat was pretty straight forward. As the boucle was thick, I found it hard to find the notches I’d made due to the nature of the fabric, I used a walking foot on my sewing machine which helped to keep the pieces lined up correctly especially around the sleeve head. The seam allowance for the garment is only 1cm so you cannot make the notches too deep.

The instructions are aimed at an intermediate level in my opinion – however I Am Patterns do have some online tutorials which included the welt pocket that is part of this pattern. Luckily this pocket is the first thing you do. I had done welt pockets a long time ago and found the tutorial useful, especially as the pattern has a misprint in the first instruction which mixes up the right and wrong side of the fabric. I would highly recommend doing a few practice runs of the pocket using scraps of fabric as my initial thought on reading the instructions was that it wouldn’t work. It does, but you really have to follow it step by step rather than rush ahead thinking you know what you’re doing (as I often do!). The only step I changed was I cut the pocket rectangle out first as I was nervous of sewing the pocket pieces in the wrong place at it was hard to mark the boucle. I’d tried putting little bright coloured stitching tacks in but in the end I decided cutting it first would give me a better result and ensure the pockets matched on either side.

I also deviated from the pattern when sewing the facing, collar and coat all together. The instructions say to sew these all together at the same time but I tacked the collar on to the coat first to keep it in place. I would also say if you are using a thinner coat fabric it may be worth interlining the facings as there is no instruction to do so which I’ve never seen on a coat/jacket pattern before.

I found finishing the hem a bit tricky as I felt the lining was going to drop below the hemline as quite baggy due to the cocoon shape. There isn’t much hem turned up at the bottom of the coat but once I’d stitched it in place at the side seams it hangs fine. Once on there's no issue but it doesn’t look so great on the hanger!

When it came to the buttons, I had real trouble stitching buttonholes into the fabric. Luckily, I’d used some scraps to try them but the boucle just kept catching on the button hole foot so I gave up and used some large poppers. I also changed the button placement as I found the front of the coat bagged out too much. As I couldn’t find any buttons I liked I used some self-cover buttons and put them where the buttons would be to add some detail to the front of the coat. I also added a popper inside to keep the coat snug when needed – though lets face it I will be leaving it open to show off the lining!

In conclusion I really enjoyed making this coat, it was challenging enough in places to give me a sense of achievement and simple enough in others to just give me something nice to do while I listened to podcasts. I’ll definitely make another one in the future. My main take away will be 'trust the process!'

Let me know of any great coat patterns you've found in the comments sections or any hacks you've found for this pattern.


I Am Patterns Merlin Coat Pattern from Stitch and Stash

Boucle Fabric from Lullabee Fabrics on Etsy

Satin Fabric from Stuck on Fabric on Etsy

Photo Credit: Mia W

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