School Days Jacket version two – with added elephants

My little boy is growing fast – so fast, in fact, that he grew out of his first School Days Jacket just before Christmas. As it’s pretty cold in Worcestershire at this time of year, I thought he’d better have another one.

The rolled-up cuffs are just a temporary feature - until his arms grow a bit longer.
The rolled-up cuffs are just a temporary feature – until his arms grow a bit longer.

Second time around this project felt much easier. And I got to tick off one of my 2015 resolutions – to make the same pattern more than once. I used a polyester mix grey wool coating this time, from Truro Fabrics and cut out a size T2, but enlarged the hood to a size T3. It was harder to press than the wool fabric I used for version one, but it was cheaper and I’m hoping it’ll be easier to clean! The lining is a fun elephant print from Ditto Fabrics – I’ve seen this fabric in a few places, and the sharp-eyed among you might recognise it from this sunhat I made back in 2013. I used an interlining again – the same Thinsulate as the first version. It is a bit like sewing through snow, but it gives a lovely cosy feel to the jacket.

I learnt from my mistakes the first time – for this version I used ready-made toggle fasteners. I love the way they look but I wasn’t confident attaching these using my machine (and I didn’t have any leather machine needles) so I hand-stitched them. It nearly killed my fingers so I think I must have had the wrong size leather needle. But hey-ho, they’re on and they work.

I also solved the hem-facing-lining join issue I had with the first version – I’d missed a note in the instructions about stopping short of the bottom when stitching the front facing to the front lining. Ahem.

I really like this pattern, and I feel I’ve got to grips with how to sew it. But if I’m ever persuaded to make a third version there are a few fit issues I need to work on. The interlining makes the coat smaller on the inside, and the sizing is on the small side anyway, so I’d recommend sizing up if you’re in any doubt. For my son, this then meant that the shoulders were too wide, and that made the sleeves too long for him. It would be pretty easy to shorten the sleeves, but I think I need to research whether I can do anything about the shoulders. And as he’s relatively tall, I’d also add around an inch to the length.

If you’ve made a children’s coat, I’d love to see it, and if anyone can solve the fitting issue at the shoulder for me I’d be really grateful.

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