The ‘Rain Drops Keep Falling on My Rain Coat’

A few years ago I worked in product development and thus lived and breathed Pantone.  I was constantly referring to Pantone guides for the household goods I would create, as it’s the only way to ensure uniformity in products from multiple manufacturers.  I used to love going to the Chicago Housewares show and checking out Pantone’s mega displays of colors and color trends.  Now, I’ve moved on from that life, but I instantly jumped on this week’s Sew Weekly challenge.

Not only was the challenge timely to really use the Spring 2012 color trends, but my garment happened to be right on time too.  You see, I decided to make my second rain coat… Because apparently working with oil cloth once just wasn’t enough.  One of the first garments I made when I started sewing clothing in 2012 was a rain coat.  I used the Amy Butler Rainy Days pattern which is pretty straightforward. But what they don’t tell you in sewing 101 (or maybe that do… I never really took sewing 101) is that oil cloth, while fairly easy to work with, definitely comes with it’s challenges.  The two main ones:

1. The inability to use pins.  Any holes you make in oil cloth stay there.  So swap out the pins for alligator/binder clips.  When cutting your fabric, tape the pattern pieces with little bits of scotch tape.  It makes it so much easier!  Similar to the measure twice, cut once, you have to make sure everything’s laid out properly before you start sewing so you’re not left with little needle marks everywhere.

2.  It’s sticky. On your machine and metal that is.  So either stick some scotch tape on the bottom of your presser foot or use a plastic presser foot.  My new machine came with the latter so I was eager to try it out.

Even knowing these two things though, the main challenge with oil cloth is you can’t be a speed demon.  Because it’s tacky you have to slow it down a bit or it’ll get lumps and bunches while you’re sewing.  Or maybe that’s just me?  But really, this project was done in slow motion.  Every time I worked on a bit in cotton you could hear me exclaim ‘wooooohoooo!!’ and then I’d repeat the process in the oil cloth and a groan would come out from the sewing room.  And gathering in oil cloth?  A whole ‘nother story.

So, back to my garment and how it meets this week’s requirements.  I used the Prince Charming Dew Drops laminated cotton fabric from Fabric.com.  The fabric happens to have three of the Spring 2012 pantone colors in it: Sodalite Blue, Solar Power and Cockatoo.  The fabric itself looks more green online, but it is in-fact mostly blue, teals and yellow.

The Facts

Fabric: 3 yards Free Spirit Laminated Fabric $45, 3 yards Kona cotton in Canary $15
Pattern: Amy Butler’s Rainy Days, 2nd time making $0
Year: Contemporary
Notions:  6 buttons $3
Time to Complete: Approx. 8 hours
First worn: All week!
Wear again: Oh yeah!
Total Price: $63

I omitted the pockets for now as I don’t usually use them too much on my previous rain coat.  I did make them so I might add them at some point, but for now, I liked the solid panels of the rain drop fabric in the front.  Oh, and this is one of the first times that I’ve really worked with a directional print.  That was a learning lesson in itself. Luckily I only had one minor mishap where I cut the under-sleeve panel upside down but I quickly realized that I needed to be more conscious when working with this fabric.

Finishing this project was so satisfying! I love rain coats – they’re so convenient! Not having to panic if you forgot an umbrella, or if the weather is just iffy, you can wear it just in case.  I’ve had so many opportunities to wear it this past week as the rainy season seems to have finally started.  And I love the rain drops print with the bright yellow inside. It makes me feel very festive for right now.

Author

whatsupcupcake

Christine started sewing in late 2010, inspired by the many crafty bloggers and their gorgeous, self-made outfits. When she's not sewing, she's doing Irish and Scottish dancing, needlework or other various crafts, and hanging out with her hubby and fur babies (1 dog and 3 cats).

18 Comments

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  1. This is such a cute coat! Thanks for the oilcloth tips too. I wouldn’t have thought to put tape underneath the presserfoot to prevent stickage.

    Also, how do you press your seams? :)

    • Thanks! For the oilcloth, I cut the seam allowance down a bit after the piece is sewn and then finger press them into place. That seems to be the common method done as you can’t really iron them down.

  2. Looks fab! Haven’t tried working with oil cloth yet myself, the tips will come in handy when I do.

  3. Love everything about this! I’ve worked with oil cloth only once (made a lunchbag) and I’ve been thinking of doing it again. It’s super easy to work with when it’s fuzzy side-out. I didn’t think about binder clipping instead of pinning. That’s a great idea!

  4. I’m obsessed! I love this and want to make my own!!! Thanks for the tips on sewing with oilcloth!

  5. That is so adorable. I keep on fancying making a coat but living in the hot, dry bit of Arizona I’ve only worn a coat once in 2 and a bit years. Still, perhaps that’s because it’s a boring red raincoat…..perhaps I need a fun oilcloth one in my life….thank you for the prompting! :) And thank you so much for the advice on sewing oilcloth, I’ve never worked with that before and doubt I’d have thought about those things.

  6. What fabulous oil cloth. It’s adorable!

  7. I’ve just bought this pattern so it’s great to see how it turns out. Well done for persevering with the oilcloth… I tried it once but didn’t get on very well with it… mind you, I didn’t know about your tips then, so I might give it another try.

  8. I’ve never worked with oilcloth. Reading your post and enjoying your finished project make me want to! Nice job!

  9. That’s such a great raincoat! Such a great pattern and the choice of design and color of the cloth is so fun! I never imagined that you could make anything but a tablecloth out of oilcloth. Makes me want to try one like that.

  10. What amazing fabric, I love the graphic design of the fabric. The coat looks great on you and good tips for working with the oil cloth.

  11. Wonderful tips – this looks like a really useful garment. That oilcloth fabric is just cute.

  12. This is too cute! I just love the print. I’ve never worked with this type of fabric before but, I think I need to add a raincoat to my queue now so, I appreciate the tips.

  13. Gorgeous! You have inspired me yet again – another project on my ‘must try’ list.

  14. I love your coat so much! Great fabric choice!

  15. I love your happy raincoat! Unlike others, I don’t know if I want to work with this fabric anytime soon, though.

  16. That is such a cute raincoat! The print is adorable! Great tip about the aligator clips – very clever.

    Next you can do something in leather, cos a lot of those techniques you learnt apply there also. Talcum powder may have been useful to lubricate.

    The right handling is also – by handling I mean man-handling – holding the pieces top and bottom and forcing them though – hard work!

    Lovely work!

  17. Loving every bit of this!