I made the girls' winter coats this year. It was an ambitious project I had been thinking about for a long time, ever since I tracked down a paper pattern for the Oliver & S School Days Jacket, which I absolutely loved. The digital version is still available, but the paper pattern is discontinued. It always breaks my heart when physical patterns go away forever.
Anyway, since the pattern only goes up to size 4 and Penny will be 4 in only a few months, I knew this was the year to make their coats. The outside is Pendleton wool that I bought at the big September sale at the Woolen Mill Outlet, here in Portland. The inside of Lulu's coat is made of a Liberty print brought with me when we moved from London. The adorable petal toggles are from here.
Besides the adorable styling of the duffle coats, I am really appreciating the big pockets. Lulu has enough room for her favorite babydoll, Rita! Penny has been able to stuff her mittens and scarf in them, for walks at school. I made her this matching set from scraps I had around the house (my own made-up pattern, and Ravelry details here).
Penny's coat, also made from Pendleton wool and toggles from here, has the cutest interior. I had been looking at the fabric for so long online. It's called Acorn Trail from Birch Fabrics and guess what: It's a story about a girl named Penny!
This specific print in the line, called Acorn Trail Map, has a picture of a girl and names the things in her neighborhood: Penny's cottage, Possum Pond, Fox Kingdom. Since Penny knows her name when written, she likes finding it inside her coat, along with the girl "with yellow hair, like me". I'm so tempted to buy this matching canvas, where you cut and sew dolls and animals. How I used to love doing this with my grandmother! I bet my mom still has a Strawberry Shortcake or Shirt Tale in the attic :).
The coats have been a great success. Both girls find them cozy and fun to wear. The style does run a bit big, but is perfect for sweaters underneath. The hoods have been so handy in the current downpours of rain we've been having!
If once intimidated by sewing outerwear, I'm now in love with the process. I have some cute Japanese canvas and I'm thinking about making a spring coat for Lulu with this same pattern. The pattern has a version with buttons and button bands, and I think it would be adorable with oversized buttons in front. I'm also scheming about next year's coats; this pattern might be really cute for Penny. That said, my sewing priorities might change completely, and I might never sew a coat again. I'll always know that this year, however, was both a challenge, and a success!