Maxx always seems to miss out. The truth is that men's clothes tend to require more time and more fabric in less exciting colours. The end result, though, is always worthwhile, and when I do make things for him, he really does appreciate it. If he wasn't into hats though, he wouldn't get much.
It took me ages to find fabric to make this Albion coat. I had the pattern in my hands for some time before I was able to find suitable fabric. Having said that, I can't say that it was particularly suitable. The fabric was from Spotlight, and I would suggest that unless you are planning to make a heavy, army style blanket, then maybe bypass it. Maxx assures me that the coat is comfortable, but it is very heavy. Almost 3kg. I can't say I was overly impressed with the range of wool fabric that Spotlight had, considering it was meant to be on sale. There was a total of 6 bolts there, three of which were light grey (two the same with sparkles, the other without), this olive coloured one, a dark green plaid and white. So olive it was, and lucky it's a colour he likes. I was happy to find a matching bemsilk to line it with. The pattern suggests flannel lining, but with fabric this heavy, it would be too much. Plus, bemsilk makes it easy to slip over other clothes.
So, 3kg of coat is quite a bit to be lugging around the sewing machine, but I powered on. Since it was a birthday present, the coat was made mostly in secret, whilst Maxx was at work. I encountered some real difficulty when it came time to sew on the toggles. Large bulky coat needed to be able to be turned around under the harp of my machine, which was quite a squeeze. The weight of the coat threatened to drag my domestic sewing machine right off the table whilst I sewed, so it was hard yakka. There was much unpicking and swearing and in the end I got there, with the help of my trusty fabric glue pen, and my industrial sewing machine (with it's heavy table, and bigger harp) and they look fabulous! The toggles were made by hand, using leather scraps in just the right colour from my stash. I feel that the kits with the black toggle cover things would not have suited. I used a letter D from my big box of biscuit cutters as a template for the toggle covers. I managed to find some cord in just the right colour at Clegs in the city when I was there for Nikki's Book Launch, and the toggles themselves were from Spotlight.
I had originally intended to use buttons to attach the hood and sleeve tabs, but decided that it was unfair to expect my sewing machine to sew buttonholes into that bulky fabric and went with some brassy jeans snaps instead. I added some to the pocket flaps as well, for good measure. As well as being hardwearing, and looking fabulous, the jeans snaps were a much more affordable choice. Many of the buttons that I liked at Spotlight were $6 each. It would have cost me almost $50 for buttons (not including toggles). How ridiculous!
Apart from fabric woes, the pattern itself is pretty awesome. There are some great details, and whilst the pattern is quite extensive compared to the regular commercial patterns, there are even more great hints and tips on the sew-along. I also have the Walden Negroni pattern waiting for me to make Maxx a shirt (one day, I promise!) and I must say, they are the most attractively packaged patterns I have ever bought. I should also add that I am super impressed with my service from Sew Squirrel so far, my patterns have been posted to me super-quick. The Negroni pattern was ordered on a Saturday morning, was posted that afternoon and arrived Monday in rural Victoria!