by Anna Kaminska of Anna Tries to Sew
Like all good love stories, this one started with the details… I have been obsessed with Meg’s buttons from the moment they became available for sale. I am pretty sure that I have snatched some in every single button drop and I always have a very hard time restraining myself. And this whole story started with Meg’s buttons too.
I had this vague idea that it would be cool to make a trench coat – a challenging make to push me out of my comfort zone. I had been looking for a trench in the shops, but nothing really spoke to me as even the pricier ones (around £200) were not flawless. Then one day in October, as I was scrolling on Instagram to procrastinate from work, I came across some Pigeon Wishes buttons again and I just KNEW that I needed to make a trench coat with Meg’s buttons. That started a flurry of looking through patterns online and looking for the perfect one that is worth the effort. Finally, I reached out to Meg to ask if she had some similar buttons in 2 different sizes (large and medium) as that’s what the pattern asked. Alas, she did not have the Ocean Leopard buttons (my all-time faves!), but she offered to show me some other ones. When she showed me these – I just fell in love! (Side note: I mean, I fall in love with all those buttons… but these were just so perfect). I love that they are transparent in some places, I love the irregular shape which reminds me of pebbles at the Stonehaven beach and the colour is just gorgeous. Before I even got the chance to ask how I could get them (they weren’t on sale yet), Meg offered to send them to me. I was over the moon and the crazy planning commenced!
First of all, I knew that I wanted a semi-classic trench. I wanted all the details of a classic trench (the cape, the neck fastening, double breasted, belted…) but I also wanted some drama. Named Patterns Isla trench brings just that with its extra length and beautiful construction details. I ended up ordering some cotton twill from the New Craft House and viscose twill lining from Selvedge and Bolts (by the way, the name of the lining fabric is ‘As I Mentioned Earlier, I Am Luxurious’ and, oh my god, that’s such an accurate name!). When both fabrics and the buttons arrived, I actually squealed from excitement – I was just so happy with how all the materials went together. I quickly pre-washed the fabrics, printed and assembled the PDF pattern (lol, almost 100 pages…), I even cut the pieces out! …and then life kicked in… Whoever works in academia will know that November and December are just marking, marking, marking.
I finally had the time to get started with sewing at the end of January. Slowly, over 2 weeks or so, I put together the Isla trench coat. Sewing it was such a pleasant experience. I did not use to be the biggest fan of involved projects, but lately I’ve been really craving the escape of sewing, and Isla did just that for me. Most of the seams were overlocked, sewn, pressed, then top-stitched twice. So, you can imagine how long each seam actually took. But I really enjoyed the process. I enjoyed seeing the pile of pattern pieces become smaller, and the ‘amount of trench coat’ on the hanger becoming more substantial at the end of each day. The most difficult part for me to sew was the vent. It was only my second one, and the first lined one. I think I had to rip the stitches 4 times before I finally decided that it will be good enough and no one actually cares about it apart from me. As usual, it turns out that I don’t care either, it’s not like I can see the inside of my vent when I’m wearing it…
When it finally came time to sew on the buttons, I decided that these ones deserved to be sewn on by hand (yes, all 16 of them…). It was the only fitting way to end such a lovely project. It was my first time creating a thread shank, but I think it went well as the instructions in the pattern were great.
It’s now been 2 months since I made the trench coat and I’ve worn it lots. It’s the perfect piece for my spring wardrobe (and to be honest all year round in Scotland…). As the second semester is winding down (marking hell again!), I have finally had time to write about it. I can honestly say that I could not be happier with how this trench came out. It all started and ended with these stunning buttons. They really make me smile every time I wear the trench. I think it’s so cool that they are lighter than the fabric and that you can see the rusty brown colour peeking through. And even if I move away from Aberdeen someday, these buttons will always remind me of pebbles on the Stonehaven beach, bringing back beautiful memories.