Varna Coat Hack

Blogger: Samantha Thoms

Turning Varna into a Coat

From the first time I saw Varna, all I could see was a cute little coat. Sleeves are more often than not, a necessity as I live in a colder part of the world. I had to hack it to make that vision reality. This post is my adventures into coat making.

I chose a beautiful purple felted wool I had in my stash. This will keep my littles, toasty warm. I chose a light, bright lawn for the lining as the wool was rather thick and I didn’t want to make it too bulky. Some things I learned when working with wool was to lengthen my stitch and to sew slowly with a heavy duty needle. 

As you already know, Varna was chosen as my base pattern. I used all the pattern pieces from the original varna pattern including bodice, tie, belt loops and one back skirt piece. I did not cut the front skirt piece at this time, as it needs to be modified for the coat. 

The sleeves I added are from the Canterbury pattern.

Every coat needs pockets, so I used the pocket pieces from the free inseam pockets tutorial and followed the tutorial in a later step to add the pockets to the coat skirt.
For the front skirt, I needed to figure out how the skirt pieces needed to be modified. To do so, I measured the bottom width of one of the front bodice lining pieces. I then took this measurement and used it as a guide for the top of the front skirt. My measurement worked out to be about 2” (5 cm) past the half way mark of the skirt piece. This was the same for all of the sizes I made, including sizes 2, 5, and 7. I folded the extra skirt beyond this measurement behind the back skirt piece at this mark and pinned it safely out of the way. I then cut 2 mirror image front skirt pieces using the folded back skirt as my pattern piece. 

I decided to line the skirt, so I ended up cutting out one back skirt main, 1 back skirt lining, 2 front main skirt pieces and 2 front lining skirt pieces. 

I followed the Varna tutorial up through the point where the collar was added to the bodice (page 33). I then put the front and back bodice pieces, right sides together and sewed them at the side of the bodice, using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. I repeated this on the other side of the bodice and with the lining bodice pieces. 

Please note that most of my pictures in this tutorial show the lining pieces being sewn, as they clearly show the right side of the fabric. Locate the sleeve pieces and sewed a gathering stitch between the two notches at the top of the sleeve.

Press the hem of the sleeve 1/2” (1.3 cm) wrong sides together to create a memory crease.  

Unfold the memory crease and fold the sleeve in half, right sides together. Sew the long, straight edge using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. 

Pin the sleeve to the bodice, right sides together, aligning the seam of the sleeve with the underarm seam of the bodice. Continue pinning/clipping each direction until 1/2" (1.3 cm) from the shoulder seam on both sides. Gather the top of the sleeve to fit the sleeve opening. Sew the sleeve to the bodice using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Repeat all steps with the lining sleeves and bodice lining. 

Locate the pocket pieces and follow the inseam pocket tutorial to add the pockets to the main skirt pieces. I used the lining fabric for my pocket pieces, so the there is a fun flash of fabric when the pocket opens. When following the inseam pocket tutorial, I sewed the edge of the main front skirt piece to the edge of the main back skirt, right sides together, using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Repeat on the other side to attach the remaining main front skirt piece to the main back skirt. 

When sewing the lining skirt pieces, there will be no pockets. Sew the edge of the front lining skirt piece to the edge of the back skirt piece, right sides together, using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Repeat with the other front skirt piece on the other side. 
Attach the main skirt to the main bodice, right sides together Align the top, raw edge of the skirt with the bottom, raw edge of the bodice. Sew to attach using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Repeat with the lining skirt and lining bodice pieces. Press the seam allowance up toward the bodice. 

Placed the lining of the coat over the main coat and sew around the edges using a 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Leave a 3-4” (7-10 cm) opening on the left side of the coat for turning the coat right side out. 

Trim the seam allowance and the curves using pinking shears Turn the coat right side out.  Press the coat and then topstitch around the edges of the coat from the collar edge, right around to the other collar edge, making sure to topstitched the opening closed. 

Finish the edges of the sleeves by folding the previously pressed 1/2” (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Match up the seam allowance of the main sleeve to the lining sleeve and topstitched them together, closing the seams in the sleeve.

Finish the coat with the instruction from the Varna tutorial for adding buttons, belt loops and the tie.

I absolutely adore this coat and I am so happy with the finished result. Now I’m off to finish my other two coats. 

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