From The Workroom / News & Updates

on the gumnut coat

[just a quick aside: thank you so so much for all of your love and support and encouragement on my last post. I am beyond excited, and i can’t wait to share this journey with you!! You truly are an amazing group of friends/readers/gorgeous gals!]

If you’ve been following my brand for a while, you have probably stumbled upon the Gumnut coat. It’s one of my favourite designs, and it featured in my 2010 ready to wear collection.

I love it – and evidently a lot of you do too, because i have received many many requests over the years to make a sewing pattern for it. So i started – and got partway through, only to decide to stop.

There were a number of reasons, and i thought i’d explain my thought process a little.

The first reason is that the print plate we were using wasn’t large enough to fit the large pattern pieces, which was kind of a deal breaker. And can you imagine it as a digital PDF download? SHUDDER. Second, there are just so many pattern pieces. It’s a big pattern with lots of pieces, and complexity, i would rate it as requiring a lot of experience – which is a very different thing than the vision i have for my patterns. Let me explain. My goal has always been to make sewing stylish clothing more accessible. Every time i design a pattern i go over it many times stripping it back to be as simple as possible. Everything is assessed, and judged and sometimes changed to make the pattern as accessible as possible. The Crescent blouse is a good example – i spent so much time pouring over the pattern pieces and instructions and refining them to reduce the difficulty as much as possible. And the third reason is wearability. I only believe in making garments that you wear over and over and over. And patterns you make over and over. That’s why i don’t design party dresses. I haven’t worn that coat in years as it was too cold for winter in the USA, and too hot for other times, and well doesn’t even make sense in Australia. Which is unfortunately often the case with stylish outerwear.

And that’s where i get stuck with the coat. I’m not sure it fits with what i want to achieve. I like to be real with you guys, and this coat, a coat i love, doesn’t even fit in with my daily wardrobe, so how can i expect it to fit into yours? I love it, the design is still one of my favourties, but I don’t want to create a pattern that will be too hard for beginners, or not wearable, or even worse only be made once and then packed away in a box.

So thats where i’m at. I hope thats not too disappointing for anyone – but i think that is where my thoughts are on that pattern right now. I may change my mind later – but for now, i don’t think i will be releasing that design as a pattern. BUT> if you really love that coat shape, collar style etc, i’ve found a few coat patterns that are currently available through other companies, and which i think are really gorgeous and quite similar:

  • Simplicity 1197 – this one is so similar it’s creepy :) Sub those pockets for rounded ones, round out the hemline and leave off some buttons
  • Simplicity 1284 – This one needs a collar, but the shape is really really gold
  • Colette Patterns Anise – I know this is a short coat, but make it longer and you have a very similar neckline and sleeve look.
  • Etsy – A quick search of Etsy found some amazing vintage coat patterns that are very similar. This one, this, this and this (this is a kids pattern, but it is AMAZING)
Anyone think of any others?
As always, hugs and happy sewing!
About Author

Meg is the Founder and Creative Director of Megan Nielsen Patterns, and is constantly dreaming up ideas for new sewing patterns and ways to make your sewing journey more enjoyable! She gets really excited about design details and is always trying to add way too many variations to our patterns.

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9 years ago

I totally understand your point of view – winter in some parts of Australia is more like spring in the northern hemisphere! It’s sad not seeing this coat published, but I’m sure you’ll design loads of easier and more wearable garments to make us happy instead! Right?? ;)

9 years ago

Pauline Alice’s Ninot coat has a similar swing coat shape with similar collar. Not as long though. I
Thinking of making it for this winter in Brisbane (I put it off last year due to the work involved) in a heavyish cotton mini houndstooth – will be useful for a few months of the year ;o)

9 years ago

Megan I have followed your design journey from your very first days on Pattern Review. The Gumnut coat is beautiful and fits in with your aesthetic and would go so well over the other clothes that you design. Why worry if other coats are similar? Even a small difference to the cut of a classic design such as a swing coat can make all the difference to make it fresh and contemporary. The whole ‘so and so has a similar coat pattern’ should not hold you – or anyone else – back if your coat was genuinely designed and drafted with your own vision in mind.

9 years ago

Bit disappointed as I just love that coat but totally get where you are coming from. I think you’ve made the right decision :)

Rochelle New
9 years ago

I love that you’re sticking to your gut on this. It’s so important to stay true to your business vision and let your ideal customers come to you. Sometimes that means not making a pattern for your customers! It sounds weird to say that, but I bet you know exactly what I mean. Stick to your guns. Your gut instinct is usually the right one! But I will say, I am looking forward to future patterns from you ;) :)

9 years ago

I fully understand about keeping your range consistent, but when you say “doesn’t even make sense in Australia”, what you really mean is that it doesn’t make sense where you live and within your life.

I’m originally from Melbourne (where I now live), but I’ve also lived in both Perth and Canberra – and I needed a coat in every city.

I commute to work on public transport, and believe it or not, near the coast Perth can get very miserably cold over night. If you’re just jumping in a car to drop the kids off somewhere, anything more than a jacket is only going to get in the way. If you work in an office like me, and end up walking a fair distance to a bus stop, often a jacket is just not enough. In Perth I also needed something water-resistant, as too many umbrellas ended up inside-out!

Canberra rarely rains (and occasionally snows), so there I just needed Warm (and scarves, mittens… :-)

In Melbourne, because I commute from Mt Dandenong to St Kilda Road, I need protection from everything, and a variety of options – in summer, if it’s been chilly overnight I need something like the 50s ‘summer coat’ – lightweight that cuts the wind but won’t give me heat-stress on the way home. In winter I have a long warm coat and a waterproof coat. Your pink coat doesn’t look warm enough for a really cold winter morning, but it would probably work for spring and autumn, and I hate wearing the same coat for months on end.

I think what I’m trying to say is that Australia is a continent with a wide range of climates, and millions of us do need a coat, even in summer!

Elena Knits
9 years ago

I completely agree with your point of view. It’s a beautiful coat, but it won’t get a lot of real wearing. I also prefer to make useful garments.

9 years ago

That was really kind of you to provide alternative patterns to consider, esp for those who really could benefit from a light winter coat and don’t worry about making a pattern more than once.


[…] this is an issue in the blogosphere secently. I’ve read about cancelling pattern releases, reluctancy to release patterns and what makes an item more wearable. And of course there is the brilliant Wardrobe […]

9 years ago

It’s a lovely coat but I agree with other commenters that you need to let it go if it doesn’t feel right. More generally, as far as pattern complexity goes, I would like to see more patterns move towards an intermediate/advanced skill set. Many home sewers have learned to sew garments through independent pattern company patterns, tutorials and sew alongs. Now that many of us have the basics down, there are not a lot of options for expanding our skill set beyond simple skirts, dresses and tees.. Many patterns with more complex shapes simply omit elements that make them more difficult such as linings and hand tailoring. While it’s nice to have a simple pattern that anyone can make, I would love to see the boundaries pushed beyond the fast fashion mentality that seems to become standard in the home sewing market. All this to say, a complex pattern that I could really sink my teeth into would be received with open arms.