If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you know that I have an, umm, obsession with coats. Being a New England inhabitant, it almost feels mandatory to have more than one coat to get through the seasons, and who wants to wear the same boring coat over and over for months on end (especially when it doesn’t feel like winter will ever end)?
So when Sew News approached me about writing an article with my top 10 tips for sewing coats for their Sew Daily blog, it was the perfect excuse to make yet another coat to add to my collection!
Both this pattern and the fabric were on my wish list for a long time, and the idea to use both of them together seemed like a no-brainer. I scooped up this Oscar De La Renta double-faced wool from Mood and love the unusual texture that the horizontal herringbone pattern creates. What’s great about this pattern, Butterick 6385, is that it’s cup-sized – perfect for small-busted gals like myself! The A cup bodice piece was a perfect fit with the Dior dart, not too much fullness created and I didn’t need to do any adjustments after I tissue-fit the bodice. I also winged it and didn’t make a muslin for the coat, just made my normal adjustment of grading out a size bigger from the waist to the hips.
When it came to interfacing, I mapped out a plan for where to apply it: the hems of the coat and sleeves, the center fronts, the underarms of the front and back, the sleeve cap, the upper back, and of course, the stand-up collar. I was under a time-crunch with making this coat (can you believe I made this whole thing in a week??) and used fusible weft-insertion interfacing instead of using a hair canvas. In addition to the weight of the wool, I worried that over-interfacing the coat, especially the front, would make the coat very stiff and not allow for the fabric to drape correctly. The interfacing ends up providing gentle support to high-stress areas, and the steam from the tailoring process shaped the wool.
I wanted to use buttons just as special as the wool and found these vintage glass buttons on Etsy, and backed each button with a small, flat button for extra security on the inside of the coat. Etsy really has become my go-to place to find notions these days and other special things that I know I can’t find at Joann Fabrics.
Speaking of buttons – the buttonholes were a bitch to make on this coat with all of the thicknesses I needed to sew through. If it wasn’t for my Bernina compensation plate, I don’t know how I would have made these buttonholes, and it still wasn’t an easy feat trying to get this wool into the compensation plate. It felt like I was wrestling with a wooly blanket on my machine as I made them!
With the wool being so heavy, and double-faced, I didn’t worry about trying to make this coat extra-warm with interlining since I knew it already would be warm! I used a flannel-backed satin lining from Britex like I used last year for my Cascade Duffle Coat, which is now my favorite type of fabric for lining coats and provides a bit of extra insurance against a cold wind. I have some RTW coats that need lining replacements this year, and I’ll probably reach for this fabric when I get around to sewing new linings.
I absolutely adore this coat! It’s the longest coat I own and is much more exciting to wear than a boring black coat all winter. With all of the details like the top-stitching and buttons, wool fabric, and pattern styling, this feels like an expensive designer coat you’d find at Neiman Marcus. I definitely would make this pattern again, either the view with the peter pan collar or the regular pointed collar. Shhh, don’t tell my husband, who thinks I have too many coats and jackets already!