A Red Wool Coat and Rayon Jersey Dress for the Holidays

Idle Fancy -- Butterick 6244 -- Red Boiled Wool Coat from Mood Fabrics-11

Good afternoon, Mood Fabrics! Today, I’m sharing two pieces that have been on constant rotation in my wardrobe. Usually, I make a couple of dresses for the holiday season, bright, cheerful pieces that I can throw on for office parties and cookie exchanges. Not that I ever go to cookie exchanges, mind you, but a lady can dream. (Or eventually break down and host one herself, I suppose.) This year, however, winter hit us early in Central Texas. We’ve already had our first big freeze and there actual snowflakes in our forecast for next week. I’m not holding my breath for a white Christmas, but I did get into the spirit of things with a whole holiday ensemble, this year. Not only did I sew up a quick holiday dress, but a wool topper to go over it!

Idle Fancy -- Butterick 6244 -- Red Boiled Wool Coat from Mood Fabrics-12

The coat was the trickier part of this holiday ensemble. I wanted something easy to wear over both jeans and dresses, but also quick enough to sew, in light of all the other gifts that need finishing. Luckily, I knew just the pattern. This is Butterick 6244, an unlined, semi-fitted coat with a dramatic draped collar, designed by Liesl Gibson of Lisette and Oliver + S fame. It first popped up on my radar, last year, when the lovely Lori made a gorgeous camel wool version for one of her Mood Sewing Network projects. I’ve never coveted a coat more! With flat-felled seams and a generous, draping fit, it seemed the perfect mix of comfort and style.

For fabric, I chose a Cayenne Red Boiled Wool that I bought last year at Mood. This color is currently not on the site, but there are over a dozen other colors of the same fabric, including a gorgeous Soft Pink Boiled Wool that I’m using on another winter coat right now. Boiled wool is exactly what it sounds like–wool fabric that has been agitated in hot water, so that the fibers shrink up into a tighter, more felted fabric. It has a gloriously soft, nubby texture and a bit of springy stretch in one direction, thanks to this process. In addition to coats, I’ve had a couple of winter skirts made from boiled wool and they are such cozy layering pieces. It is one of my favorite fabrics to wear during colder months.

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The construction of this coat was about as easy as outerwear gets. There are two darts at the neckline, no lining to fuss with, and only five pieces in total. The instructions are pretty clear, with a lengthy explanation of flat-felled seams for beginners, and there’s a sew-along on the Lisette website for the entire pattern. Boiled wool doesn’t actually unravel, so if you wanted to leave the drape unhemmed and the seams unfinished, this pattern would be easier. You’ll see unhemmed boiled wool in ready-to-wear all the time and it gives a bohemian, casual look to the finished garment. Despite my penchant for perfectionism, I almost did that myself. This wool looks seriously beautiful left on its own.

In the end, though, I hemmed everything and finished every seam as instructed.  The fabric is a little bulky for flat-felled seams, but it takes both pinning and pressing well, so it’s not too big of a challenge. My only note is that, if you’re going to use boiled wool for an unlined design, expect it to wrinkle. I wore the coat for an hour, before these photos, and signs of wear are evident even after a good pressing, earlier that morning.  Its organic, unstructured nature is part of the charm, in my book. For more tailored designs, definitely consider your lining options well, however.

Idle Fancy -- Butterick 6244 -- Red Boiled Wool Coat from Mood Fabrics-9

The other part of this outfit is made with one of my favorite new patterns, the Cashmerette Turner Dress. The Turner is a knit fit-and-flare dress with three sleeve options, a v-neckline, and a semi-circular skirt. Most of my notes on the original pattern can be found on my first version, over at Idle Fancy, but I did make some design changes to this one. In addition to adding an inch to the bodice and another to the skirt to compensate for my height, I also changed the neckline and bodice construction. Instead of a lined v-neck, I drafted a round neckline and finished with a neckline band, eliminating the lining altogether.

This new method worked well with the fabric I chose, this Black and White Geometric Rayon Jersey. Mood has some of the best rayon jerseys and I’m a sucker for geometric prints, like this one. It’s a print made of abstract hearts and circles, which cascade in stripes across the fabric. Though these stripes look vertical in product photos, they’re actually printed at a gentle diagonal to the stretch of the fabric. I was skeptical about how the print would look when worn, but it’s such a graceful, modern take on a striped dress. The fabric itself is a highly stretchy rayon, with a fluid drape and tendency to hug the body. It’s still opaque, unless stretched to the absolute max, and doesn’t need a lining.

Idle Fancy -- Cashmerette Turner Dress -- Geometric Rayon Dress from Mood Fabrics-4

I really adore this pairing, y’all. A black-and-white print worn with bright red statement pieces is one of my favorite combinations, especially at the holidays. It’s festive, but also works at other times of the year. You can deck the halls or just bundle up for an elegant evening out. Even better, this coat is eerily similar to wearing a gigantic blanket. Between it and the secret pajamas factor of a knit dress, it feels like I’m cheating at dressing up! When I’m about to eat record amounts of holiday food, that’s a definite win.

Happy Holidays, everyone! I hope you have a joyful season!

Idle Fancy -- Butterick 6244 -- Red Boiled Wool Coat from Mood Fabrics-34

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Comments


  • Sallie
    December 15, 2016

    I have never commented before, but damn, that is a beautiful combo!

    • Mary Danielson
      December 17, 2016

      Thank you so much, Sallie! I’m delighted to be the cause of your first comment!

  • Amanda S.
    December 16, 2016

    You look so cute and sassy! Both the coat and the dress are great hits. And can I just say I’m not looking forward to the impending cold we’re about the get? Nice outerwear is the only thing that makes it bearable!

    • Mary Danielson
      December 17, 2016

      Thanks, Amanda! I totally agree. I keep looking at the forecast and wincing. Highs in the 30s? Miserable! You’re right–thank heavens for cheerful outwear.

  • Connie Turner
    December 16, 2016

    Striking combination of colors and the red sets off your blonde beauty so well.

    • Mary Danielson
      December 17, 2016

      Thank you so much, Connie! You’re too kind!

  • Marianne
    December 17, 2016

    Beautiful outfit! The red coat looks stunning and I love your version of the Turner dress!

  • Hélène Martin
    December 17, 2016

    Just stunning. I hope you’ll share some pictures of your coat with other outfits! I bet it can be styled a bunch of different, gorgeous ways.

    • Mary Danielson
      December 17, 2016

      Thank you, Hélène! I never think to post garment photos styled in different ways, but that’s a fantastic suggestion. I’ll take some more casual photos for my Idle Fancy post on this coat. It really looks smashing with jeans and a striped sweater underneath!

  • Girls in the Garden
    December 18, 2016

    This looks so cute and fun and you will have so many options with these two great pieces.

  • Fiona
    December 23, 2016

    This whole outfit is so wonderful on you Mary! The red really seems to bring out the life in that jersey print and you really carry both styles well. Great stuff!

  • Laura Casey
    December 27, 2016

    WOW is this great! Love both makes, especially the coat and that pink boiled wool (you mentiooed) for this coat is right up my alley!! You’ve inspired me…wonder when Mood has a sale?? Like a new year’s sale! I can go on and on….but your outfit and comments are spot on. Thank you-