Water-Resistant Silk Trench Coat

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I really enjoyed the challenge of making my first lightweight coat last year and had been considering making another for this spring. I spotted this Marc Jacobs Water-Resistant Ecru Dotted Silk on the Mood Fabrics website way back at the start of the year and knew it would be a match made in heaven for Sewaholic’s Robson Coat. It was love at first sight!

I was a little apprehensive about working with this unusual type of fabric but I’ve been trying to push my fabric boundaries so jumped in at the deep end! I’m so pleased I did as this treated silk is just wonderful. It’s got a gorgeous sheen to it and I absolutely love the proportions of the dots; from afar it almost looks like a plain classic trench but move a little closer and you pick up on the added pop of fun!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Being silk it’s pretty lightweight and despite the waterproof coating has a nice drape to it. It’s definitely weighty enough to make up into a very elegant coat on it’s own but I felt in the rather temperamental London climate I wanted a little extra warmth and protection. I chose to underline the entire coat in a mid weight navy cotton sateen to match those polka dots! I love cotton sateen for the vivid colours it is available in and Mood has a great range here. The decision to underline did add a whole lot of work and time on to this project but it was so worth it; the combination of the two fabrics feels so luxurious! With the exception of the pocket linings and the underside of the storm flaps I cut all the pattern pieces from both fabrics and then hand basted each pattern piece together within the seam allowance so I could treat them as one throughout the rest of the construction.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Another bonus to the underlining was that I could apply my fusible interfacing to the wrong side of the sateen, preventing any wrinkling in the silk over time and also meaning I could sandwich the interfacing between the fabrics and completely hide it even though this coat is not lined. I made sure to trim down my interfacing pieces to keep them out of the seam allowance as the double layer of fabric made some areas pretty thick to sew through. I also chose to only interface one of each pair of pocket welt pieces and leave out the under collar interfacing to prevent these aspects from becoming too stiff.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I just love the unexpected flash of rich blue inside and how the ecru and blue look together.

This special silk does require a little extra care and attention when sewing. It’s a little bit like sewing with a very lightweight oilcloth. I tried to use as few pins as possible and was careful to keep them within the seam allowances as much as possible as any holes from pins or unpicked stitching will stay put. I used a medium heat on my iron with a pressing cloth as the coating will melt and stick straight to the iron if heat is applied directly. I used a sharps needle in my machine and I would recommend using a teflon or walking foot as a coated fabric like this will want to stick to your regular foot. I don’t have either of these so tried out the trick of putting masking tape on the bottom of your foot; it wasn’t a perfect solution but still made a huge difference.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I had a few issues when it came to the topstitching as the sateen under layer was running smoothly through the machine but the coated silk was sticking slightly and therefore running through a tiny bit slower. Over the course of a long seam this started to create those dreaded twisted wrinkles. To combat this I lengthened my stitch slightly and reduced the pressure of my presser foot which really helped. I was worried about the fabric sticking when it came to the button holes but they turned out to be the best I’ve ever done!

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

Once I’d worked out how to best handle this new to me type of fabric it all came together very smoothly with the exception of the belt loops which were a bit of a nightmare. The double thickness of fabric combined with the sticky top of the silk meant turning through the long skinny loop as instructed was nigh on impossible. After struggling with it for a fair while I decided to go my own route with them! I still used the belt loop pattern piece but treated it a bit like bias binding, except cut on the straight grain as I didn’t want them to stretch. I pressed each of the long raw edges into the centre, pressed it again in half so all raw edge were concealed then topstitched as per the instructions which worked out great.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

As I’ve made the Robson Coat before I knew exactly how much I needed to shorten it. This time I shortened it at the ‘lengthen or shorten here’ markings rather than taking it off the hem. This means the pockets are in a much more natural place to put my hands in. I’m 5ft 3 and took 2.5″ off the length and 0.5″ off the sleeves. If you are going to adjust the length of this coat remember that you’ll need to re-space the button placement markings and notches to mark the belt loop positions as they are both intersected by the alteration line. Apart from this I sewed up a straight size 4 as I did before and the fit is spot on with enough room for a jumper on colder days. I used just under 4 yards of the dotted silk and 3.5 metres of the cotton sateen (although if you cut the belt in two pieces instead of on the fold you could get away with 3m in this size). I also used 14.5m of navy bias binding to finish all the seams and facing, much more than the 12 yards the pattern envelope calls for.

Diary of a Chainstitcher: Marc Jacobs Water Resistant Silk Dotted Robson Trench Coat

I’m absolutely delighted with the way this turned out and feel a lot more confident about using tricky fabrics in future. I’ve already tested just how water-resistant this fabric is as we couldn’t even get a few snaps without being rained on this weekend. I don’t think I’ll ever be pleased to wake up to rain but at least it will give me an excuse to wear this beauty!

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Comments


  • Helen Siddon
    May 12, 2014

    Wow how fabulous and luxurious! It looks great on you, well worth all your time and effort!

    • Thanks Helen! It feels even better to wear knowing all the work I put into making it!

  • Manju
    May 12, 2014

    Really beautiful work. The fabrics and the finish are spot on. I have just finished making a cotton twill jacket and am not too happy with my buttonholes and using my seam ripper to open them: can I ask how you opened your buttonholes?

    • Hi Manju, thank you! I did use a seam ripper to open mine, I put a pin across the end of the buttonhole where I want the opening to stop which helps prevent accidently tearing through any stitches at the end. I get better results with a really sharp seam ripper but it can be a little tricky. I think there is a tool you can buy especially for the task, although I’m not sure about how it works!

    • Rose Britton
      June 7, 2014

      For opening button holes, especially in heavier fabrics, a wooden block for support and a sharp chisel (absolutely must be shorter than the button hole length) will work nicely. I saved a few dollars buying the chisel at a hardware store instead of a local sewing shop.

  • Rachel
    May 12, 2014

    Super cute! And what great fabric! I’ve been thinking about making a spring jacket and am a little lost as to what kind of fabrics to use.

    • Thank you Rachel! It is hard to decide what might be the right weight for a lightweight jacket, I dithered about whether to underline this or not for a while. I recently made a blazer style jacket in a linen look cotton that worked out great

  • Sallie
    May 12, 2014

    Lovely lovely lovely!! That water resistant silk is fabulous! Love the sweet, yet subtle polka dot, and pairing it with the royal blue is spot on! Amazing work!!

    • Thanks so much Sallie! It really is a fanastic fabric, one of those that just leaps off the screen and says ‘you must have me!’

  • Ginger
    May 12, 2014

    This is so chic! What a gorgeous coat! I bet you will have people stopping you to ask where you bought it every time you wear it!

    • Thanks Sonja! I’m going to take great pleasure in telling them I made it if they do!

  • Lauren
    May 12, 2014

    Looks gorgeous! I made a polka dot Robson too this month, guess we are gonna be twinsies 😀

    • Thanks Lauren 🙂 I don’t think there’s anything wrong with being twinsies when there’s polka dots involved! Can’t wait to see yours!

  • Mary Danielson
    May 12, 2014

    Gorgeous! I love a cute twist on a classic trench coat and yours is beyond chic, Fiona. I can’t even believe silk can be waterproofed, much less also come in cute polka dots. It’s so cool! You’re going to have people stopping you on the street, begging to know where you bought it.

    • O thanks Mary! I couldn’t believe it when I saw it either! Too many cool things to one fabric. I was a little apprehensive ordering it as I just couldn’t imagine what kind of hand it would have but it was perfect for the job!

  • oonaballoona
    May 12, 2014

    fun fabric! i love its multiple personalities 🙂

    • It’s scrummy isn’t it?! The scale of the polka dots is perfect in this colourway

  • Peter
    May 12, 2014

    Lovely job, Fiona. This has a very Julie Christie look to it — kind of mod-classic. Great fabric choice.

    • O Peter that’s such a lovely comment thank you! It turned out to be the perfect match of fabric and pattern I think!

  • Amanda S.
    May 12, 2014

    It’s gorgeous! I saw this fabric and thought it would make a fabulous trench. LOVE the blue inner bits.

    • Thanks Amanda! I had a hard time choosing between this and the other colourway which was a golden colour with cream polkadots, lush!

  • Lori
    May 12, 2014

    Fabulous coat, I love the polka dots and all the classic elements in a trench.

    • Thanks Lori, it’s a gorgeous pattern with all the elements like you say and I love how it looks almost like a plain classic trench from a distance

  • Bella
    May 12, 2014

    Your coat looks fantastic! Good job on committing to such a big project. I have a jacket in the works but I’ve been dragging my feet for months!

    • They are a big investment of time aren’t they, but still so worth it. You get so much wear out of them in the end! Thank you!

  • Christy
    May 12, 2014

    This is just devine! I love it and I can’t even begin to imagine how much wear you will get from this!

    • Thank you so much Christy! I think it’ll barely leave my back during autumn and spring around here and will hopefully last me many years!

  • sewamysew
    May 12, 2014

    I can’t believe you made this pattern up again! Just once sounds like such a huge project to me, hats off to you. I really want to do a plain camel drill. Wonderful job as usual.

    • Ooo a plain camel drill sounds gorgeous, so classic and wearable! You could totally tackle this pattern Amy, it’s time consuming but pretty straightforward, especially in a drill.

  • Jean Krauss
    May 13, 2014

    Beautiful work !!! Love the polka dots !

    • Thank you Jean! They’re nice and feminine without being too twee aren’t they?!

  • Liz
    May 13, 2014

    Gorgeous – what a timeless wardrobe piece!! Brilliant

    • Fiona
      May 14, 2014

      Thanks Liz! I’m so pleased with how it’s turned out, I was worried the polka dots might make it too much of a passing faze but I think it’s got a classic look I’ll wear for some time to come!

  • Brilliant – I love it. From afar it looks like the traditional light beige trench but when you get up close and see the lovely wee dots, just lovely. I like that you use a dark blue underlining, it just gives it a balance. Good job!

    • Fiona
      May 19, 2014

      Thank you Sandra! These are exactly the things I love about it too! The fabric is a wonderful mix of classic and fun

  • Goodbye Valentino
    May 14, 2014

    How gorgeous! Water resistant silk is news to me. Thanks for introducing me to this fabric!

    • Fiona
      May 19, 2014

      No problem! It was major news to me too and is a totally wonderful fabric! Thanks!

  • Sarah
    May 15, 2014

    Endlessly chic! You’ve done such a beautiful job 🙂

    • Fiona
      May 19, 2014

      O that’s such a lovely comment Sarah, thank you! It definitely feels worth all the time and work

  • Sew Busy Lizzy
    May 18, 2014

    Wow Wow Wow – what an amazing trench – how long did you spin in front of the mirror in that gorgeous make?

    • Fiona
      May 19, 2014

      Haha! I’m still spinning Lizzy and feeling more in love with ever twirl! Thank you!