Hi, guys! I hope that you’re all well and enjoying the holiday season! I’m really excited to share this garment with you today. I worked on it for a really long time, so I’m very happy to be wearing it finally!
I knew that I wanted to try a coat in this silhouette when I first saw one about a year ago. The cocoon-y shape paired with dropped shoulders makes for a really interesting and fun look. I’d planned to make one last spring, but couldn’t quite get things together, so I was determined to make one this fall. Well, I ALMOST made my deadline!
After choosing the style, I had the hardest time deciding on a fabric! You spend so much time in a coat that you want to be sure you like the fabric before committing to it! Finally I settled on this fuchsia bouclé from my stash. I bought it at Mood Fabrics NYC wayyyyyyy back in March when Clare was visiting and we had a big group of sewers gathered together at the store. In the spirit of full disclosure, I should mention that I was WAY overcaffeinated and overexcited that day, so when I saw this bouclé with neon pink running through it, I lost my mind completely and bought three yards of it without even the slightest idea what I would do with it. Tarek did a burn test for me and determined that the fabric was a cotton/nylon blend. Interesting! (Note: check out Mood’s selection of bouclés here! There’s even a hot pink one!)
I knew that this fabric would be a bit tricky to work with based on the fiber content, but I thought it would be OK since I didn’t have to press any darts or anything like that. I had to keep the iron heat pretty low and use a press cloth to avoid melting, but I was able to underline all the shell pieces with fusible interfacing to give them more stability since this is such a loosely-woven fabric. I also serged each pattern piece as soon as I cut and fused it to limit fraying. Another thing that helped me get better results was catch-stitching all of the seam allowances open. Since the fabric wasn’t happy being pressed, the seams needed a little help staying flat, so the catch stitching was a good solution. On the plus side, when you’re using a loose weave like this, all your hand stitches hide in the fabric, which is nice.
Inside the coat, there’s a lot going on! Since I already had the main fabric in my stash, I used my monthly allowance to purchase lining and interlining fabric. I chose a Theory wool-blend flannel (here’s a similar one, but with a bit of stretch) for interlining, and I’m really happy with that choice. It makes for a warm jacket, but maintains a softness and drape that’s nice in a coat. The lining is a stretch charmeuse, not what I would ordinarily gravitate towards, but it’s such a perfect match to the shell fabric that I had to have it (here is stretch charmeuse in about 100 colors)! I chalked in lines parallel to the grainline, 2″ apart, and quilted along them. I’m not normally one to put this much effort into a project, but I love the feel and effect of the quilted lining, so I’m sure I’ll do it again!
I used a medium-weight weft interfacing for the collar, facings, and lower sleeve pieces (in addition to the lightweight that I used everywhere). And I added a back stay cut from a small piece of leftover cotton shirting. Hopefully this will help keep things looking good! I also taped the roll line using twill tape catch-stitched to the jacket front. I knew I wouldn’t be able to go crazy steaming the collar and lapels, so I figured that taping the roll line would help everything roll over nicely.
Ordinarily I would like to have slash/welt pockets in a coat, but I was afraid it would look too plain, so I kept the patch pockets from the original pattern just to add a little visual interest. The pockets are lined with the stretch charmeuse, but if I had thought about it more, i would have used the wool flannel instead as that would have been cozier.
The pattern is République du Chiffon‘s Gerard coat, and I sewed up a straight size small without any changes. I kind of wish I’d gone up a size so I’d have a bit more ease, but this is fine and totally wearable. The pattern makes for a cute garment, but the instructions are minimal (and aren’t fully translated from the French) and I needed to look up how to do things elsewhere, so I wouldn’t recommend it for beginners. The PDF was also a pain in the neck to put together as it didn’t fit together perfectly and it needed to be traced and have seam allowances added to it after taping it together… so much work! But it was exactly the look I was going for, and it wasn’t very expensive, so it was worth the hassle of figuring out what I needed to do.
The whole time I was sewing this, I really wasn’t sure how it would look when it was finished. But at the very end, I really liked it! It’s just such a happy color! There’s a chance that I’ll scare people on the subway who aren’t used to seeing colors this bright, but hey, not every New Yorker wants to wear black all the time!
Alright, now tell me about your experiences sewing outerwear! Do you have any favorite coat projects? Do you have any tips for working with bouclé (or for protecting it from getting snagged by pug claws)? What’s on your sewing table?