I am so excited to finally show you my coat! I feel as if I should get a badge of sewing achievement for this – and for bonus points – I used a Burdastyle pattern and with the briefest instructions ever, no diagrams, no sewalong! – I am feeling just a bit hardcore!Lots of pictures to follow – but in honour of my new coat I ventured outside the garden!So – first things first – the pattern. This is a Burdastyle coat – 08/14 #128 – described as an oversized coat. This version has also been made by Jolies Bobines in a gorgeous window pane print wool. I spotted it on the Clothspot blog when they were showcasing autumn coat fabrics and it was exactly the style I had been looking for – oversized and quite loose. I already have a fitted winter coat and I wanted a coat that I could wear over lots of layers. The pattern is in the Burda tall sizes. I am 5’7″ so I wasn’t concerned about extra height and I went for a size 84 based on the size chart, expecting to have plenty of room.
Fabric next – I fell in love with this teal coloured boiled wool/viscose fabric from Clothspot – the colour is so rich and bright and I thought boiled wool would be a forgiving fabric for my first coat. For the lining I chose navy blue paisley viscose lining, (sadly out of stock now). This represents the most money I have ever spent on fabric and I was absolutely terrified at the possibility of ruining such lovely fabric. I was tempted just to call it a blanket and keep it intact, but having included a coat in my autumn sewing plans I had to get on with it.I made a test version first. This was as much to work through the instructions for the collar and and lined pleat in the back as to test fit. The Burdastyle instructions are very brief and I went wrong in several places on the first go so it was a really useful process.When I tried on the first version I found the following issues.
- Sleeves were too narrow
- Lapels were also very narrow
- The coat wasn’t wide enough at the hip
- Something slightly off about the shoulders (surprise!)
For an over-sized coat, it wasn’t actually very over-sized as drafted. The sleeves would have been too narrow to accommodate a jumper – particularly when sewn in a thicker fabric and lined. I felt as if the lapel was too narrow – I envisaged being able to turn up the collar and it would have been entirely pointless with the collar as it was drafted. Width at the hip was easy to fix, but I was kind of stumped by the shoulder thing. The arm seam is off the shoulder and quite wide so in theory there should have been more than enough room and there wasn’t anything obvious wrong – there was a slight restriction if I raised my arms to the front, but it wasn’t a big problem.
I decided to consult with the wardrobe department at work – Jacqui took a quick look at my undefinable shoulder problem and suggested that I needed to bring the seam line in a bit – reducing the shoulder width about an inch, flatten the sleevehead out – the original piece was quite curved; and make the sleevehead a bit longer when I widened the sleeve. I have to admit I have no idea why these changes worked – it would never have occurred to me to narrow the shoulder?
For the lapels I simply added a couple of inches to both parts of the collar pieces and changed the angle of the notch. After a second muslin it was all looking good and I was ready to cut the real fabric! I had a long weekend to dedicate to making the coat and it took all four days to complete it!
The instructions tell you to interface some key pieces, but there is very little detail beyond that. I used a hair canvas for the facings and collar piece and to reinforce the pocket openings and the hem line. I used calico to make a back stay and to reinforce the shoulder seams at the top of the arm. My main regret is that the interfacing I used elsewhere wasn’t very firm and I wish I had gone for something a bit sturdier to support the soft fabric.I can’t tell you how much pleased I am – so pleased in fact that I haven’t bothered to attach the giant snaps I bought and I have been wearing it constantly without any closures (its kind of snuggly and wraparound so I haven’t missed the snaps).I made a coat – how cool is that? Anyone else conquered a big project this autumn?