I’ve been needing to replace my winter coat for a while. From a distance it looks good but when you get up close you can see the fabric is becoming threadbare in places, the lining has split in numerous places, the buttons are falling off. But its probably one of my favourite RTW garments so replacing it has been a long process.
Part of me really really wanted a yellow wool coat. I saw this picture of Nadia from the Great British Bake Off in one of my mum’s magazine and was entranced.
Unfortunately all my attempts to source nice yellow wool fabric were thwarted. Actually I did find some lovely fabric but it was very expensive – I really can’t justify spending £150+ on fabric given my lifestyle.
So the default colour for me is red. Proper red. Reddy red. Bright bold amazing red.
After a lot of searching I ended up with this 100% merino wool scarlet twill from Fabworks Mill. In their blurb they suggest this is regularly used for uniforms & country attire and sought after by costumiers and historical re-enactors.
My red fabric is lovely and drapes really well but I was concerned it would be a bit chilly. I spent many many hours, days and weeks on the internet reading up about interlining. Seems there are a few fabrics suggested for interlining. The best seems to be thinsulate but the only thinsulate I could source in the UK look like it was quite heavy weight and would really affect the drape of the fabric. Another option that is suggested is lambswool – perhaps we call this something different in the UK because I couldn’t find any UK suppliers that listed it as such. Some suggest synthetic fabrics but I really wanted to avoid anything that might cause issue with moisture and getting sweaty.
The best option I thought was for flannel. I’ve lined a few of my kids jackets with flannel and find it a good insulater that doesn’t seem to affect drape. So I got some red flannel fabric from a cheapy eBay seller to interline it.
I ended up pinning it to my outer fabric and overlocking the 2 together. The outer fabric was fraying badly so overlocking was necessary to keep it from falling apart on my entirely.
I went for a simple silver lining fabric in the sale from Abakhan’s. I have to admit I’m struggling to remember what it was – other than cheap!
This was another long-agonising search. Basically I love my RTW coat so much I kept swithering whether to make an exact replica or to change it up a bit. I also spent far too much time on Instagram looking at other people’s amazing me-made coats and kept having my head turned.
Almost contenders were:
Pauline Alice Quart Coat. In the end I decided against it because I felt it was a bit short for. I was also concerned the the crisp pleats might not work once I’d interlined my fabric (looking at it again I kind of regret it).
Vogue 8346: I liked the swingy skirt of the bottom half but worried it looked a little dated not classic.
Burda 8292 – Version B was of interest but I was worried it didn’t have enough of a waist for my silhouette. I thought I might look bigger as a result.
Johanna coat by Schitten – Basically I thought I wasn’t cool enough for this pattern. I struggle with androgenous fashion – because I have lots of lumps and bumps I think it can look silly on me.
Aaaaaannnnddddd the winner?
Butterick 6497. I liked the style of view D with the mandarin-esque collar. Though it took a little while for me to get the image of Melania Trump out of me head when I looked at version B. Its not the same – maybe its just the large collar and blue gloves that gave me that image.
Construction of this coat was relatively straight foward once I’d got the fitting right. As usual I followed the pattern sizing and cut a toile that was utterly ginormous (size 22). I thought Butterick made their patterns with less ease than the other big pattern makers but clearly I was mistaken.
So after a lot of pinning and tucking I eventually decided to cut my pattern a full 4 sizes smaller – a 14. Even after that I still had to take it in quite a lot across the shoulders and upper bust. Perhaps I would have been better selecting a size based on my shoulders and grading up at the waist? Either way I’ve ended up with a coat that fits really quite well.
Anyway once I’d got the fitting right the construction was pretty straight forward. The inseam pockets are more like kangaroo pockets on the front – I presume so it doesn’t ruin the lines of the side seams. They’re pretty but I doubt I’ll put much in them or I’ll look like I’ve eaten something odd.
Finishing off – buttons
So my final act of naval gazing was to ponder which buttons and what kind of closure i.e. button holes on my machine, bound button holes, snaps, leather straps etc etc.
In the end nature stopped my pondering – my RTW coat lost a further 3 buttons during this process and I just couldn’t be arsed sewing them back on. So I decided to recycle them into my new coat. Y’know – be part of the circular economy…
And here is the final result of all my agonising late-night internet searches and naval gazing.
My wonderous new red coat.
Verdit? I bloody love it.