Bess tried out this new Sorona fibre (made from corn) as a spring duffle type coat (or that was the intention – she went a bit off-piste). The fabric is velvety soft with a smooth pile and (hoorah!) is washable 👏👏👏, the pattern is the Closet Core Kelly Anorak hacked to take buttons down the front.
There was no fixed idea about colours, length or fastening whilst this jacket was being made, Bess’s husband was away and she took over the kitchen table with her box of tricks and had a good old play. The trimming is a polyester grosgrain that she pinned and repositioned until she had a look that pleased her.
The coat is lined with a super slinky cotton lawn – so slinky Bess thought she’d get away with it on the sleeves but that was a mistake, sooner or later those sleeve linings are going to have to come out and be replaced by regular Venezia so wearing a jumper + wearing the coat does not incur a 10 minute battle of the wills. Cotton, no matter how slinky, is not slinky enough for a coat sleeve. Bess knew this but she tried it anyway. 🙄
At the risk of looking ‘like a girl’ Bess added grosgrain trim to funky it up somewhat, and used a mix of vintage and new half ball buttons. The only interfacing she used was down the front facing (H0026 viscose), normally the hood facing would be interfaced on the kelly anorak but in this heavy fabric it was not necessary.
The jury is out if this fibre is perfect for outerwear, we are always looking out for alternatives to wool for coats and whilst the softness and washability is an absolute boon it is not as warm as wool, not by a long shot. If you can’t wear wool then this would be the next favourite as is far kinder to the environment than any synthetic polyester or acrylic type coating, but to make this a proper coat (to wear in cold weather) you would want to add some interlining to help with the insulation. The bonus of it not being terribly warm is it’s not too hot either – so a great coat to wear when in and out of shops and galleries without having to take off and carry.
Maria made this fabulous classic navy blue duffle coat to fit her tall frame using coating weight wool tweed and it is perfect for the chilly Scottish weather, love the comment about it reaching her hands – I’ve been making clothes so long I’d forgotten that’s a thing. How do tall people ever put up with ready to wear clothes? Much better idea to make it. 👍 She posted on instagram:
Finally it’s finished!! And just in time for the snow ❄️ I got the fabric for this coat as a Christmas present almost 2 years ago and progress has been sloooow. Lots of new techniques, first time sewing with wool, first time bagging out a lining and I wanted to really take time and get it as good as I could. It’s not perfect but I just love wearing this coat! I’ve wanted a good duffle coat for ages but I struggle with finding one to fit with my height- it’s so nice to have sleeves that actually reach my hands finally! The coat pattern is the #cascadedufflecoat from @grainlinestudio
Lois used Burda 6845 with no alterations (though she conseeds it’s a little long we think it’s nice like that) and used our black wool melton. I’m in awe of her pockets – they are seriously neat. This is a proper lovely coat. Well done Lois.
Jacoba said, “I am rather pleased with this coat! Seems my hand op hasn’t held me up at all as this was my post op recuperative project. It is Vogue 9157 – view B but without the pockets and belt and with the extra buttons as in A and C. Even the bound buttonholes worked perfectly. I decided against the hooks at the neck for the moment but may change my mind. I invariably wear a scarf anyway. The Red waffle wool is stunning and lovely to work with.
Lindy used this vivid sapphire blue wool and cashmere mix coating to make up the Tessuti patterns Oslo coat – the fabric is gorgeously soft to the touch and is semi-felted which made it a great choice for this unstructured style. Lindy lined it in silk. ❤️
Jane made this super child’s coat using aubergine boiled wool and heavy needlecord for the collar (so there’s no complaints of itchy!). The pattern is Vogue V9043. The coat is lined with viscose twill coat lining and finished with shank buttons.
This is Christine here wearing the brilliant Kelly Anorak by Closet Case Patterns made using proofed limestone Linen that will repel the rain in a moderate shower and breathe nicely when it doesn’t rain. Perfect.
Sally here wearing the navy textured wool coat she had made up for her by Wendy – a local dressmaker -we know it’s cheating but Wendy is excellent and Sally has no patience for sewing! It is lined in a lovely silk pique (sorry- no pic) and trimmed with matt navy suit buttons and cotton grosgrain ribbon.
Jill is a brilliant dressmaker who doesn’t usually get to sew for herself so it is extra special when she comes in wearing something me-made. Made up in classic navy wool Melton coating with frog fastening and spotty viscose lining. Beautiful.
Bess made this black and white tweed up into a coat using a tried and tested Claire Shaeffer Vogue pattern 7467 (now discontinued) which is a jacket pattern so there were a fair few alterations to do. The tweed is very soft and lightweight (it feels like cashmere) so Bess blocked it onto silk crepeline organza to stabilise it. The lining is a mix of a floral print viscose crepe (used at the upper back and pockets), and then a cupro and silk blend heavy habotai for the rest. She had great fun choosing the buttons and loves the little sparkly one on the inside, and hand sewed the gimp braid all the way round on each and every loop (that’s dedication, that is).
This coat was made on a weekend retreat, the side effect of intensive sewing like that is the brain does have a habit of disengaging from time to time, hence how the button holes on one of the sleeve vents are going sideways (DOH!). After an initial ohmygodwhatamigoingtodo moment Bess decided to just go with them and now rather likes their asymmetry.
It is a glorious coat to wear, light yet warm and often gets comments. Bess admits now that it was worth the hard work!
Sarah from the blog Wanderstitch made this glorious coat out of the red leopard print patterned wool and alpaca coating and we suggest you head over to her blog for an entertaining and extremely informative read. In Brief this is the ‘Le 809’ from DP Studio which is a coat with an incorporated gillet, she used our animal textured wool and alpaca coating for the project and we hope you agree she got some stunning results.
The amazing Janet made this Peter Pan collar coat for one of her clients in a viscose crepe that has been heavily embellished with metallic thread – so whilst the fabric base has drape the embroidery has stiffened it all up and Janet has shown some serious skills by getting it all to seam together beautifully. Finished off beautifully with covered buttons with gold rims.
Here we have Melody with her dusky purple coat made up beautifully and lined in psychedelic digital print poly satin. The pattern is the Clare Coat from Closet Case patterns. Melody said the printed pattern is not the best but their site has a brilliant tutorial for making it. It comes as a zipped version and a version with large press studs but she changed it to have self cover ones done with the lining.
Bess made this heavy washed green linen coat on a weekend retreat by staying up practically all night for two nights and not skiving at all. She had even come prepared with her two grosgrain trims sewn to each other already and the pattern fully adjusted to fit and toile tweaked.
The linen had been pre-washed 5 times to eliminate excess dye that could leach onto the cotton grosgrain, and the dry clean only Liberty crepe de chine silk lining is also pre-washed (it’s okay).
There are no shoulder pads but a bit of semi-tailored interfacing around the chest area is used to improve the structure (along with cuffs, facings and pockets), all the trimmings were hand sewn so as not to change the drape.
Lauren made this amazing kimono sleeved coat for her final year degree show using pink felted wool coating. It’s tied together through oversized eyelets, has an extended hem at the back and an embellished shawl collar. Soooo beautiful!
Emma from Sweden is wearing her classic wool tweed1970’s ulster made from the wonderful navy wool tweed she bought in the Autumn. She also made her dog a matching coat! 🙂 She loves the fabric!
The pattern is Very Easy Vogue 8699 from the 1970’s, (see picture). She made the coat a bit longer and wider than the pattern instructed. It’s a simple and straight-forward construction, but a bit unusual as no interfacing at all is used. The most special feature, in our opinion, is the contrast lining that shows on lapels, pockets, belt and sleeve bands. She used a light-weight worsted wool fabric for the lining. There is topstitching around the front and along the raglan sleeve seams.
The lovely Wendy with her plummy pink shawl collar jacket-weight wool Melton coat. It is super soft and lightweight, the lightness is continued with wool wadding in the collar and front facing. It is lined in jacquard coat lining, and there are tailored shoulder pads to add shape and help with the structure. There were a few telephone calls during the making of this coat over advice for what to use and where, it was worth all the deliberation, we think this coat is going to get a lot of wear over the coming years 🙂
The pattern is Katherine Tilton for Butterick B5960
The wool wading worked very well. The collar and front facing are both interfaced with it. Quite an interesting construction with the collar, front and front facing in one piece (for each side) with a dart to form the collar. I tried various things in the hem, including the wool wading, but it seemed to need more weight so I used a 3” strip of the hair canvas in the end which worked well. I have quite narrow, sloping shoulders so I had to give the shoulders/top of sleeves more structure with shoulder pads and sleeve heads which looked a lot better on me. I also hand sewed the lining hem to the coat with a jump pleat rather than leaving it loose as the pattern suggested.
This bottle green wool crepe coat with wine red cape was made by Catherine Davis as a remake of an original stage coat worn by Roy Wood (from Wizard & Electric Light Orchestra). Time was limited and decisions over the colours had to be done on the telephone which is not something we recommend but Catherine was very pleased.
Miaow wearing the proofed linen raincoat made for her by Jane using #32 Ottobre pattern from the winter 6/12 catalogue. It is lined in pixel daisy print quilting weight organic cotton (which adds a reasonable amount of weight). It has been top stitched with pink thread (two standard threads through the same eye of the needle), Also used: light blue buttons, a pink open end zip, and lightweight knit iron on interfacing was used in the collars and facings.
Red Blue and White check Linton Tweed made up in Burda 7041 (sadly discontinued but there are similar). It is quilted in 2″ lines to silk organza for stability and then lined in spotty silk satin. There is black satin piping round the collar and down the front and a heavy chain fixed to the inside hem to help the coat drape (it is particularly heavy so creates a real swing). It fastens edge to edge with a rouleau loops and metal half round buttons.
Bess finished making this coat nearly a year from starting due to some ‘issues’ so it’s a miracle it was ever finished as Bess does not do ‘issues’. Bess makes coats in a day, maybe over 3 days if there are complicated bits to do and she has other things going on. The problem with UFOs (unfinished objects) is once it goes in the pile it rarely escapes. To rectify this Bess hung it on the door and was not allowed to remove it – even though this meant the door couldn’t be closed. The problem that caused such a delay is No1. she used a cheaper silk organza that was heavier than normal which made it substantially heavier than she intended (unfixable). The 2nd thing was she cut the lining too short at the centre back (rectified by piecing in a bit of braid so it didn’t pull up the coat). 3rd, and rather majorly despite her checks matching perfectly at every seam when she tried to hem it it was going up in a spiral and being one check off at the front (rectified by hemming it straight and never looking at the hem thereafter).
Lesley made this fabulous chartreuse and camel stripey proofed cotton cape. This was a cape pattern picked up at a Quilt Show in France which she embellished with flowers cut with a Sizzix machine attached using the Bernini Eyelet accessory and printed with Thermofax screens. It was fun to make!
Julie made up this fabulous Amy Butler print laminated cotton raincoat using Burda 7047. We love the spotty cotton lining and the drawstring waist which gives it just enough shape. Sewing laminated cotton can be a bit of a challenge, if you find it sticking to your feed dogs and not feeding through the sewing machine properly tear off strips of tissue paper and sandwich the fabric between the strips, it will then tear off when you are done.
Emma sent in a pic of the winter coat she made – She bought the fabric AGES ago (her words- all of five months – that’s not ages in our book) as she thought it would take a while to make this coat. And it was indeed quite time consuming!
The outer is wool/polyamide melton coating, and the lining is turquoise blue acetate lining. There is some hair canvas in there too 🙂
She used a vintage 1950s pattern.
She thanks the girls at Stone Fabrics for getting the choice of fabrics right – we sent me loads of samples and Bess answered about 1000 questions she had!
Julie cheering up the drab winter at the shop in her fuchsia pink boiled wool coat. The edges are bound with fold-over binding. This coat is unlined, the boiled wool has plenty of body to it so it holds its shape nicely.
Bess in her not-very-over-the-top coat at all made using red guipure lace and 6″ feather trim.
The coat was prepared ever so slowly making sure the spots matched and everything would line up properly and then it was izzywhizzied together on the overlocker in about 3 minutes.
Then the feather trim was hand sewn on (Bess’s fingers are still calloused from the needle – that trim has got sticky stuff inside the satin binding (that stop the feathers falling out), it’s not nice to sew!
Then the feather trim was un-picked and sewn on all over again not so tight in an effort to make it hang straight in the middle. It’s almost there, Bess weighed up further hand sewing and the possibility of losing her fingers with her OCD of straight edges and the fingers won.
Then the front edge and neck were bound in fold-over petersham binding which magically saved the jacket from being a bit ‘crafty’ (in the derogatory way) and Bess wore it to her baby step-sister’s wedding.
Also seen: bag made from offcuts of leather and a London bus e-plate. As you do.
Bess went to Vegas to see her Sister get married (Johnny Cash came back from the dead to marry her). Of course she needed a new coat but Vegas being Vegas sequins were in order, albeit subtle and rather stylish ones woven into a fabulous Linton Tweed.
The tweed was quilted onto silk organza to give it a bit of stability (machine quilted in vertical lines with silk thread), it was lined in silk crepe de chine, trimmed with a cotton decorative braid, fastened with corset hooks and weighted at the hem with chain.
It has since been the go-to coat for weddings/birthday parties and posh dinners out.
Bess made this turquoise cotton piqué coat for a wedding, wanting something very plain that would go with all her dresses. All the best laid plans and all that – Bess HATED it plain (felt like a doctor’s coat), so cut up some daisy trim and sewed them all over, and couched some yellow vintage strung sequins and green jute string as grass. Bess is not ruling out the possibility that there won’t be more flowers and insects added at a later date.
The Peter Pan collar is accented with red satin (ready made) piping and the same piping is used between the printed cotton lawn lining and the front facings. The sleeves are lined in red Venezia as they are fairly slim and need to slip.
The pattern is a Vintage burda pattern no. 7041, it makes up beautifully with hardly any alterations.
Finally the buttons were added, these buttons were the originals intended for the plain jacket but Bess was determined to use them, whether they go or not. (I think she gets away with it – just).
Lulu wearing her Desigual inspired coat made by Jane using an assortment of brocade suitings, odd buttons and various trims. She used an old Vogue pattern (V2005) which has been made up a number of times for Lulu in various fabrics and always works. It is lined in vivid chartreuse green satin lining with a fine line of turquoise satin piping.
I suppose if you were a hoarder you could make this coat out of your stash, but we were playing with all the fabulous brocades that had just arrived at the shop (If you can’t pick one pick them all). She did manage to use up an assortment of trims that were appliquéd in various designs over the coat. Jane used a mismatch of various Vintage buttons, doubling them up when we couldn’t get exactly the right thing.
Carole from our Cloth club made up this fab black and white coat utilising the reverse for contrast collar, pockets and facings. This was her first attempt as a coat and proof that everyone should try it!
Pattern is Vouge V8933 which was selected for it’s simple shape and the use of snaps rather than buttons. Carole’s version is a bit larger than the original design as she wanted a big snuggly coat to wear over a chunky jumper in the winter. The fabric is #4275 and I made use of both sides. She thanks the staff who suggested 3491 as a lining and also advised her to use organza to line the front which worked really well.
“I thought you might like to see the before and after of my coat. The photo below is using a vintage vogue pattern which just looked so bad on that I only wore it twice. So 2 years on, not wanting to waste the the fabric and with help from Jane I have just finished the coat pictured (above) and I am over the moon with it. The second pattern is Katherine Tilton Butterick B5960.”
This is proof that it is worth persevering with a project that hasn’t gone exactly how you had anticipated.
Bess ready for winter wearing her superb black wool and mohair coat lined with spotty red and purple Laurent Garigue twill silk. The collar and facings are interfaced with silk organza which kept it really light.
Fabrics and Notions:
Black Wool and Mohair Coating #3329
Laurent Garigue Spotty Print Silk Twill (lining)
Half Round Silver Metal Buttons
Jane (the boss lady) wearing her laminated cotton pink spotty raincoat with stripe yoke and contrasting spotty lining with detachable hood, and pink linen fly-front trousers.
Fabrics and Notions:
Pink and turquoise spotty laminated cotton #3021
Pink and turquoise stripe laminated cotton #3022
Anbo spotty American printed cotton.
Separating turquoise chunky zip.
Dyed turquoise shell buttons.
Clear plastic back buttons.
Pink heavy linen
7″ Dress and skirt zip
2 x buttons
Viscose iron-on Interfacing
Jacket: (discontinued) Anna Sui for Vogue #2424
Trousers: Burda 2938
There is no interfacing or stabilising in this jacket as the laminated cotton is very stable. Jane rarely makes things for herself, or in this kind of fabric and has been frequently saying, “I’m really pleased with that jacket!”. It makes all this rain ALMOST bearable.
Clair wearing Off-white raincoat with Kaffe Fassett Green spotty panelled dress.
Fabrics and Notions (raincoat):
Kaffe Fassett spotty printed cotton (lining)
Double cover buttons
Piping cord with self-made bias binding
Viscose iron-on interfacing.
Pattern: McCall’s 5525
Fabrics and Notions (dress)
Green Kaffe Fassett spotty printed cotton
Green Venezia lining
Piping cord and bias binding
Knitted medium weight iron- on interfacing
Clair, being the queen of matchy-matchy fashion excelled herself here with this summer-weight all-weather ensemble. Proofed fabrics will need a sharp, fine needle, such as ‘super-stitch’ or those intended for use on microfibre
Poppy returning to the shop in her wonderful Issey Miyake designed alpaca wool tweed coat.
Fabrics and Notions:
Alpaca wool tweed
Pattern: Vogue (Issey Miyake)
This pattern has been going for years, it is cut in classic Issey fashion in that you don’t know what on earth is going on until it is all put together. It’s like witchcraft. Remember when choosing a coat like this that takes so much fabric (about four and a half metres, with hardly any wastage) to pick something light- unless you want to build up muscles!
To use our fast and efficient swatch service please read the guidelines HERE
Allow 10% shrinkage for all your washable natural fibres (including viscose). Wash before making up in the same manner as you would with subsequent washes (including drying methods).
Jerseys and fabrics liable to mis-shape should be dried flat, or in a cool tumble dryer.
Most fabrics should be pressed before cutting.
If in doubt about care instructions please CONTACT US