Ohhh god, I can´t even. I.MADE.A.COAT. A real coat, fully lined, inseam pockets, a little yoke. I´ve made some coat wannabes in the past, from japanese patterns and Burda, but these were quite simple and had no lining, just simple facings, and I´ve been longing to do some serious sewing with a good pattern and instructions. I choose the lovely and trendy Brenna from Cali Faye Collection. This pattern designer is off the charts with style, it´s definitely my kind of wardrobe.
Construction wise, I was quite fearful my brain would tangle somewhere along the way, especially adding the lining, but fear not: it´s a lazy, beginner, fast friendly pattern.
I don´t know how she did it, but am quite jealous of the architecture of the coat. There are not to many pieces, so you won´t spend two days cutting fabric. There is no interfacing. The yoke and pockets are optional and if you dismiss these it´s even faster. There are no turn-and-loop-fabric-and-main-and-loop-again-and-turn-to-wrong-side-lost-me-at-loop tricks to add lining: the pattern pieces are very well constructed and, with no fancy high couture sewing, you´ll get fantastic results and a designer-look coat.
IF, and this is the tricky part, IF you can read and follow instructions bit by bit, you´ll get through it with no pain. I followed all the instructions like a bible, but when adding the base liner I complicated more than I should: inexperience and a little misinterpretation that I only fully understood by the time I finished it.
So, I´ll give you a quick glimpse of all steps involved should you decide to give it a go, which you should!
The pdf pattern assembly is easy and fast and I used the paper sheets since there is no overlaping pieces, just cut your size and it´s ready. Really go through the tutorial and mark doubts or things that are unclear; this will help you not stumble on some unexpected construction errors and make the sewing go faster.
Light weight wovens are recommended, but I wanted a mid season coat (also, it´s still cold here in Portugal!), so I used a linen wool blend I already had (and now know I committed a jewish sacrilege - ohh internet, the things you learn!) and for the lining I used a... well, it´s polyester for sure because it frayed like mad.
All pattern pieces have notches to match and I must tell you: i never ever made anything that matched so well at all of them (i never tried that hard anyway). For the lining yoke I used real leather from an upcycled old bag I had, and I wish it could have been better: the curve is not perfect as well as the topstitching, but it will do, I just wanted to add a little something special.
The inseam pockets were not that hard, the steps are fully explained and easy to follow; just added a little under stitching to the lining because it is very light weight and I wanted it to stay where it belonged.
Now, the lining attachment at the bottom is constructed in a very simple way: there are three pieces at the bottom (which are the same fabric as your main coat), you join them and sew them to the bottom of your lining, right sides together. And then I wondered, but what about the sides of it, where do they attach to the inner coat? It´s quite simple, you just fold the seam allowance in and topstitch, ha! By the time I understood it was this simple, I had already close them a more harder way (with no seams at sight).
Obviously I cheated at the end and did some edge stitching to close the sleeves; since I did the topstitch, I thought it would be ok at the sleeves as well and I´m fine with it. I don´t do hand sewing. I just don´t. (EDIT: forgot to mention the tutorial includes instructions for herringbone hand stitch)
Now, you must think I have a fancy modern sewing machine to make things like this, wrong: I have a very modest and simple Alfa next 20 and though I now feel I need more features, she still pulls it off. It has no stitch lenght option, just twelve stitches but has a great motor, as all Alfa have. That engine rocks and she has endured my stubborness on wanting to sew 4 layers of fabric plus filling plus bias plus whatever. With the right needle, with the right pedal control, she sews through everything. I have to work a little magic sometimes to get the desired effect, especially with topstitching, but I learned a lot from just learning to work with it (it comes with a great instruction manual and some online videos that guide you through all those beginner steps).
The fit is obviously great and there is an optional button mark for closure, but I left it open because those front flaps have a gorgeous draping and should be honoured. I finished it in two days, from pattern assembly ´till sleeve closing, and did not work in a hurry. Prepare your work in advance, needles, threads, iron always on, and you´ll do it in a breeze. I thought I was too lazy to do such a multiple step project, but I was wrong. And so are you, if you think that too. I think sewing is also a matter of the heart, and nothing can go wrong when love is around.
This blog post contains affiliate links but all opinions are my own.