When I was offered by Fabworks Mill Shop to collaborate on their fresh-from-the-mill Yorkshire tweeds collection, I immediately agreed! I’ve worked with their fabrics before, and enjoy wearing those garments very much. This project was also a joy to engage in, and so now I have added one more coat to my autumn collection!
I had wanted to add a casual, sporty kind of coat to my wardrobe for a while. Did not have a particular idea for what that might be, but was well aware that my current coats were either unlined and light ones, or then pretty formal and office-like. So adding to this a coat that would work well with jeans and sweatshirts seemed like a good idea. And then I was offered to check out the newest Heart of Huddersfield (a.k.a. HoH) collection that Fabworks create every autumn. Thus the plan was sealed that my next project will be a casual coat. And so here it is – warm, relaxed looking and in this awesome lavender color.
This year’s Fabworks HoH collection offers 12 colors in pronounced herringbone weave. I was able to choose any one of them and add matching lining to it. If this had happened a year ago, I think I would have chosen some vibrant color – I’ve made enough crazy color choices before! 🙂 But nowadays I am hopefully a bit more clever. This season especially I’m fond of calm colors – greys, blacks, some earth colors. And this led me to choose as calm a color scheme as I could find. Basically I was looking for something that would be as close to grey as possible, and that’s how I settled on this gorgeous Lavender storm herringbone. As soon as my fabrics arrived, I went ahead with the project. It was important for me to make this coat as soon as possible, as it is not quite a winter fabric really (well, at least not for our winters with -10 C temperature being completely ordinary). I really wanted to be able to still wear the coat this autumn.
What I loved about this coat design were its off-shoulder sleeves and wide collar. These features give the coat its signature relaxed look. What I did not like all that much were those patch pockets. Honestly, I could have replaced them with welt pockets, but am ashamed to admit that I fell into the trap of laziness. Had the pattern called for welt pockets, I would have made welt pockets. But it did not, so here we are – patch pockets it is. For my defense, these patch pockets probably contribute to the casual look of the coat. Of course they do, right? 🙂
Another consideration that I had was related with the belt. I decided that fabric covered buckle would work just perfectly here, but had no idea how to get it covered. So first I asked at my local haberdashery store if they provided a service of covering buckles (they have covered buttons for me once). And they do, but the problem was that there was only one size of buckles that they cover, while my belt was supposed to be wider than that. So then I bought few sizes of regular black buckles and secretly thought to myself that I might somehow manage to cover one of them with fabric myself. And I tried, tried thoroughly, but failed miserably. I know there are kits for covering buckles, but I could not find one anywhere in the vicinity, so yes – the buckle is black this time.
Cutting and sewing
Herringbone weave in this fabric is quite pronounced. This meant that the fabric could not really be cut over two layers. Or should I say, I did not want to do that. I wanted to nicely match those herringbone columns. Even though it was not as elaborate an exercise as matching plaid, I still took my time to cut the fabric making sure that the columns were absolutely vertical and perfectly centered. All pattern pieces were cut from a single layer of fabric to achieve that. So the lapels, for example, are perfectly symmetric, the center front starts with a complete column. Pockets are also cut so that the weave continues from the body of the coat to the pocket as though uninterrupted. So yeah, I’ve done some extensive fabric pattern matching for this coat that no one will ever notice, but I will and that is important.
The construction of this coat was simpler than that of many other coats or jackets. Since sleeves are of off-shoulder type, there is nothing particularly difficult happening with shoulders – there are no shoulder pads or sleeve heads installed. The design did not ask for a vent either. Which in hindsight is a bit of a problem. The coat is quite narrow at hem, so the vent would have helped by adding wearing ease at hem. On the other hand, arguably it would have made the coat a bit more formal, and perhaps that’s why it is not there.
All in all the only tricky part of the coat construction process was the collar. As it always is. I just love this collar! It is very well designed and lays perfectly. I like it being wider than many other collars out there. And constructing it was also an ok process. Interestingly enough, this time around I managed to make the collar without any reference to the instructions. Afterwards I checked them out and saw that the method explained there was more tricky that the one I used. Perhaps I am slowly turning into pro! 🙂
What I found useful in constructing the collar was first attaching diagonal ends of the collar (and also undercollar) to the lapels, and only then cutting into the corner and attaching the main curve of the collar stand to the neck opening. This way it is easier to make that tricky corner lay nice and flat. I’ve seen this method used by Mimi G in some of her Youtube tutorials and can confirm that it works really well. Also, you wanna thread-mark all of the main corners and angles of the collar and lapels prior to constructing anything, if you want to be precise and create a truly beautiful collar.
When the lapels were made, i.e. when the facing was attached to the main body of the coat, I took my time to grade seams thus reducing bulk, and understitched the portion of the front opening up to the collar breaking point. So as always, I was pretty meticulous and did not skip a single process step. Love my coats and jackets being perfect!
There was a bit of trouble with the facing, which at the time I did not know how to solve. Since the lining is horizontally striped, I figured I’d attach bias binding to the edge of the facing thus creating sort of a border between the main facing fabric and the lining. And attach I did, but the problem was that the tape ended up slightly pulling the facing edge (visible in the picture below). Of course this couldn’t work, and quite disappointed I ended up ripping that binding off the facing. So now there is no decorative binding there, and my coat does not look any worse because of that! After thinking this through later I realized, that I should have probably used walking foot to attach that slippery satin binding. This will have to be tested next time.
I did not need to make any amendments to this coat design really. Sleeves were of right length, the coat itself was of right length. Installing the lining was pretty straightforward. I’ve had my struggles with installing linings into coats before, and that was mostly because I either did not trust lining pattern, or would skip the tacking phase in the process. This time around the lining was cut in a clever way – nothing peaks out anywhere and looks just perfectly from inside. Now I would never skip the tacking stage while attaching the lining to the facing. It is important to make sure that the lining will not slip or move while stitching it to much heavier and more stable main fabric of the facing. All in all I managed to make this coat without a single serious incident (binding situation being the only nuisance, and still not too important). Few close-ups of the coat – in the slideshow below.
This project was sponsored by Fabworks Mill Shop – check out Disclosures to understand more about this type of collaboration. For this coat I used some 2.4 meters of Lavender storm herringbone fabric, it is medium weight pure wool (275 GSM), and 2 meters of matching Liquorice humbug twill lining (80 % viscose, 20% acetate). Both fabrics were gifted to me by Fabworks. This HoH wool fabric is the realest wool I’ve ever seen, along with many wool coatings that Fabworks have in stock. As my sewing friend Laura once put it – it smells like sheep 🙂 It is a bit coarse though, that’s something to remember while planning the garment as it should be lined at all times really.
I’ve decided not to share what pattern I’ve used for this project. I used the following notions to complete this coat: some 1.5 meters of medium weight interfacing, quite a few meters of straight and bias interfacing tape, 2 spools of thread (Gutermann no. 497 and 493), both gifted too, 3 metal snaps of 2 cm diameter, and a belt buckle. I will not provide the cost of this project, as the main supplies were gifted. This coat was made in October, 2022.
It is a very nice coat indeed. For me it will be an autumn and spring coat, as the fabric is of medium weight. It may as well work as a winter coat in more mild climate. But for us, where the usual winter temperature is -10 C, and at times may drop to -25 C, this coat would not be enough to feel warm. For -10 C I have a very proper winter coat made out of Fabworks fabric too, which I absolutely love. That one is 550 GSM animal and can help endure any winter!
As for the styling of this coat, initially I thought that it would go the best with chunky sweaters, wide pants or jeans and other similar relaxed outfits, and I’m pretty sure it will! But while taking these pictures inside (it was raining outside), I managed to endure for like a minute in this head to toe wool outfit before starting sweating badly. The outfit is still nice though – left picture below. So yeah, wool is great fiber, and my new coat is warm even though not at all thick. Wanting to take few more pictures, I ended up changing the outfit to short sleeved black T-shirt and recently made leather skirt, and in that one I was able to survive a bit longer before again succumbing to sweat. After this experience, I very much trust my new coat. It will be warm, cozy, and will work well with essentially any outfit there might be. Ah, I should purchase black knee-length boots to go with it, too!
I am planning to make a video of all of me-made coats a bit later. Later because my next project will be yet another coat! I just absolutely love making coats. What is your favorite garment type which you can’t have enough of? Share in the comments section below!
As for coats, I have not yet achieved the master level, where my dear online sewing friend Karen at Intostitches on IG is. Karen has made and on a regular basis wears some 50 coats! It’s quite extraordinary. I am still working towards that, but with some 7 and soon to be 8 coats am not too poorly positioned either! There is essentially a coat for every few degrees of outside temperature in my closet. And it’s not yet enough for me. I really want to make a very formal coat, too. Have everything lined up for it – gorgeous black cashmere, a pattern, everything, and I even know how this coat will be called. It will be the Beautiful coat. Will absolutely have to find time for that one. Meanwhile, after this project there is some 0.60 m of fabric still left – a skirt will get made out of it. Have recently discovered the joy of making skirts out of leftover fabrics, and am definitely planning to continue!
Let there be peace in the world! 💙💛