I wanted to make my daughter, Serena, a long winter coat to cover her legs as much as possible while she waits for the train for her commute to work everyday. She lives in Chicago, and the winter winds can be downright brutal there. She picked out the fabric from my stash- a houndstooth plaid wool blend that I got for $4.99/yd from FabricMart years ago.
I only had 3 yards of this fabric, and searched for a pattern that would allow me to both match the plaid, and make a full length coat out of that amount of fabric. That meant that it had to be cut pretty straight, with a very small overlap at the center front. This eliminated a lot of patterns- anything double breasted with a even moderately flared skirt would not fit on this amount of fabric. I found Burda 6861 which fit the bill.
I was really impressed with the details of this pattern. It had two piece sleeves, which give it a better fit.
The undercollar piece is cut smaller than the upper collar, enabling it to lay nicely, and the lining pieces are given separately.
The only problem that I had with the pattern was that the sleeve cap was much too full for the armhole. When I first put it in, it looked like a puff sleeve. This was so weird, considering that everything else was so perfectly done with the pattern. So, I reduced the sleeve cap height by about an inch, and then reduced the shoulder width another inch. With both of these changes, I was able to ease in the sleeves without any obvious gathers.
I wanted to make it extra warm, so I underlined it with a flannel that was from my late Mom's stash.
Mettler Web Bond TA 101. I've been finding lots of uses for this stuff lately! I found it at our local Hancock fabrics store.
For the lining, I chose a polyester satin with a red floral print. It picked up the colors of the wool perfectly.
She wanted toggle closures, which turned out to be the most expensive part of the coat. I ordered them from Pacific Trimming in NYC. They were $4 each, plus $9 shipping, for a total of $25. That equaled the cost of the wool, lining and pattern! But, I think that she was right. The toggles really finish it off nicely.
I used a leather needle to sew them on, and even then, used the hand wheel to go around them because I was going through so many layers of thick wool, interfacing and leather.
The scarf is a 1/2 yard of microfleece in cranberry red made into an infinity scarf loop. I love how it frames her face.
Even with all of the wool, underlining, and lining, it's pretty lightweight, which is good. Nobody wants to lug around 10 pounds of coat! Whether it's warm enough for a Chicago winter or not remains to be seen. She's pretty happy with it, which makes me happy!
If you've never made a coat before, give it a try! It's not nearly as hard as it looks, and you will love it!