Creating a Wardrobe from Scratch: #2 Coat

Creating a Wardrobe from Scratch: #2 Coat

Needing a warm, easy to make, coat I could throw on anytime for walks & daily life…this one nails it!!  My coat started with a piece of washed and dried jacquard woven wool and the Cacicedo’s Coat Pattern (designed by textile master Jean Cacicedo). Unlined, and some of the edges finished with the cool selvedge it was a quick, successful project …and just what I wanted. Here are some notes about construction, ideas and shaping.

 The fabric is awsome on both sides…I was drawn to that. Using what was considered the inside for my finished side…so, as an unlined garment, the brighter side would add a pop of color when the shawl collar folds back.

Seam Finishing: Kinds of stitches and how and if the cut edges will be finished is up to you. Since I knew the stitching was not going to show, I felt free to use various stitches to connect my pieces- sometimes right sides together and sometimes taking a mending, zig-zag approach on the outside of the coat. Always remember: as the designer, you have lots of options…there is never one right way! playing on some scraps first can be a good way to explore the options.

 Collar: I extended the selvedge edge ( the front and collar edge) for a more generous collar.  The  added width to the collar extending down the front gives more overlap  adding warmth around the neck. The width along that edge could also be minimized for a lighter jacket version or vest.

 Sleeves: These square armholes are very comfy and nice and roomy for an outer garment.  In the pattern, the sleeves are sewn into the this variation, they are sewn on the outside of the coat. Here is how that works:  The armhole edges were left sleeveless then serged. Next, the underarm seams on the sleeves were sewn and finished with serging. Diverting from the pattern, The sleeves were place on the outside of the coat….and only sewn from the bottom of the front, over the shoulder to the bottom of the back. I added a rectangle to bring the opening up 3” and finished that top edge.

Leaving the squared off armhole open under the arm adds more dimension to the garment (plus some airflow).

 Pockets- Especially on a cold-weather coat, if adding patch pockets make sure they are in the right place to tuck your hands in: not to high…not to low and not to far towards the side. These pockets are the perfect size and placement for my hands when I head out into the cold.  TO add more ‘fullness’ to a pocket, here is a favorite trick: wet a small towel in hot water and squeeze out, fold to the shape of the inside of the pocket and place inside. Steam iron from the outside, then let it sit till dry. This works especially well with wool and creates a beautiful, more dimensional shape to the pocket. Want to build more pockets? See my Just Pockets Pattern with patterns for 60 pockets and multiple ways to construct and add therm to any sewing project. 

Shaping the Coat- Tucks or pleats can add  to the silhouette you create. I did 2 things to add more shape to this coat:

#1 I make a diagonal stitched pleat under each arm which gives the side of the coat a nice curve and brings the armhole closer to the body.

#2 I made shoulder pads from several layers of the coat fabric, serged around the edges. It’s important to put the coat on to find the best placement in the shoulder area on our bodies. The pads are only hand-stitch to the shoulder seam then tacked at the corners  to hold in place and  allow movement. Shaping in the shoulders is very common in a coat or jacket and usually hidden in between the outside and the lining. In this casual, unlined coat, the shoulder pads are visible.

Closures= This coat could have very cool buttons, ties or closed with a favorite pin. There is no jewelry after the fire….so ‘finding’ and ‘making’ jewelry is another design category to explore. My new coat wraps around me and doubled up across the front right to the edges of the pockets where my thumb is just enough to hold it closed! the Cacicedo Coat Pattern ( in PDF or Paper) ,  was the perfect silhouette for this first coat...and maybe another spring version in the coming months. 

          ……Time for a walk! Diane

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1 comment

Some links are problematic on the Make a Wardrobe from Scratch page, Journal 2 gives page not found, and Journal 3 points to a Journal 2 page. Just thought you might want to know.
Also when I came to this ‘comment’ page there was an error message before I tried to start entering anything.

Gabrielle Stanley

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