I’m finding myself a little obsessed with making coats. In the last two years alone I’ve made the Winter Wear Designs Provence Pea Coat, the Rad Patterns Luca and have a faux leather jacket still in the works, plus I have ideas for at least two others in my head! But, when the opportunity to test this pattern came up, I jumped pretty quick. I knew I really loved the style of the jacket, and honestly I didn’t want to wait until release (and beyond since we all know I wouldn’t get to it right away).
I made a few fitting changes to my final jacket, but those are specific to my body and don’t actually change the pattern. I did both a full bust and bicep adjustment plus I shortened the bottom of the skirt only for my height, taking off 4″. I wish I had done a narrow shoulder adjustment, since it lays a little wide, but I’m always forgetting to do them since it’s one of those that I “more recently” added to my list. Also, my fabric was so so thick and stiff that I couldn’t gather the sleeve cap so I instead pleated it the same amount. It gives a different look but doesn’t actually change the pattern.
Speaking of my fabric, I really love this green! It’s a 100% wool water proof jacketing I got on an incredible deal (all links at the end!) – and there’s another deal running today so you could score some great wool, too! The wool was nice and stiff which gives great body to the jacket but also made it really easy to work with. The only downside is with the 1/4″ seam allowance sometimes maneuvering the fabric would create a gap I had to go back over (like sewing the main lining and collar together). Someone in testing did mention they had similar and how it could be good to add to the seam allowance, which I think is a great idea. What’s your favorite seam allowance? Does it change depending on what the item is?
I thought it could be nice to talk about some ideas you could use to really personalize your jacket – couture techniques, fabric choices, hack ideas. Of course, you can see on mine what pleating the sleeve cap look like, plus I did a single row of buttons but you could add the second like in the optional instructions. Let’s talk changes just to the buttons! An easy switch that creates a very different look – swap the buttons and buttonholes. Add the button holes to the under bodice at the button placement, then hand stitch the buttons to the inside of the over bodice, or if you’re starting out, interface your lining and add the buttons before finishing so the threads are hidden inside. This will create invisible buttons but a sleek front. You could also add one feature button at the collar or just below to draw the eye. Other ideas are to add buttons at the same interval down the entire skirt (pictured), or don’t use buttons at all (but make sure to make the belt) and leave it as a wrap jacket. Use toggles instead of buttons, or make fabric covered buttons to coordinate or contrast with your outer fabric.
Next up is thread loops and what you can do with them! Thread loops are these amazing little things that have multiple uses and help your garment look delicate and couture, at least I think so! There’s a few ways you can make thread loops depending on your preference. Or maybe when you decide to do them! If you make them by machine, you could make a long length and cut as needed. I would probably make sure to knot the ends to help with fraying but also to help secure inside your garment. If you use the crochet or blanket stitch versions, these can be added at the end of construction and are sewn directly to the garment. You could use these for belt loops, along with buttons similar to a toggle, create a hanger loop at the back neck or even use them as the eye in a hook and eye for an invisible closure. I don’t have a tutorial for you, but if you’re a fellow blogger with one, link it below!
Speaking of the back neck, you could use a color blocking method or top stitch on a piece of the outer fabric to reinforce the back and shoulder area, as well as allow for more stability when adding a label or hanger loop like this coat I found on Amazon. Using this same idea, you could create a facing for the front of the coat. This would allow for the very front inside to be the same fabric as the outer, but still keep the lining for the rest. Again, it would look similar to the coat I found on Amazon. You can do this by cutting the pattern piece at whatever spot you feel works, adding seam allowance to both sides of that cut and then cutting accordingly.
A hood is something that could make this even more spectacular. I don’t have a pattern suggestion that works for you because I haven’t done it myself, but you can take your favorite pattern, make a muslin and see if it will fit. You could add this in with the collar or in place of, sandwiching it in as the instructions do the collar. OR. You could make it removable, because that’s just cool. Add some snaps to the inside or outside layer of the collar (interface the collar piece if it’s not a super stable fabric) and to the edges of the hood, or sandwich a detachable zipper along the lower edge of the hood and along the collar seam. OR! Use the thread loops I mentioned earlier along the bottom of the collar, add some small hooks to the lower edge of the hood and you might be able to have a removable hood that’s almost invisible when it’s not on.
An easy swap for fabric is to add (faux) fur touches. Use a coordinating or fun color fur for the collar lining and the end of the sleeve, using color blocking. You could even use fur as the entire lining (but keep the sleeve lining to something thin and “slippery” for ease of putting the jacket on and off).
Some other quick ideas:
-Shorten the sleeves to a 3/4 length for an ultra modern styling
-Add other button details like epaulets (buttoned straps on the shoulder), sleeve bands or buttoned welt pockets
-Move the inseam pockets to the seam between the bodice and skirt
-Add either inseam or welt pockets to the lining for hidden pockets
-Use only the “under” bodice pieces to make the jacket meet at the center front and close with toggles or a zipper
How do you plan to make Duchess?