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The warmest winter coat ever

14 January 2009, 11:42

I joined The Great Coat Sew Along all the way back in May because I’d never made a coat before and it seemed like a great opportunity to gather together with like-minded people and learn an awful lot, too! Even though I (and others) really fell behind on the timeline, I’m really proud to have finally finished my coat while it’s still cold out and to have learned a huge amount of techniques that I never would’ve on my own! So I owe this coat to Marji, really, for setting up and organising the Sew Along, and I’m already planning my next coat…

But for this coat, the pattern was BWOF 09/2005 #102:

I made a huge amount of alterations on the pattern: raised the waist by 1”, lengthened the arms by 1.5”, added a wedge to the lower centre front for walking ease, widened the top sleeve (and shoulder seam) by 1”, and increased all the vertical seams below the chest by about 1/2”. And then on top of all that I changed the pockets and added the interlining, too! It’s probably more alterations than I’ve done on all my other 2008 patterns combined! But as much as BWOF usually fits me straight off the sheet, this pattern didn’t really have enough wearing ease to fit big sweaters underneath…

Previous posts about this coat

Ok, ok, enough with the backstory, here’s the photos!

If you’ll remember, way back in May I laid out what I wanted from this coat:

As far as my coat needs go, I walk to work about 35 minutes each way every day, and my commute takes me over the very windy Tower Bridge! So I need my coat to be very windproof and warm (which I think the Thinsulate will provide) but also very long so my legs don’t get too cold. I know from experience that the wind goes right through jeans and corduroys, and god help me if I’m wearing a skirt!

I can safely say that I’ve succeeded! This is by far the warmest coat I’ve ever had – even when we had gales on the river a few nights ago, I didn’t feel a thing through the coat (though I could through my scarf and double socks, ugh!). The walking ease really helps, too – unless the wind is blowing directly from my left, the flaps stay closed of their own accord and my legs stay extra toasty. It’s not particularly fashionable and the shape isn’t exactly flattering, but it’s warm and that’s what I wanted!! I feel I could join the Russian army with this coat with just the addition of a fur hat…

Here’s some exterior details:

The coat laid flat

Bound buttonholes and the beautiful black swirl buttons (I think they’re from Jaycott’s but it’s so long ago I can’t recall) Edit: a-ha! Here they are!

The pocket flaps (double topstitched around the edges)

The sleeve tabs (with their own bound buttonholes and slightly smaller black swirl buttons)

The collar and back facing with hanging loop

And some interior details, showing off the beautiful silk twill lining:

Laid flat showing the lining (I’d worn it for two days at this point, so forgive the wrinkles!)

Inside the back walking vent

The handstitched hem (I only bagged the top and side edges because I wanted a wider hem facing and that great lining bubble effect)

The handstitched sleeve lining

My pocket linings (If you’ve spotted these are the same as my silky secretary blouse then give yourself two points!)

I originally thought that I’d add in lots of interior pockets and bells and whistles, but by the time I started work on the facings and linings again a few weeks ago, I really just wanted to finish this. But as it turns out, with the double-breasted closure, I’d never be able to access any interior pockets without undoing eight(!) buttons first, and because I’d made the outside pockets so huge and deep, I don’t really need the storage space anyway.

And if you think I’m mad for making this coat, wait til you see the next one I’m planning…

…In incredibly shaggy faux fur!

But first, something easier – comfortable pyjamas!

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  1. It looks fantastic! Hooray for super warm coats to keep the wind out. ;-) I really like the black swirl buttons.

    wendy    Jan 14, 01:14 PM    #
  2. I’m so glad it turned out to be as warm as you needed it! I have got to make a warmer coat. We’ll see how far I get this weekend.

    trena    Jan 14, 02:05 PM    #
  3. WOW! It was totally worth the wait. I love those buttons and the color of the jacket. It’s a classic style so you can wear it forever. Glad to hear it is toasty.

    dawn    Jan 14, 02:46 PM    #
  4. You coat turned out fabulous! And it looks very warm!

    Erica B.    Jan 14, 04:39 PM    #
  5. Lovely job! Every detail turned exactly as it should. And in time for when the warmth is needed! Cheers,

    — luckylibbet    Jan 14, 04:44 PM    #
  6. What a great coat! You did a beautiful job on the buttonholes and all of the details are first rate! Congratulations!

    — Nancy K    Jan 14, 04:56 PM    #
  7. Congratulations on finishing. Fabulous coat with beautiful details.

    Sigrid    Jan 14, 06:16 PM    #
  8. Very nice, Melissa! Your coat has a very smart look to it. Well done.

    Lindsay T    Jan 14, 06:39 PM    #
  9. Great coat, definitely worth all the work you have put in to it.

    Frances    Jan 14, 07:20 PM    #
  10. Hi Melissa, WOW, very impressive :-) I have also just finished the Knip Mode top and your earlier blog post (and email) on this was a fantastic help. Thanks for sharing your sewing experience.

    — Sandra    Jan 14, 09:37 PM    #
  11. Yay! I’m clapping and cheering for you. Your coat is awesome and it looks WARM!

    Christina    Jan 14, 10:59 PM    #
  12. Good luck with that faux chinchilla :) Check out BWOF, 10/08 for great tips.

    I love your coat. I can’t wait to make mine :)

    E    Jan 14, 11:23 PM    #
  13. Fantastic coat, Melissa. I bet you will wear this to death! Especially if we get another crazy cold spell ;)

    I’m about settled in London, yay! Let me know if you’re available some time.

    Isabelle    Jan 15, 11:43 AM    #
  14. Fabulous coat – won’t need one quite so warm myself but really appreciate the work you have put in for the chilly days you have. I look forward to the fur version!

    Sue    Jan 16, 10:00 AM    #
  15. Lovely details! Thanks for sharing.

    cindy    Jan 16, 11:58 AM    #
  16. You did an outstanding job!!!! What a fabulous looking coat!(and I just made a faux fur coat myself, lol!)

    Tany    Jan 18, 05:05 PM    #
  17. Tour de force – seriously great Great Coat! I have made a full length coat before, with a mounted fleece interlining, but I didn’t do all the tailoring details you did. Yours looks so much nicer! I made mine out of an ex-burberry waterproof wool fabric from the late Croft Mill, it was over dyed in denim, so was tan on one side and dark blue when I first finished it. I thought it would wear nicely, like jeans, but it didn’t, just looked tatty. That won’t happen to you! I did wear it for 2 whole winters (and that, as you know, in the UK is about a total of 10 months!). I do recall the sense of relief at finally finishing the **** thing. But once wearing it, totally worth it. I’ll pass on the fur – in our weather I’d look like a drowned cat!? – but good luck with it!

    Oh, and you should make the Russian hat out of any left overs, wear it with irony and warm ears!


    — xstpenguin    Jan 21, 10:10 AM    #

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