Like Tasia, I have had dreams of making a soft, fluffy wrap coat. I’ve had this vintage pattern for some time now and believe me, at first glance this coat did not look like one I would readily make or even wear (it’s Butterick 3914, in case you were wondering). As I’m sure you are aware, pattern covers can be really deceiving, though this one isn’t too bad really. I had to look past the cover and look at the line drawing on the back and on the pattern instructions. It’s got a notched collar, patch pockets and raglan sleeves. It was the raglan sleeve bit that sent me over the edge. I love raglan sleeves and for some reason, I always associate them with comfort and lots of movement, which is really what I want most out of this coat. I especially like this design because on the front and back bodice there’s a little bit of gathering where the sleeves are set-in. In that way, its reminiscent of a JCrew coat that has some great feminine lines built into the cut rather than added ruffles and frills around the edges. Chic, no?

I’ve got the outer fabric all picked out and ready to go. It’s cashmere. I know. I know! I’m so excited I could cry. It’s the perfect color of camel brown, which has been a seriously hard color to find for me these days. I’m planning a silk charmeuse for the lining (possibly quilted too!), just to add to the luxury of the cashmere. Sigh…It will be just delightful to wear, I think.

As for the tailoring of the coat, this is going to be a trial run for several products that I’m working on getting into the shop. It’s so much better when I test things first because then I know exactly what I’m talking about when someone asks a question or two and I like that. I like being able to say, “Oh yes, this silk organza would be perfect for a tailored sleeve.” So you’ll get to see first hand, what I’m planning and what products I’m imagining. Currently on the chopping block are: silk organza for the sleeve, horsehair cloth for the lapels and collar (this is a softer alternative to a hair canvas, which I’ll be explaining) and lambswool for the interlining plus a clapper and point presser. I’ve also got to try out my new tailor’s tapes, which I just put in the shop last week.

Planning any coats for the upcoming cold weather? Or maybe you’re in the southern hemisphere and planning a light jacket or rain coat as you transition into warmer weather? What are some tailoring supplies you’ve been on the lookout for and just haven’t seen yet?


PS ~ Just in case you might have missed it, there’s a fun giveaway going on over on Tilly and the Buttons for a belt kit of your choice and the eyelet tool from my shop. Anyone can enter! Yay!


38 thoughts on “Coatmaking

  1. yes!! i love that you are stocking tailoring supplies!! my biggest one is silk organza – i can source it locally, and it is very high-quality & absolutely lovely, but it costs me something like $28/yard 😦 and the white is ALWAYS sold out because this particular shop caters to a lot of brides. i mean, i love pretty bright colors but sometimes i just want white, especially when i’m paying that much for it, you know?

    another thing i was thinking is that you might consider stocking shoulder pads – either pre-made or sunni-made. when i was shoulder pad shopping for my lady grey, all the ones i could find locally were way too big for what i needed. and they came in ugly packaging with 80s ladies glaring at me from the plastic, yeesh.

    1. Shoulder pads are a great idea! I’m planning to make my own. But a shoulder pad kit would be pretty great, don’t you think! I think shoulder pads are incredibly personal. Everytime I’ve bought them, they enhance the line backer profile I’m trying to avoid, so making my own is just a must. I’ll definitely be looking into that! Thank you!

  2. Oooh! I can’t wait to see the newest tailoring shop additions. I can get silk organza but there’s only one type to choose from, so I have no idea if it’s a good-quality one or not. I’d love to try out some different ones, via the Sunni shop. πŸ™‚

    Hmmm horsehair cloth. I’ve never heard of that!!! Sounds wonderfully fun and interesting. And I need a clapper, too! YAY!

  3. Yay, tailoring supplies! I’ve been trying to find a Dritz bound buttonholer on eBay and lost on one recently. I was thinking of making one, but maybe that is something you can find? I’m interesting in seeing this horsehair cloth product!

      1. Yay Lambswool! I’m seriously, seriously considering it. You should be seeing in the shop before long. As for the Dritz bound buttonholer, they just don’t make those anymore. I wish they did. Oh how I wish they did. Maybe, if we all ask them to, they might consider pulling those back out and giving them back to the masses.

  4. please, please, please consider carrying the lambswool interlining if your coat turns out well! i think it would be a perfect fit for your hard-to-find-but good-quality mantra and it would be great to see your coat project utilizing it! i cannot wait to see how you progress!

  5. I’m still working on my winter coat from four years back! I got up to the point where I’d have to cut the lining and couldn’t face it. It came out briefly last year before I decided it was just too much effort. Maybe this year will be the year (!). And yes, it has hair canvas in the collar and cuffs. I wouldn’t use anything else in a coat these days.

    Your pattern looks like it will make up really nicely. Good simple lines that look like they will translate well into a modern wardrobe- can’t wait to see how it comes together.

  6. Oh Sunni, I can’t wait to see how it comes together! Lots of ‘in progress’ posts would be fun! I’m hoping to do a coat for me this winter. Someone told me it gets cold here…

  7. Horsehair cloth I looked it up and found small sections of it in an art shop. Is that what you are talking about Sunni? Something sized like 11X15.
    Can’t wait to see what you do with your latest sewing project here I will be very interested as I have some beautiful periwinkle cashmere on hand waiting for a project. By the way I have some wool suiting from Italy which is light in weight what should I use in that do you think horsehair canvas is too heavy? All the horsehair canvas I bought from you is about used up now, my latest project being the Jackie O suit made out of silk suiting. This fabric is quite coarsely woven so it called for the horsehair canvas. Nan

    1. Hi Nan! The hair canvas I sell in the shop is a medium weight canvas that’s fairly stiff – I’m sure you know since you have some. It’s great for structured and really structured jackets like your Jackie O suit – perfect. The good stuff (which is what I sell) is made of goat hair and wool. This is all well and good for a structured coat or jacket, but I was looking into softer options too and came up with horsehair cloth. It’s not quite the same thing – the good stuff is made from actual horsehair and cotton with the horsehair woven into the weft. It’s a softer alternative to hair canvas and in really fine tailoring – like for men’s jackets and such – its used in the areas that need a little more softness. For this coat, I want a soft, cozy look and so I’m going to give the horsehair cloth a try and hopefully get some in the shop soon too. I’ll definitely be showing the difference and give you a more definite idea of what it is I’m after too. Usually it’s sold by the yard and comes in a 25-35″ width.

  8. I wonder if a kit with everything you would need to make a coat (except for the fabric, thread, and buttons, of course) would be something that would sell?

  9. I am currently making a coat… My second one already! Finding coat supplies in a country that has fewer and fewer fabric and notionshops is quite hard… Even decent fabric for coats is hard to find… Yet I am loving how this coat is turning out and hopefully I will get it finished before autumn leaves… Just keeping my fingers crossed that I don’t run into any horrible problems. I did try to make a jacket once and screwed something up with the lining and it is still hanging around unfinished…

    1. I couldn’t agree more about finding nice tailoring supplies. Practilly next to impossible sometimes. I’m keeping my fingers crossed too that you don’t run into any problems finishing your coat! Best of luck.

  10. I love watching these heavy duty/difficult products unfold!

    What the heck is the tailor’s tape for? Can’t wait to find out.

    Will you quilt the lining yourself?

    Very looking forward to this, Sunni.

    1. Hi Karen! Tailor’s tape is like a fine twill tape used to tape a roll line in a lapel. I’ll be showing how its done when I get there. As for the lining, I’m going to do a tutorial combining some info from a few different sources. I think. I might just decide to toss the quilted lining out the window too. We’ll see.

  11. Good luck on your coat! I would love to see lambswool interlining myself in your shop.

    I am planning on making a coat and matching hat for my daughter out of a yellow/cream hounds tooth wool and I want to line it but I’m not sure with what. Since I love in the South its not often we need something so heavy duty.

    And for me I plan on actually doing the Lady Grey I never got off the ground last year. 😦

    1. I’m getting very excited about the lambswool myself. It’s like, impossible to find, so I definitely think that the shop will benefit from it. I’m very excited to use it too. After taking a class from Gertie on tailoring and chatting with her about it, I think it will be just the ticket for my coat and possibly a quilted lining. Oh my fingers are just itching to get started!!

  12. Oh, this sounds like so much fun! I’ve used that book, and had a great time tailoring. My wintercoat is almost done, only thing left is sewing on the buttons (was just way too tired yesterday to manage anything) so I hope to take pictures this weekend. Anyway, the book was wonderful, the sewing fun (but slow) and I’m totally hooked on this =) I’m planning to attend a jacket class next summer…

    So great that you’re stocking up on tailor’s supplies! Have you found your way to these wonderful people Makes me want to take a trip to London =)
    The tailor’s tape sounds like a great plan, I’ll make sure to order some when I get the belt-kits I’ve been eyeing (custom for Sweden is a nightmare, so I’m planning on making a bigger order to justify the handling fee, which is about 25$ for each bill).

    Looking forward to reading about your tailoring adventures!

    1. I love this book too! So well written. I can’t wait to see your wintercoat! It is a lovely journey I think, the making of a jacket/coat. Thanks so much for the link! What a great site! Definitely looking forward to your finished coat!

  13. So excited to see your project and the techniques that you use. I’m making three coats in November. To be fair, they are kids coats, so they are small – but feels like all the same amount of work!! I’m using Burda 9501, view A for two of them (twins) and Oliver + S School Days Coat for the third one. My wool just arrived and I finished steaming/preshrinking it so I’m anxious to get started on them. Everyones great blogging about coat making is so inspiring right now!!

  14. Hi Sunni! I’m super excited about your coat and your tailoring investigations! I’m in the planning stages of making myself my first blazer/suit jacket and I’m so nervous and unsure of where to begin! I thought of using Claire Schaeffers instructions in her Couture Sewing book – but its all a bit intense. I’m looking forward to seeing what you do.
    Also super excited about more tailoring supplies in your shop – they are REALLY hard to find for me!

  15. I haven’t got any tailoring supplies that i found hard to buy (because i haven’t actually looked for any), but i recently made a rain coat and the hardest thing i found to buy was a long enough separating zipper!

  16. Sort of unrelated to the coat but just a little ‘thanks’ for remembering that there is a southern hemisphere. So often I read blogs from north of the equator who seem to forget we are on opposite seasons, or here at all when they post. Especially from a business perspective I think it important to remember that the Internet allows people from around the globe to access your blog and shop. It is extremely rare for that difference of season to be acknowledged/catered too so thanks!!!!

  17. I made the colette pattern’s lady grey last year while participating in gertie’s sew along; I enjoyed every second of the process! There’s something so satisfying about make your own winter coat (I mean, even a “cheap” one isn’t really a small ticket item). I keep toying around with the idea of making another one this year, but realistically that may have to wait. It took me 4 months to finish the lady grey last year, so my made-by-me winter wardrobe has quite a few gaps. πŸ™‚

    Also wanted to highly recommend your pressing aids, especially if any of your readers are considering making a winter coat. I don’t think my lady grey would have turned out nearly as nice without properly pressed seams (nice seams are harder to get than you think with think, bulky wool fabric).

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  19. I love the coat pattern and I’m looking for a similar coat that I can use as a basis for drafting the collar detail. Could you possibly show us the line drawings or a “back view” so we can see how the sleeves look on the back. Do they carry across the shoulders to a center back seam and form a yoke? I’ve seen this on a blouse and I love, love, loved it!!
    Love reading your blog as there’s always something new to learn (even though I’ve been sewing for 50 years) or good tips for fine tuning a basic skill – things like pressing seams – SO important for avoiding that home made look. Whenever I taught someone sewing at whatever level they were at they complained that they spent more time at the ironing board than at the sewing machine LOL.
    I’m thrilled that you are carrying things like tailoring tapes – such a boon when you are trying to shape a collar roll so that it curves close to your body or trying to stabilize the armscye of soft open weave wools.

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