2.26.2014

a winter coat just in time for spring

Mood Fabrics wool & leather coat

Hi Ya'll! I'm very excited to show you my newest make for the Mood Sewing Network! I know everyone is clamoring for spring, and the last thing you want to look at is another reminder that it's still, alas, winter, but bear with me here because I'm really excited about this coat! Get ready for a looonnng post and picture overload! (P.S. if you want the short version, head on over to the MSN post!)

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I know I didn't do a big post about my goals for 2014, but that doesn't mean that I didn't make any goals! For instance: learn to knit in 2014. check! make better use of your time and be more productive in 2014.... erm.... check minus?? Anyway. You get the point. Well on that list of goals was "make a coat in 2014". (check!!) This wasn't so much an aspirational goal as much as it was a 'this-is-getting-ridiculous' kind of necessity goal. See, when I moved to Texas I got rid of all my winter coats. A bit drastic, I know, but you gotta understand, for a girl from the northeast, Texas winters felt like a joke. At first. Then they started to feel cold again. Also, I bike to and from work everyday.  The past two years or so I have started collecting an odd assortment of winter weather layers, that consist primarily of a $10, thin, unlined, nylon, rain jacket procured from the local sporting goods store (the kind that folds up into a tiny pouch), an aztec print poncho/blanket type thing (shown here) from some cheap, trendy store (this was pre-sewing days) that I tend to wrap around myself like a giant muffler, an array of hoodies, some gloves picked up from the drugstore for $1.99, and now, my hand knitted hats. As you might imagine... it's not the most flattering look.

This year, I decided it was time to step up my outermost layer of clothing. No more being confused for a homeless person! (Although I will miss all the extra change people throw at me... just kidding... that never happened...)

Mood Fabrics wool and leather coat

This is one of those makes where I'm not really sure which came first, the fabric or the pattern. Or perhaps it all just miraculously happened in one, giant, big-bang-like, divine-intervention-esque, stroke of inspiration. But for the sake of keeping things coherent, let's start with the fabric. I actually spotted and fell in love with this Oscar de la Renta wool coating from Mood Fabrics' online store before I became a Mood Sewing Network blogger.  I even asked for, and received, the necessary yardage to make a coat as a Christmas present (thanks Mom and Dad!!) It's basically my dream coat fabric. It's double faced, so it has a gorgeous weight to it, and it's plenty warm for the southern winters I'm dealing with.  And I just think the large-scale, salt and pepper herringbone has such a luxurious texture to it.

Mood Fabrics wool and leather coat
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I really wanted to use this fabric to make a coat that felt both architectural and soft. I know that seems like a contradiction - but trust me, it can exist! I decided to use Vogue 8933 for the pattern, because I loved the large, dramatic collar, and the asymmetrical front.  Also, this was a relatively un-fussy pattern, perfect for my first go at making a coat. I made a size 10 based on the finished garment dimensions (always wise to use the finished garment dimensions when working with a Big Four pattern company!) The one thing that I was sort of bummed about when it came to this pattern was the sleeves. The pattern uses a regular, straight, one-piece sleeve. Since I wanted this coat to feel softly tailored I felt like a two-piece sleeve would just be a more elegant option. So I used the one-piece sleeve as a base to draft a two-piece sleeve. I used this Threads tutorial.  It worked pretty well, although if you do this, I strongly recommend making a muslin (or two, or three) just to be sure that all your markings line up and the sleeve hangs correctly.  I ended up having to move where my seamlines fell, and taking out an odd little chunk of fabric out of the underarm. Drafting sleeves are basically my nightmare, but in the end I think these turned out all right.

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And speaking of sleeves, since this Oscar de la Renta wool has such a gorgeous texture, I thought it would be fun to really highlight it with an opposing texture for the sleeves. You can disagree, but I'm pretty certain that this nubby wool paired with this buttery soft black leather is like the 'chocolate & peanut butter' of the textile world - tactile soul mates. I bought this leather hide, and let me tell you, it was a bargain! I feel like the quality was great and I got a great amount of square footage for the price. I still have a nice, hefty amount left over (hmm... what to use it for....?) plus, shipping was fast. After working with leather a few times now I'm starting to get a nice feel for it. It really isn't a complicated material to work into your sewing, and I, obviously, highly recommend it. I was thinking of putting together a post of a few of my 'tips' (if you want to call them that... it's definitely not anything official) for working with leather... would anyone be interested in that?

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Since I was on a roll with making this coat as much of a sensory delight as one can make a coat, I decided to throw another oh-my-god-I-can't-stop-touching-it fabric into the mix: silk charmeuse.  I'm not going to lie, I completely stole this idea from some other brilliant and fabulous sewists (namely Lauren and Erica). It just looked so incredibly ... what's the word ... rich! And since it's always fun to add a bit of 'over the top-ness' with linings, I opted for this lovely magenta silk charmeuse - although I might call it fuchsia rather than magenta. I like that it adds just a touch of "Dynasty" to the coat, without  going full blown Joan Collins.

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It's been awhile since I made a garment that required so much hand stitching.  I had to brush off my technique from my red jacket days (remember those days.... oh how time does fly...) Granted, I didn't go to nearly the extent that I went to on that red jacket, but there was still a nice amount of fell stitching and catch stitching involved.  And, hence, lots of getting caught up on the most recent season of 'Downton Abbey' (is it just me, or is that show getting even more ridiculous plot-wise?) Anyway, I attached the lining to the collar by hand, because that pivot point was driving me insane on my machine, and also attached the sleeve lining to the coat lining by hand because... well I just wanted to.  The bottom hem of the coat and the lining hang free from each other, so each raw edge was finished separately, pressed up and catch stitched in place. There are little thread bars that hold the lining in place at the side seams. You can also see my little leather hanging loop that I threw into the collar of the coat. I'm so pleased with this little touch! 

Mood Fabrics wool and leather coat

I debated adding a back vent to the jacket. At first I thought this might be a nice 'tailored touch', like the two-piece sleeve. However in the end I decided against it. Since the front has such a wide split, the coat doesn't need it functionally, and visually I felt like a back vent might break up the bottom hem too much. And since it didn't meet the criteria for form or function that idea got ousted. I think this was a good call.

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Since I was trying to maintain some softness with the fabric, I didn't go full tilt with the tailoring. I used fusible horse hair canvas in the facings, and to reinforce the pocket openings, and underlined the leather sleeves with cotton batiste. I also constructed a back stay from the cotton batiste... aaanndd.. that's really it! I think because this wool is double faced it already has a bit more heft than single ply fabrics and I didn't want the coat to get too bulky, or stiff and lose the drape of the collar.

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The coat is closed by a series of coat snaps, sewn on in the very last step. In a world where we go all swoony over a perfectly executed bound buttonhole, this is certainly not the sexiest of coat closures, however it is very functional, and I even sort of dig the final look. A little additional hardware never goes amiss in my book. And while we're on the subject of hardware - am I not-so-secretly regretting not adding  some tough zippers to the underarm seam of my leather sleeves?  Yes. Yes I am. Hindsight you guys...

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I realized that I didn't get a great picture of the coat all buttoned up when I did my photo shoot, so I had Nick quick snap this iphone photo of me.  As you can tell from the majority of my photos, I love the way this coat looks open with the oversize collar doing it's own dramatic thing, but it's nice to know that should I feel a chill creeping at my neck I can button myself, literally, all the way up to my eyeballs!

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Phew!! Long post, you guys! Thanks for sticking with me all the way to the end! In conclusion: I'm incredibly excited about this coat! It feels great to finally have some outerwear that reflects my personal style.  Truthfully, I probably won't get a chance to wear it this year, since spring is already making itself felt down here in the south.  However, I know I will be immensely grateful for this coat come next winter! Is anyone else doing a little 'out of season' sewing?

And how pretty is this fog we've been getting in Galveston? So moody... Can anyone spot the little orange kitty that was keeping me company while I was shooting these photos?

xx

52 comments:

  1. You have such good eye for pattern, I wouldn't take a second look to that Vogue pattern! This is just fabulous! I love everything, the big collar, the fabric, the leather sleeve, the lining, and oh that little loop! Now I regret for not making a coat this winter.

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  2. You are an Inspiration! I love the horizontal herringbone.

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  3. So beautiful! I would *love* to see a post on tips for sewing with leather - I've never ventured there.

    I also just made my first coat and put together some tips - would love to hear if you have any more to add! http://cashmerette.blogspot.com/2014/02/top-tips-for-sewing-your-first-coat.html

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  4. THIS KICKS SO MUCH ASS!!!!!! Seriously!!!
    You have me totally psyched to take on my leather/wool jacket!

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  5. Well done! Like Novita, I never would have noticed this pattern based on the photo shoot - the design lines are really lovely. And you've done it proud! That herringbone wool is blowing my mind.


    And PS it's just not you - Downton Abbey is getting really silly!

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  6. This coat is gorgeous! I love using a very bright lining on otherwise classic garments, it can't be seen but YOU know it's there! I would be very interested in your tips on sweing leather. I bought a small hide myself a couple of weeks ago, to make a skirt, but I haven't tackled it yet. Any tips on cutting, sewing, pressing, would be much appreicated!

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  7. wonderful! you made some great design and style choices. I'm impressed!

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  8. Lovely coat - beautifully done and funny post lol.

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  9. This is so amazing! I love it so much- it looks insanely expensive and crazy chic! You look so fab in it!

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  10. Totally agree with Ginger! This coat is timeless, classic and effortlessly cool! I adore the fuscia lining and little hanger loop. What a wonderful creation - you are simply stunning!

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  11. Wow, wow, WOW this is incredible. It looks a lot like a Burberry coat I tried on a few years ago (just for kicks, which the salesperson could CLEARLY tell and was very snotty with me about). It too had leather sleeves and a gorgeous herringbone body. So beautiful. I don't think I've ever been so impressed with a handmade garment ever. You're incredible!

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  12. This is just so fab. I really really love the contrasting sleeves. You are really making some amazing stuff!! x

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  13. Gorgeous, love the fabric combination - and everything about it! Yes, Downton is ridiculous.

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  14. Beautiful! That is some coat! I love the oversized collar and the leather works really well with the texture of the wool!

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  15. There is one word for that coat and it's this one: awesome!

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  16. This is phenomenal. You are such a sewing inspiration.

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  17. One cool jacket. Sassy Sewing Bees https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees ❀

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  18. Oh, wow! This is a labour of love and fabulousness. The contrast between the body/sleeves/lining is crazy vibrant!

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  19. Woo Hoo! You did it!! It looks fabulous! I can't believe you made a coat! Wait until I show GG! I love everything about it (especially the model) but I think my favorite thing is that beautiful surprise of a lining! Well done Sallie O!!

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  20. damn, girl! that's one seriously cool coat, i love it! i love everything about it (and your booties are cool as well)

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  21. A Stitching OdysseyFebruary 27, 2014 at 7:18 AM

    Words cannot express how much I love this Sallie! You are a high end designer in my eyes - the style of the coat and your contrasting (yet complimentary) fabrics...all to die for! I would totally wrestle you for it!!!

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  22. Virginia VillalobosFebruary 27, 2014 at 7:46 AM

    It's Gorgeous!!!!!!!!!!!

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  23. Again, love. Lovey love love love. Those sleeves!

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  24. You seem to have a knack for picking the most under-loved patterns with the BEST design lines. Well done!


    Also, is it weird for me to say I want to bury my face in your coat lining??

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  25. Is it wrong for me to say I want to fondle your coat? LOL - it is SOOOOO tactile - beautiful combination of soft heavy coating, buttery leather and dreamy silk - it's soft and architectural, indeed!! You nailed it!!


    Yes, PLEAAAAAASE do a post on leather tips!!!!!!! I recently got a strong inspiration in my head that won't go away, and it involves leather, which I don't even know how to source, let alone sew (thanks for the resource link, btw!! ^_^) so your learned expertise would be super brilliant!! :)

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  26. Girl, I don't even have the proper words for this coat, it is SOOOOOOOO beautiful! I'm also glad you didn't do the vent in the back, it's so clean this way. You're always killin' it on the garment front but lately...WOW! <3 <3 <3

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  27. Gorgeous coat! The fabric is divine and I'm especially in love with the view from the back.. I also love the leather sleeves. I'll have to remember to use cotton as an underlining for the leather when I finally start making my leather jacket.. Sounds super smart!

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  28. Omg its stunning,its exactly what I would want to make :) love the sleeves and the fabric.it's crazy cool!!

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  29. That's a beautiful coat! It looks pretty cold still so you'll get use out of it!

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  30. Simply Stunning!

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  31. Divine coat! I'm so happy you are now a MSN blogger, that means we'll see more of your brilliant fabric + pattern pairings! It could be your artist's eye, but you have a true sense of what looks good together!

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  32. this is ahhhhhhhh-mazing! it's super cold up here in the northeast, and i so wish i had an oversized snuggly coat to wrap up in. fantastic make! i love the combination of fabrics!

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  33. Stunning coat. I live two piece sleeves, they a certain designer fell. Love the contrasting sleeves. Wowwww

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  34. Love this coat. If only this was available in RTW - I would buy it in a flash!!

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  35. Gorgeous ! The mix between this wooly fabric and black leather is just perfect. Great job to for the sleeves !
    I'm also a biker to go to work and I completely understand you, to get really protected from the weather issues, we have to look like ramblers... I was looking for a coat with a large and wrapping collar for the same reasons, and I'll probably check this pattern :)

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  36. Thanks Sandra! I wore this coat a few days this past week during my bike commute and it was great! The asymmetric front makes it really comfortable for riding because there is that wide split at the bottom, and the back is long enough to sit on so you don't have to worry about exposing your lower back to the chilly winds! And the way the collar wraps up around your face is just awesome. No need for a scarf! I highly recommend it, just on a practical level, as a winter biking coat.

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  37. Thank you!! That is just so nice of you to say!

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  38. Now that is the best of both worlds, supple draped collar with a trim sculpted silhouette. I just love the proportions, and the fabric and the leather, and on and on! Now I want one!

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  39. This is SO BEAUTIFUL! I just saw it over on the Mood site. You did such a great job! Love the fabrics and patterns. Might just have to make myself one:)

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  40. I so so love this coat! Great asymmetry, and fabric combos! You are such an expert seamstress, I have been using your zip fly tutorial to try to make jeans, it's so helpful!

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  41. Fabulous

    To be featured on SSB tomorrow https://facebook.com/sassysewingbees ❀

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  42. Oh man, I can't believe how amazing and gorgeous and wonderful in every way this coat is!!! I agree with others who have said it looks expensive. I mean, really. Rick Owens expensive. I luuurve it. I would also be super glad to see a little list of leather sewing tips. Just last week I was trying (and failing) to work some leather into a dress & thought, "Ugh, Sallie Oh makes it look so easy!" Teach us your brilliant ways....

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  43. This is like so Helmut Lang cool. Absolute perfection! And anything that you can just cocoon yourself into is the best kind of winter coat. And I am so with you on the sleeve drafting and two-pieces are so much better fitting. I spent a lot of time over the winter drafting a two-piece sleeve for the Cordova jacket. Five muslins later... I think I have my dream sleeve, haha. (I should have told myself I'm working on a jacket for NEXT winter!) anyway, you blew this one out of the park. Check PLUS!

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  44. This is a beautiful coat. Designer Cool! If you are interested making similar coats/jackets it also worthwhile getting tuition advice from: http://www.sewinginthecity.org...

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  45. This coat is amaze-balls! I would love it if I could pull this look off, looking like model :) The fabric combination, is just...wow. I want this!

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  46. Hi! I love your blog! And this coat is fantastic! I happen to have purchased the same pattern and am in the process of making my own...I've run into a snag in step 16 and was wondering if you have any advice! It's basically where pieces 1 and 2 fit together on the top back/shoulder area...It's so early on in the process I don't want to give up hope! But I just seem to have all this extra fabric next to the shoulder dart...did you run into this problem? Do I just need to ease it in??

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  47. Hi Andrea! I'm glad you're also making this coat, I think it's a pretty cool one! It's been a while since I've made this so I'll have to go back and look at the pattern instructions to see which part exactly you're talking about - but I imagine you could try to ease in the extra fabric. Also, if it's the area that I'm thinking of (that weird pivot point where the neck and shoulder meet) I would suggest clipping the seam that seems shorter - JUST up to the stitching line - before you stitch and see if that doesn't eek out a little bit of extra length for you to play with. I DO remember that area being a little tricky. Let me know if that helped - and GOOD LUCK!!!

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  48. Thanks so much for responding! I figured easing in the fabric would be my solution so hopefully it'll work out. I'll make sure to post my final product - although it won't be as great as your fantastic leather sleeves! If this one is successful I might try our some larger sleeves on the short version for spring :)

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  49. Send me that coat!! I freaking love it!!!!

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  50. Great web site. We preferred this greatly.

    Hair Accessories For Women & Millinery in NY

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  51. This coat is flipping fantastic! I just love all the leather bits and that sumptuous hot pink lining! I made my first wool coat this past winter for my husband and I was so pumped and proud of it too. Wearable art, no?

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