For my last sewing project of 2020, I really wanted to challenge myself (as if just surviving 2020 hasn’t been challenging enough). If you listened to my interview on the Between These Stitches podcast, you already know, but I decided to make my first coat. I went through several ideas, looking through patterns I already have, deciding what elements I want in the coat, finalizing the shape. In the end, I decided I wanted a plaid wool coat dress, fully-lined, with pockets and a hood. The easy part was choosing fabric. I received 4.5 meters of this gorgeous Wool Blend Coating deadstock fabric from Minerva. I hand washed and air dried it – my living room was quite a sight! For the liner, I purchased gold taffeta fabric from Fabric.com and picked up some adorable buttons from a seller on Etsy.
*December 2022 Update – My beloved Fabric.com is no more, but you can still pick up this beautiful Vogue Fabrics, Inc. gold taffeta from their preferred vendor, Fabric Wholesale Direct.*
Now for the hard part – finding a sewing pattern. It actually took me about a month of research to choose a pattern. Ultimately, none of the patterns I found gave me everything I wanted, but I chose one that I thought I could tweak enough to make work. I purchased the Duchess Jacket from Ellie and Mac patterns. This was my first time using an Ellie and Mac pattern and I didn’t have a great time with it. The pattern itself was fine, but I truly struggled through the instructions. The fabric used to illustrate the instructions kept changing, which made it really difficult to follow along. Also, the way the garment is constructed in the instructions seems a bit out of order.
Since there were so many completed jackets on the website, I thought it would be easy to find help from others who’ve made this coat. No such luck though as I was only able to find three blog entries about the Duchess Jacket. Eventually, I gave up following the written instructions and just made the coat how I thought it should go. Once I did that, I had a much easier time. I purchased two more Ellie and Mac patterns, so I’m going to try this company again.
Modifications I made
Added hood using pattern pieces from Seamwork’s Skipper
Flipped the front bodice pieces to button on the left side
Omitted the back skirt pattern piece and used front skirt pieces instead
Added a fifth button
Modifications I would make in the future
Attach buttons before adding the lining
Pay more attention to grading the skirt
Wait until the coat is complete to cut and construct the lining
Even though working with this pattern was a bit of a nightmare, the final result is a dream! This wool coating is so lovely and warm, but unlike other wool fabrics, it’s not itchy or scratchy. It held up well to my stitching, removing said stitches, and then re-stitching. Since it’s a coating fabric, it’s a bit heavy, of course, but it doesn’t make me feel like I’m drowning in fabric. In fact, it’s the kind of heavy that feels more like a warm hug. The plaid is so lovely and looks so luxurious that I hardly want to take the coat off. I’ve been spinning and twirling around in this coat so much that I’ve gotten slightly dizzy! The beauty of this fabric really pulled me through a project that I might’ve otherwise abandoned (seriously, it was a rough go for a while). If you’ve wanted to make your own coat, I can’t think of a better fabric to use than this coating.