Winter coats are one of the best things to sew: a big crunchy project with lots of details in well-behaved wool. I’m currently well supplied in the coat department with several in the wardrobe, so had no space for another. However I’d been eyeing up Vogue 1853 for my husband ever since it was released – it’s exactly his style – and this year the navy surplus coat he’s been wearing for years reached the end of its life, so I had an perfectly good excuse to make yet another coat.
Here’s the pattern photo. We went for view B, the long coat.
There is a half belt which is designed to pull the back in a little, which is why it’s not lying flat in the back view below. The fabric is a dark navy wool/polyester coating from Minerva Crafts. I was very impressed by Minerva’s vast range of coating fabric. I often find their fabrics are more expensive than other companies, but they had a sale the week we were buying fabric so this one ended up being a bargain.
I made a toile but it turned out we didn’t need many changes to the pattern. The collar is seriously tall so I folded 1.5cm over at the top edge. And to give a little extra room I didn’t sew the front waist darts. I probably should have shortened the sleeves too, but we weren’t sure and I personally hate sleeves to be even slightly too short so we left them.
The lining fabric is grey polyester satin from The Lining Company. The lining was in my stash, left over from another coat project that didn’t work out, so I’m glad to have finally used it. It’s lovely quality, really heavy, and the colour contrasts with the navy without being garish. If I’d been buying lining I’d probably have felt obliged to go with navy in order to match the shell. I do like a contrast lining.
Before cutting out I made a separate lining pattern and some adjustments to the facings following the advice from the Ready To Wear coat sew-along by Sheryll of Pattern Scissors Cloth. I can’t recommend this sew-along enough; it makes inserting the lining and hemming quick, easy, and entirely doable by machine; at least it does if you follow Sheryll’s advice to check everything carefully before you cut. Which I failed to do. At first it all went well: Sheryll’s method for sewing the lining/facing/hem junction entirely by machine is brilliant: quick and easy and gives a good finish.
The sew-along coat doesn’t have a back vent, so how to draft a lining to fit around a vent wasn’t covered. I used the lining vent lines from the original pattern for the lining pattern and assumed it would all work out. Wrong. When I came to sew it I couldn’t get the lining to sit nicely around the vent when I attached it from the inside by machine. I ended up hand-sewing the lining to the shell around the vent edges and made a little pleat to make it fit. It looks OK now but there was an evening of much seam ripping and frustration along the way. Next time I’ll take the time to check the pattern first.
One thing I did plan carefully was the addition of an inside pocket, carefully sized to fit my husband’s phone, and it’s come out well. I was dubious about sewing welts in lining fabric across the bulk of the facing/lining seam, but with the addition of interfacing to the welts it turned out to be pretty painless. In fact there’s lots of extra interfacing in this coat: the entire front, the facings, and the hems are all interfaced with Vilene G405. That was a lot of tedious fusing.
And speaking of pockets here are the external ones. The pocket bags are all navy blue cotton poplin from my stash.
In theory you can wear the collar on this coat either up or down. Normally I’d press the edge seam on a collar slightly to the underside so it doesn’t show, but you can’t have it pressed both ways. I decided to err on the side of pressing it for wearing the collar up. I also added extra interfacing to the collar to help it stand up. Probably as a consequence it doesn’t sit very well when turned down, but I don’t think that’s going to be a problem in practice.
There is no back neck facing which surprised me. I added a chain for hanging.
The design needs matching shank buttons in two different sizes. The recommended size for the larger ones is 3cm which cuts down the available options. We wanted metal ones and a fairly plain design. After a lot of looking we found these ones from Number Sixty on eBay and I’m very pleased with them. Hard to see in the photos but they have a grey patina that’s been scratched off in the centre to give a bit of interest.
And here it is being worn. Normally my husband takes the photos for this blog but as he’s the model this time all we have are my phone pics.
I’m really pleased with how it’s come out. And given how difficult it is to find coats my husband likes I’m definitely hanging onto the pattern. Maybe a grey one next?