Friday, 9 December 2016

My first winter coat- the Clare Coat

I promised myself I would make a proper winter coat this year.  Up until this year I would have thought such a feat would be impossible but after doing my Francine jacket class at SewOverIt last spring and learning some skills, I felt I could give it a go.

I picked out the Clare Coat pattern from Closetcasefiles as I loved the style  and the reviews were great- suggesting the instructions were very clear and it was relatively simple.  I can say I totally agree- I love the pattern.  It is indeed easy to follow and well I was amazed how straightforward it was.  I was expecting this to be the most complex thing I ve ever made- but frankly it wasn't !!!  The relaxed shape of it with the raglan sleeve means a lot of typical tailoring and structure are not required.  And the pattern is written in such a way to prevent most hand stitching which, if you choose to follow it- means it can all be sewn really rather quickly!!!!!!

The biggest job, by far was the cutting out- not only are there lots of pieces (as with any coat I guess as you ve got outer, lining and interfacing pieces), but I chose this amazing ombre wool so I had to be so careful to line the pattern up correctly on all the pieces. In fact I had under ordered- I needed a lot more than I expected once I started pattern matching and I had to order more.  The wool (and indeed lining) is from Fabworks and I HIGHLY recommend both- both are incredibly reasonably priced (this is the best lining I've found at this price range, I've ordered every colour) and the wool is just a dream.  Well I do have a bit of an Ombre obsession of course....
Now a word on interfacing.  I discovered this amazing thick stuff perfect for coats @sewoverit when I was on my class.  I m addicted to it, brilliant stuff- works wonders for coats & thick fabrics- not100% sure what they call it, I just pop in their store and stock up, but I m sure you can get it online.  I really think its worth getting the right type of interfacing for projects like this if you want the structure to hold.

Sewing time! Its nice seeing this come together - sewing all the coat elements together is really straightforward:

I was very happy the pattern had pockets and they were simple to install.  Only think I would do differently next time is use a thicker fabric.  The  lining fabric feels too thin vs the wool for the pockets- having studied a few RTW coats they tend to favour a thicker fabric for pocket linings.  But they are fine.  As you can see, I didn't sew them very neatly, but they do the job ;)

Last time  I did a jacket, setting the sleeves with ease, shoulder pads, sleeve head wadding etc took a lot of time.  But these are a breeze- tack tape in the seam allowance for stability (I didn't have proper stay tape but had this twill tape which I guess does the same thing so i used that).  Then just sew in the sleeves.  Last job is to sew down the seam from the top of the shoulder down to the wrist - done, super quick!

And at this stage I got excited as it starts to look really good and phew it fits!!  Yes, you guessed it I didn't make a toile.  The fit is quite loose and the measurements looked fine so I just went for it. Risky I know...

Then I sewed on the collar and the outside was done:

A close up of the twill tape I loosely tacked in:

Sewing the lining together is the same really as the main coat and equally quick.  I remembered some ribbon to hang the coat- I forgot this on my Francine Jacket and regret it!! I had this cute black and white ribbon which I love- it matches so well!

So this is where I go off piste slightly.  The instructions tell you to just bag the hem and you are pretty much there - with practically no hand sewing, bar a tiny bit on bottom of hem.  Which makes this a super easy coat sew!!   But I added a few extra hand stitching steps - difficult to believe I know!!  I learnt the importance of some of these tailoring elements in my Sew Over It class and was happy to use them again!  After grading the seams i rolled the seams on the outside towards the inside by hand (so the facing on the inside doesn't curl towards the outside) and tailor tacked as below to hold in place, then giving it a good iron.  My facing contrasts with the front so super important it doesn't show. 

so you end up with this, with the seams rolled slightly to the inside:

I then bagged the lining - you sew the lining  to the coat, right sides together, all the way up the front, across neck and down the other front side.  You then sew the lining across most of the bottom of the hem, leaving only a small gap (I left a much bigger gap than the pattern states as I needed access for some of my additional steps) ...

You then sew the cuffs together like this... It looks so wrong, I was worried!!!
Then you turn, and magically you have a lined coat!!!!!!

As I mentioned I left a much bigger hole on the hem seam to allow I then added these steps:

- tacking the cuff turn in to the seam allowance on the sleeve to hold the sleeve even.

-stitching tiny, invisible stitches in the ditch where the collar meets the coat, going through front and inner collar.  The reason for this is firstly to give more stability and hold it together but most importantly, so that when I hang it from the ribbon, it doesn't stretch the inner collar out of shape (since the inner collar has no tape to hold the shape, if I hung it it would just stretch and distort I would expect).

- tacking the seam allowance on the inside of the front facing to the interfacing of the coat front (pic below) I didn't want it slipping around so I simply tacked them together in a way that can't be seen.

- tacking the turned in hem to the side seam allowance and interfacing at the front to prevent it from drooping down

Final step- buttons.  I didn't want to mess up the look with heavy buttons so i went for these giant poppers that were sewn on the inside. 

And there we have it, remove the tailor tacks, give it a good press and we have one finished coat!! It is so cosy & warm, I will love wearing this all winter long.

Hope you enjoyed my coat making adventures,
Messyessymakes x

fabric from:
pattern from:


  1. fabulous coat, love your ombre matching on the sleeves!

  2. Wow, your new coat is stunning! ������ Well done!

  3. Brilliant fabric and your coat is so cleanly assembled! Looks like a wonderful investment piece you'll be wearing for a long time.

  4. Love your coat, the fabric makes it really different.

  5. That's a really lovely coat in a fabulous fabric. Thanks for sharing - it's now on my winter sewing list for later in the year!

  6. Been eyeing this fabric from Fabworks for a long time. But when it was time to order for my Clare Coat, I chickened out and chose a plain colour :( wish I had seen your review. It looks fab!