It would seem that I haven’t been very productive recently, but I can promise you I have been working away between bouts of horrible chest infections. Also as shown in this photoshoot I am badly in need of a visit to the hairdresser. I also apologise for the light quality but this is the best day for a couple of weeks ,so I took advantage and threw on the trenchcoat.
I wanted to make a classic trench, and this Burda pattern has the right features, storm flap, back flap, shoulder tabs, sleeve tabs and it’s double breasted. I cut a muslin in size 38 grading to 42 at the hip, with a 1/2″ narrow shoulder alteration. It fitted pretty well apart from a vertical fold at the back of each shoulder, consulting Fast Fit it suggests pinning out the amount all the way from the shoulder to the hem. I did this, and proceeded to cutting out the fabric, which is a waterproofed scarlet red linen, although the camera seems to show it as pink.
Here I must confess to a big error. I traced every piece to the longest length of the pattern apart from the back which I made 4 inches shorter! So, I ended up with the knee length version rather than the mid calf I really wanted. Oh well.
The Burda instructions were fine on this make, of course its a standard coat construction. There are a lot of small pieces to make, sleeve tabs, shoulder tabs and loops, pocket flaps, and belt loops. I decided to make them all first, while I was fresh, then label them and keep them aside until they were needed. This means that they were given my full attention and any imperfections could be corrected. I get impatient during a project and am too inclined to plough ahead. I also made the buttonholes in the shoulder and sleeve tabs, and put the collar and collar stand together as well.
Burda suggests a hook and eye fastening in the collar stand, which you do by sewing the hook or eye onto one piece of the stand before stitching the stand together. You leave a small gap in the stitching then turn the stand right side out and hand stitch the gap closed. I found it was possible to topstitch over the hook and eye without breaking the needle, by just going slowly over them. It’s a beautiful neat finish, that I will use again.
The pockets are set into long darts, the flaps and pocket pieces are sewn in before the dart is closed. It took a few tries to get the geometry right as the flap is sewn one way and then flips over. I also pinned the pocket and lining pieces several times before it came together.
The rest of the coat was pretty easy to put together although you end up a lot of pieces at the neck, what with the back flap and storm flap. The pattern had only one layer for the back flap, but I looked at my old raincoat and it had a lined flap, so I made a lining for this one as well. I found the fabric was not easy to topstitch and had to get the walking foot out for the front edges. I found the sleeve tabs flopped around so made them loops as well. I don’t know why the pattern didn’t have them in the first place.
I found a lovely red/grey lining on ebay, it was great quality and was really easy to work with. I’ve had some horrible times with lining which slid all over the place, wouldn’t lie still for cutting and wouldn’t fit in the coat. This was different.
I put the entire coat together, and tried it on. I didn’t like the fit around the shoulders. I couldn’t work out what was wrong. I put it on Matilda the dummy, and there it stayed for several days. Finally I put in a small pair of shoulder pads, which improved things a bit. Part of the problem is that I really struggled to set in the sleeves nicely. Waterproof linen does not want to be eased at all. Also I think I’ve overfitted, by taking out too much shoulder width. I should have put back the narrow shoulder alteration and just taken out back width.
Burda has you make a belt 66 inches in length which is far too much. I’m going to have to cut it down which will have to be done by unpicking it in the middle and cutting to size then restitching it otherwise the two halves won’t be of even length and that would annoy me.
I like the back pleat! The coat is a nice cheerful colour, but will never be completely crease free.
I can promise a better standard of photography, and hopefully grooming for my next project.