- I interlined the main fabric front and back pieces with fusible thick interlining. I read somewhere that one shouldn’t line, interface and interline a garment, but should only use two out of those three things at a time. I’m not sure whether I remembered that correctly, particularly since I can’t find the source, but I felt that the front and back body pieces had enough support from the thick interlining to get away without using interfacing as well. The wool has a really nice weight to it and the interlining made it feel lush without being too stiff.
Another option would have been to interface the coat pieces according to the instructions and attach or fuse interlining to the lining pieces instead. I had a quick look at my favourite RTW coat and it seems that the lining is untouched, and the main body pieces have a layer of either interfacing or interlining fused, so I felt like I was on the right track.
- I also interlined one piece of the pocket lining (the shorter piece which is attached to the welt) so there’s a little extra warmth for my hands if it’s cold enough that I’ve put them in my pocket. A little OTT, but, you know… Winter Is Coming.
- I followed the pattern instructions to trace off extra pattern pieces for the lapel and a 2″ layer of interfacing at the hem of the coat front, coat back and the sleeves.
- I also drafted an extra interfacing piece to function as a back stay, across the upper parts of the back and back sleeve pieces.
- I used a narrow fusible stay tape along the roll line and the armscyes.
- I ordered a few different types of raglan shoulder pad, but none of them really seemed to work with this pattern / my shoulders, so I haven’t used any in the coat. The instructions didn’t mention shoulder pads anyway.
Preparing the pattern took a few hours.
This is a wool coating so rather than sending it to the dry cleaners (which I’ve never done with uncut fabric), I just gave it a generous steaming.
Next, I fused the interlining to the front and back coat pieces (but not the sleeves), and proceeded to fuse my various interfacing pieces.
I used two different types of interfacing:
- lightweight interfacing for the hems, facings, upper collar, and the whole of the under collar; and
- medium/heavyweight interfacing for the lapel, the back stay and the under collar below the roll line (called the ‘stand’ of the collar).
In hindsight I think my medium/heavyweight interfacing was more ‘heavy’ than ‘medium’ weight and because it’s quite stiff, it crumpled the coating quite a lot in later steps of construction. I was able to press everything out again but it remains to be seen how this will act over time. Fingers crossed!
I took extra care when transferring the welt pocket and collar markings in hopes of getting a neat, accurate result, and this definitely helped me later, although I’m not sure I really understood the pattern for the welt pocket markings – I just used the end points and the midpoint line between them! In fact I got so carried away that I marked the welt markings on the wrong side of the coat fronts rather than the right side. Very helpful.
It’s worth noting that although the pattern suggests just over 3m of fabric, I only used about 2.25m for size 36. It also mentions needing 2 1/2 yards of seam tape interfacing – I’m not sure what this is or where we were supposed to use it. Unless I missed it (which is very possible), it didn’t seem to be specifically mentioned in the instructions.
This is probably the section I’ve got least to say about! I just followed the instructions, which are nicely written. I made a few mistakes through my own inaccuracy / lack of attention to the instructions, but that’s standard and I won’t bore you with those.
The most time consuming part was probably those welt pockets, as you might expect, but it didn’t take long to get to the point where the outer shell was complete.
The two issues I had whilst actually following the instructions are:
- When attaching the pocket lining to the welt, the instructions don’t state whether they should be right sides together or wrong sides together. The diagram shows the correct shading, but I didn’t notice, and so on one of my pockets one side of the inside is actually the interlining rather than the right side of the pocket. It’s the side on the outside of the coat so no-one will ever see it anyway.
- I was happy with the bagging out lining instructions, except the bit that dealt with the sleeves. I felt like it was missing a couple of sub-steps or diagrams or something to explain more clearly. To resolve it, I turned the whole coat back out, tucked both the sleeve hem and the lining hem under as they would lie if the sleeve had been hemmed, pinned them in place like that, and then turned everything back wrong-side out, wrestled with the fabric to get the pins back out, and then re-pin and sew. It was as stressful as it sounds! I must have done this before on projects like my cropped trench coat or Francine Jacket, but I couldn’t remember how it was supposed to work. But I got there in the end.
I added a few ‘extras’ such as piping between the lining and the coat, a short chain for hanging the coat (from eBay) and of course, my ‘me-made’ label.
I spent a few hours researching before I started ‘coat making’, to decide on my approach to interfacing and interlining, remind myself how notched collars are supposed to be constructed, source the raglan shoulder pads, and make myself some crib notes for future reference.
I did the pattern prep and the fabric prep in bits and pieces, but I think they took a few hours. Assembly took roughly 8-10 hours. I had a good uninterrupted stretch of 6 hours and by the end of that, the outer shell was done and the collar/facings attached. The remaining time was spent tidying up the insides and bagging out the lining.
It sounds like a lot, but from starting the fabric prep, the coat was finished within a few days, mid-week. If you had a weekend to yourself, you could definitely do it in a weekend.
I actually, really, love it! There were several points along the way where I was worried that there was just too much ease in the coat and it wouldn’t be flattering. Right up to the point of the final bit of hand stitching at the hem, I was considering taking a long wedge out of the back seam, tapering from nothing at the cross back to a few inches out of the hem – what held me back was worrying about having issues with the grainline along the centre back. However, the final coat now doesn’t seem as overwhelming as it did during construction! I really enjoy the ‘swing’ now.
I would make this coat again, although I’d have to think about how to avoid looking like I’d just bought the same coat in a different fabric (because yes, I actually think this could pass for a RTW coat!). I will probably make versions for family members – if they’ll babysit while I do it – as it was a surprisingly quick and easy make.
The pattern was very well drafted, and I think it makes for a stylish coat that will fit very nicely into my curated wardrobe. I never thought of A-line/swing silhouettes as being ‘my style’, but I was immediately drawn to the Opium pattern images and I’m glad I tried something out of my comfort zone. I definitely recommend this pattern!