Burda Style Winter Coat

by - 14:30

Sewing outwear is considered to be a serious task that's only available to advanced seamstresses. In reality, all you need to consider is that it's a very time-consuming process that brings a brilliant result!

I picked a boiled wool fabric in a gorgeous rich amethyst colour and it must be the most luxurious material I've ever worked with. I was a bit worried it'll be too thin for a winter garment (which can happen with some of the boiled wools), but this fabric is just what you need for the task. It's thick, which means it doesn’t stretch as much as thinner versions of this material. It still drapes, which makes it great for both Autumn and Winter coats.

Will this fabric be enough on its own for the coldest months of the year? It’s a very tricky question since all of us deal with cold in different ways. I’d say that any coating fabric isn’t enough for winter and it has to be insulated. There are plenty of options on the market and it’s possible to pick an insulation for any budget, preferences and specific garment specifications. Bear in mind that some of them (the most modern and popular) require very special care and preparation. For example, the most common one is Thinsulate, which will work perfectly only if you barely pierce it with your sewing machine needle or pins. What does this mean? As few stitches as possible, which can be quite tricky. On top of that, you need to make sure there is no way cold wind can get under your garments. That’s why it’s mainly used for skiing clothes, which have elasticated armbands and hems. Another important detail is a windproof fabric. You need it with modern synthetic insulations and it can add some complications too because it requires similar precautions with pins and needles. You can also use regular ripstop fabric, but it might work like a plastic bag instead of clothes and cause some serious discomfort. The idea is to stay warm, not reach boiling point!

As for design, I used Burda Style Princess Coat 09/2013 #104 pattern. It’s a beautiful double-breasted coat with a Peter Pan collar and raglan sleeves. It’s really easy to sew and doesn’t require much fitting - a belt does the job! The only worry I had was that the wide neckline wouldn’t be appropriate for winter but a warm wool scarf does the job.

While working on my project, I also followed these basic rules:

1) Always prepare your coating fabric before cutting it. The fact that you aren’t going to wash your garment doesn’t mean that you can skip this step. It’ll lose its shape with humidity, the warmth of the radiator, change of temperatures, etc. Not only that, since you’re going to press your seams, that’s already enough to make you fabric shrink. To avoid shrinking, press your slightly damp fabric through a completely wet cloth. The more steam - the better!
2) Singer’s “Tailoring” book is probably the best one on the topic. It has lots of valuable tips and tricks. 
3) Working with boiled wool isn’t difficult, but it does require some precaution. For example, never ever hang your unfinished garment on clothes hangers (before attaching the lining). It can stretch easily and lose its shape.
4) Picking the right lining for your coat isn’t the same process as choosing the one for a dress. It has to be a bit thicker and heavier. 
5) Handsewing and other “old-fashioned” techniques might sound like too much if you’re used to quick dressmaking, but they’re truly essential if you want your coat to last for years. It’s not exactly cheap to buy all of the required fabrics and supplies, so at the end of the day you’d truly want to make it last. 
6) Last, but not least - don’t forget to protect your garment from moths. There is nothing worse than seeing the destruction that could be easily avoided!

I used:
Pattern - Princess Coat by Burda Style

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