Making a Coat

Last week I scored this fantastic fabric from a charity shop:


£3.99 for 3.7 metres. Yup. After doing a burn test I concluded that it was propably 100% polyester, sadly, as I much prefer sewing with natural fibres. However I still love the colours and think it would make a great garment . On a side note, don't you love burn tests? Have you ever done one? It's really cool and I love that it makes me feel like a scientist. All you need to do is get a little off-cut of your fabric, burn it and observe the flame colour and behaviour and ash left over. You can then use this chart to determine the probable fabric content.

My found fabric is the perfect weight for a coat and originally I was going to post to ask what you thought I should make from it. Too late! I have already decided. A couple of glasses of wine was all it took for my favourite pattern to go from Etsy 'favourite' to my shopping basket.

This is it:

McCalls 2054 from 1969

I decided I wanted a double breasted number, as that's what this fabric was telling me that it wanted to be. And I usually prefer belted styles. This beauty ticked all the boxes - view A is just what I had in mind.

I am also considering adding a hood, using this pattern I have in my stash:


A nice New Look/Maudella number. By the artwork I am guessing it dates to the early 1980s. It was very nearly what I was looking for but with the flap at the back I thought that it would not be so good with this fabric - perfect for a slightly lighter fabric. I would make the hood detachable, probably buttoning in under the collar. It's just a thought at this stage so I will wait see how it comes together. I just love the idea of a coat with a hood, it's hard to find a smart coat with a hood and they are so much more practical than wrestling with an umbrella!

I also picked up a few sewing patterns when I bought this fabric. I have to admit that none of them are the right size for me, but at 29p to 49p each I couldn't resist, and I thought I could pass them on at another blogger meet up and swap event. Anyone else do this?

I have made a cape  (also with charity shop fabric!) but never made a coat before. If you've made one I would love to know any tips you have or any links to resources you found helpful. I should really try out bound buttonholes for the first time - eep!

For now, I have other sewing projects I want to prioritise first, and am putting together my Autumn/Winter sewing plan.

K x

29 comments:

  1. That fabric looks wonderful, even if it is polyester!
    In relation to patterns, I have never found any here at any charity or thrift store, I have only seen them online unfortunately :-(

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  2. Love the colour of the fabric - great find! I also think view A from the first pattern would be perfect.

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  3. That's a kickass pattern - I'm a huge fan of the double-breasted coat. And the green fabric looks lovely, even if it started its life as a dinosaur!!! :P

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    1. Haha, had never thought if it like that!

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  4. Ooh exciting! I think that fabric is crying out to be turned into a coat and the colour will look perfect on you. My biggest tip on making a coat is to do as much of the preparation as possible before you even start sewing. For me this including applying interfacing, finishing all the seam edges and making the bound buttonholes. I can't recommend Did you Make That's Bound Buttonhole Ebook highly enough - I think she may be releasing it soon too which is good timing! I recommend a good quality interfacing too, I got mine from here: http://www.englishcouture.co.uk/category_Fusible_Interlinings_For_Jackets_1.htm
    Really looking forward to following your progress on this!
    ps. I buy cheap patterns that are wrong for me for the sole purpose of swaps/giveaways too! xx

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    1. Thanks for the tips Jane, I was hoping to be able to see that ebook, it looked great.

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  5. Polyester or not, that fabric is amazing and will be perfect paired with your new coat pattern! Like Jane I too can't recommend Karen's tutorial, it's bloody brilliant. But I'm making my first ever coat/jacket now, so I can't really offer any other advice I'm afraid...! Oh and yes, I too buy bargain patterns/notions/etc just to giveaway. Aren't we funny!!!

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  6. Yeahh.. It's looking really exciting. I love the colors and for that price, it doesn't really matter it's polyester...

    I'm making a coat too, yeah for keeping warm

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  7. Yay!! What a bargain, but such great fabric. I think that actually sewing your first coat with less precious fabric will make it a worthwhile learning experience for if you want to make more. I like the twitchy buying finger that gets into action in etsy ( or eBay in my case) that gets energised with wine...I've got one of those too!!

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    1. Yeah, that wine-activitated-buying-finger can be dangerous!

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  8. You find the best charity finds. So jealous.

    I really love the coat you chose. It's going to look great in that fabric.

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  9. Wowzers! What a bargain!! And it's gorgeous. I really like the pattern too, good luck with it. :)

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  10. That will make an amazing coat, can't wait to see what the finished product looks like!

    ps like your style online shopping after a glass of vino ;)

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  11. Wow, this is going to be gorgeous! At that price, who cares what the fiber content it?! :) I agree with Winnie-- I think it will be nice to make your first coat with a low-pressure fabric.

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  12. Loving it! ah it has to have a hood, I'm looking for one to stick on a coat pattern actually, I think all jackets ever should have hoods, total necessity in Scotland! :)

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  13. Ooooh! Think you should have a hood, that would look lovely in that fabric! I haven't tried a burn test, but am getting pyromaniac ideas about some of the 'unknown content' fabrics I own! ;)

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  14. Love that pattern and the lucky fabric! Can't wait to see your progress and finished product for the coat. :)

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  15. I think that fabric will make a stunning coat, and I definitely think you should add a hood! I love the patterns you are using, and isn't wine the best for convincing us to put things in our shopping baskets? I try and avoid etsy while imbibing because it will only end in purchases :)

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  16. Ohhhh what a find! Coats with hoods are epic and this fabric is begging for a double breasted coat look. Can't wait to see it!

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  17. Ooh yes, I love doing a burn test! Your coat ideas look great, and I always love a hood.

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  18. It's gorgeous fabric despite being man made! I have that first pattern, too. Far too complicated for my skillz but the illustrations are too cute to pas it on! x

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  19. I love burn tests! My sewing room always reeks of melted polyester haha.

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  20. what a great find - the colour is lovely (even if the fibre content is suspect!). Looking forward to following your progress on this one!

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  21. Hi. First time commenting but I've been a reader for a couple of months. Great blog!

    Colette and Gertie (new blog for better sewing) are both doing jacket/coat sewalongs at the moment. Obviously they are for specific patterns but you might get some info on stuff there. I'm pretty sure Colette are planning to cover bound buttonholes!

    I'm also attempting my first coat make this winter, although my pattern is a size too small so I'll also be trying to size it up! Totally out of my league in terms of skills but hey ho! I loved the pattern too much not to buy it!

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    1. Hi Helen

      Good luck with your coat too!

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  22. LOL i made last year's winter coat from version B of 2054! here's the final product. this year i want to make a burberry-inspired trench and another wool coat that's a bit more structured and has toggle closure on it :) you can do it!! i would definitely make a muslin first, i remember the original muslin i made was huge! good luck and i can't wait to see the final product!

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    1. Thanks for the link, your coat looks fab.

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  23. Hello Kestrel,
    I am looking for exactly that McCalls 2054 pattern from 1969 in size 16. I cannot find anyone with one for sale. Would you consider selling yours to me if you are done making your coat? Never hurts to ask right?
    Thanks Dawn B. in Canada
    petnanny@telus.net

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