The Booby Trapped Coat

Fresh off the high of getting a boat load of likes from my Facebook friends on my recent plaid coat, I seem to have gotten myself onto a coat roll.

This is from Burda Style Magazine’s “Easy” issue, Fall/Winter 2015. This is a pretty straightforward coat to sew, but it’s still a coat — with all the requisite wrestling with thick layers of coat fabric — so I don’t know that it really qualifies as Easy. Not for absolute beginners, to be sure. I made View 4C but without the attached scarf.


“Cool as Ice” collection from Burda Style Easy Autumn/Winter 2015

Burda Style Easy Autumn/Winter 2015 Style 4C & 4DE

I used this slightly furry polyester-wool blend I found at Fabricland. I’m not sure why I picked this rusty-red fabric as it’s definitely not a favourite, and it’s not a colour I have much of in my wardrobe. But I was on a mission for a “sort of furry” fabric à la brushed mohair or the like, and I had visited about 6 fabric stores to try to find what I had in mind to no avail. It was either this or a black, wool-blend bouclé, which would have been fantastic, except I have a bit of a self-imposed rule about not wearing black coats. If you’ve ever been to Toronto anytime between November and March it’s as if the entire population of the city is on its way to a funeral. Nothing but black outerwear, everywhere. Fuck that shit. Winters are dreary enough around here.


The pattern on the fabric reminds me a bit of computer circuits, but that could be just me trying to believe there maybe something even slightly hip about this coat.

Do you know how they say that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome? I did my usual routine of cutting out a size 8 since that matches my actual measurements, and then having to hack it down substantially after trying it on for fit. I do this every. damn. time. LORI, CUT THE SIZE 6 FROM NOW ON YOU NITWIT. I even had to put a dart down the middle of the back to remove some of the extra width. Now I know one or two of you are probably thinking, um, sewing a muslin would actually solve that problem. And you’d be right! But you’d also be someone who doesn’t realize that that level of commitment just ain’t never gonna happen with me. I need immediate gratification! So I dive right in and enjoy the ride….even the half-baked refitting hacks I must resort to.

Alright, here’s why I’m calling this The Booby Trapped Coat. See anything lying in wait for me on the coat in this next picture?


Zoom in: there it is! The pin that I didn’t remove, waiting pointy-side-up and targeting my left buttock. On my way home from work later this same day, it made its presence known when I sat down on the subway and immediately jumped right the fuck back up again. I’d like to say this produced quite a reaction from the people around me but this is the Toronto subway. Anyone who took any notice at all was just all looking around at the walls, whistling to themselves, hoping if they kept their gaze averted, the crazy lady wouldn’t try to draw them into her drama. lol

BurdaEasyCoat_back_withpin_cu copy

I didn’t insert the front facings as per the pattern — I just left them out and instead underlined the whole thing with a black nylon woven which acts as a bit of a wind stop and is smooth & slippery enough to make a great lining. My friend bought the fabric when she was thinking of making a pair of what you might call outdoor utility pants (something like you might get from Mountain Equipment Co-op) but changed her mind and donated it to my stash. I never would have thought to buy this kind of fabric myself but it turned out to be just perfect for this job.


Overall I think I did a good job making this, but I don’t think it’s a terribly flattering cut on me. I did wear it on a shopping errand, and it seems to be a good weight for that: just warm enough to get you to the store/shopping centre, but not so warm that I will drop dead of heat exhaustion, so maybe I’ll get some use out of it leading up to the holidays.

I still have a bunch of grey coating in my stash and I’m dreaming up what I might do with it….so the hunt for the perfect coat continues.

As always, thanks to my #UnsungSewingBlogHero for taking photos (even though neither of us noticed until after that the camera was in the wrong mode so these turned out a bit wonky…we’re both still learning how to take great photos).

Thanks so much for stopping by!



My New Plaid Coat!

Two firsts on this one: sewing my first coat, and first time sewing with plaid. I love a hobby that always has some small new challenge to try. And when you meet the challenge, you get to wear a stylish new coat! Who doesn’t love that?


I wasn’t sure this coat was meant to be, until this post from McCalls popped into my inbox a few days ago:

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 12.43.05 PM

I had been mulling over B6244 (pictured at left above) for the last few weeks but was unconvinced the roomy cut was for me. But, when you get an unsolicited message saying “YOU NEED TO SEW THIS NOW,” and they’re talking about the thing you’ve been considering doing, that’s the universe telling you to get on it. It was all the excuse I needed. Bonus motivator: only 3 pattern pieces to cut!


I made a couple of intentional modifications and one accidental/unfortunate one. Let’s get the big mistake out of the way. I was supposed to have turned the narrow hem to the *right* side of the fronts & collar, not to the wrong side as you’d normally do. Counter-intuitive, no? But makes sense, since the shawl collar drapes open to reveal the wrong side of the fabric and my little narrow hem becomes very noticeable right there on the front lapels. Oh well, I realized too late and I’m not sure yet whether I’m willing to spend 3 days unpicking that endless hem and redoing it.


Intentional modifications included:

  • shortening the length by 4.5 inches. This works much better on my 5’4″ frame.
  • chopping off a few inches from the vertical edges of the front pieces. I cut away about 4 inches along the front edges and graded out to 6 inches near the bottom. This made the cascading collar a little shorter and more proportional to the overall shortened length.
  • adding side-seam pockets (because what on earth is the point of a coat without pockets, amirite?)
  • adding a snap near the side seam and at the front shoulder, which allows me to wear the coat with the front closed over:


I think I like this look better; it’s a little more mod and gives a funnel-neck look. More practical in the cold weather, too.

I plan to convert the snaps to buttons for more stability. Turns out sewing on snaps is a good way to test-place buttons without the commitment of cutting a buttonhole.


Lucky for me, and other intermediate-level sewists, no-nonsense coats with simple styling and clean lines seem to be all the rage now. That means sewing a stylish coat is well within our skill level. Woohoo!  And with just 3 pattern pieces to cut out for this design, it was very easy to get the plaid-matching to work out.


I’m so enamoured with this black and white plaid, and I have a fair bit left over, that I’m thinking of sewing Burda’s ‘Illusion Jacket’ with contrasting black sleeves:


Burda Illusion Jacket 10/2012 #113

…and at some point I have GOT to get me some wool fleece and sew one of these:

Burda High-Collar Coat 09/2010 #118

Burda High-Collar Coat 09/2010 #118

The irony is that none of these coats is all that suitable for Canadian winter (or barely Fall, for that matter). I love these lightweight, casual coats but there’s only a window of about 2 or 3 weeks in Fall or Spring to wear them. Sigh.


But the good news is that my office is FREEZING year ’round…so this just might get a lot of wear indoors!