A Classic Clare Coat


It’s not perfect, and I love it.

And that will be the last apology, or ablogogy, of this post. I’m not going to point out all the imperfections on this coat, because GUESS WHAT it’s wearable and it’s warm and it’s wooly and I made it with my two bare hands! Which were sometimes ragged and bloody from hand-sewing those adorable snaps on for the umpteenth time.


Exact snap placement is kind of hard, y’all.

I had mighty ambitions to tackle a Burda military coat when Heather over at Closet Case Files released Clare. Clean, simple, classic Clare with a fun twist in the form of a big ol’ collar. I knew I wanted to sew this up in a solid-color wool, so I ordered charcoal, light gray, and red wool-blend swatches from Fabric.com.


The light gray wool melton blend won out for wearability and lint resistance. It’s not quite as soft as I’d like, but it’s by no means scratchy. Perfectly fine for a first attempt at a wool coat. Plus, the kasha lining is primarily what lies against my skin, and ohhhh is it creamy. Kasha is smooth-as-silk satin with a flannel backing. I picked this black kasha up from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston.


I know: gray coating and black lining is venturing into the boring realm. That’s why I obviously had to go a little CrAzY with the bar tacks, hanging loop, and Pantone-inspired topstitching.



let’s just call it rose quartz and serenity, OK?!!

I made a muslin with fleece, which I now realize was probably not the best choice as it’s pretty forgiving. I cut out my coat fabric in a straight size 10, adding length to the body and arms—the usual for me. I followed along with pattern directions and the Clare Coat sew along, which was especially helpful when it came to bagging the lining.


I have a pretty broad back, so I added width to the back sleeve and center back per the suggestions in the fitting post in the sew along. That meant adding width to the collar and neckline. The collar turned out pretty large in circumference because I also let out the raglan sleeve seams when I realized that the sleeves were a little too tight.

The sleeves fit fine now, but I think they’re drafted pretty slim. I personally like the streamlined look, but you might want to add inches if you want to wear a bulky sweater underneath.


Taking out the sleeves meant adding yet more width to the collar. Blah, blah, blah—not perfect, but still cute!


I took my time with Clare. She was quite the journey, from choosing fabric to using a clapper to press wool for the first time to sewing on those daggone snaps. And FYI if you’re a Northerner like me, the combination of wool and warm kasha is suitable for mid 30ºs F and above.


To me, Clare personified is a wizened old Irish woman, darning socks next to a fire as she downs pint after pint of Guinness. I like her.


Do you personify your outerwear, too?






sallie jumpsuit romper closet case files

A Sallie Romper and the Conclusion of the Coyote Saga

I wouldn’t recommend driving 1,800 miles in three days. But if you have to do it, you should reward yourself each night with a cocktail at a local watering hole, or a 40 of Bud Light while lying in bed in a Motel 6. No one’s judging here. Both happened last weekend, when the bf and I flew out to the Southwest to finally pick up his car. In case you’re unaware of the Coyote Saga, here’s the rundown (and some pictures for good measure):

canyonlands, utah
Canyonlands was pretty magical

May 14: We set out on the first day of our road trip, which started in Chicago (home) and continued on to Denver/Boulder, Canyonlands in Utah (the most beautiful place I’ve ever been), Vegas, and the Grand Canyon. After seeing the Grand Canyon (which was barely visible since it was sleeting that day :-/), we planned on spending the night in the small town of Gallup, New Mexico, before heading to Santa Fe and then eventually making our way home.

grand canyon bust
GREAT visibility at the Grand Canyon…

May 22: I was gazing up at the stars through the sunroof right after nightfall when I felt a huge thump. “Oh my god. I think I just hit a white wolf,” says Marc. The phrase was so ridiculous I laughed out loud, but the laughing quickly turned to mild terror when we realized that the radiator was busted, leaving us stuck on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere, Arizona. Apparently white wolves coyotes get real big out in the Southwest (RIP coyote). After sitting two hours in genuine fear that a Jeepers Creepers–type character was going to steal me and eat my skin, a tow truck arrived and we spent the night at a Travelodge in Holbrook, AZ. Long story somewhat shorter: We got a rental car for the next few days and explored Albuquerque and Santa Fe before driving back to the body shop in Holbrook, where we learned that the car would take at least a few weeks to fix. We couldn’t afford to take any more time off work, so a flight back to Chicago it was.

prom picture
Marc asked me to prom in Albuquerque. I said maybe.
silver saddle motel santa fe
The Silver Saddle Motel in Santa Fe was our home for three nights.

July 23: Nine weeks later, the car was finally fixed. We flew back to Phoenix and drove a rental the three hours from the airport to Holbrook, and then spent the next 2.5 days driving back to Chicago. Aside from almost hitting a stray dog eating roadkill in the middle of the road (crisis averted), the drive was blessedly uneventful. Humid as hell, but uneventful. SAGA OVER.

sallie jumpsuit romper

So as timing would have it, this iteration of Sallie made it’s debut in Phoenix, Arizona, on a 100º evening. It was so comfy—despite the heat—that I bust it out the next night in Tucumcari, New Mexico, another middle-of-nowhere town along old Route 66.

sallie jumpsuit romper closet case files

Here’s a breakdown of my Sallie:

  • Cut a straight size 10, adding 1.5″ to the bodice and lining and lengthen the bottoms 1″ at the lengthen/shorten line.
  • To make this into a romper, I chopped the pattern off 4.5″ below the crotch, but next time I will definitely alter the bottoms using Heather’s tutorial
  • I bought 4 yards of this gray knit fabric (not sure of the content, I picked it up for $2.95/yard at Textile Discount Outlet in Pilsen) with the intention of making a jumpsuit muslin, but then I decided to go with the romper length. After making a romper muslin (which was necessary bc of crotch length issues), I had ALMOST enough to make my “real” version, but I had to use a similar black knit for the lining. It peeks out a bit, but it doesn’t bother me.
  • I think I could afford to go a tiny bit shorter with the length, but it’s comfortable as is so I might just leave it.
  • For construction, I cursed the fact that I don’t have a serger, and then sewed this up using my regular machine and a ballpoint needle with either a straight or zigzag stitch, depending on the seam. I broke my twin needle (WAH!) so I hemmed the shorts with a zigzag, too.

I never thought I’d be a romper/jumpsuit person, mainly because whenever I’ve tried one on the crotch looks obscene. It turns out that I LOVE this romper because it actually fits my torso. If you’re on the fence about this look, I highly recommend giving this pattern a try, plus you get maxi dress and tank options if those are more your thing.

How do you feel about jumpsuits? Willing to give ’em a go?