When I first started blogging about my clothes (in 2013!), I’d try to get a post up pretty soon after I snipped the last thread. That often meant snapping ill-lit photos in a dirty mirror, using my phone’s timer to take poorly composed photos inside my apartment, or nicely asking Marc to snap a couple pics on the way to dinner. (The latter always yielded the best results.)
The point? I cared less about quality and more about showing my makes to the world as soon as humanly possible. Nowadays, I’m lucky if I blog about a sewing project within a month or two of finishing. Sure, I give sneak peeks on Instagram, but something (freezing Chicago weather, work, social life, laziness) usually gets in the way.Read More »
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.
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.