Tailored Coat Project: Inspiration

So I decided that this fall, I want to really challenge myself to learn more and build my sewing skills. Maybe it’s my nesting instinct, but I’m so ready to hunker down and slave away on a big project in my studio, with warm soup and tea as my fuel. I’ve always dreamed of sewing myself a coat, tailored just for me. I’m talking all the bells and whistles; pad stitched collar, bound buttonholes, back stay, hand sewn lining… all of it! So this year is the year I actually do it. I thought it would be fun to share my process with you guys.

Tailored Coat Inspirationleft / center / right

I don’t think a tailored coat is something I’m going to make every year, so I really want to choose a classic, timeless style. Maybe even a little bit boring… and I’m okay with that. I want something I’m going to wear for many seasons to come and that will go with everything.

Tailored Coat Inspiration 2left / center / right

Definitely the classic lines are number one on my wishlist. I’d also like to be able to layer it up with sweaters, and belt it for more waist definition if I want. I’m thinking knee length or just above-knee length is the way to go, so that I can layer it over most of my dresses or skirts without the skirt peeking out (a weird dislike of mine).

Tailored Coat Inspiration 3left / center / right

As for fabric, I’m still undecided. My first instinct is to go for a super neutral dark charcoal grey, because I think it will go with everything and I know I’ll love it. But I’m intrigued by the washed out colors in the photos above. Maybe a light heather grey, or a warm beige-grey would be interesting? I’m also open to some nice texture, like a subtle boucle or herringbone. Time to go shopping!

Burda Long Coat (Plus Size) 01-2014 #130Burda Long Coat (Plus Size) 01/2014 #130

Surprisingly, there aren’t a ton of patterns out there that match the classic tailored coat vibe I’m hunting for. I seriously considered the Gerard Coat by République du Chiffon, but ultimately decided that the oversized silhouette probably isn’t right for me. Burda has a couple of options, but I don’t quite fit into burda’s regular sizing, so I decided to go with this Burda plus size pattern (pictured above). I love that there are bust darts and princess seams, I love the back vent, and the lines look like they will be classic and flattering.  I think it will look awesome belted too! I’m excited to get started on the muslin.

Tailoring Books

I have also picked out tons of books from the library! Here are some of the ones I chose.

The Vancouver public library has lots of great sewing books available to borrow. I’m really excited to flip through these and pick up some new techniques. Do you guys have any book recommendations? Any links with good info to share with me? Please do share. I’m so ready to be a sponge!

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46 Responses to Tailored Coat Project: Inspiration

  1. katie October 15, 2014 at 6:20 am #

    http://achallengingsew.typepad.com/ does beautiful work. Her jackets are stunning!

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 9:50 am #

      Thanks Katie! You’re right, so much good info there! I’ll bookmark it :)

  2. Marianne October 15, 2014 at 6:26 am #

    Nice pattern! I will keep an eye on your progress as I’m planning to make Simplicity 2311, also a classic coat pattern with princess seams. Maybe not this winter though, have to finish a French jacket first!

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 9:54 am #

      Oh Simplicity 2311 is really nice! Great choice.

  3. Jenny October 15, 2014 at 6:39 am #

    Exciting! If my current coat woes tell me one thing though: go for a darker colour and a textured finish for your first coat. It’s *so* much more forgiving than anything light coloured, solid or lightweight. I’m struggling with that right now…

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 9:56 am #

      Oh Jenny! I’ve seen all your cashmere woes on instagram. What a labor of love. I’m leaning towards texture and you’ve probably just convinced me it’s the way to go!

  4. Emily - Belgian Seams October 15, 2014 at 6:42 am #

    I’m currently sewing the Gérard! :) All my pieces cut out and I’m ready to start sewing!

    Good luck with your coat!

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 9:57 am #

      Oh good luck with the Gerard! I’m sure it will look awesome :)

  5. Johanna October 15, 2014 at 7:04 am #

    Just wanted to recommend an amazing book by Thomas von Nordheim: Vintage Couture Tailoring. It’s a wonderful resource for proper tailoring techniques!

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 9:59 am #

      Excellent! I wish that one was at the library, but alas, they don’t have it. I might have to order it from amazon. Three recommendations – it must be great! Thanks so much :)

  6. Stina P October 15, 2014 at 7:25 am #

    Vintage Couture Tailoring by Thomas von Nordheim – my favourite book on sharp tailoring. And good luck!

    • Francesca October 15, 2014 at 4:43 pm #

      Third this!

  7. Anne Lyth October 15, 2014 at 9:16 am #

    It seems it’s coat-making-time in the blog-sphere. I have similar plans myself. I just picked up a beautiful heavy weight wool fabric in multicolour and is now looking for a pattern.
    I’m not too impressed with the Burda pattern instructions, but your pattern looks lovely. I guess extra reading material is needed in any case when making a coat.

    I will follow your progress closely, I think. :-)

  8. Nilla October 15, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    Good luck with your project! I’ve been hoarding a lovely purple wool in my stash for years, waiting for the right coat pattern to come along. Now I think I have found it – in Spanish! I can’t understand a single word, but I’m counting on the universal language of pattern pieces to get me through the project :)

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:01 am #

      Oh interesting! Spanish huh! I’d love to know which pattern? Good luck!

  9. Evie October 15, 2014 at 9:53 am #

    I am about to embark on the same adventure! I’ve got the first two books you mentioned and am starting to really feel prepared for all this handwork. Can’t wait to see your project!

  10. Jan Anderson October 15, 2014 at 10:13 am #

    Beautiful inspiration pictures! I made a tailored coat for my daughter about 9 years ago. Despite me telling her to keep it simple lines….NO…double breasted, 8 seams, lined, rust colour and made out of the trickiest fabric possible, VELVET!!!!

    It was a big project, but she had a coat tailored just for her. I made a muslin first, made the alterations, then cut it out. You can not make mistakes with velvet. I now have the coat, and luckily it fits me. My daughter felt she needed a change. I credit being able to make this coat to the sewing lessons I took on making a man’s tailored suit and pants years before. I had a tailor do the buttonholes for that finished look.

    One of the “go to” books I used, the original Reader’s Digest Sewing Manual.

    Good luck on your project!

  11. Hélène October 15, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    I like the Gérard coat too, but I agree that the oversized look and the dropped shoulders might not be so nice on a standard silhouette. I’m also wishing for a cosy tweed coat for fall, but this is such a big project. I’m sure yours is going to be awsome.

  12. Carol October 15, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Loren from Lladybird is doing a Vogue sewalong on a beautiful coat. http://lladybird.com/tag/vogue/. I don’t know how well a bulky sweater would fit under it, but I think the style would really suit you.

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:03 am #

      Thanks Carol! I did see that :) I will follow the sew-along for the techniques for sure. The coat pattern itself though – I don’t love it enough to put so much labor into it!

  13. Lindsey October 15, 2014 at 10:44 am #

    I teach tailoring, and the book we use for techniques is Tailoring: The Classic Guide to Sewing the Perfect Jacket from Creative Publishing. It goes through both traditional hand tailoring and more modern options for fusible canvas etc. The nice thing about it is that it shows women’s jackets as well as men’s. Though I’ve also used Classic Tailoring Techniques and really loved it.

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:04 am #

      Oh fantastic! It’s great to hear you use that book for teaching. Thanks for the details :)

  14. Christina October 15, 2014 at 10:49 am #

    I don’t have a book to offer you but I have the same “kind of” desire to make a chic coat this winter. I’ve signed up to do a coat sewalong with McCall’s http://blog.mccall.com/
    It’s a beaut. V1419.

  15. Tara October 15, 2014 at 11:10 am #

    I’m so excited for this! I’ve made two hunt (think riding) coats and am hoping to make a few more so this is very timely. Has anyone else out there made riding coats???? I’d love to find more fellow sewers of riding clothing.

  16. Karen of Fifty Dresses October 15, 2014 at 11:38 am #

    Coats are a particular weakness of mine! I’ve made quite a few during my many years of sewing, the most recent one last winter (it is detailed in the post entitled “Magnificent Obsessions” on my blog). Von Nordheim’s book is excellent and is definitely the one I recommend using. By the way, those darts combined with the princess seams are called “Dior darts”, and they are, indeed, a lovely design feature on a coat. You will really enjoy the process of making this coat – I am looking forward to following your progress!

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:09 am #

      Karen that coat is wonderful! Wow – the color blocking is so cool and it just looks amazingly tailored. And how interesting that those darts on the Burda coat are called Dior darts. I love that!

  17. Julie D October 15, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    I’m thinking of the Fly-Front Coat class from Craftsy. Watching your progress may be just the inspiration I need!

  18. jjosiejo October 15, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

    I too am just starting out on my first tailoring project, but it is an overcoat for my husband rather than myself using a Vogue pea coat pattern. I have chosen all the fabrics and structural canvases, interlinings etc etc and tomorrow the fashion fabric (a dark purple and grey pure wool herringbone tweed) is going to the cleaners for pretreatment…!! Yay!! The book I am using is the second of your list above and I am really impressed with it. I have also been looking at the TuttoFattoaMano blog and The Great Coat Sew-along blog – the latter has a really useful padstitching tutorial. Good luck, I will be following this with interest!!

  19. Ginny October 15, 2014 at 1:12 pm #

    I made the Burda Style 7423 in charcoal grey a few years ago. No bound buttonholes to make though, just a belt. My one regret is not choosing a red lining. I used boring old black. So be sure to choose a bright coloured lining if you do decide to go ‘a little bit boring’.

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:10 am #

      Yes agreed. Bright coloured lining is definitely a must!

  20. Lynn October 15, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

    I’m getting ready to sew my first coat, Butterick B5822. I’m going with the shorter version but the longer ones are tempting too! Can’t wait to hear about the progress on your project. Good luck.

  21. Anne Shetty October 15, 2014 at 3:47 pm #

    Gogogo!! Isn’t our library awesome?! I get all my DIY books there too!! :-) It will surely look great Caroline.. Looking forward to it!

  22. Edurne October 15, 2014 at 11:36 pm #

    I’ve sewn a lot with Burda patterns and for me it works much better grading sizes so the pattern fits me than using plus patterns. Body shape to fit is so different in these two types, usually Plus are too lose and give a sack like appearance.
    Will follow your progress with a lot of interest cause fitting is a part I don’t really enjoy….
    And good luck
    Thanks to all of you ladies for suggesting books, always good to have references to turn to… just in case

    • Caroline Amanda October 16, 2014 at 10:11 am #

      That’s a good point. I had my eye on a regular size Burda pattern and ultimately I decided on the plus size. But if fitting ends up being a nightmare, I might just take your advice. We shall see! I will be sure to write all about it on the blog :)

      • Edurne October 31, 2014 at 3:37 pm #

        Then don’t put it aside, might be a good choice!
        Can you believe I just noticed your comment…. oh my

  23. Diana October 16, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    Oh my God, your project idea is awesome! I have always dreamed of sewing a jacket and I finally did it, this year, when Burda offered their first sew along for the Moto style jacket. It was a very long project which took me over a month to complete, but it was worth it and I learned a lot. I would definitely try doing it again with your chosen pattern. I can’t wait to see your progress on this one. Really really exciting!

  24. Ida October 16, 2014 at 3:36 am #

    Some German blogs just started a Coat-sewalong. There a a lot of tipps and inspirations:
    Step 2 (patterns and fabric): http://dreikah.de/herbst-jacken-sew-along-teil-2-schnittvorstellung-und-erste-schritte/
    Step 1 (inspirations): http://chrissys-naehkaestchen.blogspot.de/2014/09/herbst-jacken-sew-along-2014-teil-1.html
    Also without being able to read everything you will be able to understand!

    Viel Spaß und Glück,

  25. sewlittletime October 16, 2014 at 3:44 am #

    have you tried on RTW coats in the style you are thinking? just thinking about your issues with the unbelted sack style dress vs the fitted dress recently – would you like something as unfitted around the waist?

    i’m working on a coat from a vintage pattern at the moment and would really recommend the bound buttonhole book written by Karen from Did You Make That. the Colette Anise sewalong also has really helpful tips and the Anise Companion is great too.

  26. Gabrielle October 16, 2014 at 3:26 pm #

    Vogue always have a good range of coat patterns, ranging from classic to trendy, if you want to look at more options. My experience is that dark grey winter coats really do go with everything, and for my wardrobe, so too does a dark red colour when I’m sick of grey. I think lighter colours can be a problem in that when they get a little grubby (eg around the cuffs) it’s very obvious, so they seem to need more cleaning :(.

  27. joelle October 16, 2014 at 11:35 pm #

    i am so looking forward to follow your jorney into coat-making! i was really into the idea of sewing up a coat for myself, but then inherited several vintage coats, and now i find it very difficult to justify making a coat when i have so many beautiful options and my closet space is limited. i’m thinking i’ll maybe do a blazer instead…
    as for colours, i’d definetely go for a neutral. black is my go-to, but i quite like lighter colored shades in the winter: less gloomy. finding the right shade may be challenging, though…

  28. Sarah- Fabric Tragic October 17, 2014 at 2:08 am #

    Look forward to seeing your process. maybe you’ll inspire me to make one next winter!

  29. Reana Louise October 17, 2014 at 2:28 pm #

    Really excited to see your progress on this! I’m such a sucker for jackets :)

  30. marguerite October 22, 2014 at 11:07 am #

    You will definitely enjoy your tailoring coat project. I think of sewers like cooks…some cooks prefer main courses, some prefer desserts. Some of us sewers (sewists?) like home dec, some like the elegant fabrics and others, like me, love tailoring!
    One good book that has been around for ages but is helpful is the Palmer Pletsch Easy Easier Easiest Tailoring. Covers all the same stuff as the fancy books. I have two of the books you checked out. The Tailoring Classic Guide that Tasia recommended is great. The photos alone lead you through the steps. It was originally published as part of the SInger Library of Sewing back in the 90s. Good Luck!

  31. Tine October 24, 2014 at 12:47 am #

    Dear Caroline,
    I really like to read about your project as I myself plan to make a similar coat for fall and winter. I have to find the right pattern though too and have already browsed through all of my Burdas. There are so many coats I like from onlineshops, but it’s difficult to find a perfect pattern. So I might need to draft it myself.
    The fabric that I want to buy has been on my wishlist for a year already. It’s a lovely grey woool with the name Wool Mix Ede 7 at myfabrics.co.uk Love it!
    So looking forward to your next posts!


  32. Amanda October 29, 2014 at 7:01 pm #

    Totally agree with you on liking to have my coats cover dresses and skirts! Maybe I look at too many old photos, but I just love how classy ladies of the past looked with the coats covering their outfit underneath. I used “Tailoring” when I made a tailored coat a couple of years ago and I learned a lot from it. These other books you’ve shared look interesting! Good luck with your coat. :)

  33. Suzi November 4, 2014 at 10:47 pm #

    Can’t wait to see how this unfolds! Any tips or information on how to insulate/ make a really stylish piece for REALLY cold weather?