Over the last week or so the temperature here in London has plummeted. It is freeeeeeeeezing; car frozen up in the morning, ‘are you sure the heating is actually on?’, fluffy socks and hot water bottle in bed, freezing. I love the winter but mainly when I’m inside somewhere warm with hot tea or mulled wine.
Luckily earlier this season I made the warmest tailored coat I have ever owned. This coat has been seriously put to the test as the park where I walk Gatsby (my dog) is by the river, windy, and feels about ten degrees colder than everywhere else. Not for me anymore- not in this coat!
I found the wool for this project in one of my favourite fabric shops, The Cloth House. This shop is an Aladdin’s cave of beautiful, high quality, interesting fabrics. There are actually two shops, each specialising in different fibres, both on Berwick Street and both absolutely worth a trip. The fabrics aren’t cheap but I have never failed to find something worth the price! At the time I wasn’t actually looking for coat fabric but this wool spoke to me. I adored the colour and knew instantly what I wished to create with it.
It is quite a chunky coating and lends itself very much to the semi- fitted, collarless, short 60s inspired coat I had been wanting to make for a while. These were the kind of influences I had in mind for the coat design.
I chose to make the coat using traditional tailoring methods rather than the ‘speed tailoring’ more commonly used today. I stitched hair canvas to the front, the hemline and the neckline of the coat. In addition to this I used a lightweight fusible interfacing on the back of the wool where the buttonhole and pockets would be. It was important to add this as the chunky weave of the wool makes it very prone to fraying and the fusible interlining helps prevent this.
The coat is a very simple shape with no collar, raglan sleeves and princess seams. I added little cuffs with a flap to the bracelet length sleeves. The shorter length of the sleeves was an important choice stylistically as I feel they instantly add a vintage charm to the style.
They do however present the obvious inconvenience of leaving ones wrists exposed to the elements. I plan to rectify this problem with these beautiful cream leather gloves from Aspinal. Eminently impractical I would be well advised to buy the red or black instead, both of which are lovely, but the cream are sooooo pretty I need them in my life!
The coat has bound buttonholes- my favourite! I also added single welt pockets which are so simple to construct. I will be uploading a short tutorial on them soon.
The buttons were just some I had saved from an old coat- it’s so fab when you find a way to use these little saved notions!
I am so pleased that I decided to interline the entire coat with cotton flannel. It makes the coat so much warmer and I would absolutely recommend this to anyone making a winter coat. I got the plain white flannel from The Cotton patch website and hand basted it to the wool and then treated them as one fabric.
You can also construct the interlining separately and then hand stitch it to the seam allowances of the coat, sandwiching it between the main wool and the lining. For the lining I used some cream crepe back satin from my stash.
The coat is photographed with my vintage Evan Picone shoes, a Kate Spade handbag, an old Topshop jumper and a beautiful scarf my Marmee knitted for me a few years ago.
I hope that those of you sharing this cold snap are managing to keep warm too!