28 November, 2009

Coral cashmere coat inaugurated! with some random thoughts

It was snowing here a tiny bit on Monday, so I quickly whipped three of the snaps on, and inaugurated it!

The sleeves are deliberately long, all the better to hide my hands in them when it's snowing & blowing...

The lining's still unattached at the bottom - I want to tack the facings to the underlining first....

The all-important wallet-protecting inside pocket....

Soft rumpling of sleeve screams luxury!!!!

Back yoke keeps me warm, and is desperately begging for the hood (still to come)...

You can see in the side view that I made the yoke a little larger than the coat's back, so it doesn't hamper movement...

For a touch of stylistic versatility, the collar ends are long enough to tie into a fanciful bow.

Random thoughts: BWOF designed this coat to be an unlined single layer garment, from non-fraying fabric, such as boiled wool, for example. I used (incidentally non-fraying) pure cashmere, but I lined it TO DEATH.

My coat has 5 basic layers: fashion fabric, wool/poly blend underlining to support the fashion fabric, a polyester windblock, cotton knit interlining for extra warmth, and silk charmeuse lining. The underlining supports the fashion fabric, the windblock is lightly tacked onto that duo, and the interlining-plus-lining were sewn as one.

I added a back yoke, which included the polyester windblock, and is lined with the charmeuse. We want our hidden bits to be pretty too, don't we? We sure do.

Did you know that you lose 50% of your heat through your head???!!! and all that heat is delivered via the carotid arteries which run just under the skin of the neck (Sweeney Todd was well versed in anatomy). So, if your feet are cold, put on a hat, and wrap your neck in windproofed cashmere. To block the winds, I added a layer of polyester inside the shawl collar.

After all the construction (detailed in previous posts), I wasn't happy with the way the coat felt: too stiff, too immobilizing. So I cut away much of the windblock. I kept all of the front, but removed it from both top sleeves and the sides. I kept it over the lower back, but, except for a 2" overlap with the yoke, removed it from the upper back. I also cut away all of the cotton knit interlining from the under sleeve, and the interlining from the lower part of the top front sleeve, to above the elbow. Result: the coat's much lighter and more flexible. Now it's like a warm, cozy blanket one wants to get all wrapped into.

This coat has NO fusible interfacing. NONE. Not even the back neck facing (though I thought of it, and it looks pretty soft without any). Oh, wait a second: I interfaced the front sleeve corners. But honestly, apart from the sew-in stuff on the front yokes, that's it.

I stabilized the sleeve hems, bottom hem, and fronts with tiny backstitching that's invisible from the outside but looks like prickstitching on the inside. It's a simple but asymmetric backstitch, 1 cm forward, 1 mm back. Gives tiny little pinprick points every centimeter.

Working with this luxurious fabric was dreamy. I loved holding it so much, I even mitered the front facing corners (at the hem), by hand.

Bottom line after wearing it for a week: it's NOT the warmest coat in my closet - but it sure is the softest.


  1. It looks wonderful! Very stylish.

  2. Freaking gorgeous!! I love the border print lining. What a fun detail. It sounds like you've had a wonderful time making it. I've really enjoyed watching the process.

  3. And it's beautiful! Every day you don't need the warmest coat in your closet, and this bright spot of color and softness might be just the ticket for those days it's above zeroF.

  4. Gorgeous! How is it over jackets etc.?

  5. Wow! What a gorgeous coat! I love the lining. I've been thinking about making this pattern, and am so happy to see it made up.

  6. That is a beautiful coat. All the interior work makes it very warm also. Nice sewing.

  7. Kay - to answer you, I wore my brown-op-art outfit today (http://sewing.patternreview.com/cgi-bin/readreview.pl?readreview=1&reviewnum=37755); the jacket runs big on me, and there's plenty of room in the coat for it.