A wool coat has been on my “to-sew” list for a while now. Not only had I always wanted the challenge of constructing a coat, but after donating the wool peacoat I had had since I was 15, I didn’t have a coat well-suited to the cool fall weather. I had been trying to get by for a few weeks of 5-degree weather with a raincoat (with no insulation other than it being made of plastic), so the need was becoming dire.
I scoured the Indie pattern scene, and didn’t really find any coats that I loved (with the exception of the By Hand London Rumana coat, which I am absolutely in love with, but has too many seams for the heavy boiled wool I had bought). There are a lot of indie designers making coat patterns now that have been insanely popular, and it’s becoming the norm for home sewists to venture into the coat-making world. Still, I found many of them a bit too boxy for my liking. I had originally planned to make a wool coat from my Vintage Butterick 3007, but I found the fit of it way too oversized to fit practically into my wardrobe.
I eventually found the Burda 6462, but I couldn’t find any pattern reviews. I’m big on reading reviews before I buy something, but I’ve heard good things about Burda’s drafting, so I ordered it anyways.
I thought about the fabric I would use for a very long time. I knew I’d be spending a lot on it, so I wanted to make the right choice. I originally really wanted a teal coat, and I found the perfect fabric at The Fabric Room, but since they sell fabric leftover from fashion designer Lida Baday, what they have is what they have – and they didn’t have enough to make a coat. I headed over to The Wool House on Queen St, and they had a big selection of boiled coating wools, but no teal. Still, when I saw the charcoal grey, I knew it’d make a versatile coat, and I could have a lot of fun with the lining. I chose a fun contrast lining (from The Workroom) because, honestly, how can you not if you make your own coat? I love the lining fabric so much that I was actually sad to only use it as a lining – luckily, there was about a metre leftover, and I think I can squeeze a skirt out of it!
I made a very basic muslin before starting, and it was pretty big – I didn’t really care about it being a loose-fitting coat, but the shoulders were clearly much too big. I went down a size and a half (from size 14), but didn’t make a new muslin of the smaller size because I felt rather confident about the fit. I also did a forward shoulder adjustment.
It was my first time working with boiled wool. Several online guides and tutorials warned me that boiled wool doesn’t press well. The one I got was a coating wool, so it’s also pretty thick. I had to cut out all the pieces one by one (rather than from the fabric folded), and I had to make all the marks with thread. Cutting out the pieces and interfacing them took two days.
The boiled wool was surprisingly pleasant to work with, and I’m glad I kind of just dove in. I finally got to use up my size 90 needles (I think I broke two though), and my machine and I braved through it. My main struggle was with the pattern instructions. If I hadn’t made my vintage Butterick coat pattern beforehand, I would have been totally lost with the construction. The Burda diagrams had a lot of zoomed in views that didn’t show context of the rest of the garment, and some of the instructions weren’t quite English. It’s really important to mark all the dots and notches, because that’s really your only guide as to how things fit together. I suppose if you’ve sewn many coats or garments with lapels it’s easy enough to figure out, but having only done it once I had a lot of trouble only going on the pattern’s vague instructions.
The lining was pretty easy to set in, and I followed the instructions in my Vogue Sewing Book on how to hem the lining in a coat. Turns out a coat lining needs a bit of ease so everything fits nicely, and it should be a bit “baggy” compared to the coat. The Vogue Sewing Book’s guide was fantastic, and I don’t know what I would have done without it.
The last step was the buttonholes and buttons. I didn’t think my machine could handle buttonholes on the boiled wool, so I made them by hand using matching embroidery thread (a tip I saw somewhere on Instagram). I found some really cute buttons at Eweknit, and I worried that maybe they might be too small. I liked them too much to find something larger, so I used them anyways, and I don’t think they look too out of place. I think I also sewed the buttons on too tightly, because I have a bit of difficulty buttoning up the coat. I’m hoping they’ll loosen up a bit as I wear it!
All in all, I’m very pleased with the fit and style of this coat! The A-line makes it flattering, but it’s loose enough that I feel like I can wear a few layers underneath without feeling too squishy. Hopefully winter won’t come too soon and I’ll get some wear out of it before the weather dips below zero. After planning this coat for a few months now, I’m really excited that it’s finally done and is exactly what I was looking for.