So, I've long time held this vision of a bottle green, crushed velvet coat with a dark red lining - as you do.
When you want something that specific you just have to make it yourself because there's no way you're going to find it RTW, unless you make a lucky discovery in a charity shop. Then, by the time you've paid 'vintage' prices, had it dry cleaned to remove all traces of mothballs and replaced buttons/repaired worn lining, it's probably cheaper to make your own anyway!
This is the absolutely gorgeous crushed velvet that I chose from Minerva Crafts....
......and this is the dark red Paisley lining.
Design wise, the closest I could get to what I had in mind was Burda 6845, although I planned version A with a length somewhere between the two at just below knee length.
Three large and six small bronzed horse head buttons would match perfectly.
Order placed, a few days later this little lot arrived from Vicki (thanks Vicki!).
As I had been quite uncompromising in my choice of fabric, there were a couple of design issues I had to overcome to make this coat work, not least the fact that the pattern called for non-stretch wool fabrics.
Mine was crushed velour with a one-way stretch. And a definite nap.
Luckily, the stretch was widthways against the grain, which meant that the stretch would go around the body and not down the length - perfect. The pattern pieces could therefore be laid out as instructed. I was careful to double check that the nap went downward on all pieces, too.
I also had to use interfacing for stretch fabrics instead of the standard kind.
After checking all the sizing information, I started by altering the pattern pieces to fit, namely, the length - a 2" shortening in the torso and a 4" reduction in overall length.
Let the sewing commence!
*Warning: the nature of the crushed velour ensured that no two photos show the true colour. Trust me when I tell you it's fabulous.
The first interesting bit came in the form of welt-and-flap pockets. Great fun! If you haven't tried them before - do it!
Just look at that lining!
Admittedly, the inside isn't so pretty, but that will all be hidden under the lining and forgotten forever.
There are no side seams on this coat, but a panel that connects the fronts to the back and sort of wraps around the entire side. Nice.
Main body done, now for the sleeves.
Invisible hand stitching holds the collar in place once you've found the roll line and pinned it accurately.
By the way, if invisible stitching isn't your forté, any clumsy stitches are hidden in the pile of this lovely velour.
Sleeves went in slightly differently due to the seams being constructed in the wrong order - a printing error on the instructions.
For those of you (and I suspect there are many) that have suffered from a lifelong fear of shoulder pads since the power dressing of the Eighties, snap out of it now!
Look at the difference well placed shoulder pads make to the shape of the garment.
No shoulder pads....
....with shoulder pads.
There, consider yourself cured. (You're welcome).
I was slightly disappointed to find that, having gone to the trouble of making faultless vented sleeve cuffs, they were fakes and no buttonholes were required. The buttons were just stitched on through all layers (once the lining was completed).
I know, I could have made buttonholes regardless of the instructions, but I didn't.
Do you like the buttons? They're a nod to country living and the fact that The Boys are so into horses.
Hmmm, it needs to be about a foot shorter, but I'll deal with that later.
Lovely husband kept me fed and watered (or should that be 'wine-d'?) at regular intervals over the weekend.
As the lining takes shape it starts to look a bit like a fancy nightie or evening dress.
A dressing gown, even.
View of the back showing the pleats in three places down the length. Always a nice touch in linings, it provides a bit of breathing space and ensures you don't rip the lining when moving.
The back vent, front facings and hems are handstitched, again, invisibly.
I tend to favour a herringbone stitch here.
Time to insert the lining which is machined around the front opening edges and sewn by hand the rest of the way.
Just look at that brilliant colour contrast!
The lining hems (sleeves, too) all had the usual little overhanging fold for ease of movement which was good to see in the pattern instructions.
My machine can do fully automatic buttonholes which makes life easier.
I always do some test buttonholes in contrasting thread on offcuts before I go onto the real thing.
There - perfect!
And finally......TADAH!
I ended up cutting off another eight inches to get the length I wanted.
Oops - these were taken before I pressed the hemline:)
My husband likens it to a smoking jacket with that fabulous red Paisley lining!
I like it because one minute you present a sensible image in the very British Racing/Bottle Green but, with a flash of the lining, you're a scarlet woman!
So, in summation: -
Fabrics = Faultless. Beautiful. Striking.
Pattern - to be honest, unless you are an 'advanced' seamstress as the envelope indicates, I wouldn't recommend it.
Why?
  • I found too many errors in the instructions which, being experienced, I was able to spot immediately (most of the time!), understand and rectify.
  • The sizing information was on the pattern pieces instead of on the back of the envelope which, if you are in a shop trying to buy fabric, is inconvenient to say the least!
  • The instructions are confusing in places and assume that you kind of know what you are doing.
Having said all that, it's a great coat, the design is just what I was looking for and the finishing touches are good.
It's nice and warm,too, but I still had to don a scarf and gloves for a few outside photos as it was bloomin' freezing!
The hens insisted on getting in on the act, as usual.
And there's the cheeky flash of red!
I love the Paisley so much that I've already got some more in the gold colourway to use in my next project - here's a sneaky preview!