Hi everyone!

I’m back this month with a project that nearly had me down to tears but I ended up loving it so much! It’s the Opium Coat by Deer and Doe Patterns.

Ever since this pattern was released, it caught my attention with its beautiful pocket details and its relaxed fit. I knew that wearing it would feel like I’m wrapped in a warm blanket and so it jumped on the top of my coat making list.

I spent weeks searching for the perfect fabric and when Minerva received an amazing selection of ex-designer wool coatings, I knew I had to choose one of them for my coat. I really wanted to add a pastel color to my outerwear and so I was looking for a baby pink or a baby blue coating. When I stumbled across this beauty, I knew that it would be a perfect choice!

This fabric has a very soft, almost subtle furry side, which makes it an absolute dream to wear. It’s not very thick and heavy which means I can wear my coat in the colder spring days and not boil.

As for my lining fabric, I love choosing bold prints when it comes to my coats. I had this gorgeous lining in my stash, bought last year from a local store that sells supplies for fur coat manufacturing, a tradition in the city where we live.

However, the construction of my Opium Coat proved to be a bit more challenging than what I had in mind. First of all, the pattern pieces are in some cases doubled: one for the lining and one for the main coat. This meant that I had to spend an entire morning tracing out everything. I don’t really mind about that and it’s something I was going to do anyway because I hate cutting out my paper patterns directly. Just keep that in mind if you plan to make the coat.

As soon as I finished the tracing, I thought I would be ready to cut out my coat pieces and start sewing. But then I noticed the first step of the instructions. I actually had to draft the pieces for the interfacing myself! The instructions are telling you how to do that, but it was an extra step that I didn’t anticipate. I stupidly thought that the interfacing pieces would be included in the pattern pieces. But, anyway… I spent another day doing that and then cutting out my fabric + interfacing and ironing everything on my pieces.

And then I was finally ready to start sewing. Everything seemed to go smoothly, until I reached the step where I had to attach the raglan sleeves to my coat. The pieces didn’t match up! I had an excess of sleeve extending over the neckline, which made things look very weird. I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong and I triple checked all my pattern pieces just to be sure. The sleeve pattern piece has two cutting lines: one for the main fabric and one for the lining. The way it is annotated makes it very hard to identify which line is for which piece. It seemed straightforward at first, but I posted it on my IG stories and people had different opinions on which line I should have cut out. It could be an error on my end or a mistake on the pattern. I am still not sure to be honest!

As if this wasn’t enough, my undercollar piece wasn’t big enough for the neckline. Gosh, I was so close to giving up at that point! Even easing the neckline in was impossible and I had no idea what to do next. I am not very famous for my patience so I ended up doing a terrible job just so I could move on to the next step. Trying to squeeze all this fabric into the undercollar resulted in lots of puckering and a neckline that looked very very weird, but at this point I just wanted to get it done. Then I tried the coat on and guess what! It was too big on me. The shoulders looked huge and it did nothing to my figure. I was devastated! I left it on my dressing form and went to sleep, spending most of the night dreaming about it and thinking of ways to correct it.

The next day I woke up with a clear head, but I knew I had to ask for help if I was ever going to make this coat wearable. So I called my grandma who literally came to my rescue within 10 minutes! She has been sewing coats her entire life because she was working as a seamstress in the fur coat industry. She is honestly the best! Patient, talented and very experienced. What else could I ask for?

She unpicked the entire thing and then baste stitched all the pieces together so we could fit it on my body. We ended up taking all the seams of the sleeves in so that it could sit better on my shoulders and as soon as we figured that out, we tacked the collar. My grandma suggested that it would be best to redraft a new collar after measuring the new neckline. She also made it a bit wider because the existing one wasn’t sitting very well. And then she sewed everything together.

The last step was to insert the lining. I had already machine stitched all the pieces for the lining shell together the previous day, but as grandma told me, linings should always be stitched on a coat by hand. So she spent a few hours doing that for me!

When I tried the finished coat on, I fell in love! It was everything I dreamed it to be – finally! Cuddly and soft, perfect to throw on and feel warm and cozy!

Despite all the problems I had with it, I really love the end result. It is a coat I will wear lots and thanks to my grandma it is now perfect!

I hope you like it, too ?

Until the next time, happy sewing!

Athina