The Deer and Doe Opium
Posted on Saturday the 26th January 2019 by Wanderstitch
I made my first Opium coat last year, and was pleasantly surprised with how much I loved the shape on me! It was the first time I'd made a coat with that sort of silhouette, which just shows that sometimes it's good to step out of your comfort zone.
The first one I made was from a wool jacquard, so this time I wanted to try something different - and I chose this Leopard Print Coating Fabric by Lady McElroy (colourway 'ginger').
It's a super thick fabric, which is going to be perfect for the winter at keeping the chills out. When I first felt the fabric I was a little unsure if it was going to be too sturdy for this design of coat (the jacquard had a lot more drape in the skirt), but it's totally fine!
The fabric is almost like a thick felt, but not as fuzzy - if that makes sense! A really good quality heavy wool blend, with a high percentage of wool (80%). Unlike the jacquard that I made the first one from, the edges of this fabric don't fray at all. Yay! The leopard pattern is printed onto the fabric, and I think when I was getting a bit keen with the pressing (and the hot iron) - especially on the belt - I've worn off a little bit of the print. Only slightly, it's not like it's vanished completely - it's just a little bit muted compared to the print around it. Whether it will wear off in areas of heavy use remains to be seen, but I've worn this coat a LOT since I finished it and I'm pleased to say there's no noticeable fade to the print, so I think my advice to others (and really, myself as well) would be to use a pressing cloth.
The Opium is the *perfect* pattern for coat newbies - it's the ideal design to ease you in to making a bigger, more challenging garment but without all the usual nasties. There's no buttonholes to deal with - you can either tie the coat with the belt, leave it open, or hand-sew large snaps onto the coat opening. The sleeves are raglan sleeves too, so you don't have to master setting in a sleeve head. There's also no topstitching - being a MASSIVE fan of topstitching I wasn't sure how I felt about this initially - but the coat really doesn't need it (except maybe on those front edges. I might go back and add that on, just to help keep everything in place). But, no topstitching means that you don't have to wield layers of thick fabric through your machine or deal with that catastrophic situation of having your bobbin thread run out halfway through a line of topstitching so you gave to go back and unpick (been there, done that, MANY times lol).
The lining is also super easy to install, so if you've never lined a garment before this won't be a problem for you. I added piping alongside my lining, but this is optional - it's purely my personal preference. I used this Pink Satin Fabric for the lining, which is by FAR one of the nicest linings I've ever used! It's super silky, and feels really lovely to the touch. You could totally use this fabric for an actual garment, it's that good. It'd make a lovely camisole, slip dress, dressing gown or pyjamas... I will definitely be using it again, that's for sure! Sometimes linings can feel a bit synthetic but this one really does feel lovely. It's stated that it has some spandex content, but to me it didn't feel particularly stretchy - just enough to give it a bit of movement ease. Perfect for a coat lining!
The trickiest bit of the coat for a beginner is probably those pocket welts - the triangles themselves aren't what makes it complicated, it's getting the lines of stitching - and the pocket slash - in the right place. If you're a bit nervous about the pockets, I'd recommend practising on a scrap piece of fabric first, and understanding how the whole sew/slash/turn-to-other-side process works before you chop into the good stuff :)
I totally ADORE this coat (and that pink lining!!) and it's for sure got a place in my winter wardrobe!
I hope you love it as much as I do :)
See you again next month!
Sarah // Wanderstitch