I was watching the Royal Wedding and looking closely at what people were wearing. What struck me was that the best dressed and most elegant women wore simple A-line coats over a dress. The look is understated but very classy. That got me thinking that I don't actually own a summer coat and how useful one would be.

For this coat I chose New Look Pattern 6163 and some reversible stretch Robert Kaufman Denim Fabric.

I did not want to line the coat so I needed around 5m of a good quality cotton bias binding, some iron on woven interfacing and three hook and eye fasteners. With the left over fabric I made a Tote bag and used two poppers but you could leave these out if you prefer.

This is a close fitting garment suitable for wearing over summer clothes. I took my measurements and cut out size 10 which fit me perfectly with no adjustments needed.

If you want a roomier coat then go up a size, but I honestly feel that the close fit of this garment is what makes it so flattering.

I needed to choose which side I wanted as my right side, the plain or the striped. After much deliberation I decided that the plain side out would be far more wearable so that's what I chose.

I like to get my interfacing done first so that I am not interupted when I am in the middle of a process, so the first step I took was to iron on the woven interfacing to the under collar and facings.This is a fairly hefty interfacing which is necessary to keep the crisp lines on a fabric such as this heavy denim.

The coat is very simple to make and the instructions are easy to follow, so don't be afraid of making one. It could also be lined easily if you preferred. I chose to make a feature of the seams and made Hong Kong seams - that is covering the seams with a binding as a decortive touch. This process was made very simple and quick as I have a new binding foot for my sewing machine.

The first steps are simple, stitch the darts and press them over a seam roll to preserve the shape.

Then stitch the centre back seam. Press it open and cover each side of the seam with bias binding to make a Hong Kong seam.

My binder foot is so simple to use, just press the binding in half down the centre, insert it into the foot with the fabric sandwiched in the middle. Adjust the needle position so that it stitches along the edge of the binding (check to make sure that your needle will not catch or it will break) and away you go. It really is that simple. If you don't have a binder foot then sew the bias binding on in the normal way (ask me if you are uncertain).

After that, stitch and neaten the shoulder seams. I decided just to overlock the shoulder seams as they will not be on show.

Then I stitched the facings together, pressed the seams open and proceeded to add bias binding all the way around the outside of the facing.

If you have no inclination to make bound seams, although they are very pretty and durable, then either work a narrow single folded hem or overlocker the edge.

Then make the collar. I wanted the striped side of the fabric on the inner collar. Trim and layer the seams, press and turn right sides out using a point turner. Your upper collar should ideally be cut a tiny bit bigger than the under collar so that when you turn the collar the right side out, the upper collar will roll ever so slightly to the underside. It looks neater and more professional.

Give it a good press and stitch the lower edges together within the seam allowances.

Pin and tack the collar to the right side of the  neckline matching all markings, then pin and tack the facing to the coat running from the centre down each side.

Carefully stitch in place and then trim and  layer all the seams to make them lie flat. Press again - a damp pressing cloth will help and tack all around the edge of the coat to temporarily hold it in place.

I like to insert my sleeves now before I stitch the side seams as they go in so easily.

The side seam and sleeve seam can then be sewn in one operation.

I overlocked the sleeve and side seams and the splits in each side were finished with a double hem stone top stitched close to the edge.

Mark the hem to  suit you and press it up. Turn the facings to the right side and stitch across the facing at the hem, stopping at the point where the binding is attached.

Cover the hem in binding as before leaving an inch or so at all edges. Press again and hand stitch the hem invisibly turning the edges of the binding in as you go leaving a very neat finish.

I stitched some grosgrain ribbon onto the edge of the sleeves and pressed the hem up, handstitching the ribbon to the sleeve invisibly.

All that is left now is to sew some hooks and eyes to the markings on the front and give it a final press, removing all tacking as you go.

The Tote Bag

If you have some leftover fabric then why not make yourself a tote? They are so very simple.

This is a very easy version. Cut two pieces of fabric - size is dependant on personal choice and how much fabric you have left.

You will need to cut two long strips for the straps, remembering that they need to be wide enough to fold the edges to the centre and then folded in half along the centre fold.

I also added a pocket which I cut at an angle.

A thinner fabric would need lining and very possibly interlining too, but this is a very sturdy fabric so I can get away with doing neither.

First tackle the pocket. This was made with the stripes on the outside, and with binding on the top edge.

Stitch the pocket in place on three sides within the seam allowance and if you want to add a popper then measure the centre point  and add it now. You could use a button and buttonhole instead.

Stitch the bag front and back together right sides together and then overlock the seam.

You can leave the bag like that or you can do as I did and bring the lower and side seams together and stitch across, forming a box shaped base.

Make the straps folding the fabric edges to the  centre and then folding in half , edgetching on both long edges.

I took a piece of grosgrain ribbon and attached a keyring to it - this is so useful if so have something you don't want to lose. This will be hidden on the inside of the tote.

Double hem the top, inserting the key holder into the seam close tone of the sides and top stitch at both the top and the bottom of the hem.

Measure the position of the straps and fold the edges in. Stitch them onto the bag very securely - stitching top and bottom as well as crossways to make sure that they won't come off.

Finish with another popper to close the bag.

This is one of my most favourite makes ever. It goes well with trousers, jeans or a shift dress. The pattern comes with trousers top and skirt too and the outfit can be made very smart for a wedding or more casual for everyday wear. I love how the coat has an Indian feel to it with the stand collar and slits up the side. It really is a very useful and wearable garment which I never knew I needed.

Do make one and have fun with the inside, it looks and feels so special with the Hong Kong (bound) seams and the matching bag is pure inspiration in my opinion!

I guess you have realised that I LOVE my new summer coat!

Thank you for reading this, I would love to see your version.